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Games Entertainment

Is Gaming Too Much Skin, Not Enough Good Clean Fun? 339

Posted by timothy
from the but-isn't-too-much-skin-fun? dept.
legLess writes: "Salon is carrying a thought-provoking article saying that 'The soft-porn fixation embarrassingly displayed at E3 is dooming the gaming industry to the nerd-geek ghetto.' It says that the gaming industry, in terms of sales and audience, is much closer to porn than Hollywood. Some great quotes ('[GOD] CEO Mike Wilson decided that preeminence should also involve a lot of cleavage and dwarfs'), and interesting thoughts ('Games should be treated as art, but they are becoming more and more like hamburger')."
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Is Gaming Too Much Skin, Not Enough Good Clean Fun?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually most women don't "view" porno...

    They read it.

    Big difference.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have made it a condition that those I am interested in not play computer games or use pornography

    So you're a lesbian?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Soap operas and romance novels are astonishingly similar - probably why they are liked by the same market segment. They both appeal to the basal emotions, and encourage the user to imagine herself doing things unavailable or unacceptable in real life. In soap operas it is relationships (licit or illicit) with wealthy males with high-status jobs, and in romance novels it is.... well..... relationships (licit or illicit) with wealthy males with high-status jobs, The differences are minimal.

    As an example, my ex-girlfriend used to like both romance novels and soap operas. However, after viewing both for some time it was as though a change had come over her - she would become very demanding and really quite aggressive, wanting to know why I didn't take her to more fancy restaurants, and why we didn't go on more vacations to glamorous, exotic (and expensive) locales. She also wanted to know why I didn't look like the innumerable Fabio clones who populate these forms of entertainment. I noticed that when she had been watching General Hospital the effects were actually worse than when she had been reading Harlequin romances. Since I threw her out on her lazy ass, I have made it a condition that those I am interested in not watch soap operas or read romance novels. Both stifle the imagination whilst heightening emotions. This effect is dangerous - we should not stimulate those who cannot handle a heightened sense of awareness and can't resist their desires.

    I would very much like to see both industries become more responsible. I would not like to see them banned, of course, but I would like to see them consider the consequences of their actions - it is the men of America who really pay for the rosy fantasy worlds that our womenfolk consume.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Or it's because the auto industry has noticed that women purchase a significant number of cars and the babes were losing more sales than they were gaining.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:30PM (#204545)
    As an anonymous female coward, I can tell you that girls and women buy games. Nearly every woman I know loves the Myst series of games, including my 50 year old mother. She also loved Starship Titanic. This genre of game, where you explore a world and you solve puzzles, is very attractive to women and men. You all seem to think that women only enjoy thinking about clothes and relationships - bullshit! Women have been shown, scientifically (I read it in Scientific American years ago) to be better at small, detailed observations than men, because of differences in the way the brain develops depending on hormonal exposure in the womb.

    Most women I know have also enjoyed games like Tetris, or Bust-a-Move. I can't tell you how much fun my sister and I and some female friends have had playing endless rounds of Bust-a-Move tournaments on my brother's Playstation. Then of course there are the variations on that dancing game (the playstation version was Bust a Groove, but there are other variants, are there not?) Young girls, especially, love that one, as do a lot of guys I know. All of these are games that don't involve sex or violence, just fun.

    OK, then we get on to strategy games. A lot of women love Age of Empires, Warcraft, and that whole genre. More of the strategy/simulation than the roleplaying, although I've had some fun over the years with Nethack, and I've met one other woman who was the same. A lot of women have also enjoyed the Sim games from SimCity onwards. And, well, Black and White seems to have a lot of gender-neutral appeal. I love it, and I've heard of other women who love it.

    There *are* women who like first person shooters, and there are men who hate them. Let's not generalise. I've played Quake a couple of times, and it wasn't a revolting experience, but I wasn't hooked. I just wanted to give you a roundup of the kinds of gaming most women I know like.
  • Why, just last week, in this small, west-central Pennysylvania town, we had no less than three incideents in which elves were abducted and beaten with cold iron. The week before, a Martian was tortued by forcing him into scuba gear and forcing a rich oxygen mix on him.


    And don't get me going about the vivicists at the blood bank. They're turning away vampires just because they're dead . . .


    :)
    hawk

  • > It's not about sex-vs-violence, it's about the appropriateness of
    > each, and the degree to which each is pandering to the audience in its
    > marketing.

    In other words, instead of bimbos, they should be killing people in their booths :)


    hawk

  • Not just homophobic. Crossing a mango with a tangerine is such a disgusting thing to do that *anyone* would be offended when asked to eat one . . .


    hawk

  • Is that there were *far* fewer booth babes this year compared to last year. Except for the increasingly ghetto-ized world of hardcore FPS people (ie, the Dallas/Austin crews), I don't think there was terribly much skin happening at all. What skin there was looked as painfully juvenile as one would expect.

    m.
  • Let me translate for you what she really means:

    "I'd LOVE to be indepedent and self-sufficient ... however I'm just a dumb bitch who reads trash women magazines, and since I can't do things by myself, I live through my boyfriends, I blame them for what I can't accomplish myself, it's never my fault, it's always boys', in other words ...

    I'M A VICTIM!!!!!!"

    I wish I was trolling, unfortunately that's really what I think.

    --

  • "As if Lara Croft isn't enough, try reading a gaming magazine in public" It's not the magazines or the ads that are a problem; it's your lack of balls and pride that prevents you from standing up against the stupid moralization of your environment.

    --

  • Not hardwired for *anything*?

    Why will babies not crawl out onto a glass-top table, then? Why do you flinch if something flicks near your face?

    Obviously, one is hardwired for things.

    --
  • by Thag (8436) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @05:27AM (#204570) Homepage
    It's like with Tomb Raider: what was really special about the game was that Core had finally come up with a way of controlling a character in a 3D game that really worked. It was infinitely better than the "can't even walk through a doorway" control on previous games.

    BUT, the lesson game companies seemed to learn was "boobs sell games."

    So, probably these developers are looking at games like Tomb Raider, or even moreso the Dead or Alive series, and saying "sex sells." When, really, it's gameplay, replayability, multiplayer, etc.

    Then they started trying to outdo each other, leading to the bordello atmosphere. Bleah. That kind of thing is why I STOPPED going to scifi cons.

    Jon Acheson
  • by landley (9786) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:56PM (#204571) Homepage
    This hasn't changed in 20 years. Anybody remember Sierra Online's "Softporn"?

    People who invent ways to escape reality, who are fixed enough on their own fantasies that they can create good believable games, tend not to have the greatest social skills. The most dedicated game fans aren't exactly out there polishing their schmoozing muscles either.

    The computer industry is 90% male. Gaming (paper and dice) is 90% male. The primary customer base for the intersection of gaming and computers is teenage boys. Everything from cars to cell phones have "spokesmodels" sitting on them in magazine ads.

    As for the computer industry, Comdex IS held in las vegas every year. (Las vegas is like the movie "showgirls", only with more plot and the boring bits don't get as much screen time.)

    The article DOES have some decent points it could have made, like cross-over games (from Ms. Pac-man to The Sims), or the general failure of attempts to make "girl-centric" computer games (although not universial, the "barbie" line just about breaks even, I'm told.)

    But it doesn't make them, I only know about them from other sources. The author of this article came across as a pedanitc moralist shocked by something he just noticed, and predicting dire things if his viewpoint isn't universally imposed immediately. (Clue: the game industry IS making more money than hollywood. Right now. This has been true since the 80's...)

    Sigh...

    Rob

  • Agreed. If you were there notice the number of _turnovers_ the tecmo or wolfenstein booth had. Both had prominantly displayed babes, the tecmo booth had nothing real new to show off, the wolfenstein booth was too small to accomidate the number of people who could have been there (very cool looking game though). I find another point about E3 disgusting though. The attention payed to the out-of-country developers and the smaller game houses was PATHETIC. if you read the reviews I see not one hand up to AquaNox (generalized as a GeForce3 Test), Balistics [www.grin.se], or Duel Field, all out of Europe, or any of the Korean games such as TetraMorph, Dragon Raja, or the many other amazing, new-idea games. Even games for the Xbox like NHL Hitz or FuzionFrenzy got no 'real coverage' (ie they were mentioned in the Xbox Mag handed out at the show but nowhere else) And suprising enough, the posters that were around on all the doors, Morrowind - Elder Scrolls III, wasn't being shown in public by Bethesda... but I got to sit in on their demonstration - All I can say is this is a game that people have been waiting for since Daggerfall (also an award winner) ... But wait - soon there will be a site that will cover the 'outside' games that are worth the mention and coverage. you just wait.
  • I have been a game player for a very long time. I enjoy computer games quite a bit.

    I should say that I have played Quake, SOF, and EliteForce recently.

    I also have played lots of other games. I love the realism and beauty in the computer graphics, and am constantly mazed at the advances in technology.

    Here's where I get stuck: Why can't there be more games like SimCityClassic where there's not gross violence and certainly no sexuality?

    Why must the games we play appeal to the more prurient parts of our lives? Being exposed to graphic violence is damaging, and the reason that I play SOF with low violence, and limit the amount of time I spend letting that feed my brain.

    Certainly being exposed to pornography has an effect on people, too. It objectifies women, and lowers the value that we place on them as individuals.

    I'm all for having games produced that don't glorify sex and violence, and want to be able to play them.

    Please, produce more wholesome games, and you'll sell more copies!

    The movie industry refuses to produce very many qholesome movies, even though they know that the ones generating the most revenue are never "R" rated. Why is that?

    Regards,
    Anomaly

    PS - God loves you and longs for relationship with you. If you would like to know more about this, please email me at tom_cooper at bigfoot dot com.
  • OK, so what have the top games of the last few years been?

    Starsiege Tribes
    Age of Empires
    CounterStrike
    Half-Life
    Descent
    Quake
    Quake 2
    Command and Conquer

    If I go to Best Buy right now and look for the "game of the year" editions of the various games that won the various "game of the year" awards...how many have skimpily dressed women on them? Not as many as you'd think. Why? Mostly because...well, they're good games, and people buy them because they're good games, they have gotten good reviews, their friends are playing them.

    Look at the best selling games of the last few years (in the US anyway). Deer Hunter. Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The ones usually disdained as the "average guy" games.

    All that said, I think that No One Lives Forever won a few awards last year....:)

    rocketscientist.
  • by Frijoles (16015) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:55PM (#204582)
    So, instead of being like the $6 billion a year hollywood film industry, it will be more like the $10 billion a year (and extremely profitable) porn industry?

    This is actually one of the arguments made in the article: that the gaming industry should be compared to the porn industry, not the film industry.

    The reason being is that the film industry that they are comparing the sales to is limited to only box office receipts (I believe), whilst the gaming sales takes everything in to account associated with the game. If they were to take in to account all of the toys, gadgets, cereals, shirts, etc that movies produce, then the film industry would be much larger than the gaming industry.

    I didn't care much for the article, anyway, maybe because it seemed more like a rant than anything.
  • A blond in a G-string has got herself contorted 15 feet above this city with her ass bent so far back behind her, she can fit her head straight through.

    I read this and my first thought wasn't of Q3:A or Half-Life, but of a Britney Spears concert.

    --
  • > It's our culture. Everything we do is sexualized. ... How many ads have you seen use sex to sell things?

    Didn't I read here just a couple of weeks ago that Salon itself was using s0ft pr0n to lure people to their subscriber-only section?

    --
  • by cruelworld (21187) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @03:26PM (#204587)
    one of the main points of the article; if you had bothered to read it, is that the gaming industry, by acting like a bunch of wanna-be frat boys is shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to market share.

    every game publishing company out there spends millions of dollars trying to figure out why there aren't more female gamers(you know, that other 51% of the population with desposable income). and how to lure the elusive "female gamer".

    here's a hint: hookers and gogo dancers might lure the Paul Steeds of the world, but they have the same chance of success as a car full of hooting gino's do at picking up a girl on the street.

    So, if the interactive entertainment industry ever wants to see the kind of revenue that say Hollywood does, they have to Grow Up.

  • by Kaa (21510) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @04:41AM (#204588) Homepage
    I'm sorry, but that is neodarwinian fascist nonsense. Nobody is hard wired to do *anything*. We are all humans, and we all have a choice. We are not automatons, driven by instinct.

    I'm sorry, too, but that point of view doesn't pass a reality check. Yes, we are not automatons driven by instincts, but we are not abstract minds inhabiting some plane of ideas either. You cannot ignore the body, which clearly has a lot of stuff "hardwired" into it. And before you ask, no, I don't accept the popular-in-Catholicism-etc. idea that body urges are evil/sinful and should be suppressed in favor of "pure" mind.

    People are hardwired for a lot of things. Some are obvious -- thirst, hunger, self-preservation, sex, protection of children. Some are more controversial -- e.g. territoriality. Some are very controversial -- e.g. aggression. But saying that no one is hardwired to do anything is just false.

    Note that this does not mean that there is no personal responsibility -- there definitely is, and "uncontrollable urge" is not a justification for doing something bad. In a society people are expected to control their urges and those who break the rules, whatever they may be, are punished. That's fine. But even if the urges are controlled/suppressed you cannot deny their existence. Christianity for centuries tried to promote the idea that sex is sinful and how successful has it been? (besides keeping a whole lot of psychotherapists in business).

    I do think that where people cannot be responsible for themselves, the wider sommunity should step in

    That's very dangerous ground you walk on. All totalitarian regimes start from this point. The critical questions, as usual, are "Who decides?" and "Who is in control?". Should government decide whether I am addicted to Quake and place me in a special category of people who can't buy computer games and can access only special computers which report to my probation officer how much have I played today? Or maybe it will decide that I am addicted to porn and put a device on me that will give me an electric shock every time I get an erection -- that should "cure" me of porn, right?


    Kaa
  • Seems to me like if females want to play games oriented at females, then females ought to start writing games. I'm not trying to be crass or offensive...I'm just pointing out that telling somebody else to make a game to appeal to you isn't necessarily the best way to do it.

    Think about it this way...should I try to tell Amy Tan to start writing stories that appeal to men? I'm not saying that men don't read and enjoy her books (just as many females play and enjoy video games). I keep hearing, however, that women don't feel as engaged by games as men do. OK, fine...go ahead and show us what you're talking about! Getting up on a moral high horse and painting game developers as misogynistic retards isn't productive. Explaining what you are interested in might be productive. Making a game that you would like would certainly be productive.

    In other words, if nobody understands your taste, why are you surprised that nobody caters to it?
  • Since he has left me, I have made it a condition that those I am interested in not play computer games or use pornography. Both stifle the imagination whilst heightening emotions. This effect is dangerous - we should not stimulate those who cannot handle a heightened sense of awareness and can;t resist their desires.

    First of all, if your boyfriend was violent, or even just too rough, You should have left him.

    Second, I find your comments offensive in the extreme. I watch porn. I play video games. I'm also a loving, caring person who would never think of being anything but gentle with my girlfriend. And I'm no freak.

    Third, you will not find a man who does not watch porn. The best you're gonna have to go for is one who lies about his porn and hides it well since you're obviously very insecure if that's one of the main things you're looking for in a partner,


    --Gfunk
  • by GregWebb (26123) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:11PM (#204595)
    This then begs the question of what would be better.

    Hypothetically, User #267435 is looking for a new boyfriend via the internet. She wishes to find a male user of internet discussion forums who enjoys neither computer games or pornography.

    I foresee a potential problem here :-)
  • Actually, I think women have a game they like - Everquest. It's all about chatting.
  • Well, I for one am sitting here dumbfounded. These people are the worst hypocrites imaginable! Either that, or they are just unfathomably stupid.

    How can Salon, of all people, have any credibility complaining about this, when THEY THEMSELVES just started a premium fee service that delivers - you guessed it - NAKED PICTURES!!

    Check it out:

    http://www.salon.com/premium/intro/index.html [slashdot.org]

    Read about the service and notice that one of their "premium" services is called Salon Sex.

    My god, I can't believe that these people are complaining about this... It boggles the mind...

    -davevr

  • by mav[LAG] (31387) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:43PM (#204602)
    this one had me laughing:

    Sierra, for example, which first gained prominence through family-friendly adventure games..

    Like Leisure Suit Larry?

  • Your on the right track. This whole thread started reminding me of Brenda Laurel, creator of Purple Moon SW [purple-moon.com] which sold out to Hasbro. When they went formed up they looked for a market that has some money waiting to be tapped. Of course, what they found is the teen female demographic. They don't buy any games, so let's give them a game they want to buy. Takling to their audience so they cnn design a game proved very interesting. The game is about volleyball. Girls like VBall, fine. But, they found girls really did enjoy equivalent sports game aimed at men. An example, "What's most important about playing volleyball?" Responses: Playing on the team together and really dogging the other team; Pasta parties; it's okay to have a fight with your friend before or after the game, but not during!

    So, that get's us that what teen boys and teen girls are looking for two drastically different things for gaming entertainment. Brenda's team found that while the game (playing volleyball) was important and had to be fun, the whole picture of the game had to be fun too (talking with other girls, yelling at the other team, the day of the game, after the game at school, etc). By the way, you can get more information about Brenda's current work at NNGroup [nngroup.com] and if you shell out 800, you can hear tell this story too.

    So this is why you see games like the Sims taking off across many demographics. There is stuff in there that caters to quite a bunch of people, without offending too many. I also think that Q3 has the potential to appeal to teen girls. There is a huge social aspect and team spirit to it. Now, i am sure most teen girls would prefer to have different methods of achieving their fun than "fraggin." But mod developers can step in now. Paintball CTF, i think, is heading in the right direction. And, just think guys, Q3 you can play with a girl!

  • by drivers (45076) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:42PM (#204609)
    Excerpt 1:

    (Then again, when it comes to erotic self-delusion, the average game boy is probably their peer. "I was all flirting with her and I gave her my business card," said a chunky, fish-lipped E3 attendee, proudly reporting back to his friends. "She said she'd send me some pictures, and call me.")

    Excerpt 2:

    It's the dearth of women, among other things, that consigns games to their geek ghetto, with no genuine celebrities, or pop-cult recognition outside its narrow subculture. So at E3, you're treated to the sight of hot young developers swaggering across the floor, tricked out in pimp daddy raiment and boy-band hair, whose only groupies are mouth-breathing dudes in "Akira" T-shirts.

    Excerpt 3:

    It only takes a couple of hours of floor gossip to grasp how deep the social retardation among most game developers runs -- and how not ready for prime time they truly are.


    And I won't even mention the number of times that dreaded term "mainstream" was touted as some kind of desirable trait...

  • When you can make an April Fool's joke on your corporate website claiming that the gold CD of TR mistakenly contained code that makes Lara's breasts too big, you might just fall into this kind of category... :-)

    <pedantic moralism>
    Tomb Raider should spend less time highlighting her breasts, and more time highlighting good, clean fun like... raiding... um... raiding and desecrating tombs and cemetaries... for treasure... uh, nevvamind
    </pedantic moralism>

  • Great examples. Bust-a-Move is a definite big game among us in the "fairer sex". Nothing like getting a group together and playing it while somewhat drunk.

    Worms is also a really really good one. Yes, even though it's a "violent" game, the extreme sense of humor and comedy in the thing actually helps make it seem much less so - and the cartoonish worms dying is actually quite amusing.

    It does just have a lot to do with how the person is raised. My sister and I were raised in a household where we played games. Card games, board games, games on the old Atari. I used to fight with my mom over the Super Nintendo about who would play the RPGs. I'm a bigger gamer than my sister, but we both like to play.

    I know people who were raised in homes where they just didn't play games. At all. You know what? They almost never play games now that they're older, either. So those of you with kids, take that into account. Start early, and play things they like, and they'll keep enjoying the entertainment value of games.
    ---
  • I think the best thing they could do was stop assuming their target audience was teenage boys, and stop pitching games in that direction. That's probably one of the biggest reasons they get so few females buying games. By treating games as belonging only to that realm, they help encourage people to feel that way, and that's a really quick way to get younger girls to avoid it entirely - and they grow up with that attitude.

    I am a girl gamer. A big one. (A good selection of PC games, quite a few console systems, and not just games like "The Sims" - Diablo II, Quake 1-3, Civ II, Black & White, Sim City 3k, Pro Pinball series, etc) And I feel like I have to put up with a lot of crap to continue on. (Though to be fair, a lot of the crap is from the teenage boys themselves, at least when I play online, but we've all ranted about those people before) There's a reason why I'd never even consider looking at a gaming magazine - because they're just as targetted to that crowd.

    I think this article makes a very, very good point. They're helping define their industry in a way that excludes very large amounts of people from the potential customer base. And doing things the same except making occasional "girl" games featuring Barbie will do little except alienate even more people.
    ---
  • "EAT MY FUCKING MANGINA, BITCH"

    Why is it that everybody assumes that anything a man says might offend ONLY women? I'd think that some homophobic male might get way more upset at being told to eat a mangina than I ever would. The P.C. weenie phenomenon knows no gender.

    Por ejemplo: There's a small group of very Catholic men where I work, and it's not hard to cross a line with them just in conversation, never mind gaming.

    "Smear'd with gumms of glutenous heat, I touch..." - Comus, John Milton
  • You got a million dollars of funding by a games publisher to make a game about flowers and fluffy kittens?

  • I've noticed that at each E3 event, the number of boothbabes (and amount of clothing they are (or aren't) wearing) at a given booth is inversely proportional to the level of anticipation a game has.

    For example, a game like "Space Bunnies Must Die [spacebunnies.com]" had TONS of boothbabes, because nobody gave a crap about the game. =)

    ---
  • Come on folks, it's the perfect combination! Lets see, we have an extremely grizzly new game like Soldier of Fortune 2. How should we market it...

    I know! Sex! Sex and Violence are the two great advertisers that send right wingers running for senate sub-committies! I'm sure it's all some plot to piss off congress-critters. And journalists [salon.com] I might add...

    -Ted
  • All right. It's a troll, but I'll bite anyway. As both a geek and a member of a fraternity [htttp], I have to say that you're being far too general. You're letting the experiences of a few bad apples spoil your conception of what fraternities are about. Let me tell you about some of the things my fraternity does: We sponsor a buffolo wing eating contest to benefit various charities. We, as part of the larger greek community, put on a broadway show as a fundraiser for the local children's hospital. For our school's spring carnival, we spent thousands of dollars and thousands of man-hours of work to build a booth which had little kids lining up for forty minutes to get in, and still leaving with a grin on their face. We throw parties. But all of our parties are dry. No one has ever passed out at one of our parties. Our basement doesn't smell like beer and vomit. We certianly don't include rapists amoung our brothers; we wouldn't allow anyone to join who is disrespectful to women, or disrespectful in general. In short, we take the concept of a fraternity as a brotherhood of men who care about each other and the community seriously. And yet, by your classification, we are "mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging rapists" and "motherfuckers [who] exhibit all the moral judgment and respect for others you'd witness with a pack of wild, snarling dogs." Stop over generalizing, and go out and actually meet some fraternity members. Don't turn your nose up and greek letters. You might be surprised. I certainly was. -Aaron Hertz
  • The funny thing about this comment is that the whole point of the booths are not to attract the "nerd-geek" gamers, but to attract buyers from retail chains to check out your game. So the sex is directed towards getting those guys in your booth. The marketing people who put up booths could care less if Joe Gamer pays them a visit. They just distract from the real target audience.

    Also, the amount of booth babes present at this years E3 was markedly lower than last years. No Space Channel 5 girls on raised platforms.

    -marsh
  • Seeing the GOD games lot at E3, the lone woman in our group remarked, "I am so not the game makers target demographic."
  • > Do girls buy games on anywhere near the volume
    > boys do?

    That's part of the point of the article. Leaving out the question of whether the gaming industry's marketing approach is "right" or "good" or whatever, it's alienating to almost 50% of the potential gaming population (i.e. women). The industry can't grow beyond its current ghetto if it doesn't market to a broader audience.
  • And they do it with tables..

    Geez, you'd think even a 90lb Oracle weenie with white socks, wingtips and a nose-picking turn-on could get a hooker.. But no, he has to start in on the inanimate objects....

    Truly depraved..
  • by technos (73414) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:02PM (#204632) Homepage Journal
    If I ever have a daughter who's a programmer, she's going into databases

    Database geeks are worse..
  • Salon is just jealous that their girly-men "authors" don't have the technical balls that it takes to grab the enormous profits in softcore porn in this age of first-person-shooter 3D interactive media. I understand Salon has their own softcore porn offerings that, I am sure, are about as appealing as anything can be to their girly-men. I wonder if that has anything to do with their consternation at the large piles of cash being acquired by geeks with and their Internetworked rendering engines?

    If Salon is so distressed at the market gap in first-person 3D interactive media targeting girly-men and just plain girls as their customers, they have a more than ample supply of the aforementioned primates with which to pursue said market. And as for capital -- didn't Salon go IPO? (snark snark snark)

  • by Tridus (79566) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @03:04PM (#204637) Homepage
    I read through pretty much all of the comments as of when I clicked the link (which was a while ago), and AFAIK nobody has brought this up yet.

    What about the point in the article where it mentions that the most packed booths at E3 weren't the ones with lots of skin showing, but ones like Blizzard's. Ones that had actual interesting games.

    Could it be that the game makers mistakenly think that sex sells? In actuality the best selling games out there are games like Starcraft and The Sims, neither of which has any real sex appeal. They're just flat out good games.
  • Do you think that you could step back for a second out of your elitest cocoon and realize that sex has allways been a part of videogames. Since the big boom that was the famicom 20 years ago, the japanese have paraded half naked girls in front of thier video game booths at shows like these. But now its different isnt it?? You watch a few Barbara Walters specials on the terrible terrible industry, easily forgeting that the only reason they market games the way they do is because that is what you, Mr. Imtoogoodfortitties, wants. If you think otherwise, reply. But seeing as how you won't do so untill after that episode of Murphy Brown you have on tape ends, I'll entertain myself with a game of Quake 3 Arena.....or is that too violent?
  • Pornography and games are astonishingly similar

    And astonishingly dissimilar as well. What they have in common as forms of entertainment is actually a different issue from that of the original article, which seems to be more about the people and culture surrounding them.

    They both appeal to the basal emotions, and encourage the user to imagine himself doing thing unnacceptable in real life. In games it is violence, and in porn it is sex (and often violence too). The differences are minimal

    A glib and shallow comparson. Games are by nature interactive and competitive. Winning is a process of skill. Pornography is passive, and any eleven-year old boy is capable of exactly the same 'result' with the lingerie section of a mail order catalog. People don't play games because it is unacceptable to be violent in real life; they play games because there is a challenge involved.

    Oh and quit the 'himself' stuff. Women buy and watch pornography as well, in case you forgot.

    it is the women of America who really pay for the porn and violence that our menfolk consume.

    Substantiate or retract. For example, if your statement has anything more than surface rhetoric, explain why more violence is committed against young adult males than against women.

    Pax,

    White Rabbit +++ Divide by Cucumber Error ++

  • Ugh. I just wrote up an interesting idea I had for "booth babes" on Unhelpful.org. I'll just paste it here:

    "Now, if I had my own game company, I would hire post-op transsexuals to be my "booth babes." After each lonely, horny geekboy comes up to have his picture taken, I'd have the girls hand each one a card that says, "Congratulations! You have just had your picture taken with a transsexual!"

    For maximum enjoyment, I would have to video tape their reactions upon reading the card, of course."

    I don't know, I think it would be funny.
  • by RollingThunder (88952) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:50PM (#204645)
    No kidding. They've got all these ideas about one-to-many relationships... sinful, I tell ya!
  • How many trade shows have you been to and not seen booth babes?

    Hmm...off the top of my head:

    • I helped a friend unpack his booth for MANTS [google.com] several years ago.
    • My wife attended ACC [yahoo.com] this spring; I went along for the ride.
    • Oddly enough, we visited a completely different ACC show [craftcouncil.org] last year just for fun.
    • And of course, I should include at least one show [mdtechshowcase.com] that counted as a work day.

    Total bikini babe count: zero. Perhaps you were referring only to industries aimed at and/or run by 20ish males? Gee, that's a very inclusive world view you have. Perhaps you should go outside more often.

  • Okay, like a lot of you folks are saying, there's nothing wrong with sex. But there's sex for grownups and there's sex for adolescents.

    And E3 booth babes in butt babes is the latter kind of sex. The frat boy / pimply loser wet fantasy kind of sex. The juvenile, embarrassing, and oftentimes offensive kind of sex.

    So let's grow up, already.
  • The only difference between Cosmopolitan and Playboy is that Cosmo sells sex from a "Producer" perspective and Playboy sells it from a "Consumer" perspective.

    The perversity of this remark really encapsulates the problem with modern sexual attitudes. Working from this position, that women have sex and men rent it from them, we arrive at a whole host of dysfunction, ne?

    Hrmm. What if men could get over their guilt at being penetrators; women get over having to cling to something? What if women had the power of choice and men could take responsibility for their desire. What a strange and wonderful world where men might accept that they have something to offer and women might have something to look forward to.

    Talk is cheap. It also makes girls horny.
  • I love this. Salon uses sex to sell eyeballs and "Premium" subscriptions as much as E3 does to hype games (check out their "Sex" section and their partnership with Nerve [nerve.com]). Objectification of women is pretty bad, but the holier-than-thou tone is a bit much. It's like Playboy criticizing Penthouse for showing pictures of nekkid girls.
  • The thing is, geeks call jocks on their predisposition to commit rape, but come on, do you guys REALLY care about women?
    All we talk about is nekkid chicks here. Natalie Portman, anyone?
    When was the last time anyone gave PROPS to a woman who was technically inclined?
    The tech industry is KNOWN for its disrespect of women workers.

    Are we any different from the jocks, collectively, when the ball(s?) is in our court?
    ========================
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • Are you really so naive as to think that any opinion substantially different than those held by you and your friends is some type of con?

    It doesn't matter whether the original post was a troll or not. I couldn't care less - what I pointed out in my post was that the responses were garbage: reactionary misogynistic crap. They were totally inappropriate even in response to a troll, because real women read slashdot and probably get tired of seing women (real or not) shat upon every time they dare speak an opinion that doesn't fall in line with the male masses.

    Now go back into your cave.

  • Sorry, but you're way off. Fat & ugly people can get laid quite well. I know, I'm one of them. The ones who can't get laid are usually jerks who won't put out the effort to build a mutually beneficial relationship with a woman.

    The best sex takes place on a much higher level than what the media has led us to believe.

  • Sex has always been accepted by NORMAL people - how do you think the whole world got here? Stop trying to rebel against something that isn't there.

    Next - Sex != women bouncing around in g-strings to promote a new product. This is called exploitation.

  • Get over it. Girls wear belly shirts, and guys stare at their breasts. Both enjoy the experience

    Got no problem with that. But I don't like sexist verbal abuse about PMS and phrases like "dumb cunt" being thrown around whenever a woman disagrees with the slashdot guy club.

    Oh, and have you ever had the fun of being "pussy whipped" as you so kindly put it? Don't put down what you don't know, mate :)

  • And by that token, I assume, standing up against racism is somehow undermining tolerance? And the Jews in Europe would have been better off doing their own fighting, since any assistance would certainly make them feel like a bunch of sissies.

    The problem is, you (or at least your troll alter ego) still sees some type of team distinction between men and women. I'm quite sure that women can handle anything men throw at them (they have for all of recorded history, after all). That still doesn't make it polite.

    And I like polite.

  • My original post clearly stated that I know there are a lot of sensitive, non-violent men, so there was nothing self-centered about it.

    My comment about the majority was based on the fact that 8 out of 12 replies to the original post were simply sexist comments like "dumb cunt" and "wanna fuck?". That makes a majority. I'm just pointing out facts, not making assumptions. Those were all real comments made to be read by real people. It doesn't matter that they were trolls, it just indicated that the majority of men, in this forum at least, take an aggressive sexist stance rather than intelligent disagreement.

  • by localman (111171) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @03:02PM (#204668) Homepage
    I just have to say that, as a married man, I am very disappointed at the responses that the original post generated. The comments were degrading and verbally abusive. I could literally smell the seething testosterone in this thread.

    Funny thing is, I didn't even agree with Lover's Arrival, and I was going to post a rebuttal, but upon reading the replies I can only shake my head and admit that - in general - she's right.

    I personally enjoy both porn and violent video games to some degree. I am also, however, a sensitive and completely non-violent person in my actual life. I know there are a lot of men like me.

    However, as is made apparent by this thread, the majority (or lowest common denominator) male is really an inconsiderate sex-crazed propagation machine. At least on slashdot. I hope that some of you can grow into real humans some day.

    Ugh.

    Good luck, Lover's Arrival.

  • by localman (111171) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @05:25PM (#204669) Homepage
    I think that "hardwired" means "unchangable". The examples you gave are of initial reactions.

    I agree with the original post that humans are not hardwired for anything. They certainly have inborn tendancies, but can, through self re-programming, change those tendancies.

    For example, I _can_ walk on a glass table top now, and if you flick near my face a couple times, I'll be able to hold my eyes open after a couple tries.

    There are even people who can maintain absolute calm as they are consumed by flames, like that Monk who protested the Vietnam war by lighting himself on fire.

    Pretty incredible, when you think about it. And maybe something unique to mankind...

  • I remember some years ago, when Comdex declared that sex was evil and the hard-core porn game companies weren't welcome anymore. They had their own across the street, which is still going on in tandem with Comdex.

    I remember when Chips&Bits used to sell said software, and when all of the ZD publications used to advertise it. Then suddenly ZD "Got Morality!" and quit accepting these ads. In other words, they could afford to turn their back on a revenue stream that helped make them the major publisher. That's their perogative, but their supposedly moral stance is bullshit.

    Chips&Bits? They don't sell any of the old X-rated games anymore. Of course what formerly were X-rated games are now X-rated interactive DVDs.

    So the publishing and reselling industry made their mark by pushing hardcore porn, and now everyone's all getting up in arms over softcore porn? Go figure!

  • Do you expect to see strippers at the Sims booth?

    Well, seeing as how it'd be virtually impossible to get that pixellated effect in real life...

    (Bah dum-bum...)


    --Fesh

  • That's probably because the world is saturated by gratuitous T&A (not that I'm complaining mind you)and the new angle is the more subtle sex appeal. I mean, what would you prefer: 1) an unattractive geek who tries to sell you the latest machine, 2) a brainless bimbo in a bikini who tries to sell you the latest machine or 3) a hot, sexy woman, WITH brains, who IS a geek (or has geek knowledges and leanings) trying to sell you the latest machine?

    I'm guessing most level-headed guys (ie: mature) would choose 3.

  • It's because the american sheeple are so puritanical (and wholly hippocritical;)that they are fascinated with the taboo sex stuff. Funny (ironic really) how here porn is considered bad and pushed away into the 18+ crowd for sale in stores with blacked out windows to protect us from ourselves. In other places like europe it is a tolerated and open subject matter. The difference being? USians have a much higher sex crime rate (for all that protection from the evil pr0n, imho) than anywhere else on the planet. I for one would rather see the games lean more towards the sex than violence.

    Wouldn't it be nice to see a wave of sex spreading across the us again (make love not war, sound familiar?) instead of the rampaging uberviolence we see in our schools? yeah, there are downside to that too(aids, pregnancy, etc.) and I know I am going to get flamed for it but the teen attitude of the 60's and 70's didn't get their classmates killed like it did in the 90's and 00's.

  • "are more harmful than the pervasive objectification of women which results in real-world problems like rape and anorexia."

    Whats this - a quote from Watchtower or something! Strangely, the open minded citizens of Europe dont share your belief that soft porn is responsible for that. Perhaps you`d feel more at home in the progressive regimes of Saudi Arabia, Iran etc?
  • Maybe you should read the article before posting next time, Sparky. It's not about soft porn in games, but about real live soft porn at gaming trade shows. So yes, I find that much more concerning than pushing a button and causing a few pixels on screen to be reconfigured as I "kill" a "zombie."

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • by legLess (127550) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:24PM (#204692) Journal
    First, what the article said is that there's no proof at all that sex does sell games, or even help promote them. Like all those lame-ass dot-com hype parties in San Francisco and Seattle. Who gives a fuck what the product is? Where's the free booze and tote-bag? Most game companies would be better off having the booth babe beta their game for a day instead of waltzing around in butt-floss.

    Second, to answer "why so many videogames rely on explicit violence," my HO is that most game companies have no bloody idea how to make a good game. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better-run or more talented game shop than id software, but they're still basically a technology shop. They build engines and write network code. Ever wonder why Nethack is more interesting to play than Quake3Arena? Because design and coding time went more towards gameplay than technology.

    The gaming industry seems to be learning a few lessons lately: Half-Life and Thief were fascinating to play, and technologically advanced "enough." But in this industry, pre-release hype counts for not just a lot but nearly everything. With no hype you get no positioning on store shelves, no advance orders, no magazine covers. And what's easier to hype? A couple screen shots with bump-mapped water or a "gameplay features document" that puts most people to sleep?

    Even Black & White was hyped mostly for its engine and AI. The gameplay, IMHO, is pretty stunningly boring. Like Starcraft, but with a sidekick; like Dungeon Keeper with a slightly smarter demon. I don't know what the solution is, or if there is one, but most games these days either put me to sleep or annoy me.

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • by legLess (127550) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:05PM (#204693) Journal
    Of course it's not just games. I find women beautiful, but I'm still sick and tired of seeing breasts everywhere as the primary focus of advertising. I fully support a women's right to celebrate her sexuality any way she chooses, for self-gratification, money, attention, or whatever. But I think it's sad that so often it's for the financial gain or prurient interest of emotionally-retarded men.

    I found the article's comparisons with porn interesting, but I don't agree with the author's premise that games are very far removed from Hollywood. Christ - Hollywood not exploit women? The difference here is audience, and it's a typical chicken-and-egg scenario.

    Women go to see Hollywood movies all the time, and not always the notorious "chick flicks." Hollywood takes the female audience very seriously, and panders to it very successfully (just like it panders to everyone, of course; this isn't gender-specific). Porn and games, however, are consumed mostly by men, often young men, so these industries pander to that audience.

    Is it lack of focus by game developers? Is it that men are more easily visually stimulated than women (porn), or more competitive (games)? In my experience, women are less apt to want to sit in front of a computer, for any reason. Dunno why :/

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • (Sorry. That's my favorite line of the "Best Line" nominees for the MTV Movie Awards. Off-topic. Won't happen again.)

    Is it just me, or are [console] video games considerably lacking in "adult" content? I think Conker's Bad Fur Day for the Nintendo 64 is about the worst thing we've got, and the word f@$# is censored!

    I am unaware of the statistics, but I would guess that more kids play games through console systems rather than computers, and anything on the computer is bought or authorized first by a parent, in the majority of cases. In any event, this story seems to be a load of crap, in my opinion. :-)

    I wouldn't mind a "Tour of the Playboy Mansion" game in the future. Something tells me I'm out of luck on that one...

  • With a only a small handful on notable exceptions, most video games feature a heavy dose of violence and gore in the game itself, but virtually no mature sex themes. Several times I've seen a sexually charged add for a game, but it turns out the sexual implications in the ad aren't representative of any part of the game itself.

    Sex sells (when marketed well and not censored). I'd probably buy a game or two with more sex and less violence.

    For example, Maxis would part $50 from my wallet for a adult-themes addon to the Sims! I suspect I'm not the only one.

  • by bellings (137948) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:28PM (#204702)
    So, instead of being like the $6 billion a year hollywood film industry, it will be more like the $10 billion a year (and extremely profitable) porn industry?

    Boy, it would really really suck for games if they were had higher sales, and a much larger profit margin, than porn.
  • by aminorex (141494) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @08:47PM (#204705) Homepage Journal
    > Of course it's not just games. I find women
    > beautiful, but I'm still sick and tired
    > of seeing breasts everywhere as the
    > primary focus of advertising.

    You are SOOO right. I want to see clitorii
    become the primary focus of advertising.
  • by spoonboy42 (146048) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:58PM (#204706)

    Using sex to sell games demeans the entire industry and prevents gaming from being taken seriously. So what?

    The article makes a point that the largest crouds were drawn not by E3 peep shows, but by *gasp* actual games. Blizzard and Maxis, in particular, were very popular. Both make, in my opinion, very high quality, fun games, and have even had breakthrough sucess with "mainstream" computer users. If you don't believe me, take a look at sales charts for the last few years. Starcraft and The Sims have made more cash than most major feature films, and they've done so by word of mouth outside of the gaming community.

    The point that I'm trying to make is that good games don't need sex appeal inside or outside of the game to be popular. Companies like Blizzard and Maxis will be around for a long time because they make games that people want to play. Companies that rely on "booth babes" won't, because sex alone does not make for popularity in something that is marketed as a game. The porn industry will crush inferior, over-sexualized games, because it's been around for thousands of years, and knows exactly what it's doing when it comes to satisfying the latent sexual fantasies of the male psyche.

    It's evolution at work. It all comes down to whether a game is fun, and fun is a concept that transcends the "geek ghetto". No matter what ammount of gratuitous sex or violence is added, it won't distract people if they're not enjoying themselves. Booth babes, your days are numbered.


    Anonymous Luddite: "What do you think of the dehumanizing effects of the Internet?"
  • Salon would know a think or two about porn from thier own pay site. [salon.com]
  • by schulzdogg (165637) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:22PM (#204720) Homepage Journal
    It's our culture. Everything we do is sexualized. How many trade shows have you been to and not seen booth babes? How many ads have you seen use sex to sell things? The argument of the article is basically: There's a lot of gratuitious sex here and it's keeping video games in the "geek ghetto". But that's not true: All products use sex to sell, especially entertainment. Saying that video games are especially sexually charged ignores the legions of sexually charged movies, tv shows, magazines, etc that are already consumed. Video games didn't grow in a vacum. end rant.
  • by Medgur (172679) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:44PM (#204724) Homepage
    It's not fair to say "it's our culture," when, the fact remains rampant sex, and/or the suppression of, is found in all cultures throughout the world. A desire for sex, in any medium, is part of our humanity, and may be the one constant in all cultures across the globe and throughout time. Trying to suppress this desire, or attempting to censor any expressions of it eventually creates frustration and anger amongst the affected population. Personally, I don't understand why an effort to suppress and control this aspect of humanity is even made, history shows that it's a hopeless cause (eg, prostitution is humanity's oldest industry, and countless societies have attempted to stop it entirely, yet all have failed).

    Now, I'm not advocating rampant sexual media, or even legalization of prostitution. I'd just like to see conservative (harmful) attitudes laid to rest, and maybe then we'll stop seeing such an emphasis on "softcore porn" in gaming (rebellion), and a greater emphasis on character interaction, plot, and story line.

    Wishful thinking, I know.

    -Medgur
  • by Medgur (172679) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:59PM (#204725) Homepage
    "we should not stimulate those who cannot handle a heightened sense of awareness and can't resist their desires"
    "it is the women of America who really pay for the porn and violence that our menfolk consume"
    I hate to cut apart your entire post, but I just wanted to highlight those points, as they seem to speak clearly for themselves. I've gotten the impression that you're advocating that much of the male populace cannot handle such intense emotions without longterm side effects? And, as a result we should do our best to shield them from any intense media in order to protect the interests of the other 51% of society? The problem here is, this is an extremely gender-biased approach to solving some of the most harmful aspects of society towards women (spousal abuse, rape, etc). Perhaps those that do offend are directly influenced into their actions by sexual and violent media, but then again, such violence has been declining in North America (please correct me if I'm wrong) long before such media really existed in such a wide spread manner. Perhaps, instead of blaming porn and violent video games, we should look at unemployment, poverty, racial/gender inequity (gender inequity is not just a problem for women, it is a problem for men as well), and general social frustration.

    -Medgur
  • by Karl_Hungus (180893) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:00PM (#204731)
    Point taken. I would like to think there is a difference. If there is one, it is only in the level of acceptability of that sort of conduct. OTOH, HotGrits is a separate question; there is a world of difference between words and deeds, and here I'm talking only about deeds. I am not saying anything about any causal connection between the two. As for caring about women, I had the nauseating experience of helping a woman who'd been GHB'd. Seizures, vomiting, lack of pulse...she made it only because someone who knew her spotted her being dragged out of a bar and stepped in. Watching another human being in convulsions on someone's living room floor at five in the morning really gets across how easy it is to hurt someone. I helped her, and I still felt badly just for having witnessed what I did.
  • by jaydub99 (188487) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:40PM (#204739)
    And if all video games had the same (profitable) plot line, and wonderful character development.

    "ding dong!"
    "I wonder who that could be?"
    "Hello, I'm here to clean the pool"
    "My, but that's a large pole you've got there"
    "Actually, it's a plasma gun. I intend to kill you with it."
    "No, no. Please don't. I am very scared."

    Cue the electric bass...
  • by LionKimbro (200000) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @04:33PM (#204749) Homepage

    Your argument about communities where people are restricting unresponsible people doesn't work here, because game players and porn watchers aren't being irresponsible. If you think they are, that's your opinion.

    Lets say someone is an alchoholic. They know they need help, and they get society to help them. That's one thing.

    Now lets talk about someone who likes to eat bread in a place where bread is taboo. This person thinks bread is just fine, but the community views it as irresponsible. The person doesn't want the communities "help".

  • by mblase (200735) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @04:42AM (#204751)
    It's the dearth of women, among other things, that consigns games to their geek ghetto, with no genuine celebrities, or pop-cult recognition outside its narrow subculture.

    Not entirely true; The Sims is a lone example of how computer games can attract a huge female fanbase (nearly 50%, IIRC) provided it's something they're interested in. But computers in general are still perceived as a "guy" thing, and it'll take several more Sims-scale hits to make the rest of the male-created gaming industry sit up and take notice.

  • by renderhead (206057) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @04:41AM (#204754)
    The problem is not that the gaming industry uses sex to try to sell their products. Everyone does that. The problem is that they aren't very good at it! The film industry has learned to use sex in a subtle, sometimes subliminal way that arouses without offending. With a few exceptions *cough* Striptease!*cough* Showgirls!*, Hollywood has turned sex into a science that works on a very large and varied audience.

    Game developers, on the other hand, try to get the same results by parading hot chicks in bikinis around near their products. This is flawed because

    1. The sex isn't incorporated into their product, so the women are irrelavent to the sale,
    2. When it is incorporated, it is blatant and generally out of context (if woman during the Middle Ages actually wore a leather bustier around, she'd have been stoned), and
    3. It only appeals to men, and especially men without an appreciation for subtlety.
    All of these combine to make the gaming industry look like a bunch of hacks to the non-gaming community. Not a good way to bring in investors or new customers.

  • by Telastyn (206146) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:51PM (#204759)
    Then maybe you should turn off your TV, or bomb a local movie theatre, or boyott makeup and skirts.

    And god knows the Backstreet Boys aren't objectified by teenage girls the world over...
  • I mean, really. A guy going on and on about the "ghetto" nature of a few floozies stading at the booths is supposedly outweighing the over-sexxed nature of Hollywood? I think now.

    If there's any industry that follows the "Sex Sells" motto, it would be that of the film industry. Sure, it's nice and all to idealistically blame videogames for the proliferation of viloence and sex in today's society, but it does little to explain the existance of the *realistic* violence and sex-laden nature of the movie and TV industry.

    I suppose that using Brittney Spears and her hips to sell Pepsi is somehow more justified than having a "Booth Babes." I'm not saying the latter is better than the former, but it is definitly comparable. When following that line, the movie industry definitly carries protrayals of sex to a far more extreme nature than videogames ever could get away with. How many movies released last year had graphic sex scenes? How many videogames? Whatever high number you come up with for movies, you're still comparing it to a big *zero* in the gaming industry.

    But, of course... With Hollywood, I guess it's considered "mature" and "artistic"--with games it's "Ghetto" and the "downfall of women."
  • by Preposterous Coward (211739) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:45PM (#204763)
    Hey, why is it assumed that sex is somehow dirty and amoral rather than "good clean fun". I say consensual sex *is* good clean (well, sometimes a little sticky) fun! In fact my ex-girlfriend used to call her boobs "funbags", which always made me laugh. But I can assure you there was indeed plenty of fun to be had!

    Admittedly, the use of hired booth bimbos smacks of tawdriness, but hey, if you can't get attention for your lame-o game you can probably get some by making a sexual connection. This is hardly unique to the gaming industry, or even to men. Just walk into your local supermarket and take a look at the covers of the magazines by the checkout aisle. It's all "Revive Your Sex Life" and "10 Things Men Wish You Would Do In Bed".

    Sex sells. Wow, news flash. Sex sells to horny teenage gamer boys who are not the kind of alpha males who go to prom with the cheerleader on their arms. Geez, I'm so shocked.

    There's a much better story, IMHO, in asking why so many videogames rely on explicit violence. Not that I think videogame violence turns our kids into monsters, but I do find it ironic that Americans are so puritanical about sex when we're so forgiving of graphic violence.

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:25PM (#204764) Homepage
    In terms of culture, the computer gaming industry is moving more and more toward pure, plotless sex and violence. Hardcore gamers actively make fun of bestselling games which don't involve blood and skin such as Riven or The Sims, even though they appear to appeal to a wider audience.

    At least in this sense, I think that the "hardcore gamer" community is largely a collection of adolescent boys and underdeveloped men who live out their aggressive fantasies alone or online in games because they're unable to relate properly to "normal" humans (i.e. outside the tech industry). The tech industry and especially the gaming community seems to be a race of people unto itself, apart from the rest of humanity.

    Of course, I say this as someone who owns $2,500 worth of PC and Linux games and was just looking at those butt-floss pictures on the gaming sites yesterday...

    But seriously, I do get frustrated with some other gamers and their extreme views and behavior. Some of these guys make me feel downright normal and human by comparison.
  • by wrinkledshirt (228541) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:25PM (#204774) Homepage
    'The soft-porn fixation embarrassingly displayed at E3 is dooming the gaming industry to the nerd-geek ghetto.'

    I find this hilarious. You've got games where you can frag or blow up humans, mutants, zombies, terrorists, counter-terrorists, buildings, spaceships, starships, elves, dwarves, attack choppers, gangsters, aliens, vampires, hostages, and beings from the Alice in Wonderland universe.

    And you're concerned about Lara Croft's short shorts? Only in America.

  • by Magnus Pym (237274) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:59PM (#204781)

    The writer seems to have a major problem with men and boys. They like sex. The horror! However, the fact is, with the exception of a small "non-mainstream" percentage, most women like sex too. Ever taken a look at a "Woman's Magazine" lately? It is full of pictures of half-naked women/girls and explicit advice about sexual matters. Half the content is advice on how to attract wealthy and powerful men, and how to get rid of losers. Just as men rate women on how good their figures are, women rate men on their success, or "alpha-characteristics."

    The only difference between Cosmopolitan and Playboy is that Cosmo sells sex from a "Producer" perspective and Playboy sells it from a "Consumer" perspective.

    Magnus.
  • by 3prong (241218) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:33PM (#204788)

    From the article:

    "As it stands, the whole jig is just one disgruntled female employee away from toppling under a sexual harassment suit. Very likely, the "hostile work environment" clause of the code is fulcrum enough to bring the entire embarrassing enterprise down around the industry's ankles."

    She is talking about E3, but if she only knew what kind of hostile work environment exists at your average male-dominated game development house....

    At one (nameless but could be any) game company a few years back, I remember hearing guys down the hall screaming "EAT MY FUCKING MANGINA, BITCH" repeatedly while playing games. This, at 4pm on a weekday. Also, surfing fecal porn during work hours brought barely a blink from our producer.

    If I ever have a daughter who's a programmer, she's going into databases.
  • by Lawbeefaroni (246892) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:27PM (#204794) Homepage
    As if Lara Croft isn't enough, try reading a gaming magazine in public. Half the ads are silly hack n' slash uberwarriors or near naked fetishized elves or something. Not that that's always bad, but if that's what you want, buy Musclemag or some pr0n. In no way does it ad to a game as far as I'm concerned. It puts me off since is it usually valid to assume, "the game sucks so they need tits and arse to sell it."

    "Nerd-geek Ghetto." Ah ha ha. So true, I have many friends who pick up NHL 2001 or Madden just to have it on the shelf to balance out the "nerd-geek" factor.

  • by Kibo (256105) <naw#gmail. c o m> on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:55PM (#204803) Homepage

    Do not listen to Tom Leykus.

    Do not goto This website [blowmeuptom.com].

    Do read Cosmo.

    Do make your boyfriend take those tests as they really will tell you what's going on in your relationship.

    Do ask him what he is thinking, preferably if he's watching his favorite sports team.

    However, if he's watching his team in the playoffs: Turn off the TV and tell him you want to talk about your relationship.

    Your boyfriend was actualy a composit of all man and so is an accurate depiction of any individual man. Your milage will not vary.

    Do generalize all of his traits to the larger population, as they will certainly hold true.

    But most importantly, make sure the next guy pays in full for the crimes of the last.

    Only in this way will two people ever find true love.

  • by Kibo (256105) <naw#gmail. c o m> on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:22PM (#204804) Homepage
    Umm Women rent porn. Girls not so much. However, teenage girls have disposible income on par with that of teenage boys. Yet they don't seem to spend it on video games. There are probably a great many reasons for this, but I'd put my money on the fact it's a lot easier to make a 1st person shooter that preaches to the spear chucking hunter in us males, than it is to make a game that piques the feminin desire to fiddle with reatlation ships. Hell when a female type person asks me "so what are you thinking?" I have no idea what to say, how's a computer going to respond?

    They're harder to make games for, I imagine Black and White might appeal to some girls, but there are a lot of other market forces competing for those dollars. Getting girls to shift some of their income to games, might be like getting boys to shift some of their income to nail polish for men (yeah right). In Japan I think the games that really have the attention of the ladies, are the relationship role-playing games which (from descriptions I've read elsewhere) seem to revolve around a girl picking some boy and convincing him to fall in love with her, in a game akin to an old skool pick-a-path adventure.

    At the end of the day, it looks like good games are one of the rewards of being born a male. Hand-eye coordination is easier to code for than relationship building.

  • by MulluskO (305219) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:51PM (#204822) Journal
    Mayny people suggest that viewing pornography or playing violent video games can cause a person to be perverted or violent.

    The statistics are there, initiators of school shootings have played violent games, and rapists have often been found to be frquent pornography viewers.

    I don't, however think this is cause and effect. People that commit violent acts are attracted to violent media, they're violent, that is what they like. Those who play violent video games or view pronography aren't drawn to murder or rape. While the fact that a rapist is drawn to porn facilitates the statistics conservative politicians wave around, pornography is more of a symptom than a disease, and I could have a sore throat for any number of reasons. (insert your ailment here)
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @06:15PM (#204825)
    Well, if you wish to restrict your boundries with poorly research stereotpes, who am I to stop you? I will, however, tell you that you are wrong. You are doing something that is pretty common of armchair psychologists (people that know a little about psychology but have never studied it formally): taking a small set of people (in this case a single person) looking at their behaviours and overgeneralizing it to the entire population. This is a problem in two major ways:

    1) You have no basis for stastical comparison. You have no idea how accurately your single boyfriend represents the gameplaying population at large. To amke any kind of inference at all you'd need to study at least several hundred people.

    2) Correlation does not imply causation. You saw a correlation between your boyfriend's like for games and his agressive behaviour. That does NOT imply that one is caused by the other. All studies show that indeed violent media does not cause violent behaviour. Once a correlation has been established, a good deal of further study must be done before it can be established if it is a result of causation.

    At any rate I know your hasty conclusion is a false one simply from the number of counterexamples I see all around me. I know many men who enjoy violent games, yet are some of the nicest, most caring people you could hope to meet. I also know a number of women who are very into violent games.

    So, if you want to take your single case study and think you now understand human nature, you're welcome to, but I think you'll find several hundred experts that will tell you that your methods are deeply flawed and your conclusions are incorrect.

  • by moronga (323123) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:24PM (#204828)
    I guess this is more believable and consequently a better troll, but your post earlier this day [slashdot.org] in the Japanese gadgets discussion was much funnier.
  • by cosmo7 (325616) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:49PM (#204832) Homepage
    yeah, right, Wagner, we should keep sex out of things. so, i guess writing stuff like this [nerve.com] is completely out of the question.
  • by 6EQUJ5 (446008) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:47PM (#204844) Homepage

    Let's only have disgusting, unattractive characters from now on. We'll replace Lara Croft with Rosie O'Donnell. Will that satisfy the Tipper Gores of the world?

    NO!? In other words, basically nothing will make them happy, because they enjoy preaching and making people feel bad. It has nothing to do with their cause; if they actually got what they wanted they'd still bitch just as loud.
  • Not to mention the fact that any hack who would use the word "cock-tease" in an article about alleged over-sexedness in an industry can be safely ignored. That in itself is proof that we live in a day and age when sex has mass appeal and is not considered by most to be impropriety when used like this. The majority of society--not just geekdom--is accepting of sexuality as an everyday part of existence, not something that needs to be kept private but something to be used as any other tool and any other type of appeal. This writer is just out of touch, and believes all the out of touch statements by old and out of date people like Sen. Lieberman and the others who are trying to close the gate after the horse has already left the barn.

    Gaming is not a market for the old. It is a market for the young, the bulk of the industry aimed at teens through 30. As such, it is natural that the gaming community should reflect the values of its audience. And those values include treating sexuality openly. When the writer speaks of "the industry's dogged unwillingness (or inability) to join the mainstream," he's being ignorant of the fact that the behaviour he is denigrating is actually the mainstream.

    It's ironic that at the same time old throwbacks like Lieberman who want to return culture to the 50s, are complaining that Hollywood is marketing sex and violence to teens, that this writer is ignorant enough to try to try to separate Hollywood from the gaming industry based on the gaming industry's wealth of sexuality and violence that is exactly akin to a typical Hollywood blockbuster. When he complains that gaming is an industry "with no genuine celebrities, or pop-cult recognition outside its narrow subculture" he conveniently ignores the fact that any given teen or twentysomething, and many older folks, can list their fvorite games just as they can their favorite films, and list their main characters just as they could list film stars. The lack of flesh-and-blood gaming icons outside the hardcore community is merely a reflection of the fact that people don't star in games--computer generated characters do, at least so far. So that's the fair comparison to make. Whether Mario or Lara Croft or Frogger, mainstream people know these characters and their games just as they know Hollywood stars and their movies.

    The writer is just out of touch.

    Chasing Amy
    (We all chase Amy...)

"Out of register space (ugh)" -- vi

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