Why the new Lara Croft will still sell…

…because gamers buy stupid games all the time. The community is made up of dumbass, white men. Granted, women and others make up at least half of the gamers community (of course I’m being VERY general here, there are communities within communities) but many of those same women and LGBTs will go to the shitty conventions, buy the shitty games and look the other way when something like this goes down.

In case you have no idea what I am referring to, read this wonderful blog post. It’ll explain it.

I’ll skip a lot of the stupid details simply because it pisses me off to recap them. At this point you have seen the interview or understand the situation. I would rather concentrate on what’s more important: stopping these assholes from making more crap. It’s very easy, sort of: we do not buy their games.

Imagine if this new Lara Croft game comes out and is as bad as it appears to be. Imagine if no one bought it. Imagine if gamers protested, literally, by posting on Twitter and Facebook that they are literally ignoring the game and will not give their money to companies that design such amazingly stupid shit.

Just imagine.

Of course, this will not happen in any significant way. For all of us who get pissed off, there are a dozen or more gamers who are willing to look the other way, will enjoy any sort of rape scene involving Lara Croft (shudder) or who are (in many ways just as bad) concerned about the problems with rape culture invading and rotting gaming culture……….but who will buy the game anyway. If there is one group of consumers who seem almost incapable of ignoring shitty design as long as it is new, it is gamers.

Here’s what I do in my job: I do not support bad design, or do not sit quietly while bad design passes onto my desk. I cover indie games because I think “AAA” typically means more of the same. Even then, I call out bad indie design and will mark when something is sexist or almost any other ist. It’s very hard, though, and admittedly I need to do more. It can be really hard because gaming culture is so saturated now with sexism, racism, and all sorts of isms. You can’t swing an unplugged controller without smacking some example of white, male douchbaggery. But that doesn’t mean you just sit there and happily cover shitty design.

At the very least I am asking those middle-of-the-road gamers — not the ones like myself who decided to avoid buying the new Lara Croft game — who are concerned about rape culture destroying gaming culture to wait. WAIT. Just give it a freaking month. You will not die if you do not buy the game immediately. At least wait and see just how bad the game is. If you simply must still have it, go for it.

So many shitty games with the same sexist, shitty designs are repeatedly made every year (E3 *AHEM*) mainly because idiots buy them and don’t give a poo about any of the poor design choices. Those gamers are mindless entertainment eaters. THEY MUST HAVE THE NEW GAME, NO MATTER WHAT.

But there is a very large number of straight male, female and LGBTs who are worried about this wonderful culture of ours becoming slowly more and more like G4TV — made only for young, straight boys — but continue to support it. They will hear about this Tomb Raider rape stuff and will look the other way because (gasp!) everyone on twitter went out and bought it!

If you have any concern about this type of shitty design, start using your money as a weapon. Stop giving money to stupid designers who crank out the same bland designs every year. Sure, there are more of those stupid sexist gamer types than there are of us, but our numbers can grow.

The saddest part is the controversy over this game will probably help it sell more copies. Of course, I will wait to see just how stupid it is before I write a full, hateful recap, but we all know that soon after it releases (maybe before) there will be vids of the rape scene or scenes, and we’ll all get to make decisions before it comes out. I will be able to link to the offensive vids without ever giving the developers a cent.

To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Lara Croft. Still, it will be interesting to see just how bad it is and if gamers actually, and finally, make a stand against this stuff.

 

Beau

 

 

4 thoughts on “Why the new Lara Croft will still sell…

  1. I understand and share your frustration about the next Tomb Raider installment. You do have to understand something however, like in most things in life, it’s about the consumer educating themselves on the product they buy. Which most of them don’t.

    When you understand a form of art and learn more and more about it, you start to see how often (not always) “Mass products” are wrong. Either it’s their design, their story telling or even their ethical implications.

    “There are a dozen or more gamers who are willing to look the other way”

    That’s not it at all, they don’t even know there’s an issue with the product they’re buying. There isn’t a “SEXISM” badge on a box like you would find a ESBR rating. And you can be damn sure the marketing people won’t put any of what Rosenberg said behind the box.

    “Those gamers are mindless entertainment eaters.”

    Are you sure that you are not yourself in some fields of entertainment? How many Hollywood movie productions, novel best sellers, comic books or popular music bands have you consumed that were perhaps faulty in ethical way? Maybe none, but I’d be incredibly surprised. We all do it, buy an album, see a movie because it just looks fun. I don’t always fully educate myself on every piece of entertainment I consume. I’m very careful about the games I buy because I understand games and am personally interested in them on many levels. You just can’t expect that from your average customer. Calling them mindless or willing to accept rape (by looking the other way) is incredibly unfair.

    I can tell you one thing though, I will not be buying this game because I take the time to read bloggers like you.

    • Actually, good points. You’re right. For example, I paid to see Avatar in the theater — in 3D!! Seriously, I wish I could take that money back because I don’t want to encourage crap. But, aside from those who are sort of just grabbing the latest title, I think I am mainly referring to people who consider themselves “gamers.” Most gamers know to look out for what they buy simply because so many games can be let downs. Review websites are commonly known. Again, though, I get what you mean .. a lot of people will just grab it because it’s the latest Tomb Raider without ever hearing a word about it. Still, doesn’t that draw attention to the fact that we should, as consumers, educate ourselves about our purchases? I mean, whose fault is it when someone DOES mindlessly buy this game without investigating it first? It’s theirs.

      You gave me some points to think on. Of course I wrote this in a pretty rage-y way (lol) but I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that I have seen so many examples of shitty design and sexist/ist design that many, many gamers simply do not give a shit because they have no idea what sexism or racism even is. They just log on, make their jokes and have no idea how bad it is.

      Beau

      • “I mean, whose fault is it when someone DOES mindlessly buy this game without investigating it first? It’s theirs.”

        Indeed, vigilance is the price we constantly have to pay!

        Thanks for the post and the reply Beau!

  2. I want to point out that I do not play Tomb Raider games, and I’m not going to start with this one. Rather, my point is that game companies write games they feel will sell. They sell to a specific audience. It is their perception of that audience, specifically how they relate to the game characters and situations, that shape the content decisions.

    Okay, I know that sounds obscure, but please bear with me a minute.

    Most video game protagonists tend to be male. Why might this be? Most gamers *tend* to be male. When we see an image on the screen that we perceive to be like us, we empathize with it more. We relate to it better. The experience becomes more immersive. This phenomenon is known as personification. We project ourselves into the game through the images on the screen. The more we relate, the stronger the bond.

    Let me offer an example, one that may be similar to your own experiences. The old Ubisoft game Uru was in the Myst series. In it, you could explore and unlock new worlds and puzzles from that universe. You had an avatar you could design, and this would be “you” on the screen. I played through the game twice. The first time through I played as a rugged adventurer type. You know, ruggedly handsome, inevitably wearing adventurewear-style clothing. It was fun, but not all that engrossing.

    Not too long ago, I repeated the game, only this time with an avatar that looked like me. This was a far more immersive and personal experience for me, one where even small perils were more carefully considered.

    Now, what if there is a character or environment that you don’t relate to personally? Instead of personification, we get objectification. When it comes to gaming, this is a common phenomenon, particularly regarding male gamers to females (either personally or game characters). It is very rare, for example, to read, watch or hear a game review about women as major characters without some reference to their sexual attributes or suitability as a mate. These same observations are not made about male characters. Especially Dwarves.

    Now, objectification isn’t merely about overt sexualization. If it were, this new Lara Croft would have the same sexual dimensions as her previous incarnations. Instead, we — the dominantly straight male gaming population — are meant not to *empathize* with Ms. Croft, but to *sympathize*. We take the role of a third person observer. Sort of like Lara’s invisible boyfriend, if you like. We don’t see things through her eyes, we don’t feel what she does.

    I do not agree with or condone this new take on the Tomb Raider saga, but one thing is for certain. The designers know their audience, and that audience is there to make sure their girlfriend avoids a fate worse than death.

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