Anna Sarkeesian's brilliant, crowdfunded Tropes vs Women in Video Games web-series (previously) has a new episode, Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 [TW: rape, sexual violence, violence], which expertly dissects the use of violence against women, especially sexual violence as a lazy means of establishing skimpy motivations for player characters to hunt down the baddies.
As Sarkeesian points out, you may get a mission to hunt down a brutal pimp, but you'll never get a mission to get the hooker he's just beaten to a pulp to the hospital, nor do you unlock achievements by visiting her at a shelter or helping her get re-established elsewhere. These women exist solely to be victimized, so that you can murder the bad guys without any scruple.
A warning to those headed for the comments: Sarkeesian is a lightning rod for misogynists and their apologists, and the discussions that follow her mentions tend to be dominated by loud-mouthed pleading to understand that the embedded and violent sexism in games is OK because reasons, mixed with baseless ad hominem slurs against Sarkeesian herself.
You can be a fan of something problematic (cf Lovecraft's racism), because art can be both moving and also contain messages you dislike (see Kessel on Ender's Game, for example), and you don't do yourself, the art, or the world any service by establishing and defending huge zone-of-denial rather than confronting the whole work, warts and all.
Commodore’s C64 had a famously decisive, if drab set of 16 colors to choose from, a note of artistic intent amid the unthinking mathematical extremities of other 8-bit color palettes. But did you know there were secret colors? Aaron Bell writes up a discovery that blew his mind many years ago and which, 26 years […]
In celebration of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Allen Pan built a wonderful home automation system where the interface is an ocarina as seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. (Thanks, Lux!)
The Offworld Collection, presenting the very best features and essays from Offworld, is finally available to buy directly from Campo Santo for $40. I had the pleasure of designing and illustrating this splendid 250-page hardcover volume, but it’s the excellent writing, edited by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson, that makes it an essential buy. You […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]