You know that guy I was talking about over the weekend, whose hobby is to be as ridiculously thin-skinned and hyperbolic as the imaginary social justice strawmen poisoning the gaming press and industry that he’s invented in his head? Well, he’s back, and he wants to help out all you imaginary haters who want to write clickbait reviews !
— Adrian Chmielarz (@adrianchm) May 19, 2015
A few things there, Adrian.
- Saying that a game missed an opportunity to be more diverse or inclusive is not the same thing as saying the game is racist, and claiming otherwise is being needlessly hyberbolic and alarmist.
- Saying that the world is misogynist does not necessarily mean that the game is misogynist. As one example, the recently released Mad Max is a world that has interesting and strong female characters who solve things in interesting and inspiring ways, despite the fact that the world is deeply, DEEPLY misogynist. You know who loved that film? Your old buddy, Arthur Geis. That being said, even if you believe that sexual violence is important for a story or game, how that sexual violence is handled is deeply relevant to some audiences
- If you are the sort of person who thinks that women dressing like harem girls for battle is inappropriate, then the fact that the women who rule the world are dressed in dental floss is not going to impress you. I’m going to stress, I’m not one of those people – what can I say, I came of age to my dad’s hidden stash of Vallejo books. However, it is a sizable, SIZABLE number of the people – mostly but not entirely women – and considering that the audience for RPGs is now believed to be majority women, actually giving a shit about their opinion may be worth something a designer interested in expanding the audience of their AAA game might want to, you know, at least not mock. It certainly merits a mention in a review, as it is the sort of thing that these women may choose not to buy a game over.
Oh, one more thing: I do tend to frequent more than a couple of SJW hives of scum and villainy and you know what? They’re all super-excited about the Witcher 3. Even as they discuss, criticize and explore these issues deeper, the excitement for this title has been building for weeks. Because progressive gamers are still gamers, too, they just place valuation on different things. Many of them loved the previous two Witchers as well.
It turns out that it is possible to enjoy and even love a work of art that you criticize. But Adrian knows this. His twitter feed is currently filled with criticisms of the game collected from the first day of play – opening area may be too long, and bad quest design results in lost time. Standard RPG issue of failed sense of impending objectives clashing with side objectives. A lengthy discussion of the failure of art direction driven mostly by the foliage of the game. A general sense that it’s not as polished as it should be. These are all valid topics of criticism and discussion amongst adults.
So is that social justice stuff.