Article written by RAA for use by Nerd Clout

Just like other hardcore fans of the novel, I waited more than a DECADE for Ender’s Game the movie. The movie preserves the essence of the novel and deftly does it justice. [Spoilers & words, lots of words]

 

Context and HYPE!

Let me start this off by giving some context to my anticipation build-up for last night. I, like a whole host of others, love Ender’s Game. Ender’s Shadow, the entire Ender’s series, and Bean’s tale as well… all that shit, I eat it up. Ender’s Game has held a special place in my heart for a long time. The psychological focal lens, the philosophical conundrums, awesome tactical details + military exposition, awesome ideas for the future (this movie managed to modernize a lot of amazing sci-fi, since keep in mind, this book is 30 years old and was just then showcasing an ambitiously naïve conception of the internet through Demosthenes and Locke) and that’s only Ender’s Game. The series gets way darker and more complicated, delving into foreign species relations, quantum physics, and artificial intelligences as Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind progress.

Ok ok, I’m already on a tangent and I haven’t even gotten started. Sorry, I was just so excited about the experience for so many years, since like, 2003 maybe? After having read the novel, I knew there were turbulent plans to make it into a film, and at the time, it seemed completely inconceivable. I remember a bunch of commotion about the anti-bullying, kid on kid violence (still shown), the 6-11 year olds running amok naked and discussing military tactics (I could see how that’s more or less unfilmable), the scenes in the gravity room and how it would look (oh man, even 5 years ago this was a mystery), and I didn’t even feel a concern about the Command school because I simply had no idea how they could possibly even start to brainstorm that challenge. And the ending? What? How could they possibly have any emotional impact, for fans of the book and also newcomers to the story via the movie?

Well fuck! It wasn’t happening. The movie wasn’t being made. I remember Wolfgang Puck (Troy director) was set to make it, and they had some promising ideas. Minor changes here and there, but when considering how cumbersome movie adaptations usually are, it’s understandable concern. If they were going to do a mini-series, we’d lose some polish and budget, but we’d be able to see every scene play out, all of the character and plot development intact, more focus on the complex emotional issues… but, well, we knew we were getting a movie. Hell, before the movie even came out, it’s pretty easy to see how an adaptation or remake brings the original source material to a wider audience, thereby getting more people to experience the wonderful story of Ender’s Game. I just didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. Justice was fucking served.


The Movie Drops, and I’m getting AMPED!

Ok, I’m amped. I wanted to see it Imax, scheduling prevented that, but no biggie. I’d seen reviews. I knew it was doing decent, and let’s face it, the trailer was dope, the cast is amazing, and no matter what, it was gonna be an interesting depiction. The intro scenes are phenomenal. They showcase in graphic detail Ender’s monitor being removed, the encounter with the first bully, and establish the war between the formics and humanity. Ender seems to act just like I’ve pictured him. So contemplative, calculated, and genuine. Asa is killing it right from the get-go.

I’ll admit that he’s clearly a bit older than he was in the novel, yet they never actually give any clues to his age. This isn’t a contention for me in the slightest, nor are many of the other changes they made in the movie. The book is dense. Plot cuts worked to plausibly construct the film into a feature length film, unless they’d gone with a 3 hour epic ala LoTR, but damn, maybe next time. Unlike many others, I liked seeing Bean in the launch group. I don’t recall seeing him in the trailer at all and thought he wasn’t going to be a prominent character, and seeing him get as much screen time as he got really (when thinking he’d be totally written out, more or less) got me amped. This story wasn’t for Bean. Ender’s Game the movie was clearly Ender’s story. It took all the important bits from the novel regarding Ender and hyper-focused them, and while the supporting characters are so lush in the novel, here they are used to propel the plot and Ender’s journey.

ACTING and Performances

IMO, if they continue the saga with the films (and here’s hoping it does well at the Box Office), I hope they continue to make small adjustments to focus the story even more on Ender. Ender himself is an amazing character, and that’s probably where the movie succeeds the most.

Oh man, not just Ender though. Everyone was cast well and gave a phenomenal performance. More than anything I’d have to say that I’m glad they actually managed to find an actor that could provide Ender with the sort of charisma and thoughtfulness that he seems to have. There are plenty of times that Ender makes some questionable decisions later on in the saga, after he’s spent more of his life living through diplomacy (the finale of Ender in Exile comes to mind), but I couldn’t be more pleased with how Ender was brought to life. Considerable thanks to Gavin Hood, Asa Butterfield, and of course OSC. Graff and Ender’s relationship was pretty intriguing IMO. They switched up the power balance constantly, and Graff exposed his various sides of affection and mentorship, and ultimately looks like the bad guy who uses his protégé like a scalpel. The movie actually showcases the relationship better than the book in lots of ways, and I think the emotional impact at the end may have been better conducted through the visual medium. Shit, the acting was a huge portion of why this movie was “unfilmable”. No one thought it could be pulled off years back, and boom, Asa and Harrison to the rescue, it seems. Dap was stellar. I didn’t even get stoked to see Dap, but his salute to Ender after the way Ender goaded him was probably the most touching moment in the film. Petra was candid, but not overwhelmingly amazing. Bonzo was downright perfect. I don’t recall him being so small, but as far as an inferiority complexes mitigated by blind rage and rigidity to authority go, he ruled his role. The way they showcased him and Ender’s fight was… interesting to say the least. It was impactful, and I’ve seen a lot of people complaining, but it seemed a pretty strong message to me. Also seeing Bonzo get neutralized like that made me cringe pretty hard.

Anderson as a critique of the program rather than a carbon copy of Graff was nice to see, as was the way they actually managed to incorporate the deception the ending relied on. Instead of seeing a broken down Ender wanting to give up, we’re given an eager Ender, ready to prove himself as a potential commander. The big reveal worked in a lot of ways. We never get a glimpse of the emotions the other officers feel in the novel, but it’s harrowing to watch their faces as the human ships wither and wane during the final battle. These moments, when viewed in a movie, really do fill up thousands of words in seconds where full pages might be used.


Where the movie is BETTER than the book

But shit, y’all, the movie was downright amazing when compared to the onslaught of production difficulties it had up against it. I ain’t much for “wishlist” critiques, where people go in with massive expectations, and then subsequently nitpick the movie to death because it didn’t live up to their bloated vision, as if that’s an actual dissection of the qualities the movie possesses. It’s tough in an adaptation because that’s often the focus – bringing the novel to a visual light with accuracy, but it’s just not possible most of the time with feature films.

The straight up amazing stuff the movie excelled at was in how they showcased the visuals. I was beyond pleased with the structure of the battleroom, the visual changes, and the zero-g combat. I loved Ender’s grace in battle and the look of the suits. The zoom in on the hardening of the muscle fibers was nutso, and despite a somewhat truncated emotional impact due to quickened pacing, the battles were intense and had me cheering for Ender like a decade-old hometeam. The actual Command School simulations were pretty damn jaw-dropping. I don’t know about y’all,  but I didn’t quite envision it like the movie did, and was pleased to see some gaps filled in for me. Every single time that I was witnessing the destruction of a human ship, I recoiled. I don’t usually feel that way about fictional characters, but the fact that I was watching a simulation of a story (the movie itself) and living vicariously as Ender whilst he lived a simulation made our experience interestingly equal. We both recognized the images before us as simulation, and yet are both deceived. It’s an interesting feeling to watch the final battle because as I knew they were real people the whole time, the knowledge that Ender didn’t know was in my head which made them feel all the more real. I think that this duel simulation of movie/Command School and audience/Ender made the discussion of death and winning-at-what-cost all the more impactful — dare I say even more impactful than the novel itself.

I don’t think I’ve had a similar contemplative emotion as in that particular final battle in any movie, so Kudos to that.

Minor Gripes and advocacy

With all that said, it stands to be mentioned that my main complaint, and others’ is that there justwasn’t enough of the movie. I, we, everyone, wanted more. I wanted to see more, stay with the characters more, and hear more of their thoughts. We didn’t get as much of that as we liked, and I’d say it’s a fairly large compliment that every character had a valuable on-screen presence. The only scene I remember watching and thinking that it was low impact was Valentine and Ender in the boat 2/3rds of the way through.

Obviously I want this movie to do well, as I hope we can see more of these amazing character. I want to see Valentine and Ender journeying through the galaxy. I want to see how Ender handles inter-species relations and quantum physics conundrums. I want to see Bean motherfucking step up like we all know he’s capable of, and I want to see how they manage to portray Achilles in the story. I want an Ender’s Shadow stand-alone movie in a couple of years, and I want the Ender’s Sage to continue with many of the cerebrally stimulating themes the wonderful books do. Likely speaking, we won’t be seeing any of this for a while, but I think I’ll go watch the movie in theaters once more so that I can at least say I tried to make it happen.

TL;DR

From my perspective as a hardcore Ender’s Sage fan who’s waited for a decade for the film… it was better than I could have ever hoped it to be. This certainly comes from the angle that I knew it was in production HELL and I very wisely managed my expectations of what a novel — > movie adaptation must change. I didn’t mind a single change that occurred, and was beyond blown away with how gracefully the complex thematic nature translated to the screen. They kept in what I consider the majority of themes and ideas (and even alluded to new ones via Speaker for the Dead) whilst focusing the story on Ender. The pacing was blisteringly fast, and my only complaint is that I just wanted to experience more of it. As a companion piece to one of my favorite novels, Ender’s Game is amazing. As a stand-alone movie, I think it tried a lot of interesting concepts and did a fairly good job given the short running time. It ain’t perfect, but it sure as fuck did the novel justice. Fans of the book should rejoice.

 

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Japanese businessman credited with transforming Nintendo into a world-leading video games company, has died aged 85.

Mr Yamauchi ran the firm for 53 years, and was its second-largest shareholder at the time of his death.

The company confirmed the news in an emailed statement.

A spokesman said the firm was in mourning over the “loss of the former Nintendo president Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning.”

He died of pneumonia at a hospital in central Japan, the company said, adding that a funeral will take place on Sunday.

Mr Yamauchi ran the company from 1949 until 2002.

In that time, he took what was a small-time collectable trading card company and built it into one of the most recognisable – and successful – video games brands today.

“Hiroshi Yamauchi transformed a run-of the-mill trading card company into an entertainment empire in video games,” said Ian Livingstone, co-founder of Games Workshop and former chairman of publisher Eidos.

“He understood the social value of play, and economic potential of electronic gaming. Most importantly he steered Nintendo on its own course and was unconcerned by the actions of his competitors. He was a true visionary.”

Rob Crossley, associate editor of Computer and Video Games magazine, told the BBC: “You cannot overestimate the influence the man had on the games industry.”

“He spearheaded Nintendo as they moved into the arcade business, with hits such as Donkey Kong.

“This man was the president of Nintendo during the NES, the SNES, the N64 and the Gamecube – the first two were transformative pieces of electronic entertainment.”

Household names

Mr Yamauchi took over at Nintendo after his grandfather suffered a stroke. After several years developing the firm’s existing trading card business, Mr Yamauchi turned to electronic entertainment.

Super Mario

He utilised the work of legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who had made Donkey Kong, as a way of breaking into the US arcade game market.

Mr Miyamoto’s later work was pivotal in the success of Nintendo’s home entertainment systems – titles such as Super Mario, Legend of Zelda and Starfox became commercial smashes and household names.

Mr Yamauchi stood down as president in 2002, taking a place on the firm’s board of directors. In 2005, he left the company entirely.

Since his departure, Nintendo has gone on to produce the hugely successful Wii console, but has floundered in the past 12 months due to disappointing sales of its latest effort, the Wii U.

Mr Yamauchi, one of Japan’s richest men, also used to own the Seattle Mariners major league baseball club before selling it in 2004 to Nintendo’s US-based operation.

world_of_warcraft_mists_of_pandaria_orgrimmar.0_cinema_720.0

 

Casual-centric features are necessary for the longevity of World of Warcraft, lead designer Tom Chilton told Polygon during this week’s Gamescom event in Germany.

Blizzard made its first major push to appeal to casual fans with last year’s release of expansion Mists of Pandaria, something that Chilton says has proven to be “very successful” for the company.

“We would have been in bad shape had we not done that,” he told us, acknowledging that many long-time players saw this move as a break from the MMO’s roots which focused on instances and raids. With reference to the originalWorld of Warcraft before the release of any expansions, Chilton said:

“People who played Vanilla always say ‘if it had stayed the same, I would have the same fun now as I did then.’ But that’s not true. Audiences always evolve,” he explained.

The studio worked to provide players with new experiences with the introduction of “dungeons, raiding, the introduction of accessible raiding,” with the adoption of casual features simply being another layer to this. Chilton did, however, acknowledge a lack of “new experiences for the hardcore audience,” stating it’s something that will be focused on at a later date and is likely something that will be introduced through future expansions.

Blizzard is no longer opposed to the idea of re-inventing the MMO as a free-to-play title, Chilton added, although the team is still unsure of the success rate of free-to-play games over time.

“For Blizzard it makes sense [to go free-to-play] at some point. But a lot of the risk is in making that transition. You hear stories about developers going free-to-play and getting double the number of players, but you don’t always know it works out that way and how long it stays that way. We really don’t know what the rate is before people drop off and lose interest.”

World of Warcraft‘s next major patch 5.4 is scheduled to release on Sept. 10.

Nintendo is developing a new Zelda game for the 3DS. In Japanese, the game is called The Legend of Zelda: Kamigami no Triforce 2. You probably remember the first Kamigami no Triforce game’s English title, A Link to the Past.

SEXPAND

The game will feature a new storyline, new puzzles, and new dungeons. Link will also have the ability to turn into a drawing on the wall to make his way around corners.

SEXPAND

The game will be out this holiday season in the West, and it will be out in early 2014 for Japan.

According to Nintendo’s US branch, it is “set in the world of A Link to the Past.” It currently does not have an English language title.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was originally released on the SNES in 1991. Many consider it one of the best Zelda games ever made.

 

I thought we were going to see this on big screen soon with all of the Avengers taking off . I was just itching for the other side , with DC . Superman is coming to theaters soon . And we don’t even get a sexy Wonder Woman to go along with it ? Well at least this particular adaptation can’t be seen by kids . Its going to be a porno parody on the heroine !via- Aintitcool

 

Axel Braun dropped this shot of Kimberly Kane as Wonder Woman in his WONDER WOMAN XXX: AN AXEL BRAUN PARODY

kimberleykaneww

With this game, I thee wed.

There have been numerous wedding proposals done via video game modifications, but actually building a game from scratch for the sole purpose of asking for someone’s hand? That’s a new level altogether.

A Redditor who goes by the name Marchaka has a pretty ideal girlfriend in Michele, as the two share a serious love of video games. That got the wheels in his head spinning when he decided to pop the question.

Using a $70 role-playing game maker called VX Ace, he built Michele’s Quest — a Final Fantasy-style title that consists of four acts and four boss battles.

After successfully completing each act, the player (Michele, obviously) is rewarded with an image showing the location of a real-world key. Sitting beside the computer Michele played on was a chest with four locks. When the fourth was unlocked, there was a note reading “turn around,” where she saw Marchaka on bended knee with the ring.

Not surprisingly, she said “yes.”

Michele’s Quest (Credit: Marchaka)

It took Marchaka — who only has a little programming experience — over 160 hours to create the game, which is filled with in-jokes and loads of video game references. And lest you think Marchaka spent the four hours it took Michele to complete the game standing over her shoulder, he even managed to plan ahead for that contingency as well.

“We had some guests over and so I tried to downplay it by cooking a big dinner for everyone,” he said. “I spent most of my time in the kitchen but how the place is designed I can see the computer from there. The guests pulled up chairs next to her and chimed in with commentary and jokes…took any tension out of it until the big moment.”

Marchaka’s proposal makes us think back to Gary Hudston’s elaborate proposal to his then-girlfriend Stephy. Working with the community and team members at Valve, he created a trio of levels for Portal 2 that eventually led to a proposal voiced by none other than GLaDOS (the game’s AI villain) herself.

As his story has gone viral, Marchaka has made the game available to anyone who wants to play it. Just don’t expect him to propose should you beat it. This one’s taken.

With the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney comes the end of era and the beginning of a new one.  Many projects that were in development have been shelved or canceled such as: “Star Wars: Detours,” and LucasArts “Star Wars: 1313″ video game. Weeks ago, a sorrowful announcement was made that the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” was coming to an end.

With the bad news of projects being canceled and layoffs going into effect, there is a ray of sunshine. Disney is taking the licensing in a new direction.  Not only are they ramping up and committing to three more Star Wars features, but Lucasfilm has teased that a new Star Wars animated series is in the works.

Rebel Force

RebelForceRadio.com had a chance to interview “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” supervising director, Dave Filoni, who revealed that he will be staying on at Lucasfilm Animation to help develop the next Star Wars animated series. During the interview, Filoni was asked if he’ll continue with animating the events and characters in the Star Wars universe, and he responded by saying,

“Well, that’s my plan!”

Filoni also states,

“(Star Wars is) obviously important to me and I’ve had a very great time working here. I’ve really helped build the animation division from when I got here and there were only a handful of people.”

Regarding recent events, he remarked,

“It’s a function of our industry… It’s not my favorite part. You can luckily grow things and bring on many talented people, but there become times when you have to shrink things as well. We happen to be in one of those times right now, but that just paves the way, hopefully, for new things and new creativity in the future.”

Filoni went on to explain,

“At this point, I am involved in some early production discussions and exploration of what we’ll be doing with Star Wars animation in the future, which is really exciting for me and I have some friendly faces around me, of course, that are helping me on the project. So it’s a transition time, as I’ve said before, and I think it will lead to an exciting time and hopefully I’ll see things grow again.”

Filoni couldn’t say much more about it, including what the show will focus on or when we’d see it, but if his track record is any indication, then it should be one exciting and fun filled series.

Sources: IGN, RebelForceRadio

This was originally posted by our friends over at Rock, Paper, Shoygun but we thought it was a powerful message and needed to be shared. Please give it a read.

 

There were two sessions in a row on Wednesday afternoon at this year’s GDC. The first was a panel of women in the games industry, discussing the causes and results of the #1ReasonWhyand #1ReasonToBe phenomena – the reasons to be and not be in the games industry. The second was Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian, talking about the positive and negative consequences of her Kickstarter campaign, and the way forward from here. I came out of the first – vivid, passionate declarations of purpose from the likes of Leigh Alexander, Mattie Brice and Brenda Romero – feeling certain that the industry and its audience was on a wave of significant change. An hour later I came out of the second – Sarkeesian’s challenging and demanding story of recent horror – re-grounded to the current reality, introspective, and further determined.

There is a clear message: Rock, Paper, Shotgun will never back down on the subject of sexism and misogyny (nor racism, nor homophobia, for that matter) in games, the games industry, and the games journalism industry. Good times are ahead – we can see them.

 

PREFIX

To remove the accusations of “linkbait”, I’ve put a complete version of this article on Pastebin– people are welcome to link to that instead should they wish to complain about it without providing us hits. And with this specific article you’re welcome to copy and paste the words anywhere you want, to avoid having to direct any traffic toward us. This is the best method I can think of to get away from the accusation. I want to communicate, not garner some hits on a graph.

PART ONE – IT MATTERS

Many women are mistreated and misrepresented within the games industry. It’s not a matter of opinion, a political position, or claim made to reinforce previous bias. It’s the demonstrable, sad truth. Ask women in the games industry – find out. That you may not perceive it does not mean it doesn’t exist. That you may not perpetuate it doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant to you. Whether you are male or female or identify anywhere between does not exclude you nor repudiate you from the matter. The amount to which you think it doesn’t exist is directly proportional to the amount to which you do not care that it exists. If you don’t care that it exists, I hope you are willing to be open-minded enough to try to empathise with others that do – at least give that a go. And if you care passionately about it, and feel offended by the tone of this piece as if it doesn’t acknowledge you, then I apologise, and hope you understand why.

I want to try to break down why people object to the discussion, why there is a concerted effort to deny the need for the discussion, and to explain how my own tangential role in it all has affected me. I want to do this because I want to dispel myths, raise awareness, and encourage others to speak out. For those who think such articles are “preaching to the choir”, were that true, I certainly want that choir to be bolstered, encouraged to sing louder and truer. Sadly it’s not entirely true, as is evidenced by the responses any such article receives on RPS. I want to speak to those people too.

So briefly, let’s observe the pervasive nature of sexism and misogyny (and we’re not going to get distracted by the debate over which is which) in the games industry, and in the reporting of it, with two examples from just the last fortnight.

There’s the ludicrously overt. Like a video from the 4th April by Machinima (this mirror now deleted due to “copyright”), featuring two women in skimpy outfits being electrocuted and spanked as they play Rock Band, described by a lecheroineineus narrator as “girl on girl action”, and showing their pink ass cheeks at the end. No, really. After outcry it was taken down by Machinima, but that doesn’t change that this is an industry in which such a video can be conceived, scripted, filmed, edited and produced, then uploaded, without anyone effectively challenging it. These extremes are not rare, not particularly unusual.

Then less in-your-face, arguably more insidious, is an article like Complex Tech’s “The 40 Hottest Women In Tech“. It is the most peculiar of pieces, seeming to want to appear as if it’s all a big misunderstanding, that by “hottest” they just meant, “ones to watch” or similar. Its introduction presents a straight-faced façade of how the technology industry has been a “boy’s club” for so long, thanks to an “unfortunate repercussion of the patriarchy”. “Here are,” they explain, “40 women we admire doing work in the field of innovation.” Oh, so the title was just a misunderstanding?! First entry, picture of Marina Orlova in a bra. Third, a shot looking down Courtney Boyd Myer’s bikini top. Jessica Chobot is described as “daringly beautiful”, whatever the crapping fuck that means. And the sum total of her achievements described are that she’s “proof that gamer girls are just as sexy we envision.” Jade Raymond is “The Canadian gaming beauty.” It’s language that would of course never be used when writing about men in tech. No man in the field is called “daringly handsome”. None is ever introduced based on their aesthetic appeal, but rather their personal achievements. This is the very patriarchy the article pretends to lament.

Both these examples are demonstrative of what a hostile, alienating industry gaming can be to so many. I think it’s interesting how the first example is more likely to be accepted by people as an example of something that’s unacceptable, and that the second is more likely to be dismissed. But both are equally powerful in communicating a simple message to women: this isn’t your place. Whether it’s being put off by the suggestion that a woman’s role in gaming is to be a physically harmed victim, or told that in order to be acceptable in tech you must first be “beautiful” – or at least be photographed in your underwear – the message is loud, and all-permeating. If you can’t see how it’s a problem that needs discussing, then you simply don’t give a shit. I’m asking people to start giving a shit.

PART TWO – PERSONAL THOUGHTS

More disclaimers are likely necessary here. Reasons why I’m writing this? Because I care about it. Because I am a part of it. And because it damned well matters. Reasons that aren’t why I’m writing this? A need to get laid, a desire to be liked by women, because I think women need me to defend them, and to win the approval of others. And for clarity, I’m using “gaming and women” as a short-hand term for “gaming’s representation of women, the industry’s treatment of women, and the media’s reporting of matters related to women”, and “women” to mean “anyone who identifies as female, no matter their biological sex.” Understood? Great.

Over the last six years of RPS, and in years previously for other publications, I’ve both given thought to, and written about, the subject of gaming and women. While my understanding of the subject remains severely limited, I’ve learned a fair amount over the fourteen years I’ve been doing this, and while I feel certain I’d be very embarrassed by how I’d have expressed things years back, my position is much the same: I like people, and I like it when people are treated well. I abhor it when people are treated badly. The root of my caring about this subject isn’t any more sophisticated than that.

In having written about the subject of women and games over the years, I’ve received a significant amount of abuse. (I’m not going to fret about saying, “But of course not as bad as…”, because of course it’s not as bad as…) Most of the abuse I receive is lazy insults, and until recently I tended to assume them fairly innocuous. Some has been extreme, such as forum threads dedicated to associating my name with acts of child molestation to skew Google results, personal threats, and deeply personal insults. All of it has one purpose: to intimidate. Whether the purpose of the intimidation is because the person wants to read about new screenshots for a game and not gender politics, or because they are violently defending their privilege, it’s always about intimidation.

It can fit into a variety of categories, but there’s always just that one intent. While a lot has been extreme, the majority just want the discussion to go away, and angrily tell me why I need to stop talking about it. And indeed the vast majority of the non-hostile communication takes the form of, “I just wish you’d stop talking about this.” But the thing is, that’s not okay, either.

Anita Sarkeesian, in her GDC talk “Equality, Or GTFO”, quoted a perfect metaphor for this, quoting Beverly Daniel Tatum’s moving walkway (those horizontal travelators you see at airports) idea from Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?. The gaming industry and those who write about it, she says, are stood on this moving walkway, always trundling toward the sexism and misogyny that infests throughout. There are of course those who march forward toward it, embracing it. But most, she says, are standing still. They don’t particularly desire or support it, but they also don’t want to think about it, discuss it, contest it. So they stand still, and in doing so, inexorably glide toward it.

The only way to make a difference, Sarkeesian argued, is to turn around and actively walk against the flow of the travelator. Something which is, it occurs to me, not easy. Not only are you walking against the flow of movement, but you’re also going to bump into everyone heading in the other direction. And some people are going to be hostile about this, especially if they think you might start a trend, start seeing others change direction, maybe even enough to see the direction of that walkway changed. The voluminous responses of wanting to talk about something else is a combined effort to stand still on that walkway, and that’s not something we’re willing to do.

Sarkeesian also talked about the responses men will receive when they’re the ones to walk the other way. A slide containing a selection of phrases that were all extremely familiar to me, that litter my Twitter comments, my inbox, and the comments on RPS articles and elsewhere across the internet:

“GAY/FAG”
“WHIPPED”
“MANGINA”
“PUSSY
“WHITE KNIGHT”
“TRYING TO GET LAID”

The first four rely on the recipient sharing the same prejudices as the deliverer of the insult, and as a result, in my case, are rather ineffective. I don’t have a vagina, but as a rule I don’t tend to object to others having them. I’m not gay, but don’t believe it would be negative if I were. So for me, with no background in those words having been used to torment me in the past, they bounce off. But those final two, they’re the ones. For those looking for tips for getting to me, there’s your angle. They’re insidious little phrases. They rely on a seed of irrelevant truth to permeate the conscious, to give me cause to hesitate before speaking.

I like getting laid! As it happens I have a wife who’s particularly good at it, and I’m fully compensated for in that department. But I still like getting laid. And I like it when people are attracted to me, even those who are not my wife. Because I’m a person. It feels good. It’s good to be liked.

And I like it when I can help others. I like being someone others can rely on, can trust to stand up for them when it matters, and to be there to support them when they need it. I don’t pretend that’s selfless – of course I get something out of it too. It’s a part of who I am.

Both phrases contain those truths. The accusation gets a grip because of them, causes me to hesitate, to pause as I write, to worry my motivations are wrong. And that’s their purpose. Generally the motivation for my writing any sort of polemic on RPS is because I’m angry about something – constructively angry about something a person should be angry about – and I want to see positive change. That’s what causes me to start typing, including this piece. But as I go along, those words creep in. “You’re just saying this to win the approval of others.” “You’re just trying to make girls like you.” “You think women need you to stand up for them.” And so on. They get to me. They’re getting to me right now. They’re evil spells, cast to insidiously infect.

I like it when people like me. I like it when people come up and compliment me. I like the approval of others. Because that’s normal. And I write this both to exorcise the infection those words cause, and to make it known to everyone else who feels the same that these are not words that should stop you from speaking up for what you know is right. They are words that will never silence RPS on these matters, and they should never silence you either.

It’s vital that men speak out about this subject. Mostly because it’s vital that people speak out, a unified voice with whatever genitals it may have, condemning cruelty and inequality. For some men, only another man’s voice will be heard. If you’re a fellow, and you object to the portrayal and treatment of women within gaming, start saying so. You will receive abuse. And I am sorry, because it’s not fair. It really damned sucks, and it gets to me, it weighs me down. But it’s so worthwhile.

Abuse is the natural response of anyone wishing to perpetuate a privilege that by its nature demeans or diminishes others. And receiving abuse is horrible. But so long as you surround yourself by others who will support and care for you, it’s worthwhile. The louder the united voice, the more effective it is. So long as people remain silent, they provide a safe space for the cruel and oppressive to speak. When it’s clear that such behaviour is not tolerated in a space, it’s harder for it to be heard. And look at the positive change that’s already been seen. The positive change is why there’s a fight. Things are already getting so much better.

PART THREE – WHAT NOT TO WRITE

So here is a handy guide for replies to this wider discussion that just aren’t acceptable on RPS. Each is, in its own way, an attempt to derail or silence discussion. Each should be avoided at all costs, and certainly not responded to. Let’s create a space where these responses just don’t get a reaction, so we can no longer be a platform for those determined to prevent this industry from moving forward.

“Why are you writing about feminism on a GAMING site?”

This question, like so many objecting to any discussion of the lack of equality in the industry, betrays itself immediately. When a publisher issues financial results and we report on them, we don’t see, “Why are you writing about economics on a GAMING site?” When there’s discussion of the effects of violence on players, we don’t read, “Why are you writing about sociology on a GAMING site?” It’s only when the gaming-related subject is the portrayal or treatment of women do such people become enraged by any post that isn’t literally describing the content of a particular videogame.

And to answer the question: because it’s relevant, and it matters. 50% of gamers are women, and around 20% of “hardcore” gamers are women. While the majority of RPS’s readers are men, that’s not something we’re proud of. (Many gaming sites strive for this, as it performs well with advertisers. We would prefer breadth.) We write for a global audience, and we aim not to presume whom our reader might be. We know that matters affecting women affect our audience, whatever their sex, and we know they affect the games industry we cover. We believe in equality, and when we are aware of inequality in the industry upon which we report, it is relevant for us to cover, and we believe important to highlight.

“What happened to this site? You used to write about GAMES.”

This is obviously one of the more strange responses, yet certainly among the most prolific. At least 95% of the posts on RPS are directly about games themselves, as is obvious to anyone looking at it. Posts related to matters regarding women make up the tiniest percentage of our output, and it’s obviously nonsense to make the claim above.

“You’re just trying to be a white knight/get laid.”

I go a lot more into this response in my personal thoughts above, but the short version is: er, no. Personally, I’m happily married thanks. And I see no damsels to rescue. I just have the bare dregs of empathy for human suffering. And that’s apparently some kind of problem?

This particular response is designed to undermine the writer, not only suggesting that caring about equality is something inherently driven by a desire for sex/validation, but that the very idea of caring at all is so unrealistic. Either the accuser cannot conceive of the notion of caring about another’s rights independently of one’s own gratification, or they are so fearful of the potential of equality that they’re driven to undermine those who argue for it. Either way, if you’re typing the words “white knight”, you’re revealing more about your own peculiar understanding of how humans interact than anything else.

“Why don’t you talk about men’s issues?”

First of all, the question presumes the peculiar notion that writing about women’s issues precludes our writing about men’s. That’s obviously ridiculous. And secondly, sadly the question is generally used dishonestly.

There are issues that affect men, and often men who are the target demographic of gaming. Suicide is an especially serious example, and it’s something RPS has covered, and expressed concern over. Our caring about equality in the games industry, and in the portrayal of women, does not exclude our caring about matters affecting men. Obviously.

However, the question is generally designed to derail. It’s often as relevant as asking, “Why don’t you talk about digital download re-sales?” at the end of an article about the troubles of pre-ordering. Sure, why don’t we? Good thing to talk about. Not really a pertinent question in this instance. And that’s the idea – by asking this broad, presumptive question, the aim is to distort the discussion from the matter at hand, which in turn further leaves the matter at hand undiscussed. By the time you’re having tiresome arguments about whether male characters being shown as successful and strong is harmful to men, you’re no longer discussing the fact that scantily clad women are being used to sell videogames. That’s the ultimate aim of the question.

“I know a girl who thinks X, so you are wrong.”

This angle is generally used to argue against anything that is said to misrepresent women, or to represent women in a bad way. This known girl, fictional or real, likes it, so why does anyone have a problem? The argument oddly presumes that a matter is only of concern if women are exclusively and unanimously against it. Men’s views are irrelevant, and indeed all other views are irrelevant, because there’s this one girl who thinks… This is about as useful an argument as someone’s claiming homoeopathy works, against all abundant evidence, because their mum’s knee felt better.

“People are exaggerating on both sides.”

This, and many variants on it, are all about pretending to want to bring “balance” to the argument, in order to prevent its taking place at all. It’s dishonest, based on unexplained, undefined notions of exaggeration, perhaps if pressed illustrated by a single example that likely only emphasises the faux-diffuser’s prejudice. As and when people exaggerate in any debate, it’s great to call people out on it. People called out the issues in a recent post I put on RPS about gender wage gaps, which one could describe as exaggeration. That’s a good thing to do. It, however, has no bearing on the facts that there are problems that need to be dealt with, and the line is usually employed when trying to ensure nothing is allowed to change.

“It’s just a bit of fun.”

When I undermine you in front of your boss, lie about you behind your back, and play cruel tricks on you, it’s just a bit of fun! Oh, wait, those things aren’t fun because they’re happening to you? Gosh, imagine if such a perspective were available when other things that other people don’t like are happening to them? But no, it’s just a bit of fun, then. They should just get over it.

CONCLUSION

We’re going to keep banging this drum. And we will bang the drums against racism, transphobia and homophobia. The concerted efforts from both pissed off individuals, and organised groups from elsewhere on the internet, will not be effective. The vast majority of our readers are in favour of this coverage, and even if they weren’t, we’d continue. This matters, and we give one hell of a damn about it. We want to see gaming a place of equality, both in its creation, creations, and coverage.

We do not believe that in any resulting greater equality anyone will suffer. Gamers will not lose out. Call Of Duty will still be released every November, with angry soldier men shouting “FUCK!” as they shoot down a helicopter. That isn’t going to go away. Instead we fight for greater variety in those resulting games. And we fight for safer, more friendly spaces in which they can be created. And we fight for a media that celebrates equality, and discourages cruelty and inequality. When anything gets in the way of that, we’re going to say so.

Such coverage will continue to be a tiny, tiny fraction of what we write about. RPS will continue to be primarily about the games themselves, as it always has been. Still no one’s rights will be infringed by our writing about inequality. And we will carry on. We aren’t going to be bullied into silence, or shamed into shyness. And if you don’t want that, then we implore you to scroll past or read another site.

I envision a future where the gaming world is balanced. Where this shared pursuit no longer alienates half of the population, but is equally embracing. This year’s GDC was one of optimism, a recognition that change is already well under way, and a belief that it is a gathering pace. It is to this that RPS looks, and it’s going to be great! There’s lots of work to be done, there are obstacles to combat along the way, but it’s worth it. We’re getting there.

SUFFIX

The comments are off on this post. This is a reference post, a place we can point people toward to understand our position. I am not willing to let this post become yet another platform for the people who wish to silence this debate. On this occasion I have no desire to publicly put up with the invasive ignorant spite and fearful anger that will be littered amongst the usual excellent comments from our fantastic readers. This is not an attempt to stifle discussion – RPS provides ample opportunity for it, and will continue to do so. If you want to communicate your thoughtful disagreement or unpleasant bile, my email address is at the top of this page, where your remarks will receive an audience of one. So please do use it. I will read and consider everything.

Main image by Official GDC
Megaphone photo from John W. Schulze
“Up” cartoon by Sam Brown/Exploding Dog
Drum by Diranda

The Sun is reporting that Matt Smith, the current actor playing The Doctor, may regenerate into his twelfth incarnation this Christmas. Apparently bosses already have someone in mind to replace him.

According to their sources, Matt Smith, currently playing the title role on Doctor Who, may exit the show in this year’s Christmas special. Also, the bosses might have someone already in mind to replace the actor. Matt’s contract apparently expires in November, but they say he won’t renew it. Last week, during an interview with Jonathan Ross, Smith didn’t commit to anything beyond Christmas, stating that “I am very happy doing it. I do the anniversary special, then the Christmas special. At the moment it’s 2013 and we will see what 2014 holds.” According to the Sun the actor told his bosses that he wants to leave at Christmas. 


BBC stated last night the following: “Sorry folks but even we don’t know what’s going to happen at Christmas. It’s not been written yet! But Matt loves the show and is to start filming the unmissable 50th anniversary, and the new series starting on Easter Saturday.”

As of right now, take this with a grain of salt, as BBC or anyone related with the show’s production has to either confirm or deny this. If this is indeed supposed to happen, who do you think should be the twelfth Doctor? Sound off your ideas in the comment section below!

rapid

RapidShare will soon initiate a massive overhaul of its service, and free users are going to have to look elsewhere for bottomless file hosting. The company is going to cap free accounts at 5GB of space, and anything that’s currently stored on its servers beyond that limit will be deleted starting on April 3.

Warnings will be emailed out to users who are exceeding their 5-gig allowance. They’ll then have 24 hours to pare things down to an acceptable level on their own, pay for additional storage, or sit back and let RapidShare delete whatever files it deems necessary.

There are several paid options that will ensure your files remain untouched. For 10€ per month RapidShare provides 250GB of space, and you can double up to 500GB for twice the price. There’s also a discount if you pre-pay for a year. Folks with more than half a terabyte stored are probably going to end up paying market rate. TorrentFreak was told that 2TB of storage would cost around 120€ (about $155), which is about what you’d pay if you were hosting the same files onAmazon’s S3 platform.

Why the change? RapidShare is clearly trying to polish up its image. In the wake of theMegaUpload takedown, cloud locker services around the globe have taken a much more cautious approach to file hosting — particularly when it comes to bulk uploads. Capping free accounts at a relatively scant 5GB and pushing paid accounts will certainly make RapidShare look slightly less adversarial to copyright groups like the MPAA and RIAA.

However, the change has already irked plenty of RapidShare users — and not just holders of free accounts. Paid RapidPro members have begun canceling accounts and demanding refunds, and they’re now being told that a 15€ admin fee will be assessed. RapidShare traffic has been dropping steadily since the company began tweaking its policies last year, and this latest news isn’t going to stop the slide.