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GG on GG: The Problems with GamerGate

[Editor’s note: Given the touchy nature of this article’s subject, and the very real instances of harassment that have been connected to those involved with it, comments will be disabled. While normally we encourage a wide variety of viewpoints, including ones we may not agree with, to be shared on our posts we do not want to risk the safety of our readers, community members, or contributors. However it would be irresponsible of us to not comment on the issue at all, both as an LGBT-focused gaming site and as a gaming site at all. For anyone who has been lucky enough to avoid the GamerGate story thus far, here is a recap via the Washington Post that manages to cover things.]

I want to open with a nice, objective statement that I can be sure won’t dissuade specific groups of people from reading on ahead, taking the time to read what I’m saying, and critically engaging with the points I’m raising: but to be honest, fuck GamerGate, and fuck the people who choose to align themselves with it in spite of all the horrendous things it’s been responsible for.

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bayonetta

Bayonetta: The Great Exception?

We first got to know Bayonetta through her vagina.

“You want to touch me?” was the key question asked during the 2008 TGS trailer for Platinum Games and Hideki Kamiya’s rapid-fire action game. We had only seen glimpses of this tall, lithe, tight black suit-wearing amazon in the debut teaser for her self-titled adventure before then. She had only a few seconds of feline-esque combat acrobatics before bending backward and allowing the camera to sweep luxuriously through her legs for an extreme crotch close up.

The perpetually offended reactionary element of the game community launched into a predictable campaign of outrage that lasted about as long as the game’s media campaign. The game, its developers, and the character were decried as the latest example of a sexist caricature created to pander the juvenile fantasies of the lowest common denominator. When the game launched, however, and people got their hands on it, many of the voices quieted. There was something about this ass-kicking goddess with the librarian glasses that made her somehow immune to the same criticisms of your Mai Shiranuis and your Ivy Valentines.

The years since have only been kinder to Bayonetta’s special status among salacious video game heroines. The gay community in particular has adopted the character as a sort of icon. So what is it about this near hedonistic woman in gunboots that has made her largely exempt from vocal sexist critique, in spite of her exhibitionist love affair with any nearby cameras?

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Okami

Specialized Interaction: Okami And Castlevania

Originally posted at The Christian Write.

Previously I went into detail about specialized interactive items and elements, such as Link’s ocarina from Ocarina of Time and the various mini games in the Bioshock series, and when it would be appropriate to implement them in a game. Now I’d like to take a look at successful – and not so successful – implementation in greater detail using Capcom’s Okami and Konami’s Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow for examples. (Incidentally, I have zero idea if there’s an industry-standard name for these elements, so if anyone knows please clue me in.)

Both games used a specialized interactive item mechanic that amounted to the player drawing shapes on the screen. However, the inputs were not equal in their execution. Both Okami and Dawn of Sorrow were high quality games that were very well received by audiences, but their respective innovative item mechanics could not have been more different in reception. In short, painting with Okami’s Celestial Brush was successful, while drawing the magic seals was a “failure”, subjectively speaking. So why did Okami succeed while Dawn of Sorrow failed?

Let’s take a look at the Celestial Brush from Okami first.

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Okami Painting

When To Add Specialized Interactive Game Elements

 GayGamer vet Christian takes a deeper look at gaming mechanics and shares some of his thoughts about interactive design in part one of a two part piece. Originally posted at The Christian Write

One of the goals of a good video game is to immerse the player in the world that s/he is playing in, to feel connected to the events on-screen, and as if the world is not only real but one that they have their own unique impact on. This was harder to do in the older days when the technology was new and interaction was limited to pressing one or two buttons, but as consoles and computers have become more and more powerful the capabilities for immersion have grown. The Oculus Rift as well as Sony’s Project Morpheus immediately come to mind by providing enhanced visual immersion, but before quality stereoscopic technology video games tried other methods to get the player more absorbed into the world.

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