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Jack Dandy

General disappointment with Double Fine

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As someone who's worked on GTA, I find that tweet hilarious, these people really don't know the depth to the game and how many strong female characters are actually in the series, instead all they see is "YOU CAN PICK UP PROSTITUTES AND THEN KILL THEM TO GET YOUR MONEY BACK!", but hey, it generates headlines and in the end is a positive in driving more sales for the game.
Exactly. GTA is a violent game, yes, but is it a misogyny-filled mess? No. I think the biggest, most valid, complaint is a lack of a playable female character. I think the tweeter handle is the biggest giveaway, "Radical," which basically means "I'm going to generate headlines with half-truths that even I don't fully believe in, and maybe make a difference."

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I don't have anything against them personally. I don't subscribe to their particular idea of what a gamer is and the idea that gamer identity is something that's becoming irrelevant is in my opinion wishful thinking at best and a delusion at worst.

Fine. I still think you've mischaracterised the point, but whatever. Still, I don't see where "And the way gamers are stereotyped as white straight males who live in their own small world is no better in my eyes." comes from. Assuming you're right about the above, which I don't really think you are, for reasons I'm not going over again now, is that really 'no better' than what prominent people in GG have perpetrated over the last few months? I'd say, actually, writing an article which -at very most uncharitable- could be interpreted as 'kinda rude,' is in fact significantly better.

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Still, I don't see where "And the way gamers are stereotyped as white straight males who live in their own small world is no better in my eyes." comes from.

From a lot of places. I wasn't talking or thinking about the "gamers are dead" articles specifically at that point. The tweet in this thread is one of the examples of how gamers get stereotyped. Although it wasn't using the young white male part this time, it still talked about gamers as if they were a bunch of shut-ins who are unable to see how depraved the stuff they are consuming is while the rest of the world looks on horrified.

For some, anyone who plays video games is a gamer, even if it's just playing Tetris on the way to work or playing one of those cow-clickers on Facebook. This definition of gamers is synonymous with video game audience.

For other people, the gamer identity requires a wider participation in gamer culture -- reading gaming news and forums, understanding and using gamer slang, etc. This is the closest we get to an actual subculture and what I am usually thinking about first when I hear the word gamer.

Then there are also people who see gamers as the equivalent of football fans -- for them, gamers are characterised by the level of enthusiasm that they have for the medium. These gamers are likely to have some games memorabilia in their homes and they spend an inordinate time arguing about their favourite platforms/franchises/developers on the forums.

And then there are the people who see gamers as a stereotype -- a gamer for them is pre-fab consumer identity at best and at worst, it's someone who hasn't grown up yet, probably has issues with personal hygiene, obsesses over some stupid nerd stuff nobody in the real world cares about, whines about perceived slights, and is likely to spread toxicity around the internet. This is the "even if they aren't hooligans, there's still probably something wrong with them" approach.

Assuming you're right about the above, which I don't really think you are, for reasons I'm not going over again now, is that really 'no better' than what prominent people in GG have perpetrated over the last few months?

Yes, reinforcing negative stereotypes is no better than the tribalistic us vs them bullsh*t perpetuated by GG and anti-GG.

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I don't get why some people can't just admit that maybe a game isn't a perfect paragon of virtue. That maybe, just maybe, there are problems that some people see that might not matter to you, or might even be invisible to you, but nevertheless are still issues. How it's not either horrible and misogynist or lovely and fine. It can be interesting and cool and fun and really well made and even well written and still have problems in spots.

Here's a thing. GTA IV. I liked GTA IV, to a point. I got kind of tired with it in the end, but I got to the end, and I remember basically enjoying it. But there's a mission that happens around mid-way that kind of weirded me out:

In the mission, you have to set yourself up on a same-sex date with a guy, in order to lure him out into the open and kill him. In comparison to some of the other missions, it's almost trivial. All you have to do is set up the date, then turn up, and then you can just stand up and kill him at any point and do the usual escape from the cops thing, and it's done.

And I thought about why this bothered me more than other missions in the game, and I realised that it's because the only reason this mission really seemed to have for existing was to give the player some giggles about Nico having to set up a gay date with this guy (I remember the cutscenes laying it on pretty thick) in order to give him an opportunity to murder him. There's nothing really clever about the mission, it seems like it's just there to pull off that joke. But it's a joke that relies on the player understanding the crew's homophobia, i.e. why they're finding the whole situation so embarrasing and funny, so I didn't really feel like I was 'in on it.'

And it wasn't a big deal but it was an odd moment that stuck out to me as being particularly uninviting, a particularly mean spirited joke where the punchline is nothing more like 'Haha, look at how awkward it is that Nico has to pretend to be gay'. Apart from being high school level yuks, it sort of assumes that the player, too, should find this situation hilarious. That the victim was an asshole was beside the point, it was how the mission was framed that I found to be a small problem.

It's not the end of the world, but you can see how it was just a little reminder that I was treading on someone else's turf? You can see how I just felt slightly less welcome?

I totally understand how most people could play that mission, find it funny and not be homophobes - they just maybe aren't really doing anything to analyse the source of the humour, or maybe they think the joke's on Nico for being a homophobe (which doesn't work for me, because I'd also feel uncomfortable playing a homophobic protagonist), or maybe they just didn't notice it as any different from any of the other missions. None of this makes them a monster, but it just means that just because you didn't notice a problem, doesn't mean that a problem doesn't exist.

It's like this for marginalised groups all the time. Hardly a day passes that I'm not reminded in some way that I'm different, And plenty of women will say that they experience things daily, even now, wich are little reminders of their lower status in certain situations in society. So all I'm really asking for is to imagine the possibility that there might be issues that you don't see as issues, but are still very real to the people experiencing them, and that maybe listening and learning about that perspective is maybe a good policy? This doesn't mean that every time someone says there's a problem there is a problem, but it should at least give one pause before immediately going on the defensive. If these games are good enough, they can stand up to a bit of scrutiny, can't they?

Still, I know I'm certainly fed up with straight people trying to explain to me why certain behaviours I see as homophobic are 'actually fine.' Because I get it -all the time-. And I'm sure women feel something similar. So I'm unsurprised that sometimes we might get a bit grouchy about it, even if it's not ideal.

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Still, I know I'm certainly fed up with straight people trying to explain to me why certain behaviours I see as homophobic are 'actually fine.'

They are fine.

signed: a not-straight person.

Haven't played the GTA mission you described because the car handling in that game is unbearable but it sound hilarious.

Hint: not everyone is going to react to something in the same way. That still doesn't mean there's no problem.

I mean, what did you expect me to say here? 'Oh, you're not straight? Well, then clearly my own experience of this must've been completely off, then. Carry on, everyone, nothing to see here.'?

The thing is, I gave that example because it was from GTA, but it's far from the most obvious one I could have given. I even said it was a pretty minor example. But once you acknowledge that there might be some pervasive issues here, it's hard not to see it.

Like just yesterday, I was watching the twitch stream of the Playstation Experience. There were about 5 panelists, 4 guys, one woman, from various studios talking about the process of making various games. Whenever the woman had any screentime, half the chat started making jokes about how ugly they thought she was. I don't think all of the guys on the panel were exactly oil paintings, all of them, but none of them got a barrage of abuse that almost nobody in the chat would call out. Nobody had anything to say about what she was actually saying.

Same whenever a female presenter showed up. Constant judging by appearance, sexist remarks, the works.

You might not be sexist. I might not be sexist. Tons of people may not be, but when that's just a normal thing to see on (and off) the internet, daily (and I see it more among groups of gamers than I do almost anywhere else), then at some point I think one has to acknowledge there's an issue with the culture, and that maybe we've got a collective responsibility to make it better. Which might, on occasion, involve a bit of introspection, and a bit of listening to criticism (and creating criticism) of things we like. That's why I think it's worth talking about, anyway.

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And that is the fun part about GTA if you don't like it dont play it. It's as simple as that.

The fun part of GTA is that it's puerile? The fun part of GTA is how enjoyable it is to play the missions, how many different things you can see and do, and (in its best moments) the characters and the storyline. It's a great game in spite of how immature it is, not BECAUSE of.

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I don't really see why there's disagreement over this at all. GTA is very misogynistic, homophobic, violent, puerile, vile, profane, disgusting.

It's also fun for many people because it's misogynistic, homophobic, violent, puerile, vile, profane, disgusting.

Personally, I love the GTA series, although I haven't played 5. I played 4 in university and it was almost a moving literary experience for me. It's very well-made.

It's still obviously misogynistic and homophobic, and I don't see the problem in noting that obvious fact. I wouldn't ask or expect it to change, either.

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See, I used to be quite a fan of the 'equal opportunity offender' style argument. The argument that if you're having a go at everyone, you don't need to worry.

Recently, though, I find it less compelling as I start to notice more the difference between punching up and punching down. Generally directing barbs at people in a position of power is punching up, and vice versa. On its own, a joke is a joke is a joke. But everything has a context, and so when you set it against the backdrop of a lot of historical (and current) prejudice and oppression, has has a way of changing the timbre of a joke.

So, for example, if I make a joke about business-speak, for example, I'm mailing mocking a way of speaking adopted by a bunch of predominantly white, predominantly male people in the business world who are at least moderately successful, and taking them down a peg or two isn't really going to do a whole lot either to their self-esteem or to to how they're percieved by other people.

If, on the other hand I make a joke about african-american speech dialects, I'm ostensibly doing the same way - mocking a way of speaking. Except now I'm doing it towards people who historically have had their way of speaking used as a way to mark them out as different in a dangerous way, historically has been mocked by racist groups to paint them as unintelligent, and so it's immediately different. That doesn't mean it's impossible, as a white person, to construct a joke about african-american dialects, but I had better know exactly what I'm doing and find a way to make the target of the joke something other than 'ha ha, aren't those african americans funny' otherwise, I'm just helping perpetuate a stereotype that historically has been and still is used as a tool of opression.

I can no longer assume, then, that if something is mocking everyone then it's singling out nobody. It's not a get out of jail free card, and context matters.

Re: recent things around GTA V, I have no interest in banning GTA from any store. My general policy is to draw attention to problems and hope things improve over time. I believe in personal choice, but I also believe in group responsibility to at least in small ways make things better, because of the kinds of historical and current baggage I was talking about earlier. Which is slower, but I think more effective. But also, a shop is under no obligation to sell you something. If certain stores don't want to sell it any more, that's completely up to them. I don't see that as a threat, unless there's a change from trying to influence stores to trying to influence governments. Because that's when it changes from an act of protest to an act of censorship. So far, I don't think this is happening, and I don't know anyone personally who would want that to happen. If anyone credible seriously tries it, the reaction will be strong from all corners, just like it was when Jack Thompson went on his crusade in the 90's.

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I'm amazed that my off hand post generated this amount of discussion to be honest!

@KestrelPi: Take your own words for face value "not everyone is going to react to something in the same way.", ever think that maybe you're over reacting to these issues because they affect you more personally? Being completely honest GTA targets everyone and everything and has characters on a wide scale from the very worst to well written decent examples. For example, Rockstar have had mail from Atheist groups complaining about how they are portrayed in the group, at the same time, various religious groups have also wrote in complaining about they are portrayed as well. GTA is well designed and written Satire/Parody on a grand scale, some people ARE going to find things they hate in the game because they think it's meant to attack them, that's not true, it's just everything gets treated the same, if Rockstar listened to everyone and tried to please all these groups then it would hinder how much could be written in fear of offending some group.

I can understand how that one mission in GTA IV could make you feel uncomfortable, but characters like Tom and Florian were meant to show the very flamboyant side of homosexuality, you're complaining about one mission where you have to kill this character, you assume because he's Gay? No, him being Gay is used as information in your favour to lure the character out to kill them and get their information. How did you feel about using similar tactics to drive out other characters through the storyline? Such as using cars sold online to find people selling them and killing them, etc, same concept, use the internet to your advantage to help you progress.

How about the strong written homosexual characters of the game? Antony Prince (aka, Gay Tony), is shown is the same manner as any other eccentric boss, sure he's coked up some of the time, but he's a respected business man of Liberty City owning two of the most popular night clubs in Liberty City, who also helps the community.

By all means if you want to talk about characters and the writing of this series feel free to PM me, I can assure you that no group is targeted or hated on, it's just representing things as they are, and GTA as a series, as well as other Rockstar titles, take pride in being able to do that. The only thing some of us who work on it find extremely annoying is that stale old attack used against the game "You can pick up Prostitutes and then murder them to get your money back!", it's an open world game, you have the choice to do that, the game never TELLS you to do that or demands that you do that or is it ever brought up in ANY mission in the game, it's just a thing people discovered by themselves, and then spread it around like wild fire. The fact that a few stores in Australia removed the game from sale (their choice, they have a right to do so) based on false information is just crazy, using that old attack and then going further stating that the game promotes violence against women, and how do they show their point? By showing footage of players ONLY attacking female NPC's in the game, that's sort of twisting and warping the point of Open World games, ANY group could get it banned, hell, record footage of yourself only killing Black NPC's and then shout about how the game is racist, insane right?

To end of this point, here's a quote from one of the main characters in the game talking about his son, who was written to be a mock of modern gamers:

"A good kid? Why? Does he help the fucking poor? No. He sits on his ass all day, smoking dope and jerking off, while he plays that fucking game. If that's our standard for goodness, no wonder our countries screwed"

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I'm amazed that my off hand post generated this amount of discussion to be honest!

@KestrelPi: Take your own words for face value "not everyone is going to react to something in the same way.", ever think that maybe you're over reacting to these issues because they affect you more personally? Being completely honest GTA targets everyone and everything and has characters on a wide scale from the very worst to well written decent examples.

See my above post for my opinion of the 'it targets everyone so that's fine' argument. I did a big post on it just above the one you just wrote, which you may have missed.

Also, yes, of course my reaction is different because it affects me more personally. In fact, that's the whole point. If games are for everyone, and not just for that white, straight, male demographic, then it makes sense to talk about issues that affect different people differently, right? Rather than simply dismissing them because they don't affect you, or don't bother you. I think what more people are asking for, on a basic level, is that people try to be a bit more aware of when issues that don't seem like a big deal to you personally might actually legitimately matter to other people.

Your wording sort of betrays you a little here: "ever think that maybe you're over reacting to these issues because they affect you more personally" - no, I think I'm reacting to them at all because they affect me personally. If I don't react to them, who will?

There are lots of things I like about GTA. But I'm going to talk about the problems too. I love the Persona series, and I have some significant issues with certain parts of that. Back to the Future is my favourite film of all time but I really don't care for the central message particularly of the first film, I find it a little creepy. But it's still my favourite film. The problem is, people only see the attack. They don't see us as people who actually really care about video games, who talk about this stuff BECAUSE we care. Who don't even agree with each other a whole lot of the time. It's not easy, like someone suggested earlier. It's actually hard to get into the mindset of criticising what you love, and liking it anyway. You need to be a bit of an optimist, I think.

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I can understand how that one mission in GTA IV could make you feel uncomfortable, but characters like Tom and Florian were meant to show the very flamboyant side of homosexuality, you're complaining about one mission where you have to kill this character, you assume because he's Gay? No, him being Gay is used as information in your favour to lure the character out to kill them and get their information. How did you feel about using similar tactics to drive out other characters through the storyline? Such as using cars sold online to find people selling them and killing them, etc, same concept, use the internet to your advantage to help you progress.

Also, where did I say that I think you kill him because he's gay? I think you missed the entire point of what I took (slight) issue with in that scene. If it HAD just been an excuse to kill someone because they were gay, then I would have had a much, much, larger issue with it - and rightfully so, I think. So, I just had a small one, which was that the entire mission was pretty trivial and the only point of it was, as I put it, some high school level yuks about Nico having to pretend to be gay. I wasn't offended by it, but I thought it was immature, and rather unworthy of a game that seemed, in places to be aspiring to more interesting commentary. I also thought the joke only works really if you assume latent homophobia, which isn't really the best place for a joke. I would be happy to discuss this further elsewhere.

On a general note, it seems like you only have to talk about this stuff to be called over-sensitive. People must imagine that I'm fuming at my computer, arms flailing as I bash the keys, angry at the world and paranoid, seeing enemies everywhere. But I'm really not. Just because I feel like something is a problem, or less than ideal, doesn't mean it's keeping me up at night. Like I said, I love games, I even like some of the GTA games, and I think they can withstand criticism, even of the harsh and pointed kind. If I didn't think they were worth anything, I wouldn't waste words on 'em.

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If games are for everyone, and not just for that white, straight, male demographic, then it makes sense to talk about issues that affect different people differently, right? Rather than simply dismissing them because they don't affect you, or don't bother you.

But just to clarify here, GTA insults White Straight Males the most in most cases, take Lazlow for instance, he's always being made a joke of and has been for years. This is more a reverse situation, are you suggesting that it's wrong for these companies to write ANYTHING against other demographics, but perfectly fine to keep insulting white straight males? For each small group that you feel GTA "targets" or hates on, I could probably point you in the direction of 100x more content against white males in these games.

Again, feel free to PM me if you want to discuss this further, but I'm not accepting that excuse that because I'm a White Male that I don't understand this and never will, etc, when this series dishes it out a lot more towards said group.

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One side note: Is it worth mentioning that Rockstar Games hired Max Clifford to plant sensationalist stories about how offensive and dangerous a game it was in the press to boost sales? Don't take every "outrage" you read at face value -- sometimes these things are engineered deliberately.

Also, even though I don't think GTA is especially sexist or homophobic (it's often very not those things if you ask me), the idea of "attacking everything so it's fair" never really works in practice. For example, Rockstar never attacks its fans. For all the things they take aim at: Republicans, liberals, celebrities, addictions, the war on terror, the rich, porn, etc., they never attack their core audience.

I wish they'd grow up a bit, to be honest. GTAV felt like a step in that direction, the characters were much more rounded (and entertaining), but the world itself retained the same puerile content. I wish they'd actually be brave enough to take a stance for once, rather than just cowardly playing to an audience they're afraid of offending.

But just to clarify here, GTA insults White Straight Males the most in most cases, take Lazlow for instance, he's always being made a joke of and has been for years.

Lazlow is just a character. He isn't supposed to be a representation of straight white males.

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If games are for everyone, and not just for that white, straight, male demographic, then it makes sense to talk about issues that affect different people differently, right? Rather than simply dismissing them because they don't affect you, or don't bother you.

But just to clarify here, GTA insults White Straight Males the most in most cases, take Lazlow for instance, he's always being made a joke of and has been for years. This is more a reverse situation, are you suggesting that it's wrong for these companies to write ANYTHING against other demographics, but perfectly fine to keep insulting white straight males? For each small group that you feel GTA "targets" or hates on, I could probably point you in the direction of 100x more content against white males in these games.

Again, feel free to PM me if you want to discuss this further, but I'm not accepting that excuse that because I'm a White Male that I don't understand this and never will, etc, when this series dishes it out a lot more towards said group.

1) No, I'm not suggesting that, rather I'm suggesting that when it's making its jokes, it should be aware of the context in which they are being made. I specifically address this in my post, in the example I give (very slightly edited):

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, as a white person, to construct a joke about african-american dialects, but I had better know exactly what I’m doing and find a way to make the target of the joke something other than ‘ha ha, don't those african americans talk funny’ otherwise, I’m just helping perpetuate a stereotype that historically has been and still is used as a tool of opression.

In other words, to do this well takes some good writing, and there's a lot of bad writing right now. And yes, a lot of the jokes in the game are target straight white men - but rarely are they about their straightness/whiteness/maleness, and even when they are, the fact that you punch up a lot of the time doesn't mean it's then okay to punch down, willy nilly.

2) I'm also not suggesting because you're a White Male you can never understand it. I'd be a hypocrite if I thought that. I'm a white male. Not a straight one (which helps, because I know very well what being marginalised feels like) and there are definitely other factors as well such as social class (which isn't always seperable from these other things). But I do think that it takes more effort for people like us to notice problems, because they're generally not things that we have to live with on a daily basis. I don't see why that's a controversial thing to say.

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Lazlow is just a character. He isn't supposed to be a representation of straight white males.

There are many, many, more examples throughout the series, I point out one, and it gets shot down right away, how about the overall tone throughout GTAV that most White Males are actually close to depressed people who are desperate to keep the norm?

As for not attacking the fanbase, where do we draw the line here, Gamers? They've been mocked in GTA. Other Video Games? Openly mocked in GTA. Other Rockstar Titles? Joked about or Easter Egg'd in GTA. Fans of Grand Theft Auto? There have been jokes and lines here and there about people who play these types of games in GTA itself.

Again, GTA covers a wide scale, so a joke can either range from in your face obvious to complete subtle, but if you think they haven't poked fun at themselves, or their fans at times, you'd be wrong, they have.

1) No, I'm not suggesting that, rather I'm suggesting that when it's making its jokes, it should be aware of the context in which they are being made. I specifically address this in my post, in the example I give (very slightly edited):

2) I'm also not suggesting because you're a White Male you can never understand it. I'd be a hypocrite if I thought that. I'm a white male. Not a straight one (which helps, because I know very well what being marginalised feels like) and there are definitely other factors as well such as social class (which isn't always seperable from these other things). But I do think that it takes more effort for people like us to notice problems, because they're generally not things that we have to live with on a daily basis. I don't see why that's a controversial thing to say.

This one comes down to a lot about how YOU perceive said joke, as another poster here pointed out, if we look at it blankly, then hell, sure, GTA can be Racist, Sexist, Misogynistic, Blasphemy, etc, etc, depending on how you choose to view it or be offended by it, but with something like GTA, how exactly would you get around this without then cutting down the jokes against EVERYONE else? If that's the point you're trying to highlight then, well, yeah of course, this game which insults everyone under the sun can be viewed as either of those terms if some people choose to feel so strongly about it.

But as with life, it's a grand scale, and there are many Gay and Trans people who are fine with GTA, some people who are looking to be offended will be offended, if you expect a franchise like GTA to go easy on a group but keep up the force against everyone else, you're sadly mistaken in that.

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See, and this is where it gets personal. It's not enough that I simply see a problem and want to talk about. No, clearly I am 'looking to be offended'. That's not nice. That doesn't make me want to have a conversation with you. Because you're saying what I think is invalid before I've even got started. Well, what chance does that give me?

Anyone that actually knows me, spends time with me, knows that the LAST thing I want, and the last thing I need in my life is to go around dreaming up reasons to take offense at things.

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I'm not making it personal, I'm just saying if a person is set out to be offended, then they will be, in life there is a large scale of how things can be viewed and comedy and writing is one of the finer things which can fall down and be viewed differently by many people. Being offended by something is a very fine line, especially when you have others in the same demographic you're fighting for who are actually OK and contributed to the content you're fighting against.

As mentioned, GTA throws it at everyone, including itself, if you're going into GTA expecting equality, the only place you'll find that equality is in being mocked equally with everyone else. That is such a weird sentence to write. It's not for everyone, so if you're playing the game and you feel like the game is insulting your specific demographic to the point where you're offended, then perhaps you should step back and then at least see what else is mocked or insulted within the same time frame. If you think the subject was not well written enough the yes, then it comes down to personal standards and expectations. Again, I don't want to seem like I'm playing this card here, but I know plenty of Gay and Trans people within Rockstar who are perfectly fine with how the games they work do things, some have contributed to the writing, adding in specific lingo, etc, so from my pov, I actually know MORE people OK with it than against, so perhaps you can understand my viewpoint on this?

Nothing personal is implied dude, just keeping it generally, you'd be surprised what goes on in some Rockstar buildings, but to hint that they are deliberate in being Sexist or Racist, etc, is extremely far from the truth, especially from the people I've worked with on these games.

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I just noticed I missed a question:

how exactly would you get around this without then cutting down the jokes against EVERYONE else?

I've already addressed this quite a few times, but how would I get around it? Well, better writing. Notice how people were generally positive about Saints Row 3 and even more so about Saints Row 4 in the way it portrayed people? Not everyone, but it remains a very popular game even among the more socially conscious, and especially with 4 you rarely see any criticism of how it handles things. Why? Simply because it doesn't punch down. It's no less silly than GTA. Arguably is much more pureile (we're talking about a game where one of the weapons is a giant purple dildo) But its prime targets are:

1 - Pop culture/Mainstream American culture.

2 - Institutions

3 - Itself

And it really doesn't deviate from that all that much. When it does deviate from it, the jokes don't feel mean-spirited (like, for example the dialog between trans characters in the GTA V and the 'Post Op' vans with their 'Not just mail anymore' slogans, childish jokes where the punchline is 'ha ha, transexual women')

For all that SR4 is just the stuuuupidest thing in many ways, it feels like the writers actually thought about what they're trying to do with their jokes. Where GTA feels right now like it's caught between wanting to be taken more seriously while being unable to control its impulse to act like a high schooler. My thought, is that it need lose none of its edge, in order to do comedy better.

What makes SR all the more impressive to me, is that it didn't start out that way. They learned a lot in those 4 games and the result is a series which now has an identity which I think is better defined than GTA ever was. Not bad for a series that started out as a clone.

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Ash735, all the lead characters in GTA are straight white males OR characters that straight white males would like to play. Even Lazlow is someone that GTA fans LIKE. The closest representation to its actual audience there's been in the current generation of GTA is Michael's son -- and even though he's a lazy pothead fuck up who does nothing but play videogames all day, YOU play the guy that saves him, setting him apart from YOU.

GTA only put things in its aim that its audience don't care about: Politics, religion, prudishness. They can fire at those all day and their audience will lap it up. Consider also that there's only ever female strip clubs. The characters cannot have sex with men. The game panders to its (mostly) young straight male audience -- Rockstar aren't dumb.

I'm sorry if you think you've been attacked while playing it, but really you haven't.

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@KestrelPi: And yet many Saints Rows fans consider the series to have taken a massive dive after the second game. Not to mention the style of humour is different, again, a personal view point here. What's "better writing" to you? What if someone else thinks it's worse writing? We're starting to stretch out into some very big what ifs here, but it sounds like you have personal issues with how the game does some things and take that as an attack, when is all seriousness, it's not. Large Scale Viewpoints and all that.

@ThunderPeel: I don't know your age dude but, there was quite an outcry from some gamers circa 2003/4 about being "forced" to play as a black protagonist and that took a lot of discussions and talking round on many people, and of course when the game hit, they loved it. Again, I can point out many more examples where White Males in the series are made a bigger joke of, but it seems you don't want to see them.

As for your ending sentence, no, I don't feel attacked, I don't feel shocked or offended, I laugh that stuff off for what it is, mainly a cheap joke at times. As do many other demographics. I come into GTA knowing that everything is pretty much satire to parody, I'd be a fool to try and take any of it seriously, and Rockstar know this too, which is why they toned down the serious angle on GTAV and saved the more serious stuff for their other titles instead.

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Again, I can point out many more examples where White Males in the series are made a bigger joke of, but it seems you don't want to see them.

You haven't pointed out any yet (apart from Lazlow, which was thoroughly debunked -- as is the notion that people didn't want to play San Andreas... they did -- the game was a smash hit and remains the highest selling GTA of all time).

As for your ending sentence, no, I don't feel attacked, I don't feel shocked or offended, I laugh that stuff off for what it is, mainly a cheap joke at times.

You don't understand what you're saying. You're claiming you're attacked by GTA. That's your argument, not mine. You're saying that GTA is an equal offender, and so attack people like you, too... Except now you're saying you didn't feel attacked by GTA. So which is it? (Whether it offended or shocked you is completely besides the point.)

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@KestrelPi: And yet many Saints Rows fans consider the series to have taken a massive dive after the second game. Not to mention the style of humour is different, again, a personal view point here. What's "better writing" to you? What if someone else thinks it's worse writing? We're starting to stretch out into some very big what ifs here, but it sounds like you have personal issues with how the game does some things and take that as an attack, when is all seriousness, it's not. Large Scale Viewpoints and all that.

You're right. I'm in favour of what I see as better writing (imagine that!). And that's subjective to a large extent, sure. But I still think it's better, and I'm therefore going to speak out in favour of it.

But it's not just better/worse in how it's written, in my view. It's better/worse in how it affects people.

And you keep saying I have personal issues with this or that. YES. I'm, after all, a person. So are many of the other people with personal issues with how this game does things. You can say 'actually it's fine' as much as you like, but that isn't going to change the fact that I sometimes take issue with the way the game's writing handles minorities or marginalised groups. And just to say 'no it's fine, honestly' is to deny my personal experience. Which is the very definition of marginalising.

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And you keep saying I have personal issues with this or that. YES. I'm, after all, a person. So are many of the other people with personal issues with how this game does things. You can say 'actually it's fine' as much as you like, but that isn't going to change the fact that I sometimes take issue with the way the game's writing handles minorities or marginalised groups. And just to say 'no it's fine, honestly' is to deny my personal experience. Which is the very definition of marginalising.

I can't help you here because you're the one feeling like a victim in this, I know other Gay people and Trans people who are OK and like how GTA does things, are they wrong? It's all down to how YOU view the content, if you're offended by it, then sorry, that isn't the purpose of it. There's really nothing more that can be said on issues that you have with the game when there's a large amount of the same demographic who are OK with it and find it funny. Sorry you can see the joke in this, or, you do see the joke and it isn't up to your standard so you class it as insulting. *shrugs*

You don't understand what you're saying. You're claiming you're attacked by GTA. That's your argument, not mine. You're saying that GTA is an equal offender, and so attack people like you, too... Except now you're saying you didn't feel attacked by GTA. So which is it? (Whether it offended or shocked you is completely besides the point.)

Your first point about San Andreas, yes it went on to become a huge seller, that's because of the content, I'm going to have to assume you wern't around on gaming websites back then to actually see the hate when the game was first announced though, to brush it off as well the game sold, so the issue didn't exists is just flat out false, it WAS an issue and Rockstar had to promote the game like mad and people were eventually convinced enough to give the game a try playing as a black protagonist.

As for the quote above, I'm saying White Males are attacked/mocked in GTA, as is everyone else, I PERSONALLY don't feel offended by these though as I know what I'm getting with GTA, if I were a person who was to be offended by such things I'd honestly question why I'm even playing the game. So, the jokes against white people are there, but I am not offended by them or take them seriously, get it?

As for examples, I gave you two, you brushed them off, I gave you an over arch tone you didn't acknowledge it. I'll gladly list more though if you like, just look at ElectronZone Radio on LCFR in Liberty City Stories, that mocks PC Gamers and LAN parties, look at GTA IV and the in-game Internet and look up the GTA universe consoles, and see how those websites openly mock gamers too. The content against gamers is there, and there's even more against White Males, just look at the protagonists, you say Michael gets to save Jimmy, but how does the game depict Michael? A Depressed ex-thief whos own family hate him and someone who hates his life, look at Trevor, a crazy maniac on the surface, but has deep issues about his upbringing, especially shown in the Epilogue cutscene where he hallucinates his own Mother talking down to them and having him break down crying on the floor. Franklin isn't White so I assume you won't pay attention to this, but he himself is shown as someone who wanted to get out of the hood and make something for himself, only to end up alone when he got his money.

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This is a silly discussion in general. Fun pills and sleds for everyone.

As for the quote above, I'm saying White Males are attacked/mocked in GTA, as is everyone else, I PERSONALLY don't feel offended by these though as I know what I'm getting with GTA, if I were a person who was to be offended by such things I'd honestly question why I'm even playing the game. So, the jokes against white people are there, but I am not offended by them or take them seriously, get it?

That said, 'white males' being 'attacked/mocked' doesn't quite seem the same as other groups being mocked that have history of marginalization and belittlement (take your pick among a number), but in general forum boards or comment sections aren't a real conducive place to have this sort of constructive discussion.

I don't mind the GTA series. I played Vice City and San Andreas and then just fell off the series mostly for switching to strategy and adventure games. GTA is a good example of that everything has consequences.

But anyways, fun pills and sleds for everyone again.

Smiles

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And you keep saying I have personal issues with this or that. YES. I'm, after all, a person. So are many of the other people with personal issues with how this game does things. You can say 'actually it's fine' as much as you like, but that isn't going to change the fact that I sometimes take issue with the way the game's writing handles minorities or marginalised groups. And just to say 'no it's fine, honestly' is to deny my personal experience. Which is the very definition of marginalising.

I can't help you here because you're the one feeling like a victim in this, I know other Gay people and Trans people who are OK and like how GTA does things, are they wrong? It's all down to how YOU view the content, if you're offended by it, then sorry, that isn't the purpose of it. There's really nothing more that can be said on issues that you have with the game when there's a large amount of the same demographic who are OK with it and find it funny. Sorry you can see the joke in this, or, you do see the joke and it isn't up to your standard so you class it as insulting. *shrugs*

It doesn't matter if you can find a gay or trans person who is fine with this stuff. I can find you others who aren't. It seems bizarre to me that you seem to think in order for the issue to be real, every gay or trans person has to agree it's an issue. Do all straight people agree on what's funny/acceptable, too?

Also, you're using words that I haven't used:

* Victim. I'm not a victim. I'm fortunate enough to be a middle class guy in a multicultural city, so my sexuality, while it causes me some inconveniences, I can spend most days with it never even being an issue.

* Insulting. Again, not insulted. I'll explain again below what I think the problem is with the joke.

* Offended. Or that.

To reiterate why I think the mission is slightly (not very) problematic:

I think this joke is a (mild) problem because it assumes latent homophobia, and also it's the entire reason for the mission existing (as I mentioned, I remember this mission as entirely trivial, even compared to other missions surrounding it). The whole mission is a joke about Nico being cajoled into pretending to be gay, which is apparently hilarious, followed by go-to-place-and-shoot-one-guy. This helps perpetuate the idea that gayness is something to be embarrassed or grossed out about, and it's only funny if you agree, on some level (maybe only a tiny bit), that gay stuff is embarrassing or gross.

(Anticipated counterargument: "but gay stuff is embarrassing if straight! Obviously!"

Nope, sorry, it isn't just the natural order of things that dictates this embarrassment. Gay people have to pretend they're straight every day until they come out, or if they are unsure of the company they're in and we're not grossed out by this charade. Annoyed I'm sometimes forced into it by prejudiced, but not all 'ew, straight stuff!'. The reason it's straight people find gay stuff embarrassing is because they've been taught it's embarrassing. I know this, because before I knew I was gay, I thought I was straight - and -I- found the idea of being thought of as gay embarrassing. It took a while to get used to. But the idea of being straight I was just fine with. Nothing in the media or among my peer groups had prejudiced me against straight relationships. It's better nowadays, but it's far from perfect. )

I don't like this joke because it relies on and reinforces the latent homophobia that we pretty much all grew up with because we were constantly told by our peers and by media that gay stuff is either gross, weird, something to be feared or alternatively laughed at.

But I'm not a victim, offended or insulted. What I am is someone who would like to draw attention to this interpretation and hope people avoid reinforcing such things in the future, because (combined with all the other ways these views get reinforced) in the long term it serves in a small way to hurt people in a more vulnerable position in society, or a less permissive part of society than I inhabit. Something doesn't have to be a direct insult or harm directly, in order to contribute to over-all harm.

But this is a pretty mild case, which is why from the start I've said I'm only mildly bothered by it.

What I don't quite get is why you're expending so much energy insisting that something is categorically not even a mild problem. It's a really minor point I'm making, not intended to be some big controversial point. What do you possibly have to lose by admitting that maybe I'm not a complete fool and GTAIV isn't always perfect on social issues, even if they're not ones that affect you personally? Heaven forbid I start talking about the stuff I LOVE (as opposed to GTA which I merely sorta like), because I'm way harsher on that stuff!

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Ash735, you just don't get it at all. Michael, like Lazlow, does not represent a typical straight white male gamer, let alone parody them. Michael is actually is based on Tony Soprano, a hugely popular and much loved character. To suggest that ANY depiction of white people with flaws is automatically `attacking/mocking’ white male gamers in the same way that "Impotent Rage" mocks liberals, or the way that "Republican Space Rangers" mocks Republicans, is nuts.

Your other examples are equally weak (so white gamers own the Internet now?). And yes, I was around when San Andreas was being released. I'm 36. I remember Super Mario Bros being released. There was speculation about whether gamers would mind playing a black character, and then it became the biggest selling PS2 game of all time.

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*comes back to thread a few days later*

o.O

I don't know what's happening in this thread anymore...

o.O

*backs slowly out of the room*

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@KestrelPi: I'm merely explaining things from y point of view, I'm sorry if you feel that way, as for what you said about "It doesn’t matter if you can find a gay or trans person who is fine with this stuff. I can find you others who aren’t.", I'm going to be honest here, I value the opinion MORE of those I work with over some guy on the internet moaning about being offended by the content we help create. Just call it different strokes eh? Think about the cutscenes involving Tony Prince where all of that "eww gay" stuff isn't there and where he openly talks about his desires and stuff with Luis Lopez. Flip side of it all, you have to take the bad with the good in a game like GTA, if we cut out all the stuff that offends, we'd actually be left with very little content.

@ThunderPeel: I don't think you get it all either, or we're viewing different things, I keep giving you examples of where white people are mocked, and you just brush it off and say it doesn't count, so what, it only counts when it's NOT White Males? You seem very hell bent on finding issues with the content, we take shots at everyone, again, sorry if that offends you or makes you angry, maybe GTA isn't the kind of game you should be playing then. You seem to have a very brush it off attitude, the situation with San Andreas WAS real, so if your only come back is "It sold well so shut up it didn't exist" is actually very insulting, it took a lot of promotional work back then to keep people happy, and they brought the content to keep people interested and in the end it was the games content that eased people into being ok with playing as a black protagonist (for some, not all).

@ Both of You: I never said GTA was perfect, if you read my posts you will see I admit that depending on how you look at it, the stuff that gets done can be viewed as Sexist, Racist, etc, we just leave it down to the person to decide on if they can laugh it off. GTA represents a broad scale and covers a wide range of characters, we intend to include the best and worst because that's how real life is, you can't sugar coat it, there's going to be racists out there, or sexist people, or complete jerks, etc, if you can't handle that being represented in a game that makes fun of all of these, then I'm going to be honest here, it's you who has the issue, and don't worry, there's plenty of people such as yourselves on the internet who will complain about these things and accuse the company we work for of being evil homophobes or blasphemers, etc, etc.

As for why I'm putting energy into these posts, it's simple, we see stuff like this all the time, if we tried to please every group out there, I'd feel sorry for the writing department because you know what kind of insane rules that would be? It's a very All or Nothing approach here, so if we changed things to appease one group of people, we'd have to break further and change for another group, and another, and another. Things are kept broad and open, and the good has to come with the bad, remember that, so if you choose to be offended by the bad of one aspect, look for the good because it is there.

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