PixieJenni talks GamerGate with both 'sides'

Game Reviews and Pushing Agendas (part 3)

on September 12, 2014

Some answers may have been merged – ie, where I’ve been given the same link/article/answer multiple times, I will just include link with a note of how many people answered with this in the format: [article](x5)

Some answers may not be included if they misunderstood the question – they may instead have moved to ‘bonus’ as a section. Will highlight if that is the case.

People are anon if they didn’t explictly say “call me x”. Email me again if you want to change that 🙂Anon referencing consistent within this topic, but not with others.

1. What do you count as “pushing an agenda”? Can you give me an example?

@xenomorphica: “Again, can’t give you an example because I refuse to go to these shitter websites, but gamergate twitter tag is full of screenshots of them. Anything remotely tied to 3rd wave/rad fem is inherently agenda pushing. The minute an article is throwing around words like privilege or misogyny or sexism, it’s pushing an agenda. Claiming a lack of female representation for example, is a common clickbait agenda pushing article. If you try to talk about it with these morons, they don’t know literally any of the women you mention – whether they’re industry vets or whether they’re characters from games.

Literally everything professional victim #1 has ever done, is agenda pushing. It’s got no basis in fact, it’s got no objectivity, it’s someone starting with a predetermined opinion then seeking a way to validate that opinion by cherrypicking or by viewing things a specific way. The minute these people don’t know who michiru yamane or miki higashino are, or even well known characters like aya brea, alys brangwin or lenneth are, they should be forcibly removed from the industry for both not knowing shit about video games, and for poor, badly researched articles.
As with a lot of the rest of the answers, if it has NOTHING to do with the actual video game, it’s generally agenda pushing.

Also anything that mentions the word ‘trope’ these days generally turns out to be pushing an agenda. A trope isn’t an inherently bad thing, and anyone that says otherwise is an idiot.”


Anon22: “Broadly speaking, it would be the constant and out of place expression of a series of related content. Let’s say I go xyz.com for game reviews. Reviewer X has put up a piece on Call of Duty or some other game. Reviewer X hates George Bush. HATES him. However, the site is about videogames, not his/her views on the former president. So let’s suppose that the game has a character in the game that pronounces “nuclear” funny, but doesn’t really play a major role in the game. Here’s the breakdown as I see it:
Agenda pushing: Reviewer X spends a sizable portion of the review talking about how the devs are wrong for including this bit character and that the game should be condemned for the character’s inclusion. Other areas or overlooked or glossed over due to this.
Not agenda pushing: Reviewer X mentions the character is present within the game if he feels it is necessary to the reader’s enjoyment of the game. Preferably this would be presented in a manner in which the mentioning of the character would be in context with the rest of the review. “While playing through, I encountered [character] who has a uncanny resemblance with a former president. I do not agree with this character’s inclusion within the game and would prefer if the developers would refrain from doing so in the future.” Just mention that the object of issue is present. You are welcome to bring it to my attention if you feel it is important to my experience, but do not tell me how to feel about something.”


Anon23: “Game reviews are not as much a victim of this as you might think, but let’s use a recent example. Dragon’s crown, was called Sexist and Misogynistic. This assumes some very dangerous thoughts. It assumes the creators, and by extent the buyers of the game, are woman haters, it also assumes that the creators treat women differently. This is a type of guilt shaming, only being pushed on a massive group for simply liking what essentially amounts to a game having overly exaggerated characters and characterization. The agenda being pushed is actually to try and decrease sales of something you do not like.

Another example of Agenda pushing would be a movie example Ender’s Game. The movie, as opposed to being judged for what it was, and how it portrayed itself, was instead getting people to try and feel guilty and shamed by seeing something that was inspired by the work of someone with anti LGBTQ+ agendas. As opposed to critiquing the movie, it became about how the creator was something. And supporting it makes you something of an anti LGBTQ+ person. It poisons the entire thing.

This is not the Gamergate movement ideals however as far as I know. This is strictly personal opinion.”


Anon24: “Anita’s entire video series is a perfect example. I don’t know if everyone realizes that she made these to be used in classrooms, but those videos are propaganda by definition. She says that her points are “researched backed” but provides no sources. Information of a biased or misleading nature used to promote or publicize a particular point of view is wrong and she did it anyway. Granted, her videos aren’t related to these games media sites in their creation, but they were pushed by a lot of them after they released. See Kotaku, Gamasutra, etc.”


Anon25: “I guess you can take the whole “Gamers are dead” debacle. Trying to paint gamers as a group of white, women hating, men and blame them for not letting women into gaming. Which turned out to be a huge failure (atleast from where I see it) when women, “people of color” (I hate that nomer) and LBTQ people started #notyourshield.
It is ok to talk about inequallity, when it exists, but don’t try to invent problems and start hate.”


2. Do you think there are any “agendas” that are okay to push in game reviews, or not at all?

@xenomorphica: “Probably not. Do you have any examples? I can’t think of any that wouldn’t annoy me. It’s a video game, it’s not real life, it doesn’t affect what anyone does in real life no matter how much people may claim it does against all evidence. That’s not to say games, like any other media, can’t use issues from reality within them. That’s entirely up to the creator and their vision for it, but to try and change reality through video games is moronic. It’s not even like it’s equal, if we go with the radfem vs mra style shit; I don’t see mra shit agenda pushing in video games, trying to censor people and get shit changed, or claiming it’s damaging to x/y/z completely unfounded. I do however see publications, journalists, or companies flat out stating WE ARE FEMINIST AND WE WILL PUSH THAT AGENDA.

Feminism has no goddamn place in the first world any more, it’s all perceived slights and desperate clawing to find anything to complain about, constantly trying to complain that science and facts and academia are sexist and setting up its own institutions, which publish inaccurate, doctored or falsified ‘facts’ or ‘statistics’ to allow them to keep complaining about nothing.

So long story short, yeah, fuck agendas completely.”


Anon22: “If your site’s basis is on that agenda, sure. If your site is general reviews, no. I know what I’m getting into if I go to republicangamers.biz, sites that bill themselves to the general gamer should remain general.”


Anon23: “There are many games that push an agenda in and of themselves. For example the game Remember Me had it’s creators fighting to keep their protagonist a woman, the Agenda they were pushing was one to keep the integrity of their creation intact. Would it have been right for we “Misogynistic Sexist” gamers to tell them that they must comply and make a male protagonist instead? Simply put, most gamers would have done no such thing. The game still got made though, and tragically, the studio who made it went bankrupt due to poor sales. Even though the surrounding controversy about publishers trying to remove the female protagonist should have got huge support from the feminist agenda, the game sold worse then a game known as Duke Nukem Forever. A game almost universally loathed, even by me, one of it’s owners. I happen to own both games. Gamers want all games to exist generally speaking. What we do not want, is the change of existing franchises. We like those existing franchises, and to change those franchises could make us like that franchise less, or it might not. We simply can not know. Once again, this is personal opinion.”


Anon24: “Political agenda in my opinion has no place in a game review at all. It’s a game review and not a podium. This is not the reviewers place to provide his social/political commentary. If a website wants a separate section in which contributors discuss these things then that is an entirely different and acceptable thing. Social discussion is good. Let’s not confuse GG asking for this to be removed from reviews as us asking for it to be silenced. Although I do recognize that GG for the most part is sick of the social/political pandering in its entirety. I could personally take it or leave it. I follow politics every day; games news for me is the last place I want to have a political discussion.”


Anon25: “None. Really. Save that for an editorial piece. And I actually have to point at Totalbiscuit here, just to prove that he isn’t infallable. There have been games (can’t remember which one) where he talked about micro payments and how bad they are. I do agree with him, but it should have been saved for a separate video. (I can have mixed him up with someone else, but I’m pretty sure it was TB.)”


3. Do you have an issue with any of these three things, and if so (or if not), why?

  • Statement a: “I think this game has poorly designed female body types and it’s somewhat sexist in how it portrays them” -> Game changes body types
  • Statement b: “I think this game has poorly designed weaponry and I find it very boring and unintuitive” -> Game changes weapons
  • Statement c: “I think this game has made poor choices in promoting actual weapons and linking to arm manufactures in doing so and it’s glorifying war by doing this” -> Game changes weapons


“All 3 in the sense that it’s people trying to change someone’s creative vision, but b does have some merit as an actual point. It’s about the game, it’s to improve gameplay. If there’s evidence for that, then it’s a valid criticism and if the designer wants to change it they can. Ideally, they would just add MORE weapons to give people a choice of playstyle rather than change what’s already there.
Points a and c have no validity to them, as before because video games are not reality. Anything that is about their effects on reality rather than on the video game itself has zero merit. Glorifying war is stupid, being as since the days of D&D we’ve been killing shit. Nor can anyone talk shit about video games glorifying war whilst people dive into other countries and kill people, or support people who do, spend huge amounts of money on military budgets etc. Sexism is also nonsense because finding a woman attractive isn’t sexism, having an unrealistic body type isn’t sexist because it’s not meant to be real, it’s a video game. I haven’t ever seen a character who looks like me, some fucking weird skinnyfat monstrosity. Normally the claims of sexism are followed with ‘blahblah societal views male gaze women feel bad for not looking that way’. Is it sad that women aren’t happy with their appearance? Sure. Is it sad I’m not happy with mine? Sure. But it’s got shit all to do with video games, so who cares.”



Statement a: “This is a valid criticism. However, the reviewer should examine if the point of issue is part of the game’s aesthetic/world or a point of deliberate malice as having an issue with this is a matter of personal taste that will vary from person to person. This is not an easy thing to do, but interpreting artistic vision is part of the job of the reviewer. If the body types were egregious and likely malicious, then changing them would be warranted.”

Statement b: “If this is the consensus of the game’s larger audience, then the change is likely a good thing. Games are there to entertain; if they are not succeeding in this, something is wrong.”

Statement c: “This is tougher to determine. If the game is marketed as a military simulator or with an emphasis on realism, then this is warranted within the context of the game. If the game is intended for more general usage, then debate would be warranted. However with this, and all the issues, the change should be considered and disucssed first. Knee jerk reactions are rarely a good thing.”



Statement a: “I might challenge you on how it is sexist. Men and women have debated and argued for decades on what is sexist portrayal of women. The consensus seems to be that the over exaggeration and skimpy outfits are bad and sexist. However men in gaming are usually also exaggerated. Perfect in appearance in every way, able to do everything they want without a problem. However this is often a comparison of NPC’s to Playable Characters. If you go across different games, comparing Player Characters to Player Characters Female and Male, you will notice they tend to share a lot of similarities. They also tend to all be quite bland in overall writing, and all of them tend to be over exaggerated. Women also tend to heavily sexualize Dante from Devil May Cry, yet they do not tend to make such claims for any other man in gaming, despite similar physical traits. A quality Dante does have however seems to be a smartass, and kind of a jerk. Does this have something to do with it? I can’t say.

However if it made the developers change the character models, you have to remember, that change doesn’t effect just your personal enjoyment, it effect other men’s as well as women’s enjoyment as well. Gamers can and will cry foul over that. Not because it’s necessarily bad, but because they feel like a change to the medium in such a way was giving into an agenda. Would I cry foul however? No. The Mass effect 3 debacle was about gamers being upset about the ending of Mass effect 3, and demanding change to the art form. Change, for good or for ill, will inevitably be decided by sales, and not the outcry of a handful of people on forums. Your request was not unreasonable. What we would find unreasonable is if when I challenged you, you called me a sexist or worse a misogynist, for daring to ask why. Your statement by itself is not offensive however.”

Statement b: “This would weird me out a bit. As it seems it would be a complaint more post production then pre production, and be much harder to change. I would again however potentially challenge you and ask, why you think it is poorly designed and unintuitive. The request by itself has nothing wrong with it, but it fails to address a very important factor, why is it like that to you? Without a reason as to why, we rightly ask, well why not keep it the same. Answering because it is boring and unintuitive still doesn’t answer the question. Let me try and reword it for an example for you.

I feel the weapons are poorly designed, because they look too basic. They look like a couple of blocks pieced together from a lego building set. It’s boring because there is no flare to it, it just looks like a couple of blocks, and has no real details to distinguish it from most of the other weapons. Because it’s so difficult to visually recognize the weapons it becomes unintuitive when switching the weapons because I can’t tell my machine gun, from my rocket launcher. Suddenly I know very well how you feel. But before that the complaint is to vague to really do anything other then challenge it, especially if I like it the way it is.”

Statement c: “The problem with this, is it’s also intentionally inflamatory. Not all arms manufactures are wanting to glorify war, or war mongers, and gamers will feel like you are also saying they glorify war, so there is an accusation against a wide group. Saying this is glorifying war versus saying and I think it will lead to people kind of glorifying war, turns it from opinion to an accusation. Which gamers are likely going to jump on you for, not because you deserve it, but because gamers have been feeling under attack for quite some time for, and will be quick to attack accusations. Much like anything saying something that can be viewed as an attack towards a large group, can cause extremely undesirable results.”



Statement a: “Sometimes, yes. There are exceptions. If in an MMO the costume and armor models specifically leave female body parts exposed while the male models are not than I do take issue there. I think that is sexist and I most likely would not play the game. If the developer cared for their audience then they should consider addressing the concerns. If however the clothing types fit the character type then I would say that it’s fine. As an example in DOTA 2 there is a character that dresses very sexually, but the thing is that she IS a sexual character. She is designed to be kind of a dominatrix of sorts and the sexual nature fits her storyline. When you compare her to the other female characters in the game you will see that for the most part they are all modestly dressed and not overly sexualized. Another example would be the monk class in diablo 3, the base character starts off with a male and female character that both have little clothes. Monks (fantasy realm versions of them) are highly athletic and capable in martial arts and it makes sense that the guy is topless and the female has a sport top. Some people might look exclusively at the female monk in D3 as an example of games sexualizing women even when in real life women wear sport tops all the time without intending on being sexual. Some games do a great job of fair representation and some do not, but I think they overall are getting better at it.
I have seen people throw tantrums over breast sizes in character models to the point that the dev came back later to “fix it” by decreasing breast sizes. This is a slippery slope. They say they are fighting for an accurate portrayal of women, but then after the breast sizes were changed there were other women (with irl large breasts) who were now angry that their characters no longer represented their own real life body type. In this example you now you have a dev caught in the middle that has no legitimate way of pleasing all parties. They get surrounded and attacked from all sides on the internet with nowhere to go. If I were a dev I would feel as if my game was stuck walking a fine line drawn on the top of eggshells with constantly moving goalposts.”

Statement b: “I think comparing weapons to body types is like comparing apples to oranges. One topic is socially/politically fueled while the other is of exponentially smaller scale. That said, I don’t feel it’s right to impede on a designers creative vision.”

Statement c: “I don’t see an issue with making realistic looking weapon models at all. Our society is heavily influenced by war and that may be an issue in its own. Most of us have been around through the cold war, into both Iraq wars, Afghanistan etc. etc. It sucks to admit, but war is so engrained in or culture that it would take something huge to remove it entirely. I think that war games like BF and CoD are just symptoms or extensions of our own war fueled society.”



“Nothing to say about b), if it is something that actually affects gameplay and changing it is an objective improvement it just makes the game better for the end consumer. a) and c) on the other hand are subjective opinions. Contrary to Anita Sarkeesian and Jack Thompson, I don’t believe that people get influenced by games and media that way. It actually gives an opportunity to talk about things. Like when my daughter asked why only the female characters had swimsuits in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games on the Wii or when my son play any FPS we talk about war and what it brings. (We also talk about the positive sides, like teamwork and looking out for people around you.)”


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