Sunday, March 23, 2014

A tale of two RPGs

Vox Day laments the intrusion of Pink SF/F into video games:
This is only one of the many reasons I quit going to CGDC after it became GDC. Social responsibility? Fuck that. Games concern electronic entertainment, nothing more and nothing less.

And notice that all of Heir's "arguments" are nothing but mere assertions, devoid of any evidence or even logic. It shows his complete divorce from sanity when he claims that basic historical reality is "laughable". And speaking as one who has been involved in the financial analysis of more than 200 games, "investment" is not the sole determinant of a successful game; many a million-seller has been developed on a relative shoestring. Heir doesn't understand that since dragons don't exist, one can do what one wants with them. But taking a woman and making her a kickass ninja warrior necessarilymeans that she ceases to be a woman in any meaningful or recognizable manner, she becomes a man with cosmetic female attributes.

This has become clear to me after reading two David Weber novels. In his attempt to be sexually egalitarian, he has essentially removed all actual women from his books. There isn't a single female character whose sex one could not change to male and have the change go almost completely unnoticed in terms of "her" behavior.
I want the bolded part on a t-shirt.

I can accept a badass female mage or assassin, but a woman in heavy steel plate armor swinging a giant war hammer is a bit too much for my suspension of disbelief. Video games are supposed to be fun, not vehicles for disseminating the latest Doubleplus Good Newthink.

Two video games have been very good for this blog's traffic: Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas. Personally, I enjoyed the latter more than the former. Skyrim is mostly about exploration. The Main Quest is okay but the Elder Scrolls have never been about the Main Quest. It requires a lot of imagination to get replay value out of it if you're one of those types who wants to do everything on a single play through. It's possible to become the head of every guild, which is a bit ridiculous. The Companions are quite vocal about how magic and sneaking are for pussies, but they don't call you on it if you try to join with your squishy mage or sneak thief. The Thieves Guild is all about stealth, but it's possible to Rambo your way through the whole quest line while wearing heavy golden armor and a battle axe as large as both your thighs. Your big dumb barbarian can become the Archmage without knowing any spells besides the starters with which you begin the game. It doesn't feel like your choices make any real difference in the world. Skyrim is a mile wide and an inch deep.

Fallout: New Vegas is both more linear and more liberating. There's a strong plot and a definitive ending to the Main Quest. The specifics of the ending are based on your choices throughout the game. Joining the NCR precludes working for Mr. House or the Legion. You can work for any faction right up until the end before you stab them in the back and take Vegas for yourself. The dialogue options you can choose are much more varied than in Skyrim where you can pretty much only say "yes" or "no." That's why there's so much "Serana is my waifu" love for Dawnguard because it was one of the few times where you had a lot of different dialogue options. Personally, I prefer a deeper story even if it comes at the expense of player freedom. With FONV, you have an incentive to replay it in order to get the other endings. With Skyrim, once you've gazed upon all the scenery, there's not much story left to explore.

1 comment:

  1. I was a soldier for 8 years. I study Renaissance combat. I see the proliferation of 'tiny, thin women who easily defeat large men in melee' as a symptom of cultural sickness.