TSM Episode 99: Mexicast

Mexican culture is alive and well... despite the best efforts of Americans.

Mexican culture is alive and well.

Download: Produced 2013.05.12

Internationally-renowned Doctor of Feminism Dr. Julian ‘SiliconBruce’ Taylor condescends to visit the podcast, sharing words of guidance and incontestible fact with Lusipurr, Blitzmage, and Gyme. Newly-enlightened, the panelists focus on Mexican culture.

48 comments on “TSM Episode 99: Mexicast”

  1. Nope. Still here. It’ll take more than that to drive me off. :D

    On the topic of the feminist critique of Dragon’s Crown, I have to hand it to how it was handled in not only this week’s podcast, but last week’s as well.

    As a self-described basic feminist, I am dismayed every time someone attempts to drum up controversy for a game because of the size of a woman’s breasts. It is one thing to point at how laughably bad a game is at depicting the bodies of women (see the original Tomb Raider model for Lara Croft; breasts are usually not triangles); it is another to say a game is misogynist as hell because a woman, in line with the rest of the game’s art style, is exaggerated to the point where anybody could say, “Oh, that’s the art style.”

    And, indeed, Dragon’s Crown has other stylistic depictions of women, particularly the Valkyrie, who actually has muscle definition on her abs and her legs. Yet they’re not being picked apart because apparently this sorceress is everything wrong in feminism according to these feminist critics.

    We don’t even have the context for why this is except for that the sorceress’s appearance could bring horny men (and women who incline that way!) to Dragon’s Crown. That could be its only context, in which case we can just look at Marketing and say, “Oh you!” On the other hand, we could find out that the sorceress is actually someone struggling with self-image issues and has used her magic to bring her to the extreme proportions that she is. Or she was simply born with this figure and is comfortable with her sexuality to the point where she puts it on display (in which case, feminists that celebrate sexual freedom should cheer instead of boo) and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.

    As for the whole, “Oh no, it’ll drive women gamers away!” argument:

    I grew up playing violent video games that did have exaggerated depictions of women. Did I look at these women as role models? Sure, they kicked ass and took names. Did I think I had to look like them? No. I understood that the games I was playing were marketed for teenage/adult men and that these women’s appearances were likely un-attainable, but they were at least cool characters that I loved to play as. This is why I don’t bat an eye when I see Kitana and Mileena from Mortal Kombat in provocative poses when I was nine years old, because I was well aware I was playing a game meant for adults who fantasize about women and will buy things with a fantasized figure.

    It works both ways, as well. I’ve bought games on the basis of ‘oh wow the knight that joins your party has long blond hair and that’s really hot’ before. Talk to any teenage fangirl of Kingdom Hearts and they’ll tell you everything about their crush on Rikku (I have no idea if I spelled his name right); they’ll buy anything that has his face on it.

    To draw this rant short, I’ll just close it with this: marketing is the art of appealing to men’s basic desires to sell a product or a service. Sex, especially in a culture that has made it a subject of taboo and fascination, is one of the reliable cornerstones that marketing can use. Do we fault anyone for marketing with sex? Should we fault anyone for marketing with sex? My answer is no, because that is censorship, and we have agreed as a populous that is bad.

    TL;DR: misguided feminism is bad.

  2. Err, to clarify, because I don’t believe this site has an edit function…

    “Yet they’re not being picked apart because apparently this sorceress is everything wrong with feminism.”

    should be

    “Yet they’re not being picked apart because apparently this sorceress is everything wrong in feminism according to these feminist critics.”

    Wanted to clarify before I accidentally kicked a nest of hornets. :D

    [Original comment edited accordingly. -Lusi]

  3. I have always believed that many of these militant feminists are guilty of very uncharitable thinking about their fellows: they seem to assume that most women do not have brains or cannot think–or that the only things which carry any weight are whatever single issue they are angry about at a given moment, and that all other facets of a given situation are without merit. It is the arrogant grandstanding of a group that has convinced themselves that they are enlightened, and that everyone who disagrees (or has differently weighted values) must do so out of malice or ignorance.

    Luckily, we have a female reader (and we’ve had female staff members, and some of us have wives and girlfriends) who prove the forces of pinch-faced disapproval wrong. Lilith has a brain and, what’s more, she uses it. She can tell the difference between a game’s art style and reality; she can even exercise the criticality to see that it is not (as the naysayers would have us believe) a one-way street. It’s a shame the forces of militant feminism would prefer to carry on as if women are too stupid to have the faculties which they demonstrably possess.

    Anyone who thinks that Sephiroth and Kuja weren’t sexualised doesn’t know the first fucking thing about the Japanese gaming industry.

    Also, anyone who thinks that developers should be shamed into self-censorship is a totalitarian-by-proxy, and such individuals are urged to go visit communities friendlier to their mentalities, such as the Westboro Baptist Church and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

  4. *Looks at title*
    *Looks at picture*

    Oh… no…

    Nah, it will be good fun because I know they’re not being serious (…right?).

  5. @Epyon: I have no idea! Gyme spent the whole podcast saying things I did not understand.

  6. At any rate, the game looks beautiful, and I can’t wait to get it for my Vita.

    I really hope that this situation works in Vanillaware’s favour. I hope that gamers buy it because they’ve all now seen how fun and pretty it looks, and all the feminists now buy it in order to fuel their haterage. (and because I’m sure they’d all hate to continue condemning the game from a position of ignorance!)

  7. From where I’m sitting it sounds like you’re saying that sexism should be tolerated simply because of free speech, that we should allow inequality just because censorship is worse.
    The audience is irrelevant: even if it was 100% male audience, does that justify a loosening of morals to drive sales further?
    I find it incredible that this industry is still so socially conservative in these regards, and that these archaic values are even endorsed by otherwise intelligent people.

  8. @Chromatos: Guess we’d better start censoring all the books then, lest anyone be offended. People are far too stupid to be allowed to think for themselves when engaging an ENTERTAINMENT MEDIUM.

  9. “From where I’m sitting”

    There’s no standing room in your arse?

    “does that justify a loosening of morals to drive sales further?”

    Whose morality? Yours? This isn’t an issue of morality for most people.

    “The audience is irrelevant”

    No u r!

    “I find it incredible that this industry is still so socially conservative in these regards”

    Says the person trying to ban everything.

    “and that these archaic values are even endorsed by otherwise intelligent people.”

    Says the person trying to ban everything.

  10. I have a new podcast to listen to, it seems. Nice to hear from people who both think for themselves (as opposed to adopting the beliefs inherent to whatever moral high ground bandwagon is loudest at the moment) and have a genuine affection for the medium.

  11. I definitely agree with Lusipurr’s assessment. I am always frustrated when movements start to become lectures instead of conversations. It causes a chain reaction. Because some feminists turn things into a crusade and – as Lusipurr so eloquently put – it becomes “the arrogant grandstanding of a group that has convinced themselves that they are enlightened, and that everyone who disagrees (or has differently weighted values) must do so out of malice or ignorance”.

    Unfortunately, because this is the case, sometimes the reactions become the exact same way, and when some people want to have an actual nuanced conversation (and not just give a lecture), the reaction sometimes assumes the worst and responds with the same sort of blinders that they are – rightfully – annoyed with.

    From what I can tell (and I’m willing to have my mind changed because I’m basing this off of a few short comments) I believe Chromatos best represents what Julian and Lusipurr are fighting hardest against. And to that end, I absolutely agree with them. To point to one thing and say “this is bad! Don’t do this!” is extremely harmful and even if the intention is ostensibly noble, it is counter-productive.

    However, I do think it’s okay to have a conversation about images and representation of gender and sexual images and whether they may or may not be harmful. Not to try and say any developer should do or not do one thing, but to gain a better understanding of our culture and affected subcultures and assumptions we may or may not make about ourselves and each other. Because I think reaching the potential conclusion of “one side is being represented at frustrating frequency” is absolutely not a conclusion of “Dragon’s Crown is bad and they should be ashamed”. I just think it might be helpful for our perceptions and – in turn and as Lusipurr argues – will help us vote with our wallets so that we might see a greater variety of outputs in the future. And not just with women, but with all aspects of gaming that we may or may not be frustrated with. Because as I believe Julian pointed out earlier, it can be equally frustrating to some to be misrepresented by Call of Duty to non-gamers, and as Tim has pointed out, it can be equally frustrating to feel like developers think that Marcus Fenix is the sort of male I want to be represented by, even if in the long run I personally feel women get the shorter end of the representational stick more often. That is a little irrelevant, because every issue is an issue.

    Conversations are helpful, “do”, “do not”, “should”, and “should not”, are not helpful. And that goes for both sides of the argument.

  12. Also, I will never get sick of the “Hi Ashley” joke.

  13. “It is always more fun to listen to a Nate Liles podcast than to be on one.”
    My god. The truest.

    (yes, the live-commenting is back)

  14. I am in full support of the new proposed uni-news way of delivering the news.

  15. Julian is totally New Mel (right) about Nintendo’s future and E3’s presence.

  16. Genuine laugh at Sloan’s weak attempt at stalling while he found his news article. “Yes, there was a kerfuffle. There was ker, and there was fuffle.”

  17. I am in full support of the new proposed uni-news way of delivering the news.”

    There may be no alternative with Nate Liles in attendance.

  18. Ethan’s comment-inflating approach to listening to the podcast is the RIGHT and ENCOURAGED way for all readers to listen. I want to see more live commenting. NOW.

    By demand, uni-news is coming soon!

  19. And coming later… Uni-comments. Where all comments for a post will be rolled into one giant comment with no paragraph breaks, headings or spaces. You can then run this through a computerized text to speech program and play it back at 10 times normal speed.

    It will be the IDEAL way to experience Lusipurr dot COM!

  20. @Lusi – are you thinking what I’m thinking?

    CHROMATOS AND SETH’S FEMINISM SLAM!

  21. @SN: If the goal is to make me want to squirt diarrhoea across a room so as to cover two people from the internet with my own watery faeces, sure.

  22. The intro music is very familiar to me, but I can’t seem to place it. Might one ask it’s source?

  23. Final Fantasy XIII, March of the Dreadnoughts.

    [Edited for spelling. -Lusi]

  24. Ah, my typo was dreadnaughts instead of dreadnoughts. Though, naught and nought are same thing.

  25. I used to listen to the podcast at work back when Bup was a regular panelist.

    It was a mighty challenge keeping in bursts of laughter.

    Also, Bup on the podcast = a 100% increase of outtakes at the end. *cymbal crash!*

  26. Also @Ethos: “Oh man! I have to buy a Wii U now for Metroid!” is something literally no human being has ever said or will ever say.

  27. @Lusi You can cut out the ‘for Metroid’ part and still be safe.

  28. Okay, seriously. I’ve listened to this same cast three times now while working. You folks are far more entertaining than you have any right to be.

  29. In reply to Chromatos:

    “it sounds like you’re saying that sexism should be tolerated simply because of free speech, that we should allow inequality just because censorship is worse.”

    Ok… Allow inequality. Yes, inequality is relatively bad if we’re talking about sexism. Women should be able to be on the same footing as men. Very few people are going to say a woman is inherently worse at a job than a man is simply because she is a woman.

    But where on earth do you get the idea that censorship is worse than inequality? They are both bad things. This is not a “lesser of the two evils” thing. Nobody is going to say “I LOVE INEQUALITY.” This is silly wording on your part.

    “The audience is irrelevant: even if it was 100% male audience, does that justify a loosening of morals to drive sales further?”

    Ok, here we go.

    Let me save you some money and tell you the gist of what they tell you in your first week in a Marketing 101 class. In a capitalist society, those who are contributing are selling a service or product. The only way you get people to buy this product is through marketing. One of the key components of marketing is establishing who your audience is.

    Everything we know currently about Dragon’s Crown is because of marketing. Marketing releases these materials out to the public for us to get excited about the product and buy it when it comes out. This means they released the sorceress artwork deliberately for marketing purposes. Their established audience for the sorceress is most likely a stereotypical heterosexual male crowd (though they are also likely aware that minority groups like lesbians or intersex people who enjoy the female form would probably like the sorceress as well).

    Now here is where your argument and marketing come to part roads. People like sex. They love it, in fact. It makes them feel good and, performed at optimal times of the month, ensures the human race is another person away from extinction. They are willing to buy things that suggest sex or contact with sex subconsciously.

    You are suggesting it is bad to market on sex because it is a “loosening of morals”. Morals according to who? This becomes a pointless argument.

    “I find it incredible that this industry is still so socially conservative in these regards, and that these archaic values are even endorsed by otherwise intelligent people.”

    …Socially conservative, says a person who says it’s bad to market on sex.

    Excuse me while I go laugh my ass off.

  30. People like sex. They love it, in fact. It makes them feel good and, performed at optimal times of the month, ensures the human race is another person away from extinction.”

    Even if that person is Chromatos, the sexless man.

  31. @Lusi: Yeah, I thought about that. But I didn’t retype it because I had something better to do. I think it was blowing my nose, or something. Allergies, you know?

  32. Whats the plan this time on the play through of Crono Trigger, Lusi? Are we doing the usual or are you going to set up a skype chat?

  33. @Mel: 100% usual! We’ll have some links and nifty things you can see and do related to Chrono Trigger as well.

  34. I had the boys in the lab run the numbers a couple times, and everything checks out. We’re go for launch.

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