Archive for the “video games” Category
GayGamer.net was offline for most of the weekend after being targeted by denial of service attacks and homophobic postings on their message boards. To the credit of the video-gaming community, most people recognize this as a bias-motivated attack.
There were, of course, other reactions. You can see some of them on display in this thread at Kotaku. For those without the patience to read through, and I don’t blame you for not having it, a certain segment of the on-line video gaming community responded to the attack with some variation of “they had it coming.” Not because it’s a gay site and gays are icky, mind you. But because by specifically setting up the site as being primarily for gay and lesbian gamers, they’re setting themselves up for these kinds of attacks. Because they’re setting themselves apart. Because they think they’re better than you. Because they have to be special. Because it’s only about sex. Because they want special rights. Because they want their issues catered to. Because there’s no “need” for a gay video game site, because sexuality has nothing to do with video games, and it’s not as if all the other video game sites are for straight people.
I don’t have to say it, do I?
Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to comics. Whenever the topic comes up of gay issues in comics, or women’s issues in comics, or race issues in comics, the response, very quickly degenerates into that same kind of “why do you think you’re special, why do you need to be catered to, there’s nothing about comics or the comics industry that’s hostile to women, people of color, or gays.” There is a certain degree of overlap in the comics community and the video game community; they’re both primarily geek-centric activities, after all. And although I’ve noted before the basic conservative inclinations of nerd-dom at large (coupled with an oddly knee-jerk, unexamined libertarianism), I don’t think that’s whats really at issue here. Because I don’t see this willful cluelessness as something confined to geek-culture, but instead it’s something I see in the culture at large. It’s a deliberate unwillingness to understand the issues and concerns of minority groups that quickly turns into open hostility towards the very idea of people that are different from the majority wanting to have either their voices heard in the mainstream or to have their own spaces. But I see this unwillingness and hostility especially prominent in geek circles. My initial reaction is that the geeks who feel so threatened already feel so ostracized and out of touch from the mainstream that any thing that threatens to unseat them from their self-imposed status of persecuted martyr must be shouted down. In other words, it’s the usual fan entitlement rants as applied to identity politics, only in their world nerds are more disenfranchised than any other group in history.
Or, you know, they’re just petty, small-minded jerks. In which case this picture of John Tristram should cause their heads to explode:
Monster Attack Network by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman and Nima Sorat, published by AIT/Planet Lar
Ever wondered who cleans up after those giant monster attacks? Or who is responsible for making sure the city gets evacuated? This is the story of the folks responsible for maintaining the safety of the citizens of the tiny island nation of Lapuatu. It’s a decidedly high-concept book, with a beautifully calculated appeal to monster movie fans who don’t take themselves too seriously in its premise. It’s fast-paced, funny and has a frenetically expressionistic art style that’s just enough this side of caricature to get the humor and energy of the story right. It’s fantastic fun, escapist entertainment, to be brief.
Not going to Comic-Con. Not particularly interested in Comic-Con. Maybe if it were about two hours closer, about one-third to one-half the size, and actually about comic-books instead of selling games, movies and tv shows to nerds, I’d be interested, but everything I ever hear about it suggests that, nope, the closest thing the comics industry has to a trade expo is not for me.
I’m interested in what Bully has to say about it, of course, because it’s Bully. I half suspect that little head full of fluff is the most sensible person down there.
Needlessly Cynical Reactions to Comic Book News
Virgin Comics finds a way to simplify their business plan of star-fucking low-rent celebrities by hiring a woman famous for fucking to “write” a comic. Did no one learn the right lesson from Tekno Comics?
I have absolutely no idea who any of the people hired to act in the Watchmen movie are. I’m fairly certain I can guess how much of the source material was understood by the people making the movie.
DC to publish Heroes comic. And thus the Ouroboros goes on…
DC to publish World of Warcraft comic. Here’s a dialogue excerpt from the first issue:
(Maybe someday I’ll drop the name of my Tauren Hunter on here…it’s not hard to figure out…)
The State is finally coming to DVD.
Tuesday was Lynda Carter’s birthday.
In honor of that event, here’s a Wonder Woman panel that’s not the slightest bit ironic, given later developments with the character:
(No, but seriously, the book’s pretty good. And I’m not just saying that because I’m afraid of Kevin. Because, honestly, I’m not. Have you seen him? An asthmatic squirrel could probably take him in a fight.)
I had an uneventful weekend of watching watching Little Britain: Live (how can so many unpleasant characters be so funny?), playing Puzzle Quest (who knew combining Bejeweled with a console-RPG could be addictive?), listening to The Feeling (which I still suspect was unusually emo of me, despite reassurances to the contrary) and reading comics (you know, the multiverse has only been back two weeks, you’d think the fanboys could hold off calling it confusing or a creative failure a bit longer, but no).
I had a post in mind…two, in fact. But Nintendo had to go and release The Dragon’s Curse on the Virtual Console this week. And I lived for the Wonder Boy games as a kid.
So I’ve spent the last two days trying to remember which combo of weapons and armor you needed to beat the pirate dragon.
Dec 11 2006
Gamasutra checks in with yet another Bully inspired article on gay characters in video games. It’s largely the same material that has been covered in a variety of places now. What I find most interesting about these articles is the de rigeur quote from a white heterosexual male working in the video game industry who insists that, nope, there’s no sexism, racism or homophobia in our industry. The naivete in which these commentators insist that, no, honestly, your average video game player would have no problem playing a game with a gay lead character is almost charming. If it wasn’t reeking of disingenuousness.
AfterElton looks at the de-gayed character from Heroes. Despite quite deliberate mentions of the character’s sexuality in materials that were released in advance of the show, despite numerous examples of dialogue on the show that are clearly meant to indicate that the character is gay, someone decided that, no, the character must be straight. It was apparently a decision made by someone up the network chain of command, judging by the way people are seeking to avoid taking responsibility for the change.
Should that decision stand, and not be reversed by negative publicity pointing out the blatant homophobia of this change, it would be disappointing, but not surprising. Gay characters tend to be invisible to non-existent in science fiction, despite producers and writers talking a good game about “gender blind” universes, and the popularity of science fiction in the gay community. (Seriously, we all seem to be big geeks for it.) But, at the end of the day, there are no gay characters on Battlestar Galactica, no gay characters on Star Trek (apart from the occasional pandering lesbian tease), no gay characters in Star Wars. Even Captain Jack, on Doctor Who and Torchwood, would be better described as omni-sexual than gay.
Mostly I think I can chalk this up to writers and producers not being willing to challenge the prejudices of their audience. It’s been my experience that the politics of most science-fiction fans ranges from the faux-libertarian to the reactionary. It sounds counter-intuitive, given the air of progressive politics that most sci-fi shows adopt. But when the point of most of the shows is to successfully maintain the status quo, through force, with an almost fetishistic devotion to weaponry and warfare, well…Besides, being a “liberal” or a “progressive” is by no means the same thing as not being homophobic. Some of the most homophobic people I’ve known are quite enthusiastically liberal. Phil Ochs sang Love Me, I’m A Liberal for a reason, after all.
So, Alex Ross made some very stupid statements about Obsidian which have been widely viewed as homophobic. And, well, yeah, they are. There are only two writers who have been using Obsidian in any notable roles. Geoff Johns made him a villain and Marc Andreyko outed him. And since Ross apparently approves of Johns handling of the character the only “molestation” he can be referring to is Andreyko’s use of the character. But the thing is, I seriously doubt that Ross meant to say that making Obsidian gay was bad. Ross always strikes me as a particularly good example of fanboy entitlement at work, played out in spectacular fashion because his work is popular. The root of fanboy entitlement is wanting superhero books to be exactly the same way they were when they started reading comics, and much of Ross’s professional career has been devoted to preserving a particular early-80s attitude in comics. So, my money on what Ross meant was that “Andreyko isn’t writing Obsidian the way Roy Thomas would have, and I disapprove of that.” And it simply never occurred to him that there was another meaning to what he was saying.
Far more bothersome, to me anyway, was DC recently soliciting a Grifter and Midnighter mini-series written by Chuck Dixon. Dixon has in the past made no secret of his disapproval of gay characters in comics, and he’s quite outspokenly conservative. And, despite protestations by his fans, he can’t keep his politics out of his comics work. Look no further than the anti-abortion messages in his Robin run for one example. Despite being quite certain that I will never, under any circumstances, spend money to support this project, I’m almost curious to see how it turns out. I have this half-formed notion of seeing Dixon transform Midnighter into a mincing, limp-wristed, lisping pedophile, but I doubt even DC would allow that sort of nonsense to go through. No, it’ll probably be a more subtle contrast between the macho, manly, rock-solid and God-fearing heterosexual conservatism of Grifter versus the ineffective, effeminate, ineffectual faggoty liberalism of Midnighter. Sort of a “Fox News” approach to comics scripting, if you will.
Even though I have no interest in what sounds like a rather mean-spirited version of Candid Camera, I suppose I should go see Borat now, before the inevitable flood of lawsuits results in getting it pulled from theaters and edited.
Heterosexism in action:
See, I keep telling you people he’s a jerk, but no one listens to me. And he’s dead right about Spider-Man 3.