Since the release of Fat Princess, I’ve found myself having quite a few conversations with my female friends regarding feminism and our Industry.
THIS ARTICLE makes some really good points. No matter how much you laud something like Mass Effect as “tasteful” and “artfully done”, the fact remains that you basically pushed the right buttons at the right time, and now you’re getting sex as a reward. It’s almost like a Konami Code for nookie (Konuki Code?).
Unfortunately, we have yet to discover a paradigm for designing gameplay that doesn’t revolve around the vending machine metaphor (They’re called ‘Reward Structures’ for a reason). And I don’t have any easy answers for that– I guess that’s what evolution, iteration and innovation are for. Somebody brilliant will eventually move us forward, it just probably won’t be me.
Anyway, I don’t generally complain about how games may (not) affect peoples’ behavior or development– people are more resilient than Jack Thompson or Clinton/Yee/Schwarzenegger would have you believe— but I’m tempted to call this ‘problematic’ from a social viewpoint, just because it’s a relentlessly reinforced mindset that people fall into all-too-often (Wine ’em, Dine ’em, 69 ’em, as it were) and they need to be shown an alternative mode of thought.
If the goal of art is to contribute meaningfully to a public dialogue in a unique way, then perhaps it’s time we stopped talking about games as art, and actually start getting some socially conscious (and GASP progressive) viewpoints into our games. It’s sad that The Ballad of Gay Tony is considered a groundbreaking thing, for the simple fact that it actually uses the word “gay” in a (mostly) non-perjorative way. We can do better.
So back to my point: While all the video game violence in the world won’t cause somebody to become violent or homicidal, sometimes all you need is one voice to question the status quo in a meaningful way– somebody to zig when everybody else zags– to give the dialogue a much-needed shove forward.
Our power lies not in our ability to reinforce, but in our ability to challenge.