Wherein I am Annoyed by Sexism

Picture in your mind an auto mechanic. Think of someone who spends their days working around things that are sometimes sharp, things that are sometimes hot, and things that are covered in grease. Picture all of that, and then tell me how well this picture matches your image.


Debbie Does Dodge

This character is a woman named Cindy. She appears in Final Fantasy XV, and she’s supposed to be a mechanic. I suppose she probably is, but certainly no mechanic I’ve ever seen or picture would be dressed like that. So let’s call her what she actually is: masturbatory material for teenage male game players.

I’m perfectly ok with a certain amount of titillation and erotic content in video games, but come on. This is just fucking insane.

Earlier today, I was also playing Watch Dogs 2: The Pretension, and this character walks onto my screen.


Not so bad, except that initial view of her meeting the main character in person for the first time was a shot from about knee-height, from behind, and looking up. So, basically, an ass shot.

First, before I get too deep into this, kudos to Ubisoft for making the characters of Watch Dogs 2: l33t h4x0rz, diverse in both gender and race. So ten points to Hufflepuff for that, but minus several million for making the female character the only “sexy” one.

FFXV does the same thing. The main characters are four guys who have been friends for ages. That’s actually a bit of a step back for the series, as they’ve often had gender diversity among the main characters, but whatever. The bigger problem here is that while the only speaking female character I’ve seen so far is dressed like a porn star prior to wearing what most porn stars end up wearing (possibly a pearl necklace? Don’t image search that), while all the guys are just dressed normal. Oh, there’s one that’s got a vest with no shirt, but he’s got so many tattoos, they basically count as clothing.

This irritates me. I’m ok with titilation and eroticism, as said, but make it equal! If you’re going to have a woman dressed like Cindy, then give me an outfit for Noctis that’s about the same level. Or just give me a male version of Cindy.

Game makers would do well to remember that there are a large number of women who play video games, too, as well as a number of guys who are into other guys. It’d be just super-nice if they could give us options in RPGs and the like to pick our gender and the gender of our love interest. Bioware manged this way back in the day with Jade Empire, and has continued to make great strides in this direction.

I guess what I’m saying ultimately is that I’m fine with women being objectified as long as men are, too. Not perhaps the best lesson, but there you are.


Video Game Review – No Man’s Sky

18 quintillion worlds, multiple different animals, spaceships, aliens, and exploration! What’s not to like?

I’ve spent the last day playing my way through the PC version of this fascinating game. It’s amazing, impressive, and borderline tedious, but in a compelling kind of way.

I’ve spent the game on a planet so far. That’s where everyone starts; your own private world. Well, private aside from the aliens, various spaceships, and drones everywhere, which rather defeats the whole, “where no man has gone before” vibe.

You begin with a a spaceship in need of repair. You also need to repair your equipment. That took me only a few minutes. I’ve spent the rest of the time on the planet gallivanting about, scanning lifeforms (don’t forget to scan the tress!), visiting some alien trade posts, and screaming about how low my inventory levels are allowed to be.

This game really channels the old Starflight, and in a good way. Though I’ve barely dipped a toe in, it’s leaving me feeling quite giddy and excited. I’m enjoying the planet exploration so much, I’m almost not interested in getting up into orbit. Almost.


Badger can into space!

Now can I recommend this game? Well, all the launch day weirdness is past, and I’ve enjoyed it so far, so…yes. Modulate your expectations a bit, since it it’s quite as grand as the makers would have you believe. Nevertheless, it’s quite fun, and I do recommend it to all.

Video Game Review – Lego Batman 3


Oh, I do love the Lego X game series. They’ve all been quite excellent, but this one really sets the new gold standard. Everything you love about the previous games is here (characters, comedy, collecting), but everything about it is improved.

Let’s start with the plot. Brianiac pops up and plans to shrink the world, as he does. Meantime, the various different colored Lanterns pop up to do what they do. At the same time, Lex Luthor, the Joker, and others are scheming their way onto the Justice League Satellite of Love. Oh, and Hawkman is trapped in a gilded cage.

Got all that?

The controls for flying, especially, are vastly improved in this game game over Lego Batman 2. Like flying in the overworld areas is no longer a massive chore. Even better, you no longer have to look around for a changing station for Batman and Robin, as they can change into their alternate suits at a moment’s notice. Further, you get to use the B button as a context button for various different tasks, including instantly changing into a different outfit.

That last point I cannot stress enough. It is so darn useful! It’s nice to be able to swap on the fly without having to get taken out of the story.

Now I did see a reviewer who mentioned they had problems with their controller. I didn’t have any problems with mine, except when I tried to do two-player with a friend and his controller wouldn’t respond. A reboot of the game fixed that. For the record, I’m using a wired 360 controller.

Beyond that, there are about 175 unlockable characters, including Shazam (Captain Marvel), all the various Lanterns, Batmite, and several special surprises that I wouldn’t dream of spoiling here. The number and variety of characters really shows how aware this game is of its history. In addition, you get stuff from the 1966 Batman TV series, you hear the Superman theme when Superman flies, and, happily, the Wonder Woman theme when Wonder Woman flies.

Really, I cannot think of a single problem with this game. I loved it completely, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Two Things to Remember

So there was another mass shooting recently. At least this one didn’t happen at a school, and since the shooter wasn’t a Muslim, it doesn’t count as terrorism.

As we learn more about the shooter, the usual cry of “violent video games!” is echoing through the media. It’s possible that the shooter spent some time playing games where people kill other people, also known as “Almost every game aside from Candy Crush, and even then you’re crushing candy!”

I’m sure he probably did play violent video games. I play those, too. I’ve been known to bust out a few hours on Grand Theft Auto IV, Civilization V, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and even the occasional game that doesn’t have a number after it. I play these games, and he plays these games, and you know what else?

So does almost every person under the age of 45. Including men. Including women. Including girls. Including boys. Just about everyone plays video games and many, if not most, of the really fun ones tend to be violent.

This all reminds me of the smart-ass, “You know who else was X? Hitler!” Of course in my ideal world, X = vegetarian, because I find that hilarious.

Anyhow, so he played violent video games. He also walked upright, breathed oxygen and drank water.

The second thing to keep in mind during this story’s unfolding is that one of the things NRA-types like to say in the wake of a mass shooting is, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun!” I suppose that was technically true in this case; the shooter was indeed eventually stopped by (several) good guys with guns.

The problem is that he was on a freakin’ military base, as was the Ft. Hood shooter. Now I don’t know if everyone going around on both of these bases are armed; I rather doubt that they are. However I am willing to bet there are a hell of a lot more guns per person than you’d see in the average office building, so I’m wondering how it was that the shooter in this case was able to kill so many people before being killed himself. If, indeed, the solution to preventing or stopping shootings like this is more guns, one would think this guy would have been killed almost instantly.

Shootings like this happen, and in this country, they happen a hell of a lot. That’s what you get when you have a society in love with guns. I just wish we’d finally do something about it.

Video Game Review – Civilization V: Brave New World


When Civ V was first released, I was deeply unimpressed. I hated (and still dislike and find pointless), the hex grid. I hated the non-stackable units. I hated the lack of religion and espionage. Really, there was almost nothing that I DID like about it, and it wasn’t long before I wrote it off as totally broken and started playing Civ IV again.

Time passed, and the first expansion was released. That changed the game significantly, and suddenly made it actually playable. That trend towards being a good game continues with this expansion which, I am pleased to say, has finally “fixed” the game to the point where I no longer consider it broken and instead consider it to be very good. Good enough that I might finally leave Civ IV behind.

this expansion adds, as you’d expect, plenty of new Civs. You get the return of the Zulus, whose omission came as a Shaka to everyone (I’m sorry…I’m so, so sorry…). You also get completely new Civs, like Brazil, Poland, Inodnesia and Morocco. You even get Venice, which is a fascinating case, about which I will say more later.

The expansion also adds trade routes. Now you can build caravans and cargo ships, and actually engage in basic commerce with your neighbors. The mechanics are a little more choppy than I’d like, and I hate having to constantly select new routes, but it’s still nice to have them.

You also get a few new religions, and Christianity has become nice and factionalized, though I’m confused as to why we only have one sect of Islam to pick from. There’s also some new techs, like archaeology, and new units, like the archaeologist.

Probably the biggest change in the game mechanics is the World Council. It’s a group similar to the UN that’s automatically unlocked by the first Civ to make contact with every other Civ in the game. That first Civ also gets to control it, at least initially. The way it works is that you propose an idea, and then about 90 turns later (this interval decreases as game time goes on), everyone votes. You can even use diplomacy to persuade your neighbors to vote the way you want them to.

For example, while playing Brazil, I unlocked and controlled the council. I suggested a World’s Fair. I then persuaded my ally, Austria, to vote in favor of the idea. They did, and eventually the idea was accepted. Everyone began developing their Civs for the fair. The civilization who completed it, me, then gets 100% extra culture for 20 turns. Not too shabby, and well worth it.

So diplomacy is a major aspect of the game now. You also get tourists, which help to spread your culture far and wide. Then there’s the various ideologies that you can unlock. I haven’t done that yet, so I can’t comment on them, but I am looking very forward to it.

To sum up. This is a great expansion. If you like the base game even slightly, you owe it to yourself to try the expansion. It’s very, very good. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go invade Rome.

The Joy of Games

Today there is no real blog post, because I spent several hours hanging out with my friend, Rob, at Castles and Coasters playing a great many video games. It turns out that I still can play “Moon Patrol” with some skill. But that’s it. Otherwise, I suck. Rob, however, owns at “Galaga”. That is all.

A Free Game, You Say? Ho-Hum…

So EA rather famously fucked-up the launch of the new SimCity game. I’ve racked up about 30 hours on the game, and while I have some serious complaints about the game, I find it enjoyable overall.

I am, however, in the minority, so EA has decided to offer us gamers a free download of a game. Not a bad idea. Too bad almost all the titles are either directed at teenage boys or are already available and, indeed, played, on my Kindle Fire. The real fun part? I thought I’d pick SimCity 4, so I clicked on that and promptly got an error message, because of course I did.


So, yeah, I’m still into The Sims 3, so I think I’ll go play that instead for a while.