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"What the Heck Are You People On??" Dept.:
MailBag for Issue #7
Comments by Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman
Every week our associate editor takes on the big ol' pile of mail for your reading enjoyment...got something to say? Send it in. You just might win a swanky loonygames t-shirt. Letters are presented exactly as they are recieved.
On Duke Nukem and Elaine...
Subject:Elaine O'Neal and her first gaming experience
Bleh. Try another game. Why did you pick Duke Nukem as your first game? Just to write the article? There are plenty of other games out there that have very little in the way of female references (good, bad or otherwise).
More to the point. Most male gamers see things as you describe and go: "yeah, so?". It's not the highlight of the game, and I seriously doubt that It's one of the top fifty reasons people (guys) would buy the game. (not in the top100 would be stretching it a bit i think, as 100 reasons is quite a few to come up with, without resorting to 'lame pixelated nudity' as one of them). I mean, it's not like they did a re-make of Virtual Valerie (or whatever they call it) and put Duke Nukem in there, with the sole point of the game being "to get some".
I just think you are being inflamatory. No one has brought this up for a long time. Duke is an old game. This "issue" has been dead for a while I thought (in my humble opinion). At least complain about some NEW nudity/sexism/whatever (Tombraider 3/Spacebunnies Must Die/SiN...).
Personally, the world is just too busy a place to quibble about some lame and inconcequencial sexual interactions between virtual entities in a video game. Worried that these games might shape the views of youngsters? If the games have any impact at all on the moral values of kids, then they are weak of will, and their parents are flaccid individuals that did a poor job of instilling any sense of morality in their children.
Sheesh. Appreciate it for what it is and drop it.
And as far as having a female for a hero: I can think of more than one cutting edge game coming up that places a female in the 'hero' role.
I think I can safely say you SERIOUSLY missed the point to Elaine's column. She's never played a game before. None. She doesn't KNOW there are other female characters (unless I've ranted about Lara Croft to her, which I suppose is possible). The point that Duke is old is useless to Elaine, since she's never seen it before.
Duke had a catchy box, so she picked it as the first game to play. She's also not a male player, so why the hell would she care what male players think when they see the game? (for that matter, why should anyone care? I'm not a man...I really don't care if men like it if I don't. It's personal opinion of the majority, not of the sexes that should matter.)
Please. Part of what you say may be true, Duke is old, we've been over this topic a thousand times. But not to Elaine. Which is the point of her column...a newbie's look at gaming.
Want to talk about a dead topic, I can't wait to see if Elaine starts talking about satanic symbolism in Quake!
Subject: Duke's Sexism Yet Again
I realize its probably time to put this puppy to bed, but the most recent 'birth of a gamer' got my knickers in a bit of a twist so i figured what the hey.
Anyway, to start, I like Duke. It's a good, solid GAME. The running and jumping and shooting is pretty fun. But, maybe I'm way off here, the game itself is not that funny. I hardly found myself laughing, and when I chuckled, it was because of "Wow, I can't believe they actually PUT THAT in a game" not "Gee, TIT is a really funny word!"
I mean, sorry, but that's not funny! It has, imo, no redeeming humorous value. BUT, I feel it goes a good way toward creating a cohesive 'mood' for the game, a sort of campy macho horror thing. Which is fine. Which, I always thought, was the purpose of the game. NOT to be funny in a piecewise manner, but to be funny as a concept. Which I feel it was reasonably successful at doing.
Let's look at Shadow Warrior next. Again, I laughed occasionally, not because I find obvious fortune-cookie references hysterical, but because it was a silly, goofy game.
What am I trying to say? Looking back over my mail here, I'm not exactly sure, but basically, its something like this:
If you don't like a game like Duke or Tomb Raider, don't play it. But also, DON'T worry about it. Reasonably adjusted individuals don't go rationalizing behavior because their favorite video game character does it. So likewise, don't go on yapping about it. Now, don't get me wrong, discussions like BOAG are fine and dandy, but the complete CONDEMNATION of a game because you personally are offended by it is bullshit. You can't tell people what they should find funny/offensive/off-color/inappropriate and have them expect to listen. I mean, if you're smart enough to handle Captain Winky's Windows in the first place you've probably got the noggin to make basic moral judgements, y'know? So what's the big deal? I mean, at least we're not playing games where the whole objective is to run around SHOOTING PEOPLE GRATUITOUSLY, or... errr...
Well, there are a lot of people who can handle Windows and get online who have about the intelligence of a brick, without knocking specific isp's, let's say one 3 letter one comes to mind. But anyway...
Elaine's not telling you what your morals should be. Just that a game that she initially found to be a lot of fun, ended up offending her in many ways. She is a very strong, very morally grounded person, one with whom I disagree with regularly. :) But that's part of the fun, isn't it?
You're upset because you think she told you to change your beliefs. But isn't that exactly what you're doing to her?
And hey...I like shooting people gratutiously. :)
The Summit seemed to grab a lot of people's attention this week....
Subject: Fan site future
I think all single-game fan sites have no long-term future, and I'm not even so sure about single-genre (like FPS, or RTS) sites. At the very least, genre sites have little chance of ever becoming truly huge. I was telling loonyboi this privately a week ago: I think loonygames has a great format for a completely unique place in the gaming site community, but it seems pretty FPS-heavy right now.
There's way more to life than FPS games, but I think the reason they have sparked more sites than anything else is that Quake, an FPS, was the game that really popularized both internet gaming and user modifiation, the things which are most worth talking about on the web. But I can guarantee as an industry professional that more and more games of all types will be internet playable and user modifiable. The internet-only massively-multiplayer games like Ultima Online will also start to cross over in appeal to the people who play and mod Quake and Quakelike games (I think the two crowds are pretty distinct right now). If you want your site to last more than the next year or two, you'd better start covering all types of games as soon as you can. Don't think of it as a loss of focus, think of it as a refocusing: from one already-tired genre into the larger genre of gaming in general.
I don't visit most of the sites run by the participants in the discussion, because my gaming interests are much more broad than just the latest Quake mod or clan gossip, and I don't have a lot of time for web browsing. But if more of them featured all the stuff they already do, and equal amounts of stuff on other games like adventures, RPGs, flight sims, console games even, they'd grab me. I am immensely dissatisfied by the professional gaming websites I spend the most time on (Next Gen Online, OGR, GameSpot), always wishing they could feature the depth and honesty that something like Blue's News has, but I have to visit them for info on the types of games I like, and console games (which I enjoy at times, and which are important to keep track of in my job as a game designer).
I think you're right, and it was something that was touched on in the summit...that starting a 'quake only' site right now would be a mistake.
We are rather fps heavy, namely because that's where the backgrounds of a lot of the staffers here lies. loony's obviously an exception (the nut plays EVERYTHING!), but certainly I'm very much a fps fan, the occasional MUD and adventure game aside. We're working on it though. :)
Single player dead?
Why can't they keep their mouths shut?!
More on Duke...
Credits: MailBag logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. The MailBag is © 1998 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and not nice.