Posts tagged with "gaming"

It didn’t occur to me until playing inFamous Second Son that the main character is actually Native American. Totally awesome!

It didn’t occur to me until playing inFamous Second Son that the main character is actually Native American. Totally awesome!

Shadowrun Returns

so I recently finished my first play through of Shadowrun Returns, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by one aspect of the game. a large portion of the plot important NPC’s were women, and many of them are women of color. it’s a pretty small cast, and the most of the other NPC’s are white men.

now the game isn’t perfect. coyote, despite being a professional shotgun wielding badass, is introduced as a damsel in distress.  Overall however I felt this was a very nice step and figured I’d share.



I’m slowly realizing that GTA4 is the only sandbox game I’ve ever played where I genuinely, continuously enjoy the actual sandbox aspect of it

Like getting from point A to point B is always interesting, because maybe you’ll accidentally ding a police car on the way and have to spend five minutes fleeing from the police. Maybe you’ll crash into a lamppost, go hurtling through your windshield, and have to pick yourself up off the ground and steal another car. Maybe you’ll actually try to obey the rules of the road and drive safely because there’s an NPC in the car with you. Maybe you’ll steal a car, drive off, then in ten seconds see a nicer car and hop out to steal that one. Maybe you’ll intend to go to another objective, but on the way an NPC calls with a more interesting mission so you hit the handbrake, sending you into a full 180 spin and taking out several pedestrians and two mailboxes. I could go on and on

If someone took how GTA4 does sandboxes and applied it to a game with better gameplay and story, that would probably be the only game I’d ever play for the rest of my life

I’ve been playing GTA4 lately and wrote a small post about it. The game itself is pretty problematic, especially in its treatment of women, but the sandbox aspect is near perfect.

The Creepy Side Of E3

Great piece discussing the treatment of women in the gaming industry at E3. People have discussed the treatment of women who are “booth babes” and practically showcase items, but we rarely talk about the average woman who goes to E3 expecting a few days of great gaming and are in turn harassed.

As always be wary of comments, they go from dismissing the claim of the article to “congratulating” the writer for not being hostile or accusatory of men.

So Katie Linendoll just came on Gametrailers to talk about her experiences on the E3 floor. And of course, the commenters were nothing but respectful and had insightful things to say about E3 so far and didn’t just reduce their comments to talking about Ms. Linendoll.

Oh wait - yes they did

Want to watch E3?

Spike TV is currently showing the XBox press conference

GameSpot is also streaming it live if you want to watch it online:

Jun 8

Remember Me Review

I’ll try to avoid spoilers as much as possible - if I need to add any, I’ll try to save them until the end and put them under a readmore.

Gameplay - Remember Me’s combat system is reminiscent of Arkham Asylum’s - smooth flowing from enemy to enemy, only a couple of buttons to press, etc. It attempts to innovate by using combos that require specific orders of button presses, and allows you to either deal more damage, heal, or reduce the cooldown on your special abilities with the hits. This seems like it would be a good idea, but when fighting more than three enemies it quickly goes downhill because there are too many enemies attacking at once so you can almost never get a full combo off. It wasn’t until near the end of the game that I finally figured out a perfect combat strategy - use the stun special attack and then get a full eight-hit cooldown combo off in order to use the stun immediately again. It made combat extremely tedious, but ensured I took almost no damage, which was good for the hardest difficulty.

The movement apes Mirror’s Edge and Assassin’s Creed in the wallclimbing mechanics, but unfortunately the path to follow is always extremely linear with no (or very few, depending if there are collectibles along the way) options for exploration.

The memory sequences that you go through are interesting in their execution, but usually boil down to extreme tedium of watching a memory NPC slowly move.

And ah, there are quick time events. Really frustrating ones too, as sometimes what’s going on onscreen is very visually busy so it’s easy to miss the button prompt.

Story - Nilin is a memory hunter who’s had her memory wiped by a company called Memorize. She spends most of the game attempting to regain her memory, and fights through various obstacles on the way. It’s an interesting story, and there were a few twists along the way that I didn’t expect, but overall I wasn’t that impressed with her character arc, and since she’s the driving force behind the story it kind of fell flat.

Nilin gets various powers throughout, all based around computer technology (for example, there’s a ranged weapon called the Spammer that shoots “junk data”).

By far her most powerful weapon, however, is her ability to Remix memories. This only happens a few times throughout the story, and allows Nilin to enter someone’s memories and change them to better suit her needs. For example, in the preview trailer, she remixes a man’s memory of his breakup to make him believe he killed his girlfriend.

This was a disappointing plot device. [See read more for spoilers - outlining exactly why requires me to delve into some story events that occur]

-Isms - Nilin’s a biracial protagonist, so that’s a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, as documented above, the story isn’t the best. The word “b***h” is also thrown around a lot, by Nilin and by NPCs. I can’t recall exactly, but I don’t think the word is ever used at Nilin - only at NPCs.

Many of the NPCs are PoC, which is a good step, and even better none of them are killed and used as character advancement pain for Nilin.

There’s actually no acknowledgment of the fact that Nilin’s parents are of different races - it’s just a thing that is there. It’s actually fairly nice, because there’s no racism directed towards either Nilin or her PoC parent. Props to Dontnod Entertainment for doing that.

Overall rating: 7.5/10. Pick it up if you don’t mind repetitive combat and want to see some interesting story twists.

 - Taylor

Read More


Dust: An Elysian Tail was surprisingly good

It’s an XBLA 2d hack-and-slash with a fairly simple combo system and an interesting attempt at a story

The story is the typical swordsman-with-amnesia trope, but there are several points at which an attempt at a subversion is made; not necessarily successful, but I’m probably going to follow the person that made it (Dean Dodrill) because the writing was pretty good and I’d like to see him get better

The ending was essentially how I expected it to be, although there are several scenes to it so I was honestly expecting it to end on one of the earlier ones and it would have been a sadder, albeit more interesting end to the story

All in all 8.5/10, pick it up if you have the money and enjoy cartoonish 2d fighting

This is about a game that came out a while ago (last summer I think?) but is pretty good. Check it out if you have the chance.

The game’s story deals with racism towards a fictional race and does have a bit of “white savior” trope to it, though.

 - Taylor

May 6

So, Is Bioshock: Infinite Racist?

I’m glad you asked!

So after playing through the game, the best answer I can give you is: Um, yes and no but it’s more complicated.

How is it more complicated? There’s a ton of racist imagery in this game that is abhorrent. Of course that makes it racist!


Well, yes and no. The racist imagery may trigger someone and offend many, and they have every right to be. However, the racist imagery is there to present a stylized world in which white supremacy is rampant. For example, in one sequence of the game, you have to go through two hallways in a racist museum: One portraying Wounded Knee, the other the Chinese Boxer Rebellion. In both of these hallways, you hear and see pop-out exhibits of Chinese and American Indian people when extremely stereotypical features and sounds and trying to basically kill whitey, both however culminating with the “Prophet” of Columbia, Comstock, the creator of the city and their leader/hero, defeating both the Indians at Wounded Knee and the Chinese of the Boxer Rebellion. Both accounts of the events are of course racist propaganda, and gives the player an idea of just how godlike Comstock is to the people of Columbia and how actively racist the society is despite projecting itself as a great utopia.

So you’re saying it’s not racist because the imagery and storyline serves a greater purpose of condemning racism and white supremacy?

Well, yes and no again. You see, the imagery is indeed reflective of propaganda and viewpoints of white supremacists for a society with a race-based system of hierarchy, and presents Columbia as being so racist to the point of disgust in many cases for the player. Players who are not actively anti-racist identify the messed-up, racist propaganda and language that litters the game and feel uncomfortable viewing it, and even more uncomfortable when they think about how normalized it seems in the society. However, Bioshock: Infinite never actually outright condemns racism and white supremacy. You meet people for it, and against it, but never reach any point in which it is laid out clearly that racism is bad. The character that you play, Booker, never has any intention to either end white supremacy or further it, he doesn’t care; white supremacy simply exists in the world around him, and it, along with the resistance that tries end it, are simply obstacles to him and his ultimate goal. This fact actually surprises me a bit. A trademark of Bioshock games is that they play with the philosophy of morality vs. self-preservation, so to not see how the privileges of white supremacy factors into that for a white protagonist feels like a missed opportunity.


So you’re saying it is racist because although it presents white supremacy, it never actually condemns it? You have a choice to support it?

Well you’re getting closer! Booker and Elizabeth sometimes talk about the white citizens of Columbia and their treatment of people of color but they are almost entirely neutral on the subject. You can make small choices regarding interpersonal racist encounters, but you as Booker never actively promote it or condemn it, either in words or action. At one point you begin doing an errand for the Vox Populi, a group of anti-racist, anarchist activists led by Daisy Fitzroy, a black woman who to some is a great hero, and to the white population is a terrorist and murderer. Now, Daisy would have been a great character to have as strictly an ally, particularly since we see very few black women trying to lead revolutions in games, and who are powerful. However, the more you work for her, the more you find that she is almost psychotic and that the Vox Populi is committing immense violence and other atrocities, basically positing her and the Vox Populi as being just as evil as the oppressive white supremacist society. And when you equate the actions of an oppressed group to those against their oppressors when they try to retaliate against their oppression, that’s a problem.

But I do want to add that in Bioshock, most of the enemies you ever face in the game are white. You rarely have to kill or shoot at a person of color in the game. The Vox are portrayed as a terrorist group with a psychotic leader, but the people of color in the group don’t try to constantly fight you like Columbia’s white police and citizens do, and you don’t see them as enemies you need to fight as often as the white society until later in the game. So if anyone was worried that this is a game filled with the white lead character constantly shooting at people of color, you can breathe.

So it’s not racist because you mostly kill white people?

No, but in a game where racism is very prominent, and the character you play is a white guy and your #1 comrade is a white woman, it helps that you don’t have to light black people on fire every two minutes.


But does it really matter if Booker and Elizabeth are white?

It does if racism is extremely prominent in the game! If your protagonists are white, if the characters you as the player are supposed to go on a journey with are white, how do you even know how racism actually oppresses people? You experience a glossed-over white perspective, in which you see racism around you, and you hear the laments of people of color, and you talk to black servants and revolutionaries of color, but you can never actually experience racism like you could if Booker or Elizabeth were of color. Players are automatically given a sanitized perspective of racism because racism doesn’t affect them, which just reinforces how little Infinite actually deals with racism. And this is definitely a racist trend in media: To have a story in which racism is incredibly prominent, but the audience or player never actually sees it through the eyes of a person of color who actually experiences racism.

Okay, so you’re saying that there are actually racist elements to this game, just not in the blatant way that people who haven’t played the game assumed? And you’re saying that you admire the lengths that the game go to in order to present a world with clear notions of white supremacy and racism? But by having two white protagonists who can’t actually experience the racism, and by presenting racism and white supremacy as more of a backdrop to the plot and never a thematic ethical/moral issue for the player, you can’t excuse the racist imagery and characters since they don’t seem to serve much of an anti-racist purpose? So the game makers tried to seem progressive and not racist but ended up making a game that didn’t say that much about racism at all and in turn, is extremely problematic in its portrayal of racism?

Yup, that’s what I’m saying.

- Aria

May 3


“games arent sexist for featuring only hyper-sexualized women, people who interpret these characters as sexist are the sexist ones”


  • nooooooooooo
  1. noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


the thing going around is so close to being a good post but it completely ignores the existence of the male gaze and the fact that these ridiculously sexualized female characters aren’t created to empower female consumers, they’re created to get male consumers off.

having a sexy female character definitely isn’t sexist just as said post suggests. but if the female character was created for men’s viewing pleasure, you can bet that her creation was sexist.

not to mention OP seems to believe that “diversity for diversity’s sake” is a Thing and a Bad Thing at that, which to be honest really isn’t. including lots of ethnicities and female characters is only a problem if their ethnicity/gender/orientation/what have you isn’t addressed

there’s so much wrong with viewing sexualization of women in comics and games as okay just because “it’s the consumer’s fault for objectifying the character.” if the character was created to be an object, the character was a sexist creation.

Re: this post

The post this one refers to also completely ignores the fact that in the game he cites, Dragon’s Crown, the two female characters have exposed cleavage and generally nothing in the way of protective gear, while the one male character is fully kitted in armor and is the only one not in a sexualized pose.