Monday, February 28, 2011

Gender swap! The Magna Carta edition

It's been too long since I've done any original art for this blog, and I've been itching to do more! I knew as soon as I started working on that post about Hyung Tae Kim that I wanted to do another gender swap using his artwork, but it took me a while to find the time to sit down and do one.

Choosing an image was difficult. A lot of HTK's art is heavily distorted, and I wanted to experiment with actually not correcting anatomy this time around to see what the effect would be. However, I also really wanted to see what would happen if I took on a figure with an unnecessarily detailed crotch. For some reason, I wasn't able to find an image that was both very, very distorted AND very crotchular, so I settled for something crotchular and still a little distorted:



So this is Celestin Roaa from the Magna Carta series. This presented a huge challenge with the crazy boob perspective, and also with the costume - but I think it turned out well:




The costume presented quite the challenge, in that there wasn't any real male equivalent of the clothing that she was wearing. I compromised and gave my gender-swapped version a codpiece and chaps. Amusingly, I didn't realize how phallic the design on the codpiece was until after I drew it. I did try to give him a bulge, since Ken-doll superheroes with no visible bulge have always irritated me, but I think it was a bit obscured by the crazy codpiece. Alas.

The figure is softer than I intended, but I think that's more a result of me attempting to change as few lines as possible; I changed as little as I could to have the figure still be interpreted as male. (I'll admit the beard was me hedging my bets.)

Anyhow, in all other regards I'm quite happy with how the ridiculousness comes through. The chaps + codpiece are a wonderfully ridiculous combination, and the codpiece especially draws attention to the "HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT MY CROTCH"-ness of the original pose. I think the low cut of the codpiece also helps make the sexualization extreme enough that it actually reads as sexualization. Were he wearing pants, I don't think that even the bare chest would really read as extreme sexualization the way the mostly bare chest with bikini top does with the original figure.

I think next time I'll tackle something with more obvious figure distortion, just to see what happens. I suspect it won't translate well, since the parts of the female body that get distorted don't really have male equivalents. But that unknown is part of why I'm doing this. I enjoy highlighting the ridiculousness of the imagery, sure. But the experimentation of what works and what doesn't is neat too.

I'd also like to do more re-designed characters, but I was having trouble deciding which character I should take on next. Anyone have any suggestions?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

TERA: competing with Bayonetta for the sluttiest women still wearing clothes?

Before I get into today's post, I just want to refer your attention to a very interesting feature by Jonathan Holmes on Destructoid. It's a very excellent look at female characters in video games and the over-used sexy badgirl/chaste goodgirl dichotomy that dominates all video game writing ever. Also, do yourself a favor and watch the video. It's kind of long, but worth it - it's very funny.

I never thought I'd tell people on this blog to go read something on Destructoid, but there you go. I guess anything is possible.

And now for something completely different

A while ago during one of my WTF roundups, I posted a screenshot of a character model wearing nothing but crotch floss:



I'd forgotten to include the name of the game in the file name, so at the time I just posted the screenshot as a bit of trivia. My helpful commenters informed me that this was a screen from the upcoming kMMO TERA Online which is being released soon. I filed that information away and promptly forgot it amidst doing research for other posts. That is until someone mentioned TERA to me again and I decided to take a look. Surely anything with character models that tasteless would be totally easy to mock, right?

My expectations were pretty low when I followed a link to the European site for TERA Online. Still, I was pretty shocked when this is what I saw on the main page:


Does that curvy spine remind anyone else of Bayonetta?

Holy crap! I mean. Wow. That's... um. That's a lot of crotch. Like. Right there. On the main page. On second thought, it might be a little silly being surprised about these things, but usually they don't bust out the crotch right on the main page. They save it for screens of the character models on the race and class pages, but it's usually not so... blatant.

I was a bit hesitant as I clicked on the race page to check out the different races and was pretty surprised when the first race page (Amani) featured this image:



Whoa! That's, um. That's some crotch! Some male crotch! A lot of male crotch! So, okay, maybe this TERA game is just all about crotch. And that wouldn't be so bad, really - as long as it was equal opportunity crotch. Really, that's been my beef all along. If you're going to have tasteless nudity, at least have EQUAL OPPORTUNITY tasteless nudity. But wait, no. It looks like TERA isn't equal opportunity after all:


At least she's not taking a dump.

So it looks like just another case of a monstrous male character being suggestively depicted to make some sort of statement about his "monstrousness". Certainly we don't see any of that from our human male, who is also allowed to stand up straight. Unlike the female mage who is sticking out her ass and waving her tits in our faces. Why, oh why, is it that there is not a single female mage in all of MMO-land who is capable of casting spells without gyrations worthy of a pole dancer?

And it gets worse:


Ladybits! Attack!

In this image, the clothing dichotomy is even greater! The male character is wearing about fifty pounds of plate mail and the female character is wearing... even less clothing than the last one. Not that this is really anything new. This is the sort of thing you see from pretty much every MMO ever - and not just the free ones. Guild Wars, EverQuest, WoW - they're all just as bad.

And of course, what MMO promo would be complete without...



Lesbians! ...okay, they're not actual lesbians, but they're two hot, almost completely naked chicks in blatantly sexual poses. It's very hard for me to think that there's NOT some kind of lesbian subtext intended. Of course, this might be cynicism on my part. Maybe the artist wants the intended male audience to think of banging these chicks in serial instead of in parallel. (Ha. I'm such a nerd.)

The real nail in the coffin is when you start lining up male models and female models. Here for comparison are male and female human models:



The most exposure we see from any of the human males is a very shallow v-neck. Otherwise they're completely covered with multiple layers of clothing and armor, while the ladies are left to shiver with all their bits hanging out. Let's hope they control the thermostat, otherwise they're going to be pretty cold.

The outfit on the far right is the most ridiculous in my book. First of all, the design is actually quite ugly and doesn't really do flattering things to the figure. Second, the other two female humans at least get proper panties while she gets something that barely qualifies as crotch floss. It's practically a crotch decoration. I hope she used some body glue, because I don't see how those are staying on...

And of course, it's not just the humans. The high elves are just as bad:



Okay, maybe not QUITE as bad. The woman on the far right is wearing the most clothing I've seen on a female TERA model so far, which puts her ahead of her counterparts I suppose. Still, I'm getting awful tired of the stripper boots. Is there some kind of stripper boot outlet in the TERA world that causes them to be the most economic form of footwear?

Oh, and let's not forget another important bit of promotion. WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE WITHOUT THEIR CLOTHES?? Come on, people. Let's remember the important questions.



Why is it that in their underwear, their breasts are still more covered than in some of the "armor" sets that I've seen? Ditto for their crotches. What gives? Why is THEIR UNDERWEAR more modest than their actual clothing? Do people not understand how absurd that is? How is anyone supposed to fight anything in clothing that you're about to pop out of at any moment? Seriously, check out these action shots:



So the woman on top... What the hell is she thinking? Did she seriously think that it was a good idea to go fight monsters dressed like that? "Well, I've taped sea shells to my tits, so I think I've got everything important covered here". Really? This is about as likely as giving a stripper a sword and telling her to go kill some monsters. I'm not terribly likely to believe that someone dressed like that is capable of wielding a sword that large. Plus - WHY IS SHE ALL MOIST? What purpose does that serve besides making her even more fap-worthy? "Well, I don't have any armor, so I'd better grease up before I tackle that monster over there!" Come on, people. Now you're not even trying.

And then from our mage on the bottom, we have more spell casting pole dancing gyrations. Does the magical energy she's summoning come from her ladybits? Because if it doesn't, why is she standing like this?

The sad thing is that all of these screens took me maybe twenty minutes to round up, which means I didn't even have to look all that hard. I'm a little scared of what's out there that I DIDN'T find. Now I'll admit that the graphics are pretty impressive, but you can put lipstick on a pig and it's... still a pig. Graphics do not a good game make. Neither do tits, but tell that to the people eagerly awaiting the North America release of TERA. I guess they disagree.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reaper Miniatures: still a fap-fest, even at 1 inch high

Okay. So last time I posted this teaser image for a post about Reaper Minis:


Dragon replacing alligator as a fashion accessory?

That's pretty representative of a lot of minis. As any woman who's tried to find a mini to represent her character in a D&D game can tell you, it can be really hard to find female minis that are A) wearing clothes AND B) not showing their breasts.

Now Reaper Minis have gotten pretty popular for fantasy minis lately. Partly because of the very high quality of their minis, and partly because of the product lines that they produce minis for. What caught my attention is their line of Pathfinder minis, which I hear sell pretty well. I will definitely admit that the minis I've seen that have been based on existing illustrations are impressively sculpted. And they do well enough for themselves to run a convention called Reaper Con every year, so apparently their product is pretty popular.

However, their catalog is pretty similar to pretty much any collection of minis I've ever browsed at a con in that it's light on females, heavy on males, and chock full of naked or mostly naked women. So I thought that I'd go through their catalog and pull out some particularly egregious examples.

So first of all, meet Sophie. Sophie is the Reaper mascot; there are special edition Sophie minis released for Christmas, sometimes Halloween, and each year for Reaper Con. These are concept sketches that were later turned into special edition minis. (Except for the top right - that's going to be the special mini for this upcoming Reaper Con.)



Riiight. So, instead of releasing special edition minis that are actually interesting they just decided to make a busty demon chick their mascot and make slutty special edition minis. Which are useful in what context other than fap-material? It seems to point out the dearth of women in gaming, and especially in minis-related gaming. I mean, what gamer DOESN'T love cleavagey hot girls?

...oh wait.

Speaking of cleavage... Some of the sculptors need serious anatomy lessons when it comes to the female torso. I found way too many examples of head-sized sphere-boobs - many of them on the same models that also had impossibly tiny waists and no rib cages:



I fail to see how any of these are attractive. Some of them, like The Little Please Have Buttsex With Me Mermaid, are downright freakish. And some of them are just stupid. What is it about the chicks with huge tits, no clothes, and a large weapon?

However, even the misshapen tits are better than the sheer preponderance of models I found that need to PUT ON SOME DAMN CLOTHES.



Half of these models are bare-breasted, and the other half might as well be. How edgy! And by edgy, I mean pathetic. Seriously, isn't this shit what the internet is for? Why do they need to produce fap material for guys who can just as easily find the real stuff online? It's especially silly when you consider the scale of these things.

And of course, some of them go beyond stupid and right into WTF:



"Ghostly summons" (top left) my ass. That's two lesbians having hot ladysex in a cloud of smoke. Don't try to claim it's all artistic - her head is in the other woman's crotch and you folks can't exactly claim the artistic high ground. And check out Miss Muffet (top right). WTF? Why is she showing that spider her tits?

Even that's less ridiculous than the witch (bottom left) and the ZOMBIE STRIPPER. I mean, for god's sake, people. Both of these are supposed to be gross and monstrous, and yet it's STILL tits or gtfo for these women? What if I don't WANT to see their tits? Cause that's kind of gross.

The worst, though, are the two middle images. The chained succubus (bottom) is bad enough, but the VICTIM ON A SPIT is naked folks. Because nothing says "awesome" like tying up a naked woman and hanging her on a spit. In what world is anything like this even remotely appropriate? Gah!

But wait! The WTF doesn't stop there!



... you've got to be fucking kidding me.

The figure on the left is actually a special edition figure, so another example of fanservice to reward their loyal (male) customers? The figure on the left... Gah. So she's described as a "naughty maid", but the expression on her face just makes me think she's surprised. "Holy shit, when did those get so big??"

Can the maid fetish please die now and forever? kthx

Anyway. Not all of the Reaper Minis are complete fail; there are some hidden gems if you look long enough, like this mini from the Pathfinder collection:



I have mixed feelings about this one. The deep cleavage made me roll my eyes at first, but then I re-considered. This is the rare example of a woman who is NOT Barbie and also not monstrous. I think she's quite attractively rendered. So I'm not sure if the cheesecake is ridiculous, or if I should be happy that they're presenting a non-standard body type as attractive. (Thoughts?)

And then there are a few that are totally awesome. Why can't they all be like this??



Okay, so yes, the middle figure has a little cleavage. But she's awesome! Her tits aren't huge, she has a waist, and she looks badass! And I love, love, LOVE the knight on the right. And the nun on the left - awesome! Another woman who's not Barbie, and so completely badass!

Why can't THIS be how Reaper depicts its women? All of these figures are totally awesome! But no, they'd rather continue to cater to their "safe" market of desperately horny young males, which is disappointing. The quality of their product is clearly pretty high. It's disappointing that for the amount of work that goes into each mini, there's a base level of contempt for women as potential customers that clearly isn't being addressed.

Just because your fans tell you you're not sexist doesn't make it true

Okay, a bit of a quickie here... I'm working on a post about Reaper Minis that has wound up consuming way more time than I thought it would. So in the mean time, here's a preview of what you can expect:


She's going to have some serious scratches later.

So there's that.

Anyhow. Dale North, who is a major contributor on both Japanator and Destructoid, asked his readers if he was sexist. Amusingly, in describing the difference between Japanator and Destructoid, he had this to say about Destructoid:

If you frequent Japanatator, then you surely know about ModernMethod's flagship site, Destructoid. This gaming community is past hope, and we like it like that! We offend on a daily basis, and we're championed by our readers for it.


...which, amusingly, is one of the best descriptions I've seen yet of Destructoid. Good to know that sexism is apparently part of the writing style guide.

Now normally I would ignore stuff like this on a site like Japanator. I do try to avoid crossing too much into anime fandom here, since the problems with anime fandom are rooted a great deal in cultural differences and Japanese misogyny. However, since Dale North is a contributor on both sites, and content that he writes for Japanator sometimes gets cross-posted on Destructoid - which are both part of the same blogging network, I consider this fair game.

So here's the question Dale posed to his readers:

Am I, Japanator's Editor-in-Cheif, a sexist pig? And, if I am, should I be concerned about this as a writer on anime/manga/Japanese culture?


Not surprisingly, given the wording, the rest of the post was then followed by defensiveness and strawmen. This seemed to be more a facetious inquiry to cause a bit of controversy and garner hits rather than a genuine attempt at self-examination. Especially since near the end of his post he tosses out:

I'm not really doubting myself or the work of the Japanator staff here. And in the end, like it or not, we still get paid to write this crap. Sexy? Maybe. Japanator is filled with sexy commentary and pictures and whatnot. We're all horribly perverted, as good otaku should be. But I don't think there's anything here that makes us terribly sexist.


Nope! No sexism here! I mean, there's scads of sexy women. And our staff is mostly men. And GOOD OTAKU SHOULD BE HORNY. I mean, come on. QED. But none of that makes us sexist. (Now show us your tits.)

Anyhow. None of this should be in any way shocking coming from Dale North, who titled an article about the banning of RapeLay in Japan with: "RapeLay raped off Japanese shelves for good"... and then had this as the headline image:


For fuck's sake.

Dale's no Jim Sterling, but he certainly has his moments.

Predictably, Japanator users fell over themselves to defend Dale. Here are some of my favorite comments. (My commentary is in brackets.)

Grow a backbone! Be more like Jim Sterling. He doesn't give a fuck. [Note: Yes. Because we should all seek to emulate Jim Sterling...]

I've been a reader for over a year and I've never found your comments insulting (I have a vagina). I think there is a lot of coverage on "sexy news" like PVC figures, but that's a part of the otaku experience. So, no, you're not sexist, you're just an excited fanboy as we all are. [Someone with a vagina says you're not sexist! That makes it true!]

Last time I checked, I had a vagina so I can comment I suppose. =P There are those on the interwebs that love to stir up a bunch of bull. As a long time reader (though I rarely if ever comment), I have never been offended by your nor anyone else's word choice or whatever has been shown here.

Tits or GTFO

Either way the entire otaku community has a heavy emphasis on fanservice. Girls who get all huffy at a small thing like the term "good looking gal" should just stay away completely [Yeah! Hear that, wimminz? GTFO!]

As a person with no financial relationship and thus no legal liability with Samantha Robertson, you have the opportunity, nay the duty, to be a sexist pig for all us sexist pigs out there unable to attend this convention. As a representative of this fine oasis of otaku in the vast desert of drivel we call the intarwebs, you carry the honor and privilege of commenting on all the shapely figures and voluptuous bosoms you might encounter in our stead. So go forth and offend. With pride. With courage. With conviction. And let exhaustion and weariness not touch you till you have recieved at least one restraining order.

As a girl, I have to say, not only are the things you say not sexist, but they're downright hillarious! The call me thing was classic.

Just as the other females have said, my tits say you aren't a bad guy at all. I think you're hilarious. I don't understand what the commotion is about, you guys cater to the female crowd too with the yaoi. [Right. Because all women love yaoi, right?]

Dale, I must admit that you are indeed a sexist pig. You offend the very core of my man-finger, and you continue to do so on a regular basis with your sexual innuendo, such as your reference to "I worked hard," and referring to me as "dear reader." I am appalled, good sir! Now back to the beautifully luscious breasts and asses of Anime Expo 2008!

As always, the internet restores my faith in humanity. Or, wait, it restores the inverse of my faith. Anyway, having female commenters tell you that you're not sexist doesn't automatically make it true - in the same way that "having black friends" doesn't make you automatically not racist. Read Derailing for Dummies, for god's sake.

(Sidenote: I'm amused by the concept disembodied body parts leaping to Dale's defense. "Hey! I've got four tits and two vaginas that say I'm not sexist!" Protip: having ladybits does not automatically make you an arbiter of what is and is not sexist.)

Now, I get that Japanese culture mass-produces misogynist media, and that a certain level of tolerance for that goes with being part of anime fandom. Examining issues of sexism in anime fandom isn't easy because it's often hard to tell when you're dealing with Japanese cultural issues and when you're dealing with Western cultural issues - which is why I usually stay out of it.

But here's a tip for all you game "journalists" out there who may be wondering if you are sexist. If you're actually interested in obtaining a real answer, then you need to step outside your little echo chamber. The users on Japanator are there because they like the site and the content that it posts. Are they going to want to see a negative label attached to a major contributor for said site? No, because that would mean being a fan of that contributor might make them sexist as well.

But I guess that wasn't really the point of this whole exercise.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Apologetic linkspam: Have some WTF, and also some win


Okay, folks. As promised, here's a bit of extra WTF to carry you through the weekend. I resolve to fail less starting next week, but as I've discovered I need my weekends. Those two days to detox from all the icky shit I look at during the week in the name of research for this blog are important. Srsly. You don't even want to know some of the shit I stumbled across by accident while researching "clothing damage". Brr.

Anyway. Here's some WTF to console yourself with.

WTF the first: yet more creepy shit from Japan

So. There's this thing in Japan called a hostess club, where lonely young men go to spend time with women who are employed by the club, and by spend time I mean just that. Some of them will have board games, others will just have coffee... whatever. Anyhow, I stumbled across this article about a Japanese romance game centering around young women who work at a particular hostess club.

...yeah. Because stalking women home from work is totally romantic.

Anyway. No idea on if it's being translated - these screens are all in Japanese. But here's a taste:



If you want to see more, you can see the full article with lots, and lots, and LOTS of creeptastic screens here. Just don't say I didn't warn you. (And don't get caught reading it at work.)

WTF the second: dear Nukezilla, I heart you

Okay, this isn't so much WTF as an awesome repudiation of WTF. So remember the fail-tastic IGN Gamer Girl Christmas Gift Guide? If you haven't seen it, please do go glance through it. Don't bother reading the text if you're in a hurry - just check out the photos. Go ahead. I'll wait.

... yuck, right? I mean, I'm pretty sure anyone who would attach a photo like this to an article supposedly about gifts for "girl gamers"...


Okay, why is she making Seductive Face at SACKBOY? That's just creeping me out.

...has never really talked to a woman that games. (And yelling 'tits or GTFO' over XBox Live doesn't count, fellas. Neither does sending ASCII penises in chat.)

Anyway. John Kershaw over at NukeZilla wrote this amazing rant about how horrific that feature was. It starts off with "girls, meat, what's the difference?" and gets better from there.

John Kershaw, I don't know you, but you are my new hero.

WTF the third: The Bayonetta creator said something misogynist? NO! SAY IT ISN'T SO!

So everyone is familiar with Bayonetta, right? I have to say that she's hands down one of the best female characters to come out of the gaming industry in the last few years. She's strong, well rounded, not sexualized and... okay even I can't maintain the sarcasm.

Anyway. She's inspired a fair amount of controversy, which isn't too surprising since one of her main attacks involves spreading her impossibly long legs to kill things with her ladybits sword.


Bayonetta. Feminist icon and role model.

Anyway, Hideki Kamiya - the creator of Bayonetta - apparently thinks that all women view each other as enemies. Which begs the question... He designed a title with a female lead... why?

Oh right! The tits. I mean, sorry - the ass. Almost forgot. Kamiya is clearly an ass man.


...okay, that's enough fail. So here, have some win:

Troll data analysis

Blogger Kirbybits got involved in that whole Penny Arcade internets fiasco and got a lot of internet traffic to her blog. Interestingly, she decided to analyze comments to see what sort of trends troll comments display. The results are super-interesting! You can read the post here, but be warned there's lots of super-graphic language involving threats of rape.


And that's all I have time for today. I'll check in a few times this weekend just to make sure people aren't setting themselves (or each other) on fire in the comment threads, but otherwise I'll see you Monday!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Yuna: yes I liked X-2. Suck it up and deal. (possible spoiler warning)

I'm having a really shitty day, so I thought that I'd write about something that I liked rather than going off on another rant that I really don't have the mental energy for today. So today, here's a love letter (so to speak) to one of the greatest female characters ever, who - like Lightning - would have been perfect in every way if she'd been wearing pants:


There's a reason why I'm addicted to Square and BioWare games - both companies know how to write some fantastic female characters. And Yuna was the first character I ever encountered in my gaming life that made me sit back and say 'holy crap, she is such a fantastic female character!'.

Okay. So enough peaens to Yuna. Just what makes her so awesome? Let's start with the fact that she's a complete and total badass. The first time you meet Yuna, she's tired and sweaty from just having completed a huge ordeal - successfully summoning her first aeon:



Now that I'm a summoner, I could totally feed you your heart on a plate. Just sayin'.

So right off the bat, Yuna is established as a powerful character. She's no fragile little flower, waiting for a big, strong, manly hero to solve her problems. Aeons are entities of unbelievable power, so being able to call and control them confers with it a certain base level of badassery. I mean, when someone can call something like this to do their bidding:


(Oh, she can also walk on water, bee tee dubs.)

...it pretty much means you shouldn't mess with them.

What I liked even better about Yuna was that she didn't fall into the "powerful weakling" trap that's so common with many female characters in JRPGs. From the outset, Yuna was the leader of the party who had the skills and knowledge to get the job done. Really, Tidus - the protagonist - was just along for the ride. And how great is that? How many times in gaming do you see a female character really, truly in charge? Even the strongest male character, Auron, deferred to Yuna's judgement when they were at odds.

And let's face it, it's not like Yuna's job was all sunshine and puppies. Nope. She was walking a road that ended, as far as she knew, with certain death. What's more, she had to deal with the aftermath of disasters that left hundreds of people dead in their wake, and she was constantly being scrutinized as a public symbol of hope. But Yuna never whined or complained like you'd expect of a more strereotyped character. She did what she had to do.

One of the things that I loved most about Yuna was that she was either the saddest happy character or the happiest sad character I've encountered. Both roles are pretty stereotyped - pretty much any JRPG you play will have at least one genki girl. And many JRPGs and anime have stereotyped sad girls (often sad girls in snow). I love the fact that Yuna managed to turn both stereotypes on their head. When Yuna is sad, the player is sad because she's a genuinely endearing character. And when she's happy, it doesn't ring false like it would with a genki girl.

Furthermore, her sadness doesn't detract from her strength or otherwise make her seem like a weaker character. She has her moment of sadness, then she straps on her big girl boots and gets on with what she has to do. Her sadness, rather than being seen as a weakness of character, helps to define her strength because even when she is most sad she doesn't let that sadness control her life. That's powerful stuff.


Let's face it. If you found out the person you fell in love with wasn't real, you'd be pretty sad too.

The thing that makes me appreciate it all the more is that Yuna's sadness in X-2 mainly stems from not being able to be with Tidus. And that makes me appreciate her refusal to sit around and mope even more. She's moving forward with her life, not sitting around and being all weepy because of a man. Yuna's shenanigans in X-2 aren't all about saving the day, sometimes they're about having fun, pure and simple. And sure X-2 was full of fluffy "girl power" moments involving Rikku and Paine, but frankly I think that's the sort of thing that gaming needs more of - not less.

In the end, Yuna manages to be a strong, well-rounded character who never loses sight of herself or her ideals. And maybe best of all, she manages to save the day and rescue the prince instead of being the damsel in distress. At the end, Yuna's actions bring Tidus back - which wouldn't have happened if she'd sat around being a sad girl in snow (or in sand, considering that Besaid is pretty tropical.)


I'm not too proud to admit that I cried.

Now if only more women in games were written as well as Yuna, I'd have a lot less to complain about. ...and okay it would be nice if she was wearing shorts that didn't expose the lower half of her buttocks. Details...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Clothing damage being exported to North America? (VERY NSFW)

[Note: It's been a shittastic week, hence the lack of posting. I'll get back to three posts for next week. Meanwhile, I'll try to hammer out a linkspam in addition to this post. Sorry, folks.]

While I wouldn't exactly call clothing damage a hallmark of Japanese/Asian games, it's something that is common enough that (for the most part) it doesn't raise any eyebrows. However, it's not exactly something that's been too common in North American games. Unfortunately, it looks as if that trend may be changing, thanks to games originally made by Asian companies and translated for North American players.

So here for your, um, edification are screens from Kabod Online, Soul Calibur IV: Broken Destiny, and Parasite Eve: the 3rd Birthday. I wanted to confine this post to titles that have gotten more hype than others - but there are certainly smaller titles featuring clothing damage as a key feature that are being translated as well: Ikki Tousen Xross and Queen's Blade: Spiral Chaos are just two that I've stumbled across recently. I'm sure there's more.

Kabod Online

Kabod Online is a translated Korean MMO from Kabod Entertainment. As far as fanservice-y models go, they seem to be pretty standard as far as free Asian MMOs go:


Fully armored dude? Check. Standing next to a chick in cheesecake armor? Check. Le sigh.

When you go to Kabod's website, there are apparently only three character classes to choose from, with only two specializations for each class - so it doesn't look like there's a whole lot of gameplay diversity. K-MMOs are pretty infamous for not even trying to disguise the treadmill, but this seems perhaps more egregious than most.

But Kabod Entertainment doesn't seem too worried about that. They've got a sure-fire plan. Sell their game with breasts! Only, since that's what ALL of the free Asian MMOs are doing, they had to take it to eleven - hence the introduction of clothing damage. In Kabod, both players and monsters take clothing damage as they engage in combat. There's a base level where clothing/armor is undamaged, a middle level where it's mostly off, and a bottom level where you're in your skivvies and, if the character is female, your gazongas are hanging out:


So Kabod has this neat combat simulation feature called clothing da... BOOBIES!!

Unsurprisingly, the clothing damage feature is what has gotten the most attention and what Kabod Entertainment has been advertising most heavily. Way to pander to the lowest common denominator guys. From what I read while searching for screenshots, it's pretty common to play a rogue (one of the least clothed classes) and let her get down to mostly naked just so you can ogle her while you play. I mean, check this out:



LEFT: One breast in, one breast out? That's gotta be uncomfortable. RIGHT: Oh god. They modeled ladybits, didn't they? That's just gross.


Will this be the game that launches a thousand faps?

So. Moving on. Shame on you, Kabod. Etc, etc, etc.

Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny

The studio behind Soul Calibur is apparently having a competition with Dead or Alive to see who can make the skeeviest game - it's the only explanation I can think of. Soul Calibur IV is getting a PSP release, with the addition of - you guessed it - clothing damage! Because, really, we weren't seeing ENOUGH of these ladies, amirite?

Also, there is a character creator that will not only let you create new characters, but will also let you customize existing characters, in case you're feeling like some of your wimminz are too covered up.

Anyway. I've ranted enough about Soul Calibur here, so here's some screens:


FLAWLESS... um... nudality?

Parasite Eve: the 3rd Birthday

So we have yet another entry in a series of female characters who used to be mildly positive strong characters and who have been turned into walking fapfests designed to please male gamers. Poor Aya. I'm not saying that Aya Brea was ever on the level of Samus, but she's a far cry from Princess Peach!

It should be noted that there was a fair amount of buzz about the fact that the beginning of 3rd Birthday features a shower scene. OMG! Color me excited!

So the shower scene is bad enough, but series creator Nomura decided from the outset that there would be clothing damage in this title, and that Aya would take more damage as her clothing got damaged further. This would make sense if Aya was walking around in plate mail, but since she's wearing just normal clothes, the only possible explanation is "sex sells". So here's the progression that Aya goes through:


LEFT: Very slightly damaged (jeans start out distressed) MIDDLE: Medium damage RIGHT: Max damage

Now, Aya can get changes of clothing to cover herself up again by going back to base - but it doesn't really seem like that's a feature that's being heavily encouraged, since Nomura has said in an interview (unfortunately, I can't find the link anymore) that you can get Aya to max clothing damage quickly by dropping a few grenades nearby. "Not that anyone should play that way" - he hastened to add.

Even worse is that the clothing damage is, again, pretty much how they're promoting the game. I mean, check out this promotional art.



Look at that! Half her ass is just hanging out there! Oh Squeenix. I know that you can be pretty sexist, but why do you have to do shit like this? You want to give me well written female characters with no pants and very little clothing? Fine. I'll roll my eyes and pony up. But this? This is not okay.

Perhaps the most depressing thing of all is that you can switch Aya's costumes. There's a loooong list of options, including a Lightning costume aaaaannnd...



Fetish wear! Because who doesn't want to watch a maid get her clothes torn off while fighting monsters and stuff?

/headdesk

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Industry artist fail: Hyung Tae Kim (so VERY VERY nsfw!)

While looking for another entrant in my fanartist hall of shame, I happened to stumble across an artist whose work I had not been familiar with - Hyung Tae Kim. I initially found him when I stumbled across this image:



/sigh. Distorted anatomy? Check. I mean, even more so than usual. Improbably large breasts that defy physics? Check. Lovingly detailed ladybits? Cheeeeeck. This guy is a charmer all right.

When I did more research I discovered that HTK is actually a pretty influential artist in the Asian gaming industry. He's worked as lead character design on a huge number of roleplaying games, including the War of Genesis series (3 games), the Magna Carta series (2 games), and Blade and Soul online. And while normally, I wouldn't tackle an artist like HTK because of the fact that he does work primarily in the Asian games industry, the fact remains that he does have a HUGE following here in North America and does occasionally work over here. That blue crotch-floss with butterflies? The cover for an Exalted sourcebook. So I figure that makes him fair game.

Amusingly, one of the first articles that I found about HTK that tipped me off to what a following he had over here was this one. The headline image shows a totally cleavagey chick, but don't worry folks. She's just an exception!


WTF is up with her boobs, man?

If this is an exception, why go to the effort of picking out this one? Methinks thou doth protest too much, sir... Anyhow. Mr. Mahan is mostly correct in that yes, a lot of HTK's women don't display actual cleavage. No, instead they have impossibly large, impossibly pointy breasts that flop around like distended lemons. I mean, seriously. Look at these things:



LEMON BOOBS AHOY!

I never thought I'd have to invent a new category of boob mockery, but here it is. LEMON BOOBS. Methinks this guy can't be getting a whole lot of action because holy shit in what universe do women have breasts that are this large and this pointy? Those gazongas are practically WMD! Also, contrary to popular belief, jiggle physics does not exist in real life just because it's called "physics". I know that there has never been a situation in which I've had to dodge being hit in the face with my own breasts, so ease off with the anti-grav field!

Another pretty common feature of HTK's artwork is the OUTTHRUST LADYBITS. (Yes, capitals required). If you look at his art, a lot of the women seem to be thrusting their ladybits pretty much right at the camera:


NOOOOO! THE LADYBITS!

So, I'm guessing he would feel quite a bit of affinity with the WoW artist who did that infamous ladybit assassin picture I mocked a while ago... Another pose that's way too freaking common is the "please do me from behind" school of posing:


Come on. It doesn't get less subtle than this!

So, yeah. This guy clearly not winning a lot of awards for class. I realize that Asian culture is a lot more misogynistic in some regards, but the fact that there are plenty of North American dudes panting to get their hands on scans of this guys art books is just discouraging. This takes the garden-variety misogynistic character design we get over here and make it seem tame in comparison!

The thing that makes me really want to punch HTK in the nuts is his fetish for lovingly detailed ladybits:




Seriously? Talim is totally underage! That's just gross.

The thing that makes me most sad is that Blade and Soul seems to have adhered to HTK's designs pretty slavishly in the rendering of their character models. I mean check this out! We have actual modeled camel toe:



Yuck.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some followup: Jim Sterling, Reddit, and DM's Roundtable

DM's Roundtable follow-up interview

Hey, folks. Before I get to the meat of my post, I just wanted to update you all that last night was the followup interview done with the folks on the DM's Roundtable podcast. After hearing the podcast that originally went up in which I got fairly lambasted, I was pretty wary of going on. But, happily, things went really well and we had a really positive conversation. Those of you who want to give it a listen can find it here. Fair warning, though, it's long. (A little over an hour, iirc)

Reddit response to yesterday's post (trigger warning! rape jokes...)

Why do I read the comments on reddit? Whhhhyyyy? After the backlash I got from reddit over my post about gaming not being sexist against men, you'd think that I'd have learned my lesson? But no, I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.

So, some dude over on reddit called me an "ignorant judgemental cunt". The fact that all the horrible shit Jim Sterling has said was meant as humor apparently puts me COMPLETELY in the wrong. Of course, given that in THE SAME COMMENT this dude joked that the difference between football and rape is that women don't like football.

...so, yeah. I guess I should feel vindicated rather than annoyed. But. Wow. Yuck, dude.

Jim Sterling. Sorry? Well....

Okay, so here's the thing that prompted me to write a followup post, rather than tackling one of the many other things that I've been working on entries about. Kaonashi forwarded me the email from Niero that was mentioned yesterday, and the summary was pretty accurate. "Sure Jim crossed a line and he knows it but he's a nice guy".

Which, you know, fine. As an apology it kind of sucks. I have yet to see anything resembling an apology that isn't full of defensive bullshit from either Destructoid or Sterling, but I'm not about to hold my breath since I honestly don't expect it to get better than that. An acknowledgment that a line was crossed and that it's not okay to call people feminazi cunts is about as much as I can reasonably expect since Jim Sterling has proved his worth to Destructoid by being able to get pageviews to Destructoid by saying inflammatory things. Is that out of the ordinary in the gaming world? No. Is Kotaku worse? Oh fuck yes.

Still.

I was skulking the Destructoid site yesterday looking to see if there were any editorials offering a more official apology for Jim's conduct (there weren't) when I spotted this post by Jim Sterling about a recent "news" segment on FOX in which the recent rise in reported rapes is blamed on sexy scenes in video games. As is to be expected from FOX, the segment offered no supporting evidence or really any reasoning beyond "be afraaaaaaaiiiiiiid! only FOX can saaaave yooooouuuuuu!".

Now, is this worthy of ridicule? Absolutely. Does this sort of thing deserve coverage on a major gaming site? Sure. Do the people at FOX deserve to be lambasted for making the same groundless accusations that no one has been able to prove for the last thirty years? Right on. As someone who had to promise her mother not to become a serial killer in order to be allowed to buy Mortal Kombat as a child, I get just as tired of the blame that video games get for just about every social ill that exists. So for once I was cheering Jim on, until I got to the last sentence:

Now if you'll excuse me, there are some vaginas that have not been raped yet, and Kirby told me I need to "get on dat sh*t!"


...really? Really, Jim? Wow. This doesn't make me all that confident that Jim has, in fact, grasped the nature of the line that was crossed. Calling people feminazi sluts? Not okay. But you know what else isn't okay? JOKINGLY SAYING THAT YOU'RE GOING TO GO RAPE A BUNCH OF WOMEN.

I've come to terms with the fact that hottest chick lists aren't going away any time soon. Will I mock them? Sure. Are they a staple of "game journalism"? Unfortunately, yes. Ditto with all of the stuff masquerading as "news" that boils down to "hey look! Boobies! We all like boobies, amirite?". It's crass, it's tasteless, and it carries with it an undertone of "tits or gtfo". But that is still something I can roll my eyes at and walk away from. Jokes about going out and raping a bunch of women? Not so much.

So I've just sent the following email to Niero, the editor-in-chief of Destructoid:

Dear, Niero

A commenter on my blog was kind enough to forward the email that you sent him in response to his complaints about Jim Sterling's comments in the twitter dust-up that occurred last week and I was very happy to see that in that email there was a clear acknowledgment that Jim's comments were entirely out of line. I want to make it clear that in no way do I support Daphny's actions - her comments were entirely disgusting and tasteless and I do agree with Jim that no one gets a free pass on discriminatory language just because they happen to be a member of said group.

That being said, I have grave concerns about the larger context of this twitter dust-up when viewed in light of a larger history of things that Jim has said as an official writer on your site. When the flare-up originally occurred, I refrained from taking sides on my blog, but I did put together a chronology of offensive comments that display a consistent trend of denigrating feminists, feminism, women, domestic abuse, and rape. So when I saw your email to Kaonashi, I was very pleased and had every hope that perhaps Jim would be a bit more thoughtful in his official commentary in the future.

Imagine, then, my dismay, when yesterday morning I saw a post by Jim about FOX news blaming Bullet Storm for the increase in reported rapes. Did FOX deserve to be thoroughly lampooned? Absolutely! But Jim ended by saying: Now if you'll excuse me, there are some vaginas that have not been raped yet, and Kirby told me I need to "get on dat sh*t!"

This makes me very concerned that perhaps there wasn't any sort of real lesson learned at all and that the apologies were just lip service to win back those publishers that Jim managed to offend with his comments.

Look. I don't like the boob-centric nature of your website, but I'm not about to start a crusade to take down Destructoid because you folks like boobs. Whatever. I just really hope that you can understand the difference between jokes about liking boobs and jokes about going out and RAPING A BUNCH OF WOMEN. I really do. I'm not trying to be a "humorless feminist here". I just really hope that you can make it clear to Jim that just as it is never okay to call a woman a feminazi cunt, it's also never okay to joke about engaging in rape. The fact that it's a joke does not obviate the fact that Jim is an influential guy within the gaming community who gets a lot of respect for the consistency of his gaming scores and, like it or not, there are people who look up to him.

I do hope that you will relay this message to Jim. And I do very much hope to see Destructoid clean up its act.

Thank you for your time and attention.


I'm not sure if I'll get a response, or if anything positive will come of it. I mean, I'm not a user on their site and I'm a woman, which already puts me at a disadvantage. But it's worth a shot, and I hope that those of you that agree with me that rape jokes ARE NOT OKAY in game journalism (or, you know, anywhere) will also send Niero an email and let him know where you stand on this.

That's all for now

Monday, February 7, 2011

In his words: why Jim Sterling is, in fact, very sexist

[This post is very long, because I wanted to give Jim plenty of rope to hang himself. As you might have guessed by the length, this took a few days to put together, which is why I didn't return to posting as quickly as I wanted. Also, trigger warning for slut-shaming and jokes about abuse - especially the stuff about Fat Princess.]

[ETA: The writer behind GJAIF is Ben PADDON, not Ben Padman. Sorry about that, Ben!]

Amusingly, I'd been planning a post on why Jim Sterling is a paragon of male entitlement and sexism in the gaming industry when the flap broke out on twitter and the affiliated internets about a twitter exchange between Jim Sterling and Daphny over some "fanfic" that depicted Sterling having gay sex. (The "fanfic" was in response to Jim's defense of David Jaffe for his comments comparing the NGP to a "fresh vagina", which I won't address in this post since that's an entirely different kettle of fish.)

There's been a lot of heat generated from the pro and anti-Sterlingites out there. I want to make clear that I have mixed feelings about Daphny's actions. Definitely Jim Sterling deserved to be called out for calling his defense of David Jaffe "journalism". But were some of her comments homophobic? Maybe? Apparently, Daphny is a lesbian - but that doesn't give her a free automatic pass. One of the problems with discrimination is that minorities often engage in oppressive language and actions against their own group. Women certainly don't have a Get Out of Jail Free card when it comes to sexism, so I'm not convinced by the arguments that Daphny CAN'T HAVE BEEN homophobic because she is herself homosexual.

THAT SAID. The things that Jim said in this twitter exchange are absolutely inexcusable. Instead of doing the reasonable thing and ignoring her, or responding in a measured way, he IMMEDIATELY started flinging misogynistic insults of the worst sort:

Jim Sterling/Daphny twitter conversation highlights (Click the link to view the conversation in its entirety)
I know exactly what cunts look like. I'm talking to one right now
Just ask your husband for permission before using the computer next time.
People like you *revel* in sexism, so sure. I'm just giving you what all attention-seeking little bitches crave.
You're the embarrassment. To your gender, your species, and all feminazi sluts like yourself.


Pretty shocking stuff. Understandably, there's been a lot of flap over what was said, and a fair amount of backpedaling. CLEARLY Jim only meant these comments to apply to Daphny, and in no way should these comments have been interpreted as a general hatred of women! Even weirder, Ben Paddon of GJAIF (whose blog I do love, btw) attacked Jim's comments but defended him as not sexist, which was more than a little surprising.

And you know what... okay, it's the internet. People have internet-freakouts. It's a thing that happens that I've done myself more than once. But the thing is that Jim's comments are hardly an isolated event. When you look at the larger picture and actually read the things that Jim Sterling has attached his name to in the guise of "game journalism" over the years, his sexist insults look less and less like an isolated freakout and more like a representative sample of Jim's views of women.

So here is a collection of quotes by our friend Jim, with links to the original articles included to make sure I'm not "taking things out of context", which is how a lot of pro-Sterlingites have been defending his comments. I've loosely categorized them for your reading convenience. Any italics is purely my emphasis. My comments are added in brackets.


Breasts make everything better

The bigger the breasts, the better the fantasy. (Huge Breast Fantasy gives away free breasts)
[Clearly, any fantasy without breasts is sub-standard. I'm looking at you, Lord of the Rings! Clearly, LoTR was a steaming pile of fail with nary a nipple, sideboob, or cleavage to be seen.]
Yep, Mai Shiranui and her milktumors are returning to the series. For fans of nipplepillows the world over, this is certainly great news! (King of Fighters XIII bringing back Mai's breasts)
[And isn't that what matters? Who gives a shit about graphics improvements, new game modes, or new characters? What really matters here is MAI'S BREASTS. I mean, because we all know that the only value a woman has is what titillation her breasts can provide to male gamers. Sorry, ladies. Those of you who who have had mastectomies or who are transgendered will just have to face the truth.]
You have two choices when Agarest War launches -- the aforementioned PSN download or an Xbox 360 version that provides a sexy bundle, the centerpiece of which is a mouse mat with big breasts. ... Sorry, but absurd, boob-related items always win. (Breast-Flavored Record of Agarest War Gets Release Date)

Deep cleavage, skimpy leotards, side-portions of breasts and fleeting, partially-obscured nudity? Sounds like the perfect night in, right? One again, the ESRB has completely sold me on a videogame. (ESRB Final Fantasy XIII has side portions of breasts)

People complain about the lack of a strong female character in gaming, but they don't come much tougher than this one. Jenova is one MILF who can taste my Lifestream any day of the week. Plus the head comes off, and you can do some proper Patrick Bateman shit with that. (http://www.destructoid.com/videogame-characters-that-i-would-have-sex-with-137737.phtml)
[Okay, that's just disgusting. I'm not a guy, but I'm pretty sure it's not normal to fantasize about popping a woman's head off and sticking one's dick inside it.]
Boobs and video games: They pretty much are like peanut butter and jelly. (Another boob list geek lotion stock refilled)

Tits or GTFO

Slightly repurposed from an earlier Bayonetta figure, this one was been given a more natural pose and less, less, less clothing. Which is awesome. (This sexy nudey Bayonetta figure kit is sexy and nudey)
[Ladies, if you want to be deemed "awesome", you need to wear less clothing.]
Well, if she wants to show the skin, far be it from me to stop her liberating herself. What kind of man would I be if I suggested she should cover up? A low-down, rotten sexist is what! Well, I will take a stand for feminism and applaud this strong woman's decision to have her arse and norks prominently displayed for all [sic] the see. (More X-Blades screens, still less clothing than is sensible)
[For fuck's sake. This is a fictional character designed by men for men. At what point does her costume constitute a choice? Exposing yourself for the gratification of male viewers is not feminism. Read a fucking dictionary.]
We're dedicated to bringing you only the most relevant and hard-hitting weekend news, which is why we bring you grave word that Soul Calibur IV's Ivy might show a little less of her fat wobbly tits in the American version of the game than in the Japanese version -- JOURNALISM! (Japan keeps all the boobs for itself, Soul Calibur cover-up scandal)

Namco Bandai, hear this! I demand that Ivy's lactoids be on display for all to see. We've already lost the fatalities in Mortal Kombat; we refuse to surrender our snuggle pups, loblollies and twangers. We deserve the sweater meat as much as any Japanese gamer. (Japan keeps all the boobs for itself, Soul Calibur cover-up scandal)
[Ivy's tits being slightly covered is a scandal? I do not think that word means what you think it means, Jim... Seriously, this is an example of the sort of entitlement that just has to stop. Namco Bandai makes the games, and if you want them you give them your money. At no point does this entitle you, the customer, to DEMAND that publishers give you more tits in your games. Seeing tits is not an inalienable right that you are born with. If publishers decide to cover up some tits, then go buy an issue of Playboy.]

Fat Princess rules, feminism drools


It is quite ironic that (ugly) Feminists believe looks shouldn't matter, yet are judging Fat Princess' book solely by its cover. How hypocritical of them. Anyway, Fat Princess is obviously about the protection and veneration of women, and does more for the fairer sex than Feminism has ever done. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)
[Right. Because we know that all feminists are shambling, drooling horrors. It's been proven by science! Anyway, feminism hasn't done anything for women. It's also been proven by science!]
"Heteronormative" is one of the most pretentious words I've ever heard. This is obvious proof that Fat Princess is better than Feminism, since someone who claims to be a Feminist once used the word "heteronormative" and now I've decided that all of them use it. Dropping little made-up words to try and sound clever just makes you look like a pretentious dickhead, and it's incredibly prugamatic to commit such indefenderable verbulascur offenseries. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)
[So... you're saying that sounding like a pretentious dickhead is something you have expertise in? (Okay, a little below the belt, sure...)]
Fat Princess won't get pregnant in order to trap you: Everybody knows that women do this. They love getting themselves all preganted up so that they can force you to marry them and be stuck with their cancerous hides forever. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)
[d00d, there's nothing women love more than fucking up men's lives - and what better way to do that than to get yourself pregnant? Who's with me, fellow feminists? Let's all go get pregnant RIGHT NOW. That'll show those bastards! If you're already pregnant or unable to reproduce, you can still join the party. Just bring home random foster children! And those of you with same-sex partners, well I guess you'll have to decide which men in your life you hate most and steal their sperm somehow. For feminism!]
In Fat Princess, everybody has a role to play. This is quite contrary to the idea that every single Feminist has, that women are better than men and make better drivers and that men should be forced to have their sperm hijacked at birth so women don't have to fuck them anymore. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)
[Oh, shit. He's on to me! As a feminist, I do hate having sex with men. It's hard for me to get over my feelings of inadequacy long enough to do the deed since I'm so hideous and all. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep because I'm not a lesbian and can't have hot lady-sex where men can see me and get off on colliding ladybits.]
Seriously, fuck this idea that the social pendulum has to swing a little in favor of one group before balance can be achieved. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)
[YEAH! Hear that, oppressed minorities? STFU! Hispanic men, you're just going to have to learn to be happy making 57% of what white men make. You want wage parity? Well FUCK THAT.]
Since women are basically just 3D porn, what is an anti-pornography stance if not an anti-female stance? (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)
[You know, sometimes I get tired of being porn. Like, the other day I was at the grocery store and these two dudes were following me around and masturbating at me and it was really inconvenient because I was like - "guys, you're blocking the cereal, can you move?" and they wouldn't. But then I couldn't really do anything because, you know, I'm porn and that's what porn is for. Still, it's inconvenient having to order my pizzas for takeout. The last time I ordered pizza for delivery it was cold by the time I got to eat it.]
If pornography is to end, then all women on Earth have to be murdered, and that's just not my scene. Perhaps it's okay for Adolf Hitler and his cackling Feminist cohorts, but we reasonable people who aren't Nazis don't agree. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)
[Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that there's a difference between Nazis and feminists. Also, I'm pretty sure that women can't be equal to men if they're all dead, which makes me pretty sure that I'm not advocating for the systematic murder of millions of people. But then again, I am prone to sleep walking, so who knows? I guess you'd better watch out because I'm pretty tired and... zzzz.... ALL WOMEN MUST DIE! IT IS OUR SACRED DESTINY! WE MUST... zzz... sorry, was I saying something?]
Fat Princess is a game about having fun, first and foremost, which is something that Feminists are 100% against! Just take so-called Woman Suffrage , for example. The American government denied women the right to vote for a joke, and a bunch of stupid women took it too far and then had to be force-fed through tubes because the silly bitches wouldn't eat thanks to some idiotic hunger strike. If they'd have laughed along like they should, they probably would have gotten the vote in another fifty or sixty years anyway. Whatever happened to patience being a virtue? (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)
[Silly bitches, votes are for men!]
Perhaps I'm just too heteronormative to understand the terrible evil that this game represents. Or maybe self-styled "feminists" who think that the movement is all about getting angry and using buzzwords are simply retarded. Who knows? (Feminists sh*t all over Fat Princess, real people laugh)
[Hey, guys I'm a feminist and... uh oh, I feel the stupid coming on... herp derp! Derp derp derp!]

Slut-shaming


screw ICO, and screw Yorda, the bedraggled, moth-brained, slack-jawed tartlet that she is! Terry Schiavo would have been a more effective ally than that ridiculous bitch. (Things I'm sick of games making me do)
[I'm blown away by the implication that mentally impaired = slut. Is keeping your legs together a higher brain function that only kicks in above a certain level of intelligence?]
Being unable to travel anywhere on your own because a bunch of shadows will drag off this mute mongoloid at a moment's notice. Where's the option to just say "f*ck it" and let the shadows pull her away? Chances are the shadows will throw her back anyway once they realize what an awful slag she truly is. (Things I'm sick of games making me do)
[Because once a woman has sex once, her value as a human being disappears. True story.]
Koei Tecmo employees will get $1,000 for their first child, $2,000 for their second child and a whole $20,000 if their loose and flapping vaginas can squirt out a third. (Koei Tecmo paying people to f*ck in the name of repopulation)
[Those whores. Think of how much sex you'd have to have to have a third kid. You'd have to bone a dude at least, like, half a dozen times. What are those skanks thinking?]
During these times of recession, it would be great if Walmart could pay its mostly braindead and poor workforce not to f*ck. (Koei Tecmo paying people to f*ck in the name of repopulation)
[... okay, I can't even be sarcastic on this one. As someone who grew up in the midwest and left because of double-digit unemployment BEFORE the recession... fuck you, Jim. Fuck you.]

Abuse = funny? (NOT for the faint of heart!!)

If you love drawings of impossibly huge breasts, you'll likely have heard of Ikki Tousen Xross Impact already. If not, then you're in for a treat. It's a fighting game for the PSP that recently launched in Japan, in which mammararily gifted young females lose more of their clothing as they take damage. Garmentry disintegrates as the battle wears on, and since the girls don't seem fond of wearing underwear, there's plenty of skin on show. Great fun for fans of domestic abuse, in any case. (Disintegrating clothing boob game gets boob wallpaper for bob fans boobs)
[Because we all know that domestic abusers are a key market segment that video game companies pursue...? ...seriously? Holy shit, dude.]
In fact, the message of this commercial seems to be that if you consistently beat your woman and mess with her head until she's a hopeless, despair-ridden wretch, all it takes is one material gift and she'll instantly forgive you. So, a pretty realistic portrayal of all women. (Abuse your virtual girlfriend, make it all better with a teddy bear)
[Seriously. Whiskey tango foxtrot.]
The key words banned by online shop Dejipare include things like torture, bondage, loli and rape. Regular Christian sex will still be perfectly acceptable, but it seems that the whole underage rape thing that has been seen in many an ero title will no longer be tolerated ... Thanks a lot, RapeLay. This is why we can't have nice things! (Japan's erotic game sensitivity continues)
[This is as entitled and privileged as it gets. I don't care if Jim is serious or not with these comments. It's one thing to demand that Ivy show her "fat wobbling tits". It's another to demand access to games that center on rape. Even if it's "just a joke", these kinds of jokes are never, ever, EVER okay.]


So that's the stuff that's in the past. There was a fair amount of backlash over this whole thing that even resulted in some industry professionals like Mikey Neumann stating that they would not allow Jim to interview them. Predictably, this resulted in a lot of backpedaling by both Jim and his supporters, but the responses don't really do anything but dig an even deeper hole for himself:

Jim's responses to comments on Destructoid

Otherwise, you basically said it all. I responded in kind to some incessant abuse by someone who was using anti-male slurs and homophobic implications, and they started acting like the victim. (Jim Sterling's comment history on Destructoid)
[No, Jim. You did not respond in kind. Sure, I'll admit that Daphny's depiction of you having gay sex with David Jaffe was disgusting and utterly tasteless. But your response was like killing a fly with a bazooka. She implied that you were gay, and you called her a "cunt" and a "feminazi slut". That is a completely disproportionate response, akin to running over someone with a tank because they threw a rock at you. It's not okay to throw rocks, but it is never EVER okay to run people over with thanks.

Furthermore, at no point did Daphny ever "act the victim". Go back and read the conversation again. Are those the words of someone who feels victimized? They're not. But you know what, even if she had felt victimized she would have HAD A RIGHT TO.]
I want to disagree with that statement. I do not think feminism, at its heart, is a bad thing. I think true feminism is a noble endeavor, a quest for equality and for women to not feel subjugated. I agree with that endeavor. (Jim Sterling's comment history on Destructoid)
[This is the biggest load of horse shit I've heard from you yet, Jim. The only reason you're saying this is because you finally crossed a line and alienated people in the industry - which is impressive given the base level of misogyny that exists in the gaming industry. But how can you reconcile this profession of support for feminism with all of your previous statements about feminists? Please, do explain this to me. Because you can't say that ALL FEMINISTS are ugly, silly little bitches who hate men and want nothing more than a good dicking and then expect me to believe you when you say that you support feminism. I would have to be as retarded as you claim all feminists are in order to believe that.]
This is why I specifically said "feminazi" and not "feminist." I believe there is a sub-set of poser-feminist that uses the movement as an excuse to demand special treatment and dampen free speech by using the accusation of "misogyny" as a weapon, a way of terrifying people into being quiet. I believe the blending of "feminist" and "nazi" in this regard -- since it's a brand of female using fear and bullying to quieten people -- is quite fitting. (Jim Sterling's comment history on Destructoid)
[Feminism, like any movement, is a collection of people. People being what they are, any group of people sufficiently large enough contains assholes who are motivated out of self-interest more than anything else. So sure, I'm sure that there exists a small minority of feminists out there who use their feminism in this way. But you know what? Those people are still NOT NAZIS. The nazis systematically exterminated millions of people, including Jews, Catholics, gays, the disabled, and political dissidents. These asshole feminists? They behaved like assholes. Trying to equate the two is an insult to the people whose lives were ruined by the Holocaust and an insult to the families of those who were killed by the Nazis.

But aside from that, you're familiar with the maxim "where these's smoke, there's fire"? Maybe the reason so many people are calling you a misogynist is because, I don't know... YOU'RE A MISOGYNIST.]

And this is why I called her an embarrassment to her gender. When you throw the "misogyny" card out there like the boy who cried wolf, using it to attack writers, comedians and others for simply making jokes or treating you how you've treated others, it belittles the entire female population and makes people roll their eyes at the thought of feminist issues. (Jim Sterling's comment history on Destructoid)
[No, Jim. You're the one who is making people roll their eyes at feminist issues. You're the one who has systematically belittled women and feminism. You're the one who has a large body of writing that supports the system of privilege that keeps women "in their place". Being a comedian does not mean that misogynist jokes are okay. Being a writer does not mean that misogynist writings are okay. That is not "crying wolf". That is speaking out against injustice. Learn the difference.]
In essence, Aurain, I believe you just demonstrated the damage this type of faux-feminist can do. You just wrote feminism off as a bad thing, and that's the image that people like "Daphaknee" have helped to spread. (Jim Sterling's comment history on Destructoid)

Anyway, I'm done with this. After three days of disproportionate harassment, I've had my fill. (Jim Sterling's comment history on Destructoid)
[Oh noes! Poor Jim Sterling! People have been "harassing" him for THREE WHOLE DAYS! Those jerks! Don't they know that they hurt his fuh-fuh-feeeeeeelings? ...sorry, Jim. You crossed a line, and you deserve a lot more than three days of internet controversy.]


I'm not sure about the chronology of the Destructoid comments as relates to the twitter "apology" that follows, but here's the "apology" that Jim posted on twitter as well...


Jim's twitter "apology" (compiled from 6 successive tweets)

Am I sorry for saying it to the person in question? No. Am I sorry for calling [sic]our her hypocritical faux-feminism? No. If you, as a female or male uninvolved with the discussion, are offended by what I said, then I apologize for that.
[Okay, you know what? Go back and re-read the exchange. Go. I'll wait.

...AT NO POINT DOES DAPHNY EVER MENTION THE WORD FEMINIST, FEMINISM, OR MISOGYNY. She did say that you used a sexist stereotype, but only after you told her to ask for a man's permission before saying things on the internet which is, you know, PRETTY SEXIST. The feminist label was something that YOU applied to her so that you could YET AGAIN demonize feminism and feminists, which is pretty telling and pretty much puts the lie to your comments about supporting feminism.]
It also leaves out the disproportionate and stupid harassment I've had for the past few days, and have mostly done my best to ignore. Their version of events leaves out the homophobia or the fact they got in my face and begged for my attention in the first place. They opened the conversation with homophobic insults and male-specific slurs, and after a LOT of patience I responded in kind. Obviously my comments were not aimed at all women. I never once said women are bad. Just the type of woman represented by who I dealt with.
[I think by harassment you mean backlash, which is pretty well deserved considering how far you crossed a line with your comments to Daphny. Once again, calling someone a faminazi slut is NOT OKAY. Maybe instead of trying to ignore the backlash, you should do some serious self-examination about why exactly so many people are so upset with you. There was no patience exhibited in your responses. In your THIRD TWEET to Daphny, you called her a cunt. It only took two responses before you threw decency out the window and resorted to misogynist slurs. So don't try to claim the high road here, Mr. Stirling, because it does not belong to you.

You may not have said women are bad in this particular twitter exchange, but your body of writing speaks for itself, sir.]

Concluding thoughts

So... phew. I feel pretty dirty having read through Jim's stuff to find all of these quotes, but I feel pretty confident in pointing at these quotes and saying that... you know what? This twitter freakout is NOT an isolated incident. Jim Sterling is, in fact, incredibly sexist. What you have here is a consistent trend of Jim making comments that reduce women's worth to the gratification their bodies provide male gamers, comments that assert that men HAVE A RIGHT to see womens bodies whenever they demand it, comments that trivialize rape and domestic violence, and comments that denigrate feminists, feminism, and anyone who would assert that changes need to be made to further the equal treatment of women. You know what that is? Misogyny.

See, the thing is that you don't have to go around saying "shit, I fucking hate women" to be a misogynist. You don't have to be a member of the men's rights movement to be a misogynist. Misogynists are people who seek to justify and reproduce the subordination of women by men, and that's what all of these quotes are doing. What's more, Jim is a fairly influential guy within the game journalism community. I'll freely admit that his insistence on a correct usage of the 1-10 review scale and disregard of backlash from publishers is admirable and something that game journalism needs more of.

I might not always agree with his reviews, but his consistency of standards is something that has earned him a lot of respect in the gaming community and has made him an influential person. But with that influence comes responsibility. Jim can't have it both ways. He can't insist that he's a "journalist" who wants to see game journalism become less of a schill industry and then turn around and write anti-feminist screeds about Fat Princess and claim that we shouldn't get offended because he's just doing it for the lulz. To use a metaphor that should make sense to Mr. Stirling, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

I'm not going to advocate that Destructoid fire you, Jim, because that would be pretty pointless. Clearly, they have a vested interest in keeping you around because your brand of "humor" creates controversy and brings them pageviews and thus more ad revenue. It's a sad fact of life, but it's true. If you want to be the Howard Stern of the gaming world, there's honestly not much I can do to stop you. But DO NOT try to claim that you respect women, and DO NOT try to claim that you are somehow not rampantly misogynist because the evidence just doesn't support it.