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Games Entertainment

Are Game Magazines Turning Into Men's Magazines? 147

Posted by simoniker
from the slashdot-games-readers'-wives dept.
KaiEl writes "I was skimming through the latest issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly (April 2004) the other day when I began to notice a recurring theme: pictures of scantily clad women, both virtual and real, kept popping up. Usually it's not surprising to find one or two skimpy outfits in an issue, but this one seemed crawling with them. I decided to chronicle a list of the semi-nudity in a post on my weblog. What does this surplus of sexy pictures say about the direction of the videogame industry? Is it a reaction to the success of 'male' magazines like Maxim and FHM? Is it a reflection of the video game industry's seeming fascination with the barely clothed female form (see: Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball)? Or am I just a prude who's getting worked up over nothing?"
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Are Game Magazines Turning Into Men's Magazines?

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  • Rule #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:44PM (#8583957) Homepage Journal
    Know your audience.
  • by readpunk (683053) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:47PM (#8583986) Journal
    The same people who have a ton of money to blow on the endless and for the most part terrible games that the video game industry releases, are also the same people who view the other sex as objects. Why not start "reviewing" women in the magazines as well?
  • by soramimicake (593421) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:50PM (#8584015)
    I think it reflects that a large part of the audience who grew up with computer games has, er, grown older, and this is the kneejerk reaction of the industry to try to attract them.
  • by paulcammish (542971) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:51PM (#8584019)
    Or am I just a prude who's getting worked up over nothing?

    Yes.

    And DOA:X is actually a rather good 'social game', with some rather fun subgames tacked on, even bar the semi-nudity.

  • by Gorgo the Slow (718830) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:52PM (#8584028)
    I wonder if the author has looked at much of ANY magazine, TV show or movie in the past 20 years. There isn't much of anything that isn't sold by attatching hot nearly naked women to it. Powertools to alchohol to videogames to vacations in Jamaica- all brought to you by the power of your own biological urges. This is nothing new. Videogames have rounded the bend on graphics enough to give us rendered juggy characters. Entertainment Weekly often has nearly naked women, so does Interview, so does Wallpaper, so does Vogue, so does pretty much any magazine aimed at anyone over pubescent age. Ever wonder why so many "classic" paintings from the renaissance are of nude reclining women?
  • prude - nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrSkwid (118965) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @08:11PM (#8584200) Homepage Journal
    Or am I just a prude who's getting worked up over nothing?

    No, I think you have a valid concern. I can be a porn hound with the best of the them but when I want to read about computer games or car modding it narks me that I'm bombarded with 'glamour' pictures. You should see the shit you get in car modding mags these days.

    I think it has as much to do with the sudden power of the editors and other staff members. It's like the sad state that guys go through as soon as they get a bit of money to spend on the art budget. You also see it in music videos. Sad no-name rap group gets told they can spen $X on a video and get some women bumping and grinding, like it's some sort of badge of honour. Gee well, done guys, you got enough $ to hire a pretty girl to stand near you for a change.

    If you really want a computer game magazine you should buy Future Publishing's Edge [edge-online.com]. It's written for and by adults in an adult style and doesn't go for the prurient. Stear clear of the sad wankers because if the need to show you some tits to make you buy their mag then their editorial must be shite.

  • by PaganRitual (551879) <splaga AT internode DOT on DOT net> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @08:43PM (#8584447)
    games are good. hot chicks are good. if you can combine them both, thats great. dont start that shit with us. youll alert stupid concerned groups that are getting bored with manhunt and vice city.
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @08:54PM (#8584527) Homepage Journal
    Or am I just a prude who's getting worked up over nothing?

    It depends on what, in particular, about the images of scantily clad women got you worked up. If you were just annoyed because you felt that you paid for a gaming magazine and got something else, then, no, you aren't a prude. Nor are you a prude if you were annoyed that the magazine publisher basically ignored their female readers. On the other hand, if you were upset that a semi-nude female form was in plain view, then, yes, you are a prude.

    Ironically, I have to wonder if the reason for the phenomenon you point out is prudishness. Think about the absurdity of the U.S. Senate holding hearings because a breast (with the nipple covered) was shown on network television. People in Europe must think that Americans are complete, sexually-repressed, idiots. And it may be the "forbidden" nature of sex in the U.S. that makes pseudo porn (the images you mentioned, FHM, Maxim, etc.) so appealing. If U.S. beaches were topless and network television showed nudity, how much of a draw would it be to put images of "hot babes" in gaming magazines?

  • by Benedick (737361) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:06PM (#8584627)
    Yes, I know that many videogamers these days are older. Heck, I'm still a gamer at 42. But one thing I like to do is share the joy that is video gaming with my children.

    The problems with all the emphasis on sex in video games is that makes them 1) less likely to be allowed by Mom and 2) less appealing to female gamers.

    I stopped getting video game magazines when I realized that every issue had a partially revealed hottie on either the front or the back cover. I couldn't even leave the magazines lying around.

    Eventually, the hobby will mature enough to support videogame magazines aimed at different markets: young videogamers, female videogamers, mature videogamers, and (the largest segment) horny young male videogamers. For now, though, it's just that last group being served.

  • by AnamanFan (314677) <anamanfan@everythinga f t e r.net> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:19PM (#8584730) Homepage
    You need only to look at the about page [g4tv.com] for G4TV to understand what video game press is geared towards. The only missing word is male, but being that obvious would get them into a lot of trouble. Watch the channel and you will know that the word 'male' is implied. Had they include both genders, you wouldn't have shows that feature titles such as graphic adventures which have a higher gender mix than other titles.

    Right now the industry is approching a crossroads. Had I have time to be detailed, I would make certain paralles with electrionic gaming and early history of the film industry where the market wasn't realized until after the Hollywood monoploies were broken. Since this is a /. post, I don't feel I need to be too detailed.

    What I will say is the industry is at a point for easy money makers, similar to the 30's and 40's for film that the B-film was made for. Churn them out, get high returns with low investment. You can make a very sucessful title that for a general audience that will make mad-money (IE: The Sims, Myst, Flight Simulator), but these titles appear to be hard to make sucessful. So, we get tons of product that fits in the easy market: 12 to 34 male.

  • Two words... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JVert (578547) <corganbillyNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:03PM (#8585038) Journal
    Nvidia Elf
  • Forniphilia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Michael.Forman (169981) * on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @11:40PM (#8585694) Homepage Journal

    The EGM article unambiguously exemplies the sexual objectification [wikipedia.org] of women. What I find particularly disturbing are the invasive and almost abusive questions asked in the EGM America's Sexiest Gamer article. [egmmag.com] For example, in the article the interviewer asks "What's the best game to use as foreplay?", "What's your favorite position...to play games in?", and "Are vibrating controllers sexy?". Based on her asexual responses, I would be willing to argue that the sexual nature of the line of questioning was nonconsensual.

    I submit that you are not prude, rather I believe you are simply taking offense at the blatant objectification.

    Michael. [michael-forman.com]
  • by Muggins the Mad (27719) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @12:33AM (#8586010)

    Most of the womens magazines are just like this too. Full of skimpily clad supermodels. The difference is they are also full of articles telling women how imperfect they are physically and why they *could* achieve a perfect body if only they weren't so lazy.

    At least the ones targetted at men usually have articles about cars or sport or computer games.

    - MugginsM
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:38AM (#8586583) Journal
    You know, I hear a lot about sexual objectification coming from women's advocacy groups.

    However, my guess is that sexual objectification is a pretty much necessary result of the fact that content related to sexuality is frequently suppressed. Public nudity is not okay. Social norms reduce the degree to which men and women expose flesh. Sexual activity is something done strictly in private. Society goes to incredible lengths to try and delay knowledge children learn of sexual activity.

    There are two reasons I can think of for producing such an environment. The first would be to the benefit of males -- avoiding a "cuckoo's egg" situation. Men do not want their wives fooling around when they might have to expend lots of resources raising a baby that might not contain their genetic material. Anything to avoid that situation is good. The second, and I think the more predominant, is to the benefit of females -- decreasing the availability of content relating to sexuality increases the bargaining value of each female's sexuality. This is not the '40s, and emphasis on women marrying to reach a certain economic point is not what it used to be, but it is still definitely an element of society -- I remember reading a study finding that women placed much more emphasis on the economic and other practical state of a potential spouse than men did. To some extent, I think that one could say that the sexual objectification of women is an artifact of a social phenomenen that (whether women were "responsible" for it or not) primarily benefits females.
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:52AM (#8586637) Journal
    games are good. hot chicks are good. if you can combine them both, thats great. dont start that shit with us. youll alert stupid concerned groups that are getting bored with manhunt and vice city.

    Steak is good.

    Chocolate is good.

    If you can combine them both, that's not good.

    I don't think people are interested so much in *censoring* magazines as they are in not funding content that really isn't what they're interested in. If the person reading the magazine is a heterosexual female, a homosexual male, or someone that's gettign a sufficient amount of sexual activity in their lives, they may not be *interested* in funding and paging through a bunch of stuff that's really....pretty stupid except for the sexual content. "What's your favorite position when playing video games?" I mean, come on. That's *stupid*, unless you're looking for the sexual titillation from reading some words that some attractive girl spoke. From the complainant's point of view, it's as if there was a ten page interview with the Teletubbies inserted right into the middle of your favorite magazine. You just don't *care* about the content, and you'd feel a little silly reading it.

    The same thing is the reason why you're going to have a hard time finding someone wanting to watch a porn flick if they aren't interested in the sexual content. Sure, you could *make* a masterful adult film, where sex plays a significant and real role in the plot and is balanced with all other elements. You could make a "Saving Private Ryan" or "Shawshank Redepmption" and include adult material. The problem is that usually, when content producers get the opportunity to use sexually charged content, their ability to make the content solid in other ways goes right out the window.

    I think the biggest problem is that gaming magazines are not doing a good job of identifying themselves to their proper audiences. It would be *much* better if, instead of battling in the same arena, game magazines could effectively "split up" the market. As someone else pointed out, Nintendo Power (hold the criticisms of the magazine for a moment, please) aims at the young market, and EGM aims at the male teen market. What if you want to *make* a magazine aimed at a different market. Do *you* know of one? Well, there's probably some kind of strategy gaming magazine, and that might reach a different demographic, but basically some magazine needs to come along and say "we aren't aiming to produce a sexually charged magazine".

    If I were EGM, I'd make a deal with another magazine to recommend other magazines in each issue (recommended for ages 8-14 Nintendo players, recommended for males ages 14-25, recommended for ages 25+, etc) based on a couple of simple demographics. These magazines would, in turn, recommend EGM using the same set of demographics. Readers would tend to go towards the magazine best-suited to them, and there'd be fewer complaints.
  • Re:It's Just EGM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by May Kasahara (606310) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @12:30PM (#8589224) Journal
    Inspection of other gaming mags will show you that they're not all made this way.

    Very true. I used to be a subscriber to Game Informer-- when they did a "Five Hottest Girls in Video Games" mini-feature in their 100th issue, it eventually snowballed into this big flap about how the magazine isn't respectful to its female readers (most of this coming from the sizable female readership). As a result, they came to hire a female editor, and the coverage of issues such as DOA Beach Volleyball and the new Leisure Suit Larry game was fairly tasteful, IMHO.

    (By the way, the reason why I let my subscription lapse was not because of any such gender issues-- but because of spoilers... huge, unmarked spoilers :P)

  • Re:Rule #1 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Night Goat (18437) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:35AM (#8595898) Homepage Journal
    That was a great magazine. I have never laughed so much from reading a magazine as I did with that one. Too bad it's gone, it was definitely one of the more enjoyable magazines to read. Also, it was different. Nowadays, every magazine seems the same. Reviews, previews, articles about inane shit. Rinse, repeat. I miss PC Accelerator's weird articles about stuff like what games would make good drinking games.

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

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