Thread: Batman: Arkham City

  1. #751
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    Comic books and video games alike have a history of hostility toward women
    Then maybe that's the core of the issue. If you make this assumption, and you're offended by hostility toward women, what are you doing playing a video game based on a comic book?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bowyer View Post
    LK, as usual, puts it all much better than I ever could. Thank you.
    Totally agree. I'm a little surprised at the dismissiveness of some of the posters here.

    "Being cautious about the deeply-ingrained attitudes we expose our children and everyone else in our society to" is a far, far cry from thoughtless "What about the children?" whining.

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    Administrator New Romantic Jason McMaster's Avatar
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    I dunno, to me, the issue seems to be either it shouldn't be in there at all or the game should have gone full out racist/sexist/whatever and received an M rating. The bitch thing can be a bit much, but I honestly didn't notice it when I played through. I'd hear someone call Catwoman a bitch on occasion but it didn't stand out.

    I would imagine this makes me a sexist of some sort. Or I was just playing the game and not paying attention to the chatter. Personally, it seems like they tried to make the criminals more vulgar and went a bit too far. I can see where people would be bothered by this, but it seems to be a bit blown out of proportion. There's a lot of horrible things in video games. Some of the violence and actions in the Batman game are much more disturbing to me than vague (and some not so vague) threats.

    I'd like to think that Rocksteady would learn from this since they're a good studio and talented group.
    Last edited by Jason McMaster; 10-31-2011 at 12:57 PM. Reason: spell gud

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    Quote Originally Posted by scharmers View Post
    Then maybe that's the core of the issue. If you make this assumption, and you're offended by hostility toward women, what are you doing playing a video game based on a comic book?
    Video games are my primary hobby. In the last twenty-five years, I've grown up playing games and watched gaming grow up with me. We've gone from games where women existed only as objects to be rescued or picked up, like in Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers, to games where women are the leading characters, phenomenally written, and put on the same pedestal as the men. Elena Fisher in Uncharted, Terra Branford in Final Fantasy VI, Oerba Yun Fang in Final Fantasy XIII (the only positive thing I will ever say about that game). The genre is growing up, and I want there to be a time where games like Duke Nukem Forever are the vast minority, not a reflection on gaming as a whole. I think we're getting there -- DNF's negative reaction included a lot about the Hive section and the related portrayal of, well, everyone. But casual misogyny like this is not acceptable, and it shouldn't be acceptable.

    As far as Batman goes, I'm playing Arkham City because I loved Arkham Asylum, which I picked up on QT3's recommendation and not because of any love of the Batman license. I haven't read comic books since I was 19, ten years ago. I haven't seen a Batman movie since Batman Forever. The only time I was into Batman in any way was the animated series. I picked up Arkham Asylum because it's a continuation of the animated series in a lot of ways and it was almost universally adored here. I picked up Arkham City because I absolutely adored Arkham Asylum, felt it was one of the best brawlers in history, and certainly had no reason to suspect rampant misogyny in the new one because there wasn't any in the old one.

    Do comic books and video games have a history of misogyny? Yes. Is that acceptable? No.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexB View Post
    Uh last time I watched the Sopranos there wasn't a chorus of thugs constantly talking about how they wanted to rape Meadow and Carmela.



    "Criminal scum" don't actually tend to stand around talking about raping people. It's not realistic. And if you wanted to build an over-the-top threatening setting, there are lots of other ways to do that without a constant drum-beat of sexual violence.

    I do really like the game a lot, but that part of it does really bother me to the extent that I won't play it around my wife.

    e: Also, I have seen all the Batman movies and most of the Batman cartoon series, and I don't recall rape coming up at all in any of those. Not even the new "Dark Knight" take on the series involves sexual violence of any kind, as far as I remember. And both the cartoon and many of the movies are very effective and adequately convey the scumminess of the bad guys and the darkness of the setting.
    I can understand being sensitive to what is said, it is a lot of horrible thoughts being said openly. I have even paused a few times thinking "Really? They got away with intended rape commentary in this?"

    However, context is clearly given. Constant reminders from damn near everyone(Strange, Ra's, even Batman, Alfred, and Oracle) in the game about how the cities worst 'scum' occupies this prison city. You are meant to despise them, just as you are meant to do nothing but beat the snot out of each one that crowds your path. These comments do help a bit to justify the constant brutality...or at least it can be put under consideration.

    Further, every ten minutes I hear this random quote: "Catwoman should be careful, a lot of guys here haven't seen a woman for years!" Sort of helps contextualize the misogynistic commentary as well.

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    A wait; what? moment after JM's comment above: I just went back to the Arkham City box and saw that "T" for a rating. Really? Swords going through people and "bitch" used as a comma is Teen these days? I've almost finished the game through thinking that this was definitely an "M" title.

    Not to derail a really good "The writers at Rocksteady are sexist pigs" thread, but wow. Then again I guess we live in a world where a public basic cable channel like AMC can show something like "The Walking Dead".

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    Quote Originally Posted by scharmers View Post
    A wait; what? moment after JM's comment above: I just went back to the Arkham City box and saw that "T" for a rating. Really? Swords going through people and "bitch" used as a comma is Teen these days? I've almost finished the game through thinking that this was definitely an "M" title.

    Not to derail a really good "The writers at Rocksteady are sexist pigs" thread, but wow. Then again I guess we live in a world where a public basic cable channel like AMC can show something like "The Walking Dead".
    Yeah, I went and looked at the rating earlier because I thought for sure it was M rated. Not sure why the game received a Teen rating.

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    More NOLF, less "I'd like to get her in a room alone heheheh".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raife View Post
    More NOLF, less "I'd like to get her in a room alone heheheh".
    NOLF did too many things too excellently to be duplicated in any other game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scharmers View Post
    Not to derail a really good "The writers at Rocksteady are sexist pigs" thread
    I don't know if anyone's gone that far yet, and I don't think anyone's using it as a soapbox for moralizing. At least I hope not because that could go on for weeks and I'd rather hear about the game.

    The two conversation threads I've seen are either from a game criticism angle or a personal discomfort angle. I think it's fair to talk about the game both in terms of the art form and in terms of personal enjoyment.

    oh god just release the game already so i can play instead of reading this thread

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    I do not think anyone at Rocksteady is a sexist pig, nor do I think anyone who noticed it and didn't mind, or didn't notice it at all, is a sexist pig. Not at all. If you noticed it and didn't mind, you might be a sexist pig, sure -- but noticing it and not minding doesn't MAKE you a sexist pig. And other clarifications.

    It hit me pretty fast -- the first shout of "Bitch!" really threw me, because I wasn't expecting it at all. And if this kind of thing was a one-off, I'd probably be more forgiving of it. One really sick villain or whatever, the kind of guy that you really make sure to take down as quickly as possible as a result. Kind of like Szasz from AA -- I think his segments from the first game were by far the most disturbing part, and I can see why the animated series didn't put him in.

    I am surprised this is T for Teen -- my wife has a lower threshold for making elbows bend the other way than I do, and was worried about it being more violent than before. "It's rated T for Teen!" I said. "It'll be fine!"

    My frustration is partly because other than all this, the game is really good. That one glaring, constant flaw just keeps getting in my way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two Sheds View Post
    They don't use racial slurs because that would be offensive, and if you find sexist slurs equally offensive it's because you're being touchy-feelie and just looking for something to be offended about.
    This is the most amusing summary I've seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason McCullough View Post
    This is the most amusing summary I've seen.
    Except it's an invalid summary so I will fix it for you.

    They don't use racial slurs because that would be realistic but too controversial, and if you find sexist slurs equally offensive it's because you're being touchy-feelie and just looking for something to be offended about in a game world full of violent, pathological bad guys

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    Psssh, not as funny.

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    Scharmers, do you really think Rocksteady would have liked to include racial slurs but thought that doing so would be too controversial? That doesn't seem right to me, at all.

    And again, including constant references to rape is not actually realistic. Prisoners do not spend all day talking to each other about who they would like to rape.

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    Which is one of the main cruxes of the complaint. It's an interesting thing that "bitchbitchbitchbitchbitchbitch" is apparently considered not at all controversial for a T-rated game. There are certainly much larger molehills out there, not to mention actual mountains, but this particular molehill is still kind of unsightly and probably a sign of some laziness on behalf of the groundskeepers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexB View Post
    Scharmers, do you really think Rocksteady would have liked to include racial slurs but thought that doing so would be too controversial? That doesn't seem right to me, at all.

    And again, including constant references to rape is not actually realistic. Prisoners do not spend all day talking to each other about who they would like to rape.
    Good question. I'm pretty certain that adding racial or homosexuality slurs would have knocked this thing out of the ballpark into M territory, which means less sales (I guess; I figure it's easier these days for a kid to wander into GS and buy an M game than it is for said kid to see a R movie, dunno.) So Rocksteady needs something to make the badguys that much badder beyond the usual "I'm gonna beat you to a pulp" patter. Misogyny doesn't get you calls from the NAACP or GLAAD, and doesn't knock your game into M territory, so there you go.

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    Some great comments that I agree with (Alex, Matt, wigglestick, Drastic), and I appreciate McMaster being more open to the idea that this isn't just an outrage parade for its own sake.
    Quote Originally Posted by scharmers View Post
    Except it's an invalid summary so I will fix it for you.
    You didn't fix it. You seem to be torn between dismissing criticism of the game as touchy-feely nonsense (presumably one step away from going full Limbaugh with Feminazi accusations) or acknowledging that it's a controversial choice, which is a different argument. If you include controversial things in a game, it ought to be purposefully done, and the evidence suggests strongly that this wasn't the case in this game. If, indeed, it was casually done, then that's something that people who have respect for the game makers and the genre as a whole ought to bring up because it shouldn't be allowed to fade into the background unnoticed.
    Good question. I'm pretty certain that adding racial or homosexuality slurs would have knocked this thing out of the ballpark into M territory, which means less sales (I guess; I figure it's easier these days for a kid to wander into GS and buy an M game than it is for said kid to see a R movie, dunno.) So Rocksteady needs something to make the badguys that much badder beyond the usual "I'm gonna beat you to a pulp" patter. Misogyny doesn't get you calls from the NAACP or GLAAD, and doesn't knock your game into M territory, so there you go.
    Right, and that's fucking bullshit. Again, having seen how some game writing is put together, I would speculate that it's a product of neglect in that specific aspect or a poorly thought out idea that you couldn't really get a feel for until the finished product rather than the deliberate conspiracy you suggest to be shocking in the way that would draw the least significant amount of public opprobrium. It's probably more to do with counting the total number of shits, fucks, etc (0) and meeting that arbitrary threshold for T where "bitch" or "euphemistic reference to rape" is not going to hit as many flags for someone doing a survey of the dialog from a distance.

    Again, I'm a big fan of capturing an authentic feel to games and that often involves controversial choices, and if I had children of reasonable age I would much rather make this kind of thing a conversation rather than a taboo. But if you can at least acknowledge that a controversy exists for reasons other than hypersensitivity then it makes sense for people who feel comfortable talking about these things to make their point of view clear. That way it's not something that is simply tolerated as a result of our comfort level with historical prejudice, which is when you transition from merely making a mistake to being part of the real world problem.

    You know, that Rush Limbaugh thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizard_King View Post
    Some great comments that I agree with (Alex, Matt, wigglestick, Drastic), and I appreciate McMaster being more open to the idea that this isn't just an outrage parade for its own sake.
    I will actually call it an effete outrage parade for its own sake.

    You know, that Rush Limbaugh thing.
    Rush who? Now who's pidgeonholing who? Because I'm not seeing every of one of society's evils in a video game based on a comic book? I'm seeing a bunch of bad guys with potty mouths and junior-high levels of male-enhanced, jailhouse sexuality. You know:

    A bunch of bad guys with potty mouths.

    A bunch of bad guys.

    Bad guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scharmers View Post
    I will actually call it an effete outrage parade for its own sake.
    Well, fuck you too I guess. I don't see why having an opinion about a game makes me effete, and I certainly don't understand why you would imply my distaste is not genuine. I guess the video game forum was the wrong place to try and talk critically about video games, who knew!

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    Quote Originally Posted by scharmers View Post
    I will actually call it an effete outrage parade for its own sake.
    Of course you would. This is a gaming forum, where mild homophobia is practically currency. But it's ok, right, because you're being totally ironic.

    Rush who? Now who's pidgeonholing who?
    I call them like I see them. While you're learning shit, it's "pigeon".

    But yeah, it's definitely people who are "offended at hostile attitudes towards women" who should just lighten up.

    Because I'm not seeing every of one of society's evils in a video game based on a comic book? I'm seeing a bunch of bad guys with potty mouths and junior-high levels of male-enhanced, jailhouse sexuality. You know:

    A bunch of bad guys with potty mouths.

    A bunch of bad guys.

    Bad guys.
    What you're seeing is a mirror image of your casual attitude towards sexism.

    In any case, I think I've made about as much headway as I'm going to against your LOLBOYSWILLBEBOYS bullshit.

    Quote Originally Posted by BDGE
    I can understand being sensitive to what is said, it is a lot of horrible thoughts being said openly. I have even paused a few times thinking "Really? They got away with intended rape commentary in this?"

    However, context is clearly given. Constant reminders from damn near everyone(Strange, Ra's, even Batman, Alfred, and Oracle) in the game about how the cities worst 'scum' occupies this prison city. You are meant to despise them, just as you are meant to do nothing but beat the snot out of each one that crowds your path. These comments do help a bit to justify the constant brutality...or at least it can be put under consideration.

    Further, every ten minutes I hear this random quote: "Catwoman should be careful, a lot of guys here haven't seen a woman for years!" Sort of helps contextualize the misogynistic commentary as well.
    It does, but it doesn't. See, this is a world where basic needs like, I don't know, not standing out in freezing weather while wearing amusingly themed outfits are not being addressed. A world where the Gothic-level of daily routine is never attained, let alone broader practical issues of the reasonableness of walling in part of your city and unleashing super-criminals and a regenerating population of supporting thugs under the assumption that these particular walls will hold when no others ever have.

    In short, it's not a world where the "needs" or "scumminess" of the faceless hordes of bad guys is being deeply addressed.

    When people like Hulk refer to the context, they mean a setting where such misogyny is meaningfully addressed, and that includes forms of looking at it that aren't necessarily palatable to a general audience. Chuck Palahniuk has made a career out of skinning similar taboos and wearing them as hats, and I think there's a huge gap between his artistically coherent vision and what Rocksteady is doing here, which is pandering to a largely male audience by using the code words and dog whistles of misogyny in an environment where they would be unlikely to similarly dare to use symbols of, say, racism.

    I don't believe it to be a conscious strategic choice by the aggregate of the minds at Rocksteady, which is why I think it's worth bringing up. Maybe it's like Custer's Revenge where things are beyond redemption, and maybe it's like Resident Evil 5 where the maker can learn a thing or two about the real world where they plan to sell these games before they punch something into it because it gets their game from A to B.

    Also, I think it's worth mentioning that the Harley scenes in this game are different substantively from the ones in the previous game. For instance, when you hit Harley in the previous game, it was contextualized as a regrettable but necessary act because you literally had to get the drop on her because she was going to kill someone. Not great, not deep, but I understand why it's there and it made some sense with the story logic so it's easy to make your peace with it. In a way, it almost seemed like RS was aware of these subtleties and was kind of making you "feel" the costs to these heroics in terms of what they asked of the Dark Knight, something they lined up quite nicely in terms of how the Joker served as a foil for Bats. It's useful as supporting evidence for the idea that you don't have to include a gender relations seminar in your game in order to do things that are transgressive or ugly without seeming like you are casually mismanaging controversial ideas.

    In this game, they didn't bother to make her a legitimate threat, just someone who's apparently fun to hit (ask Robin in the accompanying comic). Given that she's part of a creepy relationship with the Joker already, is it too much to ask that the hero of a T-rated game not beat the hell out of her as a casual footnote to otherwise unimportant interactions?

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    It's not a big deal. When 80% of mainstream games feature killing as a primary mode of gameplay, name-calling of women is hardly on the relevancy map.

    It would be like someone coming to your house, killing your family, and you getting upset because he called your daughter a bitch.

    Also, all of humanity is degraded in video games. Males are overwhelmingly portrayed as murderers devoid of any concern for the well-being of others, females (especially as player characters) the same way.

    Video games are much worse than comic books in their treatment of humanity.

    If life was a video game and you met a main character, he or she would most likely murder you for the sake of XP and/or loot. If you fought back successfully he would simply use the reload function and murder you on the second try.

    It's funny that a woman player character can murder 1,000 people in a video game, and the only complaint from critics is that she's forced to wear a skimpy outfit and/or that she has big boobs.

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    There, see? The injecting semen guy doesn't think it's a problem, so it's all good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briankoontz View Post
    It's not a big deal. When 80% of mainstream games feature killing as a primary mode of gameplay, name-calling of women is hardly on the relevancy map.

    It would be like someone coming to your house, killing your family, and you getting upset because he called your daughter a bitch.
    You cannot be this stupid. You just can't.

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    Great. Sandwiched between the "OMG YOU HIT HARLEY QUINN YOU MISOGYNIST MONSTER" and Koontz Krazy.

    I'm out.

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    Whatever helps you sleep at night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scharmers View Post
    Great. Sandwiched between the "OMG YOU HIT HARLEY QUINN YOU MISOGYNIST MONSTER" and Koontz Krazy.

    I'm out.
    You and Koontz are like twins. There's no need to be ashamed, scharmers, we understand that you two share a special bond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Madigan View Post
    So, it's Halloween. Anyone talked to Calendar Man yet? I'm kind of stuck in a mission in Joker territory so I need to put some time in tonight and finish that up before I can access the overworld, but I'm wondering if anything actually happens.

    (Remember to use Spoiler tags as appropriate. Sorry if this is in the Spoiler thread, but I'm avoiding that still.)
    I did. You get a little speech and instructions to come at a later date. I think it goes towards a trophy, although changing the date on the system could get you around that requirement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bowyer
    ;I haven't seen a Batman movie since Batman Forever.
    Dude, go watch Batman Begins and The Dark Knight this weekend.

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    Does anyone know why Arleen Sorkin didn't reprise her role as Harley Quinn this time around? She did voice Harley for DC Universe Online. I wouldn't be surprised if it's because Rocksteady sexed up Harley a bit too much.

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