Update: SLee and Topher now have an entire case guide out in e-book form. Even better, it is FREE!
Update 2 (May 5th 2012): If you want some help answering the questions, but don’t want the spoilers of the actual answers, SLee and Topher now have a guide with tips on how to deduce the correct response.
I have been playing L.A. Noire  and I have really been trying to like it. It should be the kind of game I love. I have written before about why I love crime shows and I usually like crime games as well. The game was highly recommended to me by two friends whose opinions and taste I trust. So I want to like it, but L.A. Noire is just not doing it for me. In this post I give the uncharitable version of my reaction to L.A. Noire. In a future post I will give the more charitable interpretation of my reaction to the game. [Note: This post contains spoilers for L.A. Noire and Triggers for Racism, Sexism and Violence. I will note each in-text as they arise, and hide any spoilers that affect the cases]
- Racism and Sexism
- Plot, Choice and the Uncanny Valley
- Gameplay and the Uncanny Valley
- Final Verdict (tl;dr)
- Link Round-Up of Interrogation and Investigation Tips
1. Racism and Sexism
[Trigger Warning for Discussion of Gender-Based Violence]
L.A. Noire is both racist and misogynist through and through. You play as Cole Phelps assisted by several partners throughout the game. Phelps himself rarely says racist or sexist things, but his partners can be relied upon for a steady stream of racism and sexism. [Light Spoiler for L.A. Noire] One partner,
Stefan Bekowsky Roy Earle [Thanks to Harold for the correction], becomes incensed when a black man makes a suggestion. He spits out, “don’t tell me what to do,” with a tone that indicates he thinks the black man “doesn’t know his place.” Later he says, “What an evening I’m having. First a negro puts his hands on me, and then this.” The game also features anti-Semitic conspiracies as part of the plot-line. Later, Phelps’ partner, Finbarr “Rusty” Galloway, jokes about beating and murdering his girlfriends and wives. Galloway thinks a woman deserves to die if she keeps a messy house. [/Spoiler] But I am not going to dwell on those points, since there is an in-game explanation (America is racist! It was especially racist in the ’40s! It adds realism!) and I expect that anyone who is playing a Rockstar game will anticipate a lot of racist, homophobic and sexist shit and will have prepared themselves accordingly.
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So by now I am sure most have seen the Portal 2 trailer from yesterday’s E3 conference. If not, here it is.
I have to admit, I am excited. It looks pretty and the first game is one of my favorite games. But there are some things that make me uneasy. The first game was great because it was simple, it was funny, and it was unexpected. Oh yeah, and it was feminist.
(For the simplicity, see the Zero Punctuation review beginning at 3:30. I find Ben “Yahtzee” Corshaw distasteful, but I think this review is pretty spot on. For the feminism, see Kris at the Hathor Legacy, Brinstar at Acid for Blood, Jenn Frank at Infinite Lives, Joe McNeilly at GamesRadar, or go to the Iris Network forums and search either ‘Portal’ or ‘Chell’).
This version obviously is quite anticipated, and so never had a chance at being unexpected (although it might still have many surprises). It seems like it will still be funny. GlaDOS has a great personality (e.g. “Didn’t we have some fun, though…” my favorite line from the first Portal game, which is kind of a spoiler if you have not played Portal). But it does not seem simple. There is a lot going on in the trailer. Also, I am not sure whether it will still be feminist. I find myself thinking, “Trust Valve… it will be good… I’m sure it will…”
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Posted in Video Games, tagged Dancing Demon, Dragon Age: Origins, Emerald City Confidential, Flower, Frogger Beyond, Little Big Planet, LittleBigPlanet2, Marketing, Mirror's Edge, Portal, Portal 2, The Oregon Trail on May 5, 2010|
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One of my favorite blogs, The Border House, is renewing a meme about game covers that women want to see. The meme encourages women to write a post about the kinds of game covers that made us want to play a game. The Border House is compiling a list of these blog posts at the site. If we want stuff that is made for us and marketed toward us, then it makes sense to express our preferences around marketing. I agree.
Here’s how it goes…
Game Covers Women Want to See
Ladies, what RPG covers (or interiors) have you seen that involve a woman in the art that make you say, “I want to play that” or, just as good “I want to play her.” Or that make you feel like it is a game you could like, or be included in by a group of guys you’d never met and whose maturity you didn’t necessarily know?
- Copy the text of the original challenge from Yudhishthira’s Dice and give a proper link attribution.
- Copy these rules exactly (including any links).
- Find images of game covers (interiors are okay, too) that make you want to play the game. Any kind of game — video game, card game, tabletop RPG, etc — is fine. Post them and include a short (or long) explanation on why the image makes/made you want to play the game.
- The original challenge is about finding out what women think about how game art is marketed and therefore it is targeted at women. I’d like to keep it that way, please.
- You can tag as many or as few people as you want. You do not need to be tagged to participate in the meme.
- When you make your post, please post the link on this thread so we can all see what others have said.
I dropped one of the conditions. I dropped the condition that the cover should “involve a woman” because I also often find androgynous covers attract me, and I also like some covers that involve masculine figures, as long as they don’t seem anti-female humans. My additions are below the jump:
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