GameSpot GamePlay Episode 55: Earth Culture

Host Kevin VanOrd and guests Tom Mc Shea, Carolyn Petit, and Walter Lopez welcome developer Matt Gilgenbach to discuss things that go bump in the night.

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 55: Earth Culture

Neverending Nightmares Developer Matt Gilgenbach drops in for one of our most probing shows yet. Up for discussion: Kojima's erotic characters, the ongoing Penny Arcade controversy, and the resurgence of the survival horror game. Is Marcus Fenix sexy? Is Tom Mc Shea capable of derailing his own thought process? Kevin VanOrd, Carolyn Petit, and Walter Lopez ask the tough questions.

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 54: Imconventional

GameSpot GamePlay Special Edition Spoilercast: Gone Home

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 53: Roguelikelike

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 52: Research & Development

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 51: Mr. Miyamoto, Tear Down This Wall

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 50: Pining for the Fjords

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GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

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59 comments
olizuka
olizuka

Thank you Mr Kevin VanOrd for every single episode so far...

un_turco
un_turco

hello Mr. K...

 I know that almost everyone is talking about gta v and they should cause is great so I thought a game for the podcast... gta is well known by the mayhem, crazy stunts and really cool missions that you can take part of... well on the other hand we got FOX news and their incredible sensationalist, lurid and gutter press that they love to portay in their news... so take the most crazy ¨real¨ (fox news take on a story) and some gta v missions and your panel has to guest which is which...  well i hope that you like my idea, and kep the great work...   P.S. i apologize for butchering the english lenguage... 

MuggyTadpole
MuggyTadpole

Well, it's official. The red tide of manbros and boytrolls has arrived here as well. Time to stop looking at the comments section.

Shawnb65
Shawnb65

And personally I think it terrible how they trash on gabe and penny arcade.  The guy has his belief that trans women are not real women and guess what science and biology agree with the guy, its not hateful to just accept reality for what it is.  I really do feel he has no problem with the trans community he's just a stickler with definitions.  Hes entitled to think that and the way they trash on him and penny arcade because he doesn't share GS beliefs on the issue is just stupid. 

Blighboy
Blighboy

I often find I don't have much of a problem with what Penny Arcade says initially, as while yes, it may be shocking and offensive, that's sort of their thing. They do it with everything and it's not at all unprecedented, it's just their style to exaggerate their point to the degree that it's unnerving or put it in a context that makes it upsetting. I can understand their feelings that it's unfair that what statements of theirs do and do not get criticized often comes off as arbitrary. 

However...the way in which they respond to criticisms on this subject often does tend to make me just a tad uncomfortable, because with each response it seems that their initial point was less and less a hyperbole and more an actual opinion that they genuinely believe in, before the inevitable backpedaling. So I can also understand the hesitancy about supporting Penny Arcade and the desire for them to learn to be a bit more sensitive. 

Spitz6860
Spitz6860

can we not turn the show into a woman activist thing please? i don't really see a difference between that and men activist, and you guys seem to detest the latter.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

do a podcast that discusses GTA and Elder Scrolls, Mass effect and Fallout top 4

Psil0X
Psil0X

This is probably the last episode I'll listen to from Gameplay. I'm sick of your awkward 30 minutes of ranting over woman rights and sex oppression and what not. This may be important subjects elsewhere but not in a gaming podcast where i want to hear talk about GAMES.

yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

Controversy! 

What was surprising about Kojima's comments- besides the sexual issues- is that Kojima was so blunt about "my characters should be more sexy to promote more cosplay and merchandising. Maybe my memory needs to be refreshed, but I have never encountered a creator who was so blunt about character design like that. Maybe the DoA developers?


Controversy TWO! It's funny: if Mike (Gabe) had never apologized for anything he's said, he'd be in a better boat than he is right now, because he is now seen as a guy who will apologize for what he's said, then maybe take it back. There are so many issues to tackle concerning this (the alleged rape culture, tumblr feminism, representation, forced apologies), but I'm just some dude in a comments section. 

abarto
abarto

Very interesting episode! I understand Caro's reluctance to acknowledge that it was kind of hypocritical working the show as a journalist while trying raise awareness of the awful attitude of its creators. It sucks, but as we grow older, we learn to accept that sometimes we have no choice but to do something that goes against our principles. Although it might sound cynical, you have to think of the people you're helping by covering the show and realize that your contribution matters.

I used to think like Krahulik until I befriended a rape victim. I'd like for him to sit 5 minutes with my friend to hear a story that sounds like the plot to "Neverending Nightmares". I doubt he'll have the guts to pull such a distasteful joke ever again.

dapman418
dapman418

Great 'cast this week, guys and gal!

seveword
seveword

The Kojima comments seem to literally be lost in translation. Is the character design ridiculous? Yeah, but in a decidedly MGS-esque fashion that is not new. I think "erotic" and "sexy" are poor replacements for whatever Kojima really intended to say, and implied in his later clarification, which has more to do with how the guys look as cool as the girls look as cool as the guns look as cool as the mechs, etc. It's an "OMG THIS IS AWESOME" attitude, not an "OMG LET'S SINGLE OUT WOMEN" attitude.

Sex sells. This is about sex. Sex is not sexism.

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

I'm hoping for an even longer Podcast next week. I like to sit back and relax to a good long episode! You need to book that studio for 2 hours from now on. Especially with how crazy this holiday season will be!

cousinmerl
cousinmerl

isn't sexy women a REQUIREMENT to japanese games? there's some which are FAR worse...

like otomedius....

..which was er...also from konami..... hmm.... konami really like breasts

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

I don't think that people with a history of depression should play games like Neverending Nightmares.It will inevitably bring back some of those memories and emotions and I don't think depression is something you would want to feel nostalgic about.

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

What better way to start your morning than with the sound of staccato strings in the intro followed by the best podcast on the internets !

push88
push88

I'm sorry to hear that you've had such a troubled past Kevin.  I think I can easily speak for everyone by saying, "thank goodness you are still with us."  Also, thank you for sharing something so personal with the Gamespot community.  

push88
push88

I want a "Souls game" on a handheld.  Anyone?... Anyone?...

coolbeans1
coolbeans1

@MuggyTadpole  Or just people who find obnoxiously pious PC discussions about sexism in games to be beyond tedious.

yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

@Shawnb65 I didn't know that the Gameplay podcast represents all of GameSpot now.


So what you are saying is that Mike is allowed to say whatever he wants to on his twitter, but to speak about what he says is going too far?

yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

@Psil0X Even when the games themselves bring up these very issues? So on a video game podcast, you don't want them to talk about PAX and MGS V?

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@Psil0X Gaming culture is part of games. I am sorry to hear that don't wish to listen anymore, but games editorial doesn't just cover the games themselves but of the culture surrounding it, the events that promote it, and the people at its forefront. I am always intrigued that we so strongly plea for games (and gamers) to be taken seriously, yet when they are put into a serious context and inspire discussions about important topics like sexism and violence, many of the same people desiring legitimacy cry out that games are just for fun. Important topics aren't easy to talk about or listen to, and the podcast won't always be happy-go-lucky.

Sometimes we get serious; sometimes we don't. Sometimes subjects in the world of games are lighthearted. Other times, they are not. Games mirror life in this way, and in many others. 

yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

@AggrandizedUser OR what you should've learned is that maybe you should consider the reach you have in your community, and how your words will be taken when you say, or tweet, them. 


Mike is not just some CEO that was hired into Penny Arcade. He is one of the faces of Penny Arcade, and of PAX. In that position, these guys have sacrificed the ability to say anything they please without people responding to it. They surely can say whatever they want, but the spotlight is on them! You absolutely have to choose your words carefully. 


I'm not even on the side of people who are enraged at Penny Arcade, but I think the guys at PA are smart enough to know that people are just waiting for you to slip up and say the wrong thing. 

un_turco
un_turco

@yotaruvegeta @un_turco 

actually i did email kevin vanord but he is always complainning about the spam so maybe he would read the comment too... but thx

MuggyTadpole
MuggyTadpole

I wonder, if I put a picture of a llama on here, would you reply to that as well?

Shawnb65
Shawnb65

@yotaruvegeta @Shawnb65 I think its getting into a pretty tricky area with twitter.  We want that kind of direct contact with those people but the community is so angry and critical of everything these people say that its just a matter of time till allot of these celebrity type people start saying f it and going private.

I think stating your personal beliefs on something is a bit different than saying penny arcade is basically evil and that pax should go away.  Penny arcade is part of gaming culture, pax is a part of gaming culture I cant believe petit would be so ignorant to want to see it die off because she has a disagreement with gabe on something that has nothing to do with gaming.  She doesn't seem to understand the importance of pax and penny arcade.

Shawnb65
Shawnb65

@Kevin-V @Psil0X I agree Kevin but it doesn't change the fact that the issues you cover always seem to be the same ones, and the fact that you seem to cater to a certain crowd and pretty much crap on others.  Don't get me wrong I have allot of respect for you as a game journalist but as the type of gamer I am I'm increasingly getting the feeling when I visit the game spot website that I'm just a sexy pig that doesn't get it and if only I could be as smart as you and petit than my life would be so much better. Im not saying this to be a troll it just bums me out because gamespot has been my site for gaming news and reviews for a really long time and its been changing so much over the past couple years and I kinda just feel like my kind isn't welcome here anymore.

yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

@Shawnb65 The genie is out of the bottle. Those who hate to be labeled have no problem placing detrimental labels on others.  Privacy is out of the window, and any slight, whether it is assumed or actual, is subject to public scrutiny. 

Mike and Penny Arcade could've had it much worse than this. They could have some rough days ahead of them, still.

Shawnb65
Shawnb65

@yotaruvegeta @Shawnb65 I agree with allot of what you say, me personally I dislike how public figures can be forced and bullied into doing things out of fear they will be destroyed by the angry internets.  I'm a supporter of free speech 100 percent and don't like the idea of these public figures just being the consumers puppets or jukebox you know.  And I do thinks it wrong and a defamation of mikes character to call him transphobic, I think that's just ignorant.  I somehow feel though even if mike had made these comments on his private facebook or something and it still managed to hit the internet people would still be mad and after him.  I really don't think its because it was a public forum I think allot of people think mike just needs to be "educated" and change his mind.

yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

@Shawnb65  It's not tricky-- at least not for fully functioning adults. In this day and age you have to look at all the public figures who have been humbled and forced to make insincere apologies before the mercy of people who aren't even their primary audience.


Talk is no longer cheap. That goes for public figures and average people. Express your opinion, and someone might turn that into you collecting unemployment. 

I don't even think what Mike said or has said is the worst thing in the world. However, when someone can place the label "transphobic" or "rape culture supporter on you,"  you can be destroyed as you attempt to crawl out from under that bus.


I'm lucky. I'm a goddamn shut-in, so all my pals go to stuff like PAX. I've never been, so I don't have to choose whether to support him or not. I will support anything Penny Arcade puts out that I think is entertaining or funny, though. 

Saying something- even if it's hurtful or disgusting, is not the worst thing you can do to a person. If Mike or Jerry ever say something that is just accross the board inexcusable, then I'm glad that we can at least contact these guys directly through numerous outlets. At least these guys aren't cowards. They might give a questionable apology her and there, but at least it's not a forced, PR typed apology.

anne_1230
anne_1230

Shawnb65: okay...wall of text coming your way...

I do think something is blown out of proportion, but I don't think it's the size of the problem, rather it's the size of the problem as compared to the same problem in the world in general. Some may say that the gaming industry is much worse at the sexism thing than other industries. I personally think it's not that much worse. Where we probably disagree is how large the problem is in the general society.

I think that while we have come a long way - for example, women are now allowed to vote like men! - we have not come far enough yet; the reality is we still have quite some equality problems in our society/culture in general. I don't really want to get into an argument on this topic...so if you want to just label me a feminist or whatever and stop reading here I won't mind.

If you do believe that there is still a societal problem on equality, then here's what I believe is special about the gaming industry and thus why it's a good place to start conversations:

First is that you see the problem show up most obviously here, and when someone points them out, you can hide behind the argument "that's what the market demand is so get over it!" (which is kinda what you are doing). For example, people don't say "women are just sex objects!" because, again, we have come a long way and saying something like that will get you labelled sexist, but you see magazine covers/movies/games that depict women as sex objects (like for example this whole MGS thing), and if someone tries to point out that's perhaps problematic, then in comes the argument "hey that's just the market demand so nothing's wrong with that!" Hopefully you see that just because something is in line with the market demand doesn't make it not problematic; just because something is in line with societal views doesn't make it right. Because societal values can be wrong; that's the whole point of activism.

Second thing is that, the gaming industry along with entertainment industry in general is perhaps the best place to start to solve the problem of the general society. It's a cycle, really: societal views affect the types of entertainment products that get made, but the entertainment products in turn affect people's views and beliefs. You may argue that compared to some other industries, games perhaps reaches less of an audience so it's less important. I actually agree; and I think that's precisely why the problem seems more severe in the games industry - because less people are consuming it so when the problem rears its head, there's less people noticing it so the industry as a whole gets away with the problem more often. So yes, to solve the problem, just talking about it within the games industry is nowhere enough. But it's a good place to start, and more importantly, for a gaming website like gamespot, it's the part that's within their scope.

So you are right, in a way I do want to change the way people think. Where we disagree is that you seem to think "changing the way people think" is not the right thing to do. I on the other hand believe that we should never stop challenging the way people think...that's how we can make progress and move forward.

yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

@Shawnb65 You will have to explain yourself further than that. I'm not getting your comment.

Shawnb65
Shawnb65

@yotaruvegeta king of the straw man.

yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

@Shawnb65 @anne_1230 @Kevin-V @Psil0X "Blown out of proportion" is one person doing a Youtube series?


I'm not exactly a part of the Anita Sarkeesian fan club, but the one undeniable fact illuminated through her content is that video game developers are LAZY, and they make helpless girls the end goal.


We like super Mario because he shoots goddamn fireballs and stomps bad guys, not because there's a princess locked up in a castle. Mario would lose nothing if saving Princess Peach was not  the goal of some of his games. 

I agree that if you don't like something, you should not support it. They should also be able to speak on that product, protest that product, and tell anyone who will listen to not purchase that product. All reasonable reactions.


As to your "why don't YOU make a game if you don't like it" response, why wouldn't you want the industry to grow and evolve?  Your response to someone saying "it would be great if the industry made a different type of game" is "no, the industry can only make a select few type of games" Huh? As much of a buzz and following as Anita Sarkeesian has, she's still just a person with a Youtube channel. Her words will not transform the industry, so I don't know what the problem with her saying what she's saying.


On your "equal time" thing, I think Anita Sarkeesian's whole point is that female characters have not been given equal time as heroes. Have men not had a lot to say already? How many male game journalists, and commenters can you count before you can name a female?  If you want to hear "the other side", I've seen tons of videos responding to Sarkeesian's web series. It's the internet; we are not at a loss for responses.


Shawnb65
Shawnb65

@anne_1230 @Shawnb65 @Kevin-V @Psil0X Define huge problem because to be honest I do think it gets blown out of proportion and allot of the time its a matter of perception.  For example the damsel in distress trope, stating games like Mario are damaging because they use these tropes. Or the dead island bust that was a clever parody of a roman bust that some people somehow saw as inciting violence against women. And the sad part is that these talks actually get called discussions as if equal time has been paid to each side.  Its completely one sided and that's not fair, you cant criticize feminism or the trans community without just being called sexist or transphobic.  Im all for equality but feminism isn't about equality. 

I don't like the idea of censorship on art and entertainment and I don't understand why people who don't like these things just don't buy it, why they are so set on convincing everyone to think the way they do.  I like variety in games and would have no problem with there being games more geared towards female motivations or whatever.  If Anita Sarkeesian is right and these types of games are a gold mine just waiting to be tapped then why not make these games instead of getting the entire industry to change the way you want them to.   

yotaruvegeta
yotaruvegeta

@anne_1230 @Shawnb65 @Kevin-V @Psil0X The issue with gaming is that it's a cross section of the immature and the mature, an age gap that goes as wide as two generations. 

 Young people (and those who don't seem to have advanced in their maturity) would like to be willfully ignorant about deeper issues related to gaming. 

 Then you have people who think that anyone but males are an anomaly in the gaming community. That wasn't the truth in the 80s, and it's certainly not the case now. 

 Some guys have a feeling that if you raise questions about sexism and the like, you're somehow attacking the pastime they enjoy,  you're being a "downer," or you're blowing things out of proportion.

There was this great strip done in the Critical Miss webcomic. I'll paraphrase: 

 A girl is on fire, and she's begging for help. Two guys are in the background, also on fire. They see her and say "What's your problem? We're not worried about it."

anne_1230
anne_1230

@Shawnb65 @Kevin-V @Psil0X Maybe the reason the problem keeps coming up is because sexism *is* a huge problem in the gaming community. The podcast is doing nothing other than responding to recent gaming industry news...The fact that it seems issues like these frequently come up is perhaps more of a reflection of just how big of a problem it is in the gaming industry. And if you honestly don't think there is a sexism problem in the industry...then I don't know what to say.

Here's why I think you feel "unwelcome": I can see you think yourself not sexist (at least I hope so) and therefore doesn't need to hear the talk. But the thing is, while the people who are sexist are of course the root of the problem, people like you, who run away from talking about them, are implicitly part of the problem by ignoring the issue and letting it continue to exist.

Does that mean everyone should be up in arms and shouting for industry change? No. But holding beliefs like "such topics have no place in a gaming podcast" is part of the why the gaming industry has these problems, and will continue to have them if everyone thinks like you. You can of course be annoyed if you feel like there's too much talk of it. But I see you deep down believe that there should be *no* talk of it and rather they belong elsewhere... So yeah in a way, the reason you feel like you are not getting it is because...well...you are not quite getting it. So you kinda get "crapped on" because....you kinda deserve to be.