Way To Confuse The Issue

Ben Silverman makes me sigh, but this link makes me laugh.

“Fat Princess” kind of amuses me. Yes, it’s another dose of the same old, same old. Yes, it’s sexist and vaguely stupid. No, you’d never see a game where you feed chocolate to a male character and make him slower in combat. But if you DID, it would be funny. And that’s really my point. It’s just funny.

However, the author of this article doesn’t seem to know much about how games are made. The Sony fellow dodged the question with his comment about the concept artist being a girl, and ol’ Ben fell for the classic distraction ploy like a magpie faced with aluminum foil.

The ARTIST behind the look of the character was a girl. The gender of the game’s DESIGNER, the person who came up with the cake concept, is unknown. None of the people ranting have to eat crow over this one, just yet.

By the by: There are games out there that reward strong social skills, with lots of cooperative elements, and you can choose whether to accept or reject slutty stereotypes. We call them MMOs.

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17 Comments

  1. Gawain said,

    July 29, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    yes, but in none of the current crop of MMOs do you get the opportunity to stuff cake down the face of an obese woman.

    I feel that there is an untapped market here.

  2. Frank said,

    July 29, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    “yes, but in none of the current crop of MMOs do you get the opportunity to stuff cake down the face of an obese woman. ”

    Ah, but you do. You just only THINK you are /dancing and giving expensive fluff MMO items to a hot, busty blonde playing an equally sexy night elf.

    It could be worse. The night elf could be a man.

    Joking aside, I can see where the anger is coming from, but this still reeks of the same “games are serious business” arguments you see floating around. It’s a game, it’s in some cases an exaggeration, not some sudden statement about society as a whole. There are wry, satiric games that do that, but this is hardly one of them.

  3. Ruby said,

    July 29, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Seriously, they need to get some tougher skin. I’m surprised these people don’t cry when they see a cloudy sky.

    Better yet, don’t play the game–but other people are allowed to enjoy some subjectively offensive tripe every now and again.

  4. Ben Cummings said,

    July 29, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Why should people care if the concept artist, designer, or anyone who worked on this project is a lady? Would that somehow make the critique any different? Did I slip into some parallel universe where women can’t also be “fat-hating, heteronormative assholes?” I have no idea if this game is worth the bluster, but this just seems like a silly defense.

    Frank, why would something have to be serious business in order to worthy of critique? I don’t really think minstrelsy was serious business, but I also don’t buy the idea that it’s all good fun and not a statement worthy of criticism.

    Regarding MMOGs as a space to play with stereotypes, while I agree that MMOGs probably do a better job of allowing players to interact with these ideas, it’s impressive how few games — even MMOGs — allow you to make a fat character. When you have any control, it’s usually a spectrum of slender to beefy for the dudes and slender to busty/bootylicious for the ladies.

  5. Frank said,

    July 29, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    “Frank, why would something have to be serious business in order to worthy of critique?”

    Sorry, let me clarify. When I talk about the “games are serious business” argument, I refer to the idea of criticizing a game based on its content being harmful or seriously damaging to society. For easier reference, I refer to the “violence in video games” debate.

    I agree that the game itself can and should be criticized, but not because games themselves promote a certain kind of bad behavior or attitude (in this case, hating fat people). But that’s my opinion, as the whole idea of games being a bad influence has many legitimate arguments on both sides of the fence. I just feel that it’s a real stretch in many cases to attribute negative consequences IRL to what is essentially not “real” (in this case, saying the game promotes hatred of fat people).

  6. Emily said,

    July 29, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the game. It’s just a silly cartoony concept. It’s a bit sexist, it’s a bit mean to fat people, but mostly, it’s just a game.

    I do think there’s something wrong with a lot of the responses to the criticism… there’s been a LOT of feminist-bashing, complete with all the classic “get back to the kitchen” “do your husband’s laundry” “you must be fat and ugly” “whining about games like this is why you can’t get a man” plus an awful lot of commentary too vulgar for me to repeat. While I think the feminists were overreacting to the game, it’s a sad surprise to see just how acceptable people feel that it is to publically make fun of women who voice opinions.

    Also, it was funny that the person claimed they had a “female concept artist” but notice that said artist didn’t even get a name, much less a chance to speak for herself? Instead, we got a named Lead Artist who was… male! (Which proves nothing about where the game design came from, of course, because even the lead artist may have had nothing to do with the game concept. But still.)

  7. Ruby said,

    July 30, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Emily,

    It’s not that people feel its acceptable to publically make fun of women who voice opinion–it’s that people find it acceptable to publically make fun of people that take humor, however vulgar, personally and try to paint it as a weapon against a certain sect.

  8. Jute said,

    July 30, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    I thought it was interesting that they referred to the concept artist as a ‘girl’. Does this mean she’s pre-pubescent? How many times would you see them say.. “the game designer for this is a boy”?

  9. sanyaweathers said,

    July 30, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I think Emily’s got an excellent point – the “feminist” overreaction is pitiful, but the public mockery of that overreaction has turned disturbingly vicious since I wrote my post.

  10. Frank said,

    July 30, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Indeed it has. It’s just as bad, but that’s the internet smacktard attitude of “I’m saying this just because I can”. I’m a pretty laid back person, but nothing burns my gullet more than taking advantage of the freedoms you have to post in a community to put up some pretty hateful crap.

  11. Talance said,

    July 30, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    “Why should people care if the concept artist, designer, or anyone who worked on this project is a lady? Would that somehow make the critique any different? Did I slip into some parallel universe where women can’t also be “fat-hating, heteronormative assholes?” I have no idea if this game is worth the bluster, but this just seems like a silly defense.”

    While I don’t think it’s worth the bluster, I do think you make a good point here. Something offensive should be that way no matter who makes it, but that’s not the way society works these days. The best example of this is current rap music – there are words used there that are highly offensive from some people, but part of everyday speech for others. It really shouldn’t make a difference who says it, it’s either offensive or it isn’t.

    As for the responses to the response – definitely too far. I’d never disparage someone from poking a little fun at militant feminism, but a lot of the comments are just going too far. Unfortunately, that’s kind of representative of the Internet these days…

  12. GreyPawn said,

    July 30, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Hate to be this guy, but-
    “No, you’d never see a game where you feed chocolate to a male character and make him slower in combat.”

    Melvin Underbelly of Overlord is an obese man you feed who gets slower and slower until he explodes in a shower of gore. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqygI0xkGXI

    Fatties as baddies in video games is as old as King Hippo from Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. But there are also a handful of good fat folk in games. The Fat Chocobo’s of Final Fantasy who store your loot. Mario’s ever-pudgy mushroom-chomping self. I don’t think the game is inherintly sexist, just because the Princess is fat. In fact, in the history of video game princesses, short of licensed Shrek games, isn’t this the first chubby one we’ve seen?

  13. VPellen said,

    July 30, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Feminism says “I am a woman, and I demand equal rights”. It does not say “I am a woman, and you’re not allowed to make fun of me.”

  14. CPinard said,

    July 31, 2008 at 5:18 am

    I gotta say, the initial shakesville article was fairly vitriol filled, at best it was trolling. Both articles strike me as really shallow link bait, suppose they’ve served their purpose then. I mean it’s not like there is an artistic choice made here to talk about, or the opportunity for a real debate, or a discussion of the underlying message.

  15. July 31, 2008 at 8:49 am

    […] and you can choose whether to accept or reject slutty stereotypes. We call them MMOs.”#Ich erinnere mich noch an ganz frühe Forentreffen, bei denen die Demografie zu 120% aus Kerlen im […]

  16. Ashendarei said,

    July 31, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    aww those feminists are so cute!

  17. Doctor Jay said,

    August 14, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Games reflect values. Even the unserious ones. I take this point to be obvious. And if someone have a problem with the values reflected in the game, they get to complain. Yes Melissa is a thunderer, but she has a point. The “fun” you speak of is, to her, a thinly-veiled hatred of fat women. I’m male, but I’ve been married to a fat woman for 20 years, so I get it. Fat Princess doesn’t just make fun of fat women, it makes fun of the men that love them, ergo, me.

    Isn’t humor supposed to make fun of the powerful, not the weak or the marginalized?


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