Baroque is Real
Oh gosh look! It’s my review of the body horror roguelike Baroque! I talk about how roguelikes are really good at telling stories! And how you can let players figure stuff out on their own and everything will be fine and great! Take a look~
(I wrote this thing on the Persona series recently on my notebook. I liked it enough to crosspost it here.)
so i’m playing persona 1 for the psp, a game by atlus. it’s an offshoot of the series “shin megami tensei,” which is mostly about hitting on demons. persona is about the many aspects and faces that reside within all of us…and hitting on demons.
demon courting aside, i really dig the first game. the premise of the persona series is that, when you’re threatened, you can draw on the power of your persona, a supernatural being within you, to fight for and protect you. there are somewhere around a hundred possible personae to control.
persona 3 and 4 mark a really distinct shift in the series in almost every way (i haven’t played 2), but the contrast i want to point out here is this:
Vidiot Issue #9, Sep / Oct 1982 - A Young @NancyHeartMusic & @AnnHeartMusic from @officialheart about to smash a Space Duel machine. They’re not “vidiots” apparently. Wonder if they still feel that way…
Follow oldgamemags on Tumblr for more awesome scans from yesteryear!Literally what???
Hello, this is Ann and Nancy Wilson reminding you to kill every video game
Castlevania: Interior Decoratoria of Decadence (2002)
ngl though i think saki might be my favourite otome heroine ever and here’s why
This Monday, GameSpot editor Carolyn Petit published her review of the greatly-anticipated Grand Theft Auto 5. While the review is fundamentally positive, Petit did not shy away from the more questionable elements of GTAV: inconsistent characterization, ill-executed political messages, and an atmosphere of profound misogyny. In particular, Petit cited the portrayal of the game’s few female characters (depicted as laughable new-age feminists, housewives, and sex workers) and a proliferation of offensive in-game advertising (such as fragrances that would let consumers “smell like a bitch”). In the end, GTAV received a 9/10 and an Editor’s Choice award from GameSpot - but apparently, that wasn’t enough.
The responses to Petit’s article are myriad. Many have been supportive. Many others have been abusive - questioning Petit’s “agenda”, her qualifications and objectivity as a reviewer, and even calling for her resignation. Rather than responding to each fallacious argument, FNVG will point you in the direction of several articles that dovetail with our subject matter.
"It is Petit’s job as a video game reviewer to make observations about video games - whether it is gameplay, story or graphics - and to praise and/or offer criticism accordingly to inform the reader to the best of her ability. It would be unprofessional for Petit to not mention the sexism she found in the game.” Fruzsina Eördögh responds to claims that Petit’s review was politically or emotionally biased.
"Humor, just like anything else, isn’t meaningful unless it risks enough to actually say something. […] The self-proclaimed iconoclasts of contemporary humor have become, in fact, shills for the status quo, selling their shameless endorsement of it as edgy and subversive." Mammon Machine explores the true meaning of satire, and how some humor fails to qualify.
"Loyalty to the product is unwavering. Inherent to this unidirectional wave of unchecked enthusiasm is the tendency to wipe out, drown, tear down or eradicate anything that stands in opposition." Kris Graft addresses a consumerist culture that demands validation above critique.
Further reading: GTAV lets players to touch strippers, Dan Houser claims that the game is a critique of masculinity.
“Grand Theft Auto V Review.” (Carolyn Petit, GameSpot.com) 16 Sept. 2013.
“Game Reviewer Does Her Job by Pointing Out Sexism in GTA 5, Is Pilloried for It.” (Fruzsina Eördögh, Medium) 17 Sept. 2013.
“This Isn’t About Grand Theft Auto V.” (Kris Graft, Gamasutra) 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.
“Penny Arcade and the Slow Murder of Satire.” (Mammon Machine) 3 Sept. 2013.
A few years ago, I decided to go to a counselor. It was expensive and not the most transformative experience, but I did get clued in on an interesting book: Coming Out of Shame by Gershen Kaufman and Lev Raphael.
I know zero things about psychology or the authors’ placement and reputation within the field, but the book has an endorsement from Greg Louganis on the cover, so it’s probably legit!
Coming Out of Shame starts from a theoretical base laid down by Silvan Thompkins, who is responsible for the development of Affect Theory. That wiki page says that it hasn’t seen widespread adoption in individual psychotherapy, but it has shown up in the work of queer theorists Eve Sedgwick and Lauren Berlant. If nothing else, these four authors who deal with queer subject matter feel it has some kind of explanatory usefulness in their work.
The idea is that there are a series of “affects” (emotions) common to all people. Affects are something that we both experience subjectively and display physically in grins, tears, expressions of disgust, rage, shame. Positive affects whet one’s appetite for more of whatever stimulus produced them. Negative affects do the opposite, and can mute our desire to do or continue with something we might otherwise enjoy.
One of the things that the book discusses in the first chapter is the role of shame in the socialization of gender:
Expressions of two affects in particular, anger and excitement, have been traditionally shamed for women in America, whereas expressions of fear, distress (crying), and shame have received parallel shaming for American men. Through shaming from an early age, men are actively dissuaded from crying openly, being visibly afraid, and lowering their eyes or head in shame—which is why men experience these affects as a sign of weakness. What becomes particularly shameful and taboo for women to express, on the other hand, is anger. Angry women, like angry girls, are viewed pejoratively: She’s being irrational, hysterical. Women are also shamed for expressing excitement, and it is this pernicious shaming that is the source of the cultural disparagement of the “tomboy”—the girl who openly expresses excitement or seeks out excitement-producing activities.
My experience of being socialized as male jibes with the above paragraph. I can’t speak to the experience of being a woman or being socialized as one, but it’s common enough to hear women speaking out on the double-standard they face when it comes to simple assertiveness, let alone anger.
With that in mind, it’s striking that one of the main points of interaction in the PSP otome game Sweet Fuse revolves around the protagonist Saki’s anger. At points in the story, when someone steps out of line, the screen begins to go red and her internal monologue gets more and more irate. At this point, she can choose to get mad or calm down.
What’s more, getting mad has overwhelmingly positive results for Saki. The only time getting mad has been clearly a bad thing to do was during a challenge that involved keeping one’s heart rate down while being faced with stressful situations. In every other situation I’ve encountered so far, you demand and receive better treatment for yourself or your companions. In at least one case, it’s even necessary to avoid one of the bad endings.
It’s not exactly groundbreaking to have women relate to their surroundings on emotional terms, or be characterized by their emotions, but Saki’s expressions of anger are always at her discretion. It’s closer to Dorothy cowing the Cowardly Lion with a slap to the face and a stern lecture than Maya Herrera of the TV show Heroes involuntarily radiating a wave of psychic murder when she gets upset.
The other big point of interaction in the game focuses on Saki’s sudden, life-saving flashes of insight. When her companions reach an impasse in their puzzle-solving, Saki restates the situation in her head and the player is asked to pick out three keywords that represent promising avenues of further exploration. In every case I’ve encountered so far, pointing out some overlooked clue or alternate interpretation of a hint makes the difference between life and death for her party.
I’m not really qualified to go much deeper than that, but I liked the way the game consistently rewards Saki for honoring her feelings when mistreated and demanding better.
This woman stands on the circuit board.