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Trigger warning: transphobia.
Less than five minutes into this year’s show, VGX co-host Joel McHale assured the audience that Wario had not "undergone sex reassignment surgery." Shortly afterward, he introduced a reader comment with, "He, she, or he-she says…"
Here’s a vital rule of comedy: never punch down. Pointing and laughing at an oppressed group doesn’t make you edgy or transgressive. It makes you a bully, and it harms real people. This behavior is all too common in the game industry, and it needs to stop.
Further reading: Samantha Allen describes the triggering effects of transphobic comments at the Border House Blog.
Before I make a post drawing attention to a bit of awfulness, in which I recommend calling out the site and the individuals responsible, I wanted to make sure I laid down some basic advice for doing this sort of thing.
1. Don’t tweet spam. One or two tweets will work. It’s super fun to send like twenty but then it turns into a flood and you just get ignored or blocked.
2. Definitely don’t threaten. Probably don’t insult. Reasons for this are that trolls are already going to be doing these things, pretending to agree with the issue but more interested in just causing more conflict. I’ve seen it happen before. I’d rather not see people trying to legitimately call stuff out lumped into the same group as hate-feeding internet scum.
3. Don’t threaten. Seriously. Don’t do it. Even aside from the above reason, telling someone to kill themselves or threatening to inflict harm upon them is just a generally shitty thing to do. Yes, there is a place for violent rhetoric and even violence in social justice and fights for equality. However, too often it is the default action.
These things are powerful. They should be. Using them unnecessarily cheapens them. It also reflects an attitude in the person doing it that can turn toxic and hostile toward innocent people. It happens a lot. There is a time and a place for violent rhetoric and violence. That time and place generally isn’t when you’re calling someone out on Twitter for a shitty thing they said.
4. If you see someone who you feel is better equipped to make the point than you, or someone who is making the point better than you, it may be best to back away and give them the space to do that. Wait and see how it goes.
Trigger warning: fatphobia. Spoilers below.
Arriving in the Zora’s Domain, players of the new Legend of Zelda are greeted with a fatphobic sidequest. Robbed of the Smooth Gem, the Zora Queen is unable to “contain her power”; she becomes gluttonous and angry, growing too large to leave her pool. When the player returns the Gem, the Queen reverts to a much smaller size and apologizes for her behavior, stating that it was “all rather undignified.”
Being fat is not a curse. It’s not a sign of lacking self-control. It’s not "undignified." Jokes like this are disgustingly lowbrow, and contribute to stereotypes that cause real-world harm. Stop making fat jokes, Nintendo. They’re not funny.
The indie game redshirt is based around a social network. That contains no way to stop men from sexually harassing your female character no matter the pc's orientation. there is a more in depth post going around by From One Survivor to Another that goes into more detail.
Actually, the developers responded to this! Here you go.
So, you can avoid it by turning down the game’s bigotry slider. That this game clearly denotes that this is tied to bigotry and gives players a way to avoid it is great. Games don’t typically do this.
It would have been preferable for them to give advance warning about that, but they did offer an apology that they did not, and for that I’m grateful. Just a real great handling of the whole thing, in my opinion.
Trigger warnings: transphobia, homophobia, racism, ableism.
In the pursuit of zany, over-the-top humor, the developers of Dead Rising 3 apparently decided to take the low road. Inspired by the seven deadly sins, this round of “Psychopath” boss fights banks on lazy stereotypes for cheap laughs.
The best example would be Jherii, a heavily-muscled, gruff-voiced caricature of a butch bodybuilder. In town for a competition, Jherii is absorbed in practice until she is interrupted and misgendered multiple times by the player character. (This is supposed to be funny, somehow.) Once she is defeated, the player is given an achievement: “Prideful”.
Other examples include an overweight woman on a mobility scooter who refuses to share food, a flamboyant gay man in bondage gear “wielding a giant, flaming penis gun”, and an Asian martial artist with a heavy accent, taking refuge in a Zen garden.
“Dead Rising 3: The Kotaku Review.” (Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku) 18 Nov. 2013. (Linked without pagerank.)
“Dead Rising 3 Review: Paradise City.” (Danielle Riendeau, Polygon) 18 Nov. 2013.
“Xbox One review – Dead Rising 3 is a crimson deluge of next-generation gore.” (Chad Sapieha, Financial Post) 18 Nov. 2013.
Trigger warnings: racism, cannibalism.
Approved for Greenlight distribution in June, SKS Games’ The Forest pits the player against a “society of cannibalistic mutants” in a remote wilderness. Visually, these enemies draw from stereotypical depictions of “primitive” tribal cultures, complete with loincloths and war paint. While the developers suggest that these characters may not be entirely unsympathetic - citing their “beliefs, families, [and] morals” - they’re nevertheless putting the player in the role of a white character fighting a violent group of dark-skinned cannibals, who “appear almost human.”
Trigger warnings: sexism, ableism, transphobia, racism.
Originally released in 2009, House of the Dead: Overkill is a lightgun game inspired by grindhouse/exploitation cinema. Released last week on Steam, The Typing of the Dead: Overkill replaces the core gameplay with fast-paced typing mechanics. While the rerelease has been met with a certain amount of praise, Overkill has offensive content that you may want to know about before making a purchase.
Trigger warnings: transphobia, sexism, cissexism, and gender essentialism. Spoilers below.
In Case 3 of the latest Ace Attorney game, cross-examining a male witness will result in a public outing. After pressing the witness on certain aspects of their testimony (an affinity for frilly clothing and a desire to be “pretty”), they are "revealed as a she". Until this point, the character is clearly identified as male; once exposed, they adopt a cartoonishly feminine demeanour, swooning and sashaying.
In effect, Capcom is suggesting that the character was only pretending to be a man, that their established identity was irrelevant, and that they are much happier “being a girl again.” Regardless of whether you view the character as being trans*, this narrative is rooted in actively harmful, cissexist ideas of gender. Using a character’s identity as fodder for a comedic twist is deeply offensive, and shouldn’t be shrugged off.
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