pixietalksgamergate

PixieJenni talks GamerGate with both 'sides'

Game Reviews and Pushing Agendas (part 7)

on September 18, 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?

Anon56: “With a review there’s only really two agendas to push: it’s great buy it, or it’s bad ignore it. As long as facts are presented honestly, it should be difficult to portray a good game as bad, or vice versa. I see pushing an agenda as any attempt to change a readers mind/get them to reach a conclusion, based on falsehoods, misrepresentation or use of insults. For example: In the Hitman series of games, there are usually several possible methods to kill each target. Some are more silent/precise than others. These are facts. If I wished to “push” that these games were unnecessarily violent, I could use only examples with bombs or other things that kill innocents.”

 

Anon57: “No really easily but I can point you to someone who has called out such a review already: http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/OpiumHerz/fuck-you-gamespot-and-fuck-you-mr-capozzoli–281021.phtml

 

Anon58: “A recent example I would give is Dragons Crown a game produced by a company called vanillaware whose games are designed around the brilliant art of George Kamitani. All throughout the lead up though reviewers were calling foul, saying the art was offensive, vulgar, Misogynistic with plenty of op eds about it.All of those things are subjectivejust because your offended doesn’t mean everyone is. Point it out once then move on. However when George fired back with a joke on twitter to one of the writers, pieces were written about him being homophobic. And Journalist showed their displeasure with him by doubling down on articles about him. Since reviews are always bias in some way no one can prove that his review scores suffered because of it. But i believe that the game is better than reviewers said personally.”

 

Anon59: “Forcing ones opinion onto others. IE, telling someone something is or isn’t sexist or more specifically saying that something one disagrees with is hateful.”

 

Anon60: No answer given.

 

Anon61: “When a writer’s specific, political or personal beliefs are reviewed in their own context versus that of the game’s, and when they are demanded of a game bordering on aggression. While one might make the case that video games are escapism (to some extent, they certainly are), that does not exclude them from review based on certain questionable qualities found within, but “Everything Wrong With Custer’s Revenge And Its Depiction Of Rape” is different from “We Should Consider Killing Female Gamers Online a Form of Rape”.”

 

Anon62: “Slandering a game, talking about how X is Y and why it is bad for that, complaining about a feature in a game, slandering a gaming company, trying to censor things in games, etc. There’s a lot on the list in my opinion, but as an example to me, someone posting a series of articles about something like…”Women in X MMO Are Hyper-sexualized, And Here’s Why.” To me, that is pushing an agenda.”

 

Anon63: “This is pretty textbook. Trying to make something newsworthy that isn’t for personal reasons. Talking about under-representation of women or gays or ethnicity in gaming is great. Trying to shove it into other news stories is in no way acceptable behavior for a journalist, and doing it for someone else’s benefit is downright deplorable. You see this a lot on places like Kotaku or RPS where they try to tie big mainstream stuff back into a SJW agenda, even if they contradict themselves doing it.”

 

Anon64: “Pushing Agenda is that you already have established an ideal, motive, cause and that this becomes the main reason for writing the article. Not to inform or educate your reader about what the world/game/situation as is, but the world/game/situation as you have established previous to investigating and researching, and that you allow no possible alternative explanation or cause, because it does not fit into your previously established agenda.”

 

Anon65: “There are segments of the internet which have inherent interests that they wish to put forth in their writing. An MRA speaks up for what they perceive is inherent inequality under the law for Men, a Feminist does the same for a woman. In the Gaming Journalist industry, the agenda tends to skew very heavily in an Op-Ed toward a left, Social Justice Warrior slant, alleging several claims against gamers with no factual bias, often anecdotal at best. These Op-Eds are then pushed to front pages of a website or various social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) by the editors and Social Media co-ordinators of a website, often repeatedly and heavily, with no alternative op-ed pieces given. If we looked at this from a left-right dichotomy, there is no center or right leaning major gaming publication as of the present.”

 

@EHaakonson: “Pushing an agenda involves omitting or misrepresenting certain facts for the benefit of a particular position. A good current example would be the current wikipedia article on GamerGate – referring to it as misogynistic, ignoring the existence of #NotYourShield and using individuals directly implicated as sources.”

 

Anon66: ““Gamer are dead”. It’s a pretty odd that in a 24 hour span that 12 articles/blogs were written on this topic.”

 

Anon67: “Focusing on something other than the game is not helpful to anyone.”

 

Anon68: “When a Reviewer has a certain social/political view and tries to convince readers of his review that their views are false and that he is right instead of reviewing the game and giving the readers the information they came to their site for. When a reviewer gives a developer a good review while at the same time funding them through Patreon or any other form without disclosing this information in his article. Then he’s only reviewing said game positively because of his own bank account. Example? Depression quest.”

 

Anon69: “Pushing an agenda -> continuously talk about a subject. Continuously talking about why x is good and y is bad.”

 

Anon70: “The whole tropes thing, I couldn’t really watch it. First she’s a gaming enthusiast, then she never really played games, well which one is it? From what I saw in most of the video’s, it’s the latter. I’m not saying those tropes don’t exist, but her general knowledge of gaming is certainly lacking. Did she actually go to the developers and interview them about this whole tropes vs women? Like moaning about super Mario and actually asking Nintendo to give a statement about it?”

 


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

Anon56: “Not really. I believe that to be unprofessional. However, it a reviewer wishes to recommend a game he has reviewed, say to his twitter followers, I have no problem with that, as long as it’s his personal account.”

 

Anon57: “The only ones that spring to mind are:
Does it run at 60FPS
Is it actually HD or just upscaled
or pointing out when a game is pushing an Agenda itself (There are certain games out there that unfortunately do this but luckily there aren’t well known, but I wiki search for controversial games will show up most of them amongst other controversies)”

 

Anon58: “The only agenda in the review should be let the audience know if this is a game they want at a price they want,and what technical flaws may pop up (like with ps3 Skyrim everything freezes glitch).Touch on other things but is this socialy responsible should not reflect on whether or not a game is fun. A reviewers first job is as a consumer advocate, not as a vehicle of social change.”

 

Anon59: “In game reviews, definitely not.”

 

Anon60: No answer given.

 

Anon61: “A normal game, like Animal Crossing, or Final Fantasy, or Shovel Knight, or VVVVVV, doesn’t usually have an agenda attached to it, and we say leave them alone — if a game has a certain message attached to it, and if certain elements of a game might detract or extremise the message, one should certainly feel free to analyze it, but remember that there’s always an unwritten line drawn in the sand — that is, when a normal audience starts to feel uncomfortable with what you’re writing.”

 

Anon62: “Not at all. Journalism should not be about pushing agendas, no matter what it is.”

 

Anon63: “Reviews are weird. Critics fight all the time about other critics pushing their own criticism theory on other people in other arts. In general it is completely inappropriate to push an agenda through reviews. That is what a personal blog is for.”

 

Anon64: “There is such thing as right and wrong, if your research, your investigation turns out facts that actually fit within your previously established ideal/worldview, you don’t have to push it, it will be obvious and clear, and you just have to present it to those open to listening. Thats why no one is pushing the agenda murder is bad, or slavery is acceptable.”

 

Anon65: “n a review, no. Op-Eds that are clearly stated are the place for this.”

 

@EHaakonson: “Every gamer has, or should have, an agenda – that there should be more better games. Beyond that, anything is acceptable to include so long as your position and involvement is disclosed, and you don’t lie or knowingly omit relevant facts.”

 

Anon66: “If I feel that a writer is pushing a agenda in their articles I’m likely to not read articles written by that writer. If a game website as a whole pushes a similar agenda I’m likely to avoid that website. If by agenda you mean a political agenda I’ll say this, I don’t go to a gaming site to read about politics or see political agendas. There’s other websites for that and I expect that sort of content at those websites not at video game website.”

 

Anon67: “Not really, a review should be about that game.”

 

Anon68: “The only agenda’s I would say is advertising. It’s like Geoff Keighley and the dorito pope incident. People were disgusted by the blatant advertising message, but in the end these websites and their staff need to eat. That is why people just made fun of it, and it didn’t explode into a huge thing back then. Keep Extreme Feminism, Extreme MRA’s and Social Justice out of gaming. It has no place here. We are gamers, you say stupid things you get held accountable for them no matter who you are. They only ruin communities as I have seen them do before. These people are some of the most narcissistic, selfish, bigoted mean-spirited assholes (Pardon my language) alive.”

 

Anon69: “Games reviews should be about games, not about “agendas”. If people want to talk about women’s rights or whatever. Fine by me, just do not do it in reviews.”

 

Anon70: “If someone wants to push agenda’s, then be an activist, not a journalist.”

 


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

Anon56:

“As long as the devs in question were not harassed or badgered into changing things, then I have no issue here.”

 

Anon57:

Statement a: “Is kind of dependent on the Male body type too. if there is an unrealistic fantasy theme and it fits in then I’d question if it were an issue I can understand the idea of it breaking the theme to have female characters in chain mail bikini’s and Men in full plate but when the male characters are in essentially lion clothes then Id say it fits in fine with that theme. Here’s a better visual example of the disconnect I mean http://youtu.be/OTGh0EMmMC8 I’d argue something is not poorly designed if it fits into the theme of the game and doesn’t break it e.g. the amount of sexualisation present on both sides in Saints Row normally.”

Statement b: “I’d suggest weapons are more core to the game that what the human tripod you’re driving round the game looks like. E.g. Chell from Portal (who is mute) recently got called one of the most influential well written female characters. she says nothing all game and there’s no indication of any more personality than Gordon Freeman in Halflife 2. It’s worrying to see this kind of thing happen merely because she doesn’t have an overly fantasy style physique yet characters who do and in their story are buisness leaders, Opera singers, world leading scientists are overlooked simply for having large breasts (If you want to look more into this examine the backstories of female Dead or Alive characters, it’s quite eye opening)”

Statement c: “This one I’d say there is an objection to as it’s blurring the lines more by promoting actual weapons, I can understand in a war game using realistic weapons / models but linking to where to buy them seems a little too far . Mainly because it’s promoting what I understand to be a very political agenda itself in the USA.”

 

Anon58:

“These subjects you bring up would make wonderful oped pieces or editorials but should not make up the main body of the review and definitely shouldn’t affect whether or not the game is fun.”

 

Anon59:

“I have an issue with all 3. People spend a lot of time, effort, and energy when making games. What they create is, or at least can be, a representation of themselves. It’s unfair to label their ideas as ‘poor’ just because they aren’t necessarily the choices you’d make in their position. It’s equally unfair to the audience who may agree and who would enjoy the games the way the developer initially made it.”

 

Anon60:

Statement a: “This is a point that I would take issue with, because at the heart of the game itself, the designs of the models do not influence gameplay to a great degree. Writing about it and making the developers feel as though they need to change the way they present things in their game is not okay in my eyes. ”

Statement b: “This differs from a in that the design and fun factor of using a weapon has a lot to do with a game’s overall design choices. In TESIV: Oblivion, melee combat felt like a Wiffle Bat fight between two or more drunks. No matter what weapon you chose, the outcome was the same, hit the enemy until they stop attacking you back. In the direct sequel, Skyrim, the developers not only added new weapons, they changed how the weapons felt, arguably for the better. Occasionally when bashing at someone, your character will find an opening in the enemy’s defense and swiftly stab of decapitate them to put an early end to the fight. It is a change that directly influences the way the game feels, and criticisms of it are wholly valid.”

Statement c: “This is largely the same as a. Who are you to tell an artist how to present his message? Perhaps the developers were trying to use actual weapons in their game so as to add to the realism of the game. Call of Duty uses dozens of real-world weapons that are all period and region-appropriate for whatever setting the game takes place in. Metal Gear Solid generally uses real weapons as a sort of grounding point for the series’ more fantastical elements. No matter how many psychic commandos the other side has, they can still be taken out by a 9mm. Criticisms of this carry slightly more validity than a, because as I stated in b, weapon choice does influence the feel of a game. ”

 

Anon61:

Statement a: “This can certainly be a problem in some games, especially when they are not the selling point (let’s be honest, VNs etc. will always exist >_>), and when people start to talk about them to a point where they detract from the game (mind, not just one outlet has to be talking, but let’s say it crops up often on GameFAQs, IGN, /v/, and the Escapist out of many…), publishers may really need to consider what the hell happened in QC.”

Statement b: “Let me just quote a bit of advice I’ve heard on “how to handle criticism” for this point.
>>”First of all, take a look at the complaint. You should never dismiss any complaint about your work out of hand, but is it only one person? Does the writer give you the impression that they haven’t read the work? Sometimes it’s better to just let a complaint slide by than to respond to it publicly, especially if you feel it’s way off base.””

Statement c: “War games do not, by nature, glorify war, inasmuch as hockey sports games glorify crashing into your opponent with your stick so they break a rib and get suspended all the way to the Stanley Cup. Whether a specific game glorifies war or not is more evident in narrative and tone than anything else, not because the devs decided to be a little more realistic and use real places and real weapons and real happenings.”

 

Anon62:

“I have a problem with all three of those statements. The features of a game should not affect how the game is. If they do not affect anything gameplay-wise, they should not affect the game’s rating. If you dislike it, that’s fine, that’s your opinion. But if the game devs change the feature because of one person’s opinion, then there is something seriously wrong. If many people voiced the same opinion, then sure, I’d see a problem with it. But if it’s only a few, then they shouldn’t matter, no matter how powerful or high-ranking they are. YOU made the game the way YOU wanted it, and presented it to the audience and the reviewers. If they don’t like it but the reviewers do, then you did something wrong. If they do but the reviewers don’t, ignore the reviewers and let it stay the way it is.”

 

Anon63:

Statement a: “Aesthetic critiques are appropriate, but as a reviewer you should not call individual elements sexist unless you are writing an academic review evaluating the game from that perspective. If this is a product review that is inappropriate.”

Statement b: “Aesthetic reviews are appropriate.”

Statement c: “Not even an element of a review. That is a good choice of an op-ed piece or some form of academic article but has little to do with an academic or commercial review.”

 

Anon64:

“I am unable to evaluate hypothetical statements without some context.”

 

Anon65:

Statement a: “This is an opinion. Others may not share in this viewpoint. It is an artistic question, and can be open to interpretation on what is sexist about it and what is not. If the developer down the line wishes to observe a different artistic style, that is fine. But let the work speak for itself and those who enjoy it… enjoy it.”

Statement b: “This is an opinion as well, however it is a poor question (no offense Jenni!) Why is the weaponry boring and unintutitve? Are the damage values off? Does the weapon have too high a recoil rate? Does it obstruct too much of your vision on screen? These are questions asking for factual information. Do the weapons look boring? That is artistic, and the weapons should not be changed, however going forward as with the first question, some may find it enjoyable, others may not, and it is up to the developer to make an artistic decision in how to address further games and weapon designs.”

Statement c: “That is an opinion, one that has no basis in fact. Games have not been linked in any scientific study to an increase in violence (See: Jack Thompson). Gaming companies doing this have no motivation to do so.”

 

@EHaakonson:

“Generally, no. However, it is dependent on certain factors – if, for instance, the female body types or weaponry design serve an artistic purpose, if they are that way for a reason that serves the piece as a whole, it should not be changed due to public outcry. That’s not how art is made. If, however, the sole reason is because the designer is unimaginative or someone in marketing thought it would ship more units in quarter two if a main female character was showing 23.6% more skin, then by all means, change it.”

 

Anon66:

“All three statements have the same answer: I don’t have a issue with any of those statements. I don’t have a issue with the developers changing the game due those statements. I also don’t take issue with a developer who opts not to change their game. If I take issue with what’s in a game, I don’t buy it.”

 

Anon67:

“Yeah, none of them adequately explain what the game is to me.”

 

Anon68:

Statement a: “I have an issue with this one. It’s the game designer who decides what his character looks like. Let the audience decide for themselves if it’s sexist. They needn’t be told by the reviewer. We aren’t blabbering idiots who cannot form their own opinions.”

Statement b: “I have an issue with this. First off, he could have named some examples of why it’s boring (name some games with the same weapons), and it being unintuitive isn’t very helpful without context, is it unintuitive because the controls are bad (Game mechanics)? Is it very inaccurate to shoot with? This is the problem with reviews these days, they just say unintuitive but they never explain why or give examples for people to compare it with.”

Statement c: “BIG issue with this one. Keep politics out of gaming. It’s not real, it’s fiction. No one is glorifying war, they are making entertainment. Don’t being real life into this. For every war game out there, there is a Mario. And if people are offended by what they see in the review they won’t buy it and ignore it”

 

Anon69:

Statement a: “first part is an opinion about a body design -> ok. Second part -> ???. Better would be: “I think this game has poorly designed female body types, because the breasts are too big and their bikinis are too small” (example) I can then make up my opinion and think “that is sexist” or “that is nice””

Statement b: “Whole sentence is about weapons in the game and how it responds to input -> ok. Would be nice if the reviewer said why it was boring and unintuitive.”

Statement c: “This has nothing to do with reviewing games -> not ok”

 

Anon70:

“The issue I have has been stated; If someone thinks it is so, that does not make it so. Those games have been made by someone, if you want to throw such statements up, then at least interview the dev and ask their opinion as well. See if they can defend it instead of just throwing it in the air.”

 

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