Tag Archives: Rockstar

More Rockstar Feminism Fail

In my last post I’d played through the first four chapters of Max Payne 3 and found only two significant female characters: a rich bimbo who turns into the stereotypical Princess Pink who gets kidnapped, and a nameless prostitute in a bar who gets assaulted.

I’ve played through three more chapters to reach the halfway point of the game. I’ve found three more female characters now: a secretary, a dead secretary, and a bunch of strippers. I’m not kidding. I’ve posted some pics below for your enjoyment.

Aside from Max’s dead wife, this is the female cast of characters in Max Payne 3. I’m not a game intellectual like the above-linked, well-funded Anita Sarkeesian, but I know when something is ridiculous.

I really like the cinematic shooter experience, which is why I like the Max Payne and Mafia games. I was hoping Rockstar would maintain the Max Payne tradition, but they’ve clearly thrown it into the chauvinist toilet along with GTA.

I want to try GTA online (released back in October) because miraculously it lets you play a Rockstar game as a female character, even if you get hit on and asked for sexual favors as soon as you start the game. #WTF

Unfortunately, you have to buy GTA V in order to play GTA online, which I categorically refuse to support. It’s time to either do SWTOR or get back on track with getting my last two levels in Rift’s Storm Legion.

The women of Max Payne 3 through seven chapters: kidnapped and eventually killed bimbo, nameless assaulted prostitute, secretary, killed secretary, and a bunch of strippers.

This stripper pic is the most tame I could take if you’re into that sort of thing. To be clear, this is still a good game if you ignore these issues.

secretary image in Max Payne 3

dead secretary image in Max Payne 3

stripper image in Max Payne 3


Rockstar Keeps Pushing The Male Chauvinist Approach

did not loadSo I just watched the end of the Pacers-Knicks playoff game (U.S. Basketball), and I had to roll my eyes at the commercials: robot models on high heels selling a car (Kia), and young perfect girls in underwear fondling a new phallic player by Radio Shack.

The robot girls can kick ass though. Is that any better, or just more titillation for a male audience? Whatever. But then I read the gaming news and noticed Rockstar Games has gone too far. I have to blog this.

These are video games. Serious bizness.

Brett Slabaugh posted an article for Escapist yesterday discussing a Skyrim-like character development for the three protagonists in Grand Theft Auto 5. A sort of real RPG driver game. Great.

But wait.

None of new GTA main characters are women. All of Rockstar’s three new GTA protagonists are male. Again they stick to their formula, without deviation. How is that even possible? I’m trying to imagine a fictitious planning meeting:

Producer: How can we be more successful with GTA5?

Dev#1:In the past, we’ve always had to pick one protagonist, which means only a slice of possible demographic appeal. I say we do three characters in GTA5 instead of just one. Maybe a white collar guy. A southern crazy drug dealer guy. Of course, a black gang-banger guy. That way, there is something for almost everyone.

Producer: What about a woman?

Dev#1: Haha! Good one, boss. What about the sex scenes? Too complicated. Who wants to bother with actual romance, and boyfriends? Or worse yet, are we going to let a woman character screw and use prostitutes like our dudes?

Producer: You’re right. I was joking. So a latino?

Dev#1: It might work in the U.S., but we’ve crunched the numbers and believe that two white guys from opposite ends of the spectrum would be statistically better, worldwide. The white guy is the standard. Everyone is generally comfortable with it.

Producer: What about you, dev #2? Thoughts?

Dev#2: More strippers and prostitutes. More helicopters. Maybe some crazy alien helicopters. The Saint’s Row devs are getting too cocky.

Producer: Sounds balling, mate. Let’s do it.

If you’re reaching for the close tab right now, trying watching this video and notice the representations of women, including a brilliant line (sic) “Nice new tits, by the way.” (3:16) This approach to women is purposefully how they are trying to sell games at this point, and at this point it may have gone out of bounds, in my opinion.

I’m not a prude. I actually love Jaime Murray’s line in Dexter season 2: “Pardon my tits.” The line is supposed to make her seem sleazy, a skank that sleeps around. Later she is called in a derogatory way “Miss Pardon-My-Tits”.

I didn’t see it that way. I didn’t fall for that double-standard. I liked the nipple confidence. I also think I can say tits on my blog. If I can’t, someone let me know. I will be pissed off, but willing to replace them with kittens.

I’ve been reading the Guild Wars 2 forums for three weeks and finally realized something super-important: when people say “kitten”, that’s the GW2 forum profanity filter kicking in. For the past days I’ve been like, what? Kitten must be a new MMO term. What is it? What’s a “kitten build”? How is changing that skill going to “kitten” your build?

I was so confused, but it turned out to be a word puzzle. Groovy. Guild Wars 2 players seem to use a lot of bad words.

Back on topic, Brett Slabaugh concludes his Escapist article by saying: “Between these new details and what we already know, Grand Theft Auto V is shaping up to be Rockstar’s most ambitious project yet. It also makes me that much more disappointed that the main story can’t be played through in three-player co-op, though Rockstar has its reasons.”

He’s disappointed that he can’t play three-player co-operative mode? Really? Boo hoo, do you want me to kiss that for you? Of course you do, so I’ll see you in GTA5. I’ll be playing NPC stripper #5, standing next to some pole in a closed room 1200 pixels square, gyrating for forty hours straight instead of out on the streets playing like I’m all gangster.

Saint’s Row 4 is scheduled to release in August, but I doubt that I will ever play it. I’m still working on 3, and 2 is still my favorite, like a lot of players. That game series is also going in an unfortunate direction, leaving Mafia as the classiest driver/gangster franchise, with Mafia 3 in development, thankfully.

Moving forward to 2013, the world of video games is bereft of realistic criminal capers. It’s widely rumoured that Mafia 3 is already in development for next-gen consoles, although details remain unknown. Regardless, this doesn’t stop it from being one of my most anticipated games, whether it’s in development or not.” – Mafia3Game


Fail Quote Of The Day

CD Projekt, makers of The Witcher games, announced they are working on a new RPG franchise. This is great. It’s called Cyberpunk and will be set in a grim and gritty technological future. I was excited until I went and looked at the FAQ they released to their fans. My interest vanished like a golf ball in three feet of snow.

Mihura: Will there be full customization of our character like a D&D game, things like GENDER, ethnicity, moral stand point, SEXUALITY…etc or we will be restrict to something like Geralt from TW2?

MM: We definitely want to give players way more freedom with customization of the main protagonist then they had with Geralt in The Witcher series. We are planning on letting them change their statistics, equipment, implants and much more.

Woohoo! I can change my statistics, equipment and implants–of my male-only character. Since when have we ever been able to do that in a game? Oh, since at least the last decade and a half, which makes this the fail quote of the day. I guess Rockstar and CD Projekt are just muscles and testosterone personified. Luckily this girl’s got two middle fingers.


The Soapbox Talks Sex — Treatment Of Females In MMO’s

Defiant TrainerEliot Lefebvre unleashed a relatively impassioned soapbox piece on Massively this week.

I agreed right away on the example of Rockstar as a developer that tends to be sexist. I’ve commented on this before here on my blog. I really wish Rockstar would get with the program and let us play a female protagonist.

Based on poll numbers I’ve seen for other games, I would guess 50% of players might play as a female, with 30% as a real preference. Googling to test my guess, I find a poll on the All Points Bulletin forum that shows nearly 50% would make a female character, for example. Other polls for open-world single player games like Oblivion are far more favorable in terms of actual female players.

Infer what you will. I’ll just keep lamenting that Red Dead Redemption made me play (or rather not play, and send the DVD back to Gamefly) as a male. I could have been in a world of gun-toting cowgirl joy.

It’s very complicated, of course, but surely given the enormous amount of investment to make a game, asking for equal treatment in voice over, cutscenes, and romances isn’t asking too much.

In the above pic that I cut from a Rift screenshot, you can see the treatment of women in Rift. I really don’t have a problem with this Ethian-style desert dweller look, although the shoulder guards here are just plain awful. I also don’t have a problem with this sexualized fantasy art style, which has been a cultural norm since Frazetta, Vallejo, and Royo.

My logic breaks down, however, as the Massively article and Spinksville point out, because of the huge non-equity. If loincloths are the going style for the Defiant culture, then the men should be wearing them too.

I should be seeing oiled gladiator pectorals shining in the sun, just like I see in the art of the above-mentioned venerable fantasy art standard-bearers. Instead, we see full suits of armor. And then you’ve got Shyla, queen of the high elves, who fights in her panties.