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Oh, No You Don't on Game and Player

Oh, No You Don't

Heather Richtmyre  //  February 10, 2011

A critical medley.


It's only a game" is quickly becoming one of my most disliked comments. Not because it has no legitimate connotations, as it applies to people who still express concerns that Dungeons & Dragons will turn me into an evil cultist, but because it is so often used to dismiss video games. And such dismissal tends to come from those who would otherwise frame themselves as supporters of the field.

Complaints about characterization and plot, the presentation of female characters, or just the general choice of a certain idea of character design for player heroes have all been topics I've seen that have proven prime targets for "it's only a game." And with the question of whether or not games can qualify as art coming to the forefront with the United States Supreme Court Case, to frame such critiques as irrelevant to games is to diminish any artistic potential they possess.

Given the hilarious, scathing and sarcastic critique of machismo in games offered by the Bulletstorm advertisement Duty Calls, games can prove quite a vehicle for some forms of artistic commentary. If such were more common, as opposed to my experience of people who will argue about such minor gaming topics as the price of crafting materials or the insurance on Tech 2 frigates, but dismiss discussions about massive disparities in armor styles between genders or BioWare's fondness for advertising that only displays a male protagonist, despite the fact that most of their roleplaying games offer both choices for either a male or female character.

Such hypocrisy is unfortunate, and I would prefer to see instead more displays such as this advertisement, which manages to avoid many of the issues commented on above.

Also, dear forum trolls, stop saying the female models in Rift don't have breasts. Please. It makes you look ridiculous.

Lee Kelly // February 11, 2011 // 4:18 PM

It makes sense for the marketers to make the default Shepard/Hawke male. The majority of people who play Bioware games choose a male lead character and including both sexes in the marketing would invite confusion. In any case, marketers tend to overuse females in game advertisements for sex appeal -- Bioware is an exception in this case. It would have been easy for Bioware to flaunt a sexy female Shepard or Hawke, but I am glad to see they have not given into that temptation.

Personally, I always choose to play as a female Shepard, because I much prefer the acting and voice of Jennifer Hale over Mark Meer. Oh, and also because if I am going to looking at some character's backside for 20+ hours, it might as well be a backside with a pleasing shape -- I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

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