Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Archive for the ‘Diamond in The Rough Articles’ Category

Diamond in the Rough Column: Nervousness

Posted by deckard47 on December 12, 2009

My latest GSW article is up right here. It’s the second part in a soon-to-be three part series of articles on sexuality in games, but specifically in the not-so-new Prince of Persia and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. This one serves as a bridge between the first and third articles (oddly enough) and focuses more generally on sex in games. For a lot of you readers, it may seem kind of unambitious and obvious, but it felt like it belonged in this series, so that’s that. Here is an excerpt from the article, as always, to entice those not already convinced of the article’s excellence by its Aladdin-based moniker. Enjoy:

Video game designers, PR companies, and gamers are deeply worried about sex.

Now hear me out: the average “mainstream” game is both obsessed with a peculiarly fragmented (but extremely popular in mainstream culture) version of hypersexuality, and deathly afraid of more realistic, meaningful sexual connection. There’s a reason our games are filled with snarling, emotionless (aside from their totally straight love for their buddies) bros and women being crushed under the weight of their hypersexualized characterization.

People are very worried about sex. The worry may vary in its shape, orientation, and direction, but it is still something that makes a lot of people very nervous. They’re very worried about thinking about sex. They’re worried that thinking about sex, or consuming certain representations of sex will show them to be any of a number of deviant, unpopular, stigmatized representations of sexuality (or worse, to be party to those sexualities themselves).

Video games culture (at its most “hardcore”) is, after all, already a shunned, de-masculinized (in the public eye) subset of white guy culture. White men who are dorks or gamers have struggled to build up some new brand of masculinity (which will never be as good, white, and manly as proper mainstream masculinity, and white guy geeks know this) around their deplored hobby, and, as always, once they solidified that identity, they needed a new Other, a new group to define as being less than and harmful to the grand, old tradition of white male gaming. In the kingdom of the white gamer, anyone obviously not white and/or male, or anyone professing to enjoy sexuality not strictly in line with white heterosexuality is both a worry and a threat.

Already I see things I wish I’d written differently or changed (for instance, “anyone professing to enjoy sexuality” should be “anyone professing to enjoy or regularly partake in,” or anyone who is suspected of enjoying and partaking in,” obviously), so forgive me if it fails in places. I am ever endeavoring to mend my ways. Until the next post.


Posted in Diamond in The Rough Articles | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Diamond in the Rough Article: Sexualization in Prince of Persia

Posted by deckard47 on November 25, 2009

I am still a bit embarrassed about that title. Oh well, I’m sure it pleases a small subsection of my audience.

So there is a new Game Set Watch article up (by me!). It’s about the new Prince of Persia, sexualization in games (but especially Prince of Persia), and it is the lead-in for two more articles, that will follow shortly in its wake. I do hope you will be entertained, at least, while reading it. Here, for you reading pleasure, is a bit from the article:

But that’s just the beginning of it, as shown in the above quote. People really don’t like the Prince because he’s a dude. Now, I don’t mean like The Dude. I don’t mean like Dude Where’s My Car. I mean he’s the kind of guy who (when he isn’t philosophizing with a princess or being chased by evil gods) wants nothing more than money, drink, and companionship of his preferred sex.

And this pisses off a lot of people. It doesn’t piss them off because the hero is a heteronormative jerk who spends the first few hours of the game mocking someone who saves his life at regular intervals. Likewise, no one speaks out about the game’s simplistically written, stereotypically plotted Concubine, a woman scorned, of course, who takes her revenge in the throatiest voice possible. Is this what a powerful woman in a game is, especially when compared to the far from reprehensible Elika?**

This last should not be taken as a statement that the Prince is not an attractive (potentially) character to some players. In fact, to simply say that the Prince is an ass, therefore he is not worthy of the story/Elika/our time is reductive and misleading. It may be a common, annoying trope that the asshole is really a Nice Guy (and stems from a problematic assumption about male relationships with perspective female partners), but that, again, is not what people find alarming.

Posted in Articles, Diamond in The Rough Articles | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »