Tag Archives: hitman: absolution

Border House DLC: This Week in Videogames

 Walkthrough

  • Big releases: Far Cry 3, and “Dragonborn” DLC for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
  • Also, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has been born again as an iOS app. Eh, there are plenty of  console-to-iOS reboots of much better games. Like Baldur’s Gate, which also hit iOS this week.
  • We also got the box art for BioShock: Infinite last weekend, which appears to feature every FPS protagonist ever. Infinite is slated for a March 2013 release.
  • A new trailer for The Cave, from Double Fine studios, showcases the cast of playable characters. (Joystiq) The game comes out in January 2013.
  • And finally in free advertising courtesy Border House, here’s some footage about Peter Molyneux‘s newest game GODUS. (Kotaku)
  • In case you missed it, Anita Sarkeesian hosted a TED Talk this week! The Feminist Frequency creator talked about her Tropes vs Women in Videogames project, and the unbelievable amount of hateful, mysogynistic backlash she’s received.
  • This week in Bad Ideas: to promote Hitman: Absolution, the developers created Hire Hitman, a Facebook app that lets you take “hits” on your friends for reasons such as “her small tits” or “his big gut.” I would say that you just can’t make this up, but apparently, some people can. Square Enix, the game’s publisher, has apologized, and taken the site down. (RockPaperShotgun)
  • What’s the next big thing on Xbox? We don’t know, but apparently Black Tusk Studio—formerly Microsoft Vancouver—does, and they’re not telling. (Joystiq)
  • In other future news, there’s going to be a thing called “All the Bravest.” Square Enix just filed for trademark and domain registrations on it. (GameInformer)
  • Remember Ouya? Developers’ consoles for those wishing to design for this Kickstarter darling will ship Dec. 28. (Joystiq)
  • The Humble THQ Bundle is doing good by THQ. With nine days left to go in the pay-what-you-want sale, the company’s stock as jumped by 40%. The success of Humble Bundle’s monetization system with games from big studios could have wider implications for the videogame market. (Joystiq) EDIT: The games in the THQ Bundle are NOT DRM-free, which was previously a key point of Humble Bundle’s mission. (Ars Technica)
  • Guys! Boyfriend Maker is still a thing! The controversial app was pulled from the iOS store but is still available via Android, though now with a filter of moderate functionality.  (DigitalTrends)
  • BioWare is throwing all the writers at the next DLC for Mass Effect 3, responding to criticism of their last DLC, Omega, and, of course, the game’s controversial ending. (DigitalTrends)
  • BioWare also wants you to know that they’re still working on Star Wars: The Old Republic, so don’t go! (Eurogamer)
  • A sequel to beloved 1999 RPG Planetscape: Torment is officially in the works! (Ars Technica) Plus, it looks like the original is getting a Steam release. (Gameranx)

Sidequests

  • Our own Quinnae had an article in Bitch Magazine entitled “Game Changer: Why Gaming Culture Allows Abuse… and How We Can Stop It.”
  • Kotaku has a feature on Thomas Deer, a cultural liaison officer at the Kahnawake Language and Cultural Centre who worked with the Assassin’s Creed III developers. Among his input was the recommendation to take out the ‘scalping’ feature that the developers had planned for the game.
  • At Gameranx, Daniel Starkey talks about how he based Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard after his mother, the person who first got him into science fiction.
  • For more BioShock Infinite goodness, here’s Ken Levine’s interview with Wired Magazine, where he discusses the game’s influences.
  • This article from Gameological Society about affectionate gestures in videogames is very touching. Sorry, bad joke. I’m just bitter because they didn’t include the hand-holding in Ico.
  • On The Mary Sue, Becky Chambers talks about how Mass Effect 3: Omega lead her to muse about the continued relevance of gender debate.
  • Here’s a parody of the Dumb Ways to Die video featuring videogame characters. (And here’s the original, for reference)

 Bonus Levels

  • Below, one valiant geeklady rips into the “fake geek girl” myth.

Link Roundup: Hitman: Absolution Trailer

A screengrab of the Hitman trailer. Nuns walk with their heads down toward the viewer.

Screengrab from the Hitman trailer

This week has seen another round of discussion of rape culture in video games, prompted primarily by the release of a trailer for the upcoming Hitman: Absolution, which I will not link. Instead, I will offer a round-up of some great and some not-so-great (to say the least) articles written this week, both about it and about rape culture in general. Trigger warnings apply to everything below.

A good place to start is Opinion: What the Hell is With That Hitman Trailer? by Keza MacDonald at IGN, which has a description of the trailer in question and has a great explanation of the problems with it.

Next is Can’t We Discuss This Like Adults?, by Rob Fahey at GamesIndustry International, pointing out that the backlash against critics of the Hitman trailer is childish and ridiculous, and that it probably stems from the history of video games being attacked, as a medium, by cynical politicians and other outsiders. Fahey asks gamers to stop having that knee-jerk reaction to criticism and, well, discuss things like adults.

Brendan Keogh at Critical Damage demands that gamers Quit Pretending There Isn’t a Videogame Rape Culture. This is a great post, and some of the comments are quite great as well (some of them are not, though, so tread carefully). Blake linked this one in her post earlier today.

The next two posts are not related to the trailer specifically, but they are posts about rape culture that were published this week, so they are still part of the conversation. At Kotaku, Patricia Hernandez wrote a very personal and powerful piece titled Three Words I Said to the Man I Defeated in Gears of War That I’ll Never Say Again, about the true insidiousness of rape culture. And Taylor Cocke wrote In Response to “Three Words” at his blog, about his experiences of personal growth from being part of rape culture to criticizing it.

On to the not-so-great portion of our roundup… Michael Thomsen at Kill Screen has an utterly ill-informed piece with a ridiculous headline: What is “rape culture” and do videogames have one? Scare quotes alert! The comments on this one are quite worth reading.

And finally we have an irritating blog post accompanied by a completely nonsensical comic strip from Penny Arcade. There are so many things wrong with this post: the assumption that people criticizing the trailer are video game outsiders condemning the entire medium (Fahey was right!), that the criticism is somehow “compulsory” or being leveled by pearl-clutchers who have nothing to do but get hysterical about something they don’t understand, that the problem is that the women being killed are nuns, that instead of criticizing, people should just shut up and make their own games (that last one I’ll address in its own post). Way to miss the point by a mile; my only surprise here is that it was Tycho and not Gabe who was committing it this time.

Update: I forgot to link this great piece about empathy from Alexis at the Betterblog (Failbetter Games).

If you’ve seen other articles that should be included, please link them in the comments.

A semi-cute furry grey creature with a name tag reading "Hello, my name is Ike"

On Taking Seeing Sexism For Granted

A semi-cute furry grey creature with a name tag reading "Hello, my name is Ike"

The images from the trailer are super-depressing and it doesn't need more publicity, so have a whatever-this-is from the upcoming strategy game Quantum Conundrum instead. A grey creature of indeterminate species stands next to a couch and a science machine, waving in a friendly fashion and wearing a name tag that says, "Hello, my name is Ike".

Brendan over at Critical Damage has an excellent article (TW: discussion of sexual violence and rape) about  the implicit and complicit participation of video games in rape culture.  It was sparked by a video trailer for Hitman: Absolution that is a complete sexist mess.  The trailer is painful to watch unless the viewer instantly dehumanizes the women, seeing them as the sexed-up objects they are coded to be through lingering shots of disembodied high heels and crotches.  If, just maybe, the viewer identifies with the women instead of the middle-aged white man slaughtering them, it becomes horrifying.  I simply can not understand how one would watch this video and fail to see the misogyny, fail to grasp that that level of hatred might be scary when directed at people like you.

And yet, some people do.  People on Twitter are complaining that the problem isn’t sexism, it’s that it misrepresents the gameplay!  It’s not really that bad; stop overreacting!  We shouldn’t complain, other video games are just as bad![1]  Why are we generalizing from this game to all video games!?!  If we criticize it we just want the government to regulate video games!

I don’t care about the government: I want people to stop giving money to companies that make first-person participatory hate speech.  If they do so anyway, I am going to judge them for that individually.  It baffles me that we might want government regulation, because I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect people to not do things like this in public without having anyone tell them they have to.  It’s basic empathy here.

There may always be some population that would like to play this sort of game, but it’s not that hard to make it not worth the huge budget that went into this game.  As an industry, we don’t have to spend millions to cater to assholes.  Chances are, all it would take to get people to stop doing stuff like this is to stop giving them positive feedback for doing stuff like this!  I am disappointed that it makes economic sense for this game to be advertised with this video.  Apparently, holding out a giant poster saying “Our Game Hypersexualizes Women And Then Lets The Player Brutally Kill Them, Which He (because he is the same straight white male protagonist as almost always) Will Enjoy Because He Is Scared Of Agency Among People He Might Like To Have Sex With” is a winning strategy.  The least I can do is point out that I don’t think we should be validating that world view.

There is another article I’ll write at some point about nuns and how they are employed in popular culture to represent men’s ultimate fears of an equal society, but this isn’t it.  I’m writing this article to note that while we may assume these things are obvious, especially when they are as blatant as they are in this trailer, to many people they aren’t obvious at all.  There is an entire media industry devoted to obscuring these issues so they can keep selling misogyny to misogynists.  We keep pointing out what assumptions these games make about the player, their audience and the world in which we live because otherwise some people will keep thinking that the real problem isn’t the sexualized violence towards women, it’s the misrepresentation of the gameplay.

[1] We here at Border House have deconstructed sexism in many of the other games, as well as explaining the generalized social dynamics being employed.  We’ve missed some for sure, but that’s because we don’t spend all day doing nothing but playing terrible games in order to certify how sexist, racist, ablist, transphobic, gender-essentialist and generally awful they are.  Luckily, we don’t have to criticize every single game in order to make an impact: tell someone a game is sexist and they’ll be disturbed by that game.  Teach someone to recognize when a game is sexist and they’ll be disturbed for the rest of their life!