Gamers are often characterized as wanting the medium to be taken seriously as art. But what happens when critics look at games less as consumer products and more like movies or books? In the case of G4's review of Metroid: Other M
, anger and confusion reigned.
Though reviewers often address the artistic attributes of mainstream games, the focus usually remains on less subjective measures of quality. Critic Abbie Heppe, however, slammed the game despite
the title's high technical standards, identifying problems that had nothing to do with gameplay. Among other things, Heppe was appalled at how it infantilized the series' heroine, Samus Aran
, depicted in earlier outings as a tough female marine veteran. Gaming's answer to Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor, Aran first did battle in her desexualized military armor in 1986. Come 2010, however, and much has changed.
"You're asked to forget that Samus has spent the last 10-15 years on solitary missions ridding the galaxy of Space Pirates, saving the universe and surviving on her own as a bounty hunter," Heppe wrote. "Instead, Other M expects you to accept her as a submissive, child-like and self-doubting little girl that cannot possibly wield the amount of power she possesses unless directed to by a man."
And on goes Heppe's write-up. Though she also covered gameplay issues in her review, responses from G4's readers were often negative. Of the hundreds of comments published, many attacked the author directly. Amid the predictable misogyny and hostility, a pattern emerges: it's just a game
. Some even claimed that it was unprofessional
to talk about such matters in a game review.
Michael Abbott of The Brainy Gamer
sees this as a backlash against the idea of games as art
: "All too often, the greatest resistance to thinking critically about games comes not from academics, luddites, or old-school critics like Roger Ebert. The most vocal resistance comes from gamers."
True! But as far as we accept the angry constituency as representative at all, we should also admit that some gamers only cared about 'art' because acceptance as such amounted to a form of validation. To see a backlash
here assumes a level of engagement that was never actually in evidence. Critical assessments of games -- at least mainstream ones -- remain a hard sell to most of the people buying them.
Marc Laidlaw, the cyberpunk pioneer who went on to serve as writer on some of Valve’s greatest video-game titles — the Half-Life series, Portal — has just posted his entire backlist to Amazon as $3, DRM-free ebooks, including his debut novel Dad’s Nuke (think Fallout, but with religious extremist militants who subsist on “Host on […]
Posavina bez mina, a humanitarian organization that works to defuse landmines in the former Yugoslavia, has posted a warning to its Facebook page saying that they’ve been told that Pokemon Go players are venturing into active minefields to catch virtual critters, and warning people not to go into minefields to catch Pokemon, which is very […]
Like most other online services, Pokemon Go’s terms of service are a reboot of the Book of Revelations, full of bizarre horrors, each more grotesque than the last.
Much of what goes into creating an amazing photo happens in the digital darkroom. Here’s your chance to master all things photo editing: the Ultimate Adobe Photo Editing Bundle, now available in the Boing Boing Store for just $29.99.Across 8 courses and over 41 hours of intensive instruction, you’ll learn the fundamentals of Adobe’s suite of photo […]
3D printers are hot, but they’re also pricey. While the prospect of cranking out everything we can dream up is enticing, cost is often one factor that keeps us from jumping onto the 3D printing train.Now, thanks to M3D, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can now get its flagship 3D printer–plus four reels of filaments–for just […]
It’s no secret that technology is changing the way we all work—but it’s also transforming the way we play. The games of today look nothing like those of 10 or even 20 years ago: these days it’s all about mobile and 3D. And now you can learn to design 3D mobile games with the Intro to Unity 3D Game […]