Monday, March 16, 2009

How to and how not to critique a videogame

How to:

NY Times

How not to:


My response to "How not to" reproduced from the comments on that site (Original text before editing down for word limit):

Mr. Hutchinson,

I see you wrote a book called "How Obama Won". I haven't read it yet, but from what I've heard second-hand and my own preconceived notions of the medium and those who enjoy it, I know it's racist. Wee, this yellow journalism thing is fun. I could go into everything people will mention about RE1-3 being in the U.S and RE4 being in Spain. I could say that the main character is the only (read: *ONLY*) good white person in the game. The other 3 members of his team that we meet are Arab or Black. Every other white person is evil. More evil than the zombies in fact because the zombies are innocents who have been infected by... that's right the white people. So to be fair, black people are either good or victims. White people are all evil except one guy (read: *ONE GUY*).

I'm not going to go into those things because every other self respecting gamer who wanders in here will mention them. What I will mention is this, . Seth had the crazy idea to actually play the game. He realized that knowing a subject before judging it is important because otherwise, it's fear mongering. All this talk about racism has made me bored, so let's change the subject: ageism.

Hutch, when you are ready to put down your walker, I've got a controller for you. Guess what you can even play RE4 for the PS2 on a PS3! That's like being able to put video tapes into a DVD player. How awesome is that? For those reading remember, judging that which we do not know is ignorance. Judging that which we don't even care to know is almost invariably one of the -ism.

The Irreverent Gamer out

TIG out

Thursday, February 12, 2009

When Games Go To Far

There is an article over on Jezebel about a Japanese game in which the purpose is to rape women. I posted my thoughts in the comment section of that site which I am reproducing here:

Oy. I knew this would come out someday to bite gamers in the ass. I'll be the first to admit I have known these games have existed. I agree with people who say that this product is filth. As a person who not only considers himself a gamer, but a hardcore gamer, I agree with the people who argue that it is worse in games because you are in control. However, I believe that we need a carefully measured response.

I know many people are angry, and I understand. This kinda of game is horribly perverse. I wholeheartedly agree that Amazon should not be selling this game. I don't think any retailer in his right mind should sell this game. However, that being said, I think that's where we need to stop.

I know people want to ban this game and those like it, but ban is an awfully broad term. Like I said, I don't want this game sold anywhere, but when you start banning things, you create metrics by which to judge games on whether they should be banned. That's a large problem, especially in for games. Gaming has an interesting track record with being accepted by the mainstream public.

Right now, there are debates going on about whether games are constitutionally protected free speech. As gamers, our medium is the current "seducer of the innocent". There are people who are constantly trying to regulate or ban the sale of games (Jack Thompson). I understand that some games should not be in the hands of children, but the people who are trying to regulate games today have a draconian view of gaming culture that leads them to believe all games are evil.

In other mediums such as films, books, etc., we recognized those entries that are too extreme, and we correctly categorized them as pornography. Now, I'll agree this is probably the single worst piece of pornography you'll come across. I'll even concede that it might be so vile that it even rises above pornography to a new level. However, we need to be careful how we define these limits and categories legally.

When we get down to the nitty-gritty, it get awfully dangerous when we talk about what can and cannot be in games. While I agree it okay to draw lines, right now the people who can draw lines really do not know where to draw them, and do not care to learn where the lines should be drawn.

I 100% agree rape should never be an act a player can carry out in a game. However, the question of whether or not rape can happen at all as part of the story arises. I'm sorry if it offends people, but I think that just as it's okay to tackle rape in television, cinema, books, etc. when it is done tactfully, it should be allowable in video games as well.

People are angry and I'm angry too. People want to prevent this game from being bought and I do too. However, when people talk about making these things into laws, I recommend caution. Remember that those holding the pen deal in broad strokes when this requires fine lines.
TIG out

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Inaugural Post

Hello to all you kiddies out there who have stumbled upon my humble blog. This is my very first post of, what I hope to be, many. If you are here looking for porn, I make no promises either way. I'd like to say something insightful about it being a new day, but, to be honest, this is only a warm-up post. I hope to return later today with more to begin writing in earnest. For those of you who are here to read what I have to say (Hello Brian!), let me lay out the mission statement.

"The Irreverent Gamer seeks to inform the gaming community of the ludicrous way the public treats gamers (read: you) and of the absurdities within our own community."

That's all for now folks.

TIG out.