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Found 5 results

  1. Marcus Estrada

    My Thoughts on E3 and "Booth Babes"

    Note: Not wanting to add to the problem, this post will only use images of women who I felt had the closest equivalent of dress to their male peers. I went to E3 this year. Although much fun was had playing the titles, seeing famous people in the industry, and generally having a nice time, I couldn't help but be intensely unhappy about one thing. This one thing is how as soon as I walked into the world of E3 I was greeted by seeing "booth babes". Although I certainly had known they would be here before, I never really thought about just how pervasive it is. This was the first time I was really forced to spend days at E3 and see that they were everywhere. From Atlus to Nintendo, booth babes were nearly at every booth to help lure people over. Now, before I really get into this let me say I really hate the term "booth babe" itself. Regardless, I'm going to use it because other terms will probably confuse the issue further, especially for those who have never considered it an issue. Perhaps I'm furthering it just by calling these women booth babes, but that is how this piece is going to be written right now. I'm not sure why I didn't feel like it would really be this way. Perhaps because year after year I always have ignored sites posting booth babe "photo roundups". I can see women in a great deal of ways and seeing ones who are only tangentially related to gaming isn't particularly interesting. So, while I knew that booth babes would be around I wasn't actually prepared for it. Especially not with how they were literally everywhere I looked. Some were in costumes and some were in uniforms, but either way, they were obviously instructed to show skin. The vast majority of people sent out to represent each booth's products were women. While there were usually men around too, they were dressed in uniforms free of showing off their body. This year there weren't even men costumed up in any state of undress. Instead, there were maybe a few guys in space armor or military-style attire. As they appeared to be physically fit I'd classify them as booth "hunks" but there was probably only four or five overall. In comparison, the amount of women in costume was higher. The amount of women in skin-showing uniforms was probably in the hundreds. The amount of women in dress which was comparable to their male partners, was probably around three. Although it should probably have been obvious by looking at how 99% of the booth babes were thin and stereotypically beautiful, not all of these women were employees of the companies they represented. They were hired for this event, taught some facts about their games, then dressed up and unleashed on the convention center. These women were very nice and helpful with simple information sharing, but the vast majority had nothing to actually do with the industry. I can understand why Nintendo (with their massive booth) would need to call extra help, but why did the smaller booths feel it necessary to hire extra help? Atlus, for example, had a very small square booth but still had its share of miniskirt-wearing booth babes. There is nothing wrong with these women taking the job of booth babe, either, in case someone thinks that's where I'm going with this. If these women enjoy being a helpful spokesperson for gaming and other industries then good for them. They're simply taking work where it is offered so they are no way at fault for the trend of booth babes in this industry (and others). They're obviously also not the ones making the costume or uniform selections. That's all on the people in control of the booths. Perhaps it is due to me not being on Twitter seriously until this year, but I never noticed such a strong backlash against E3's booth babes before. As such, since the event I've read many things posted about the issue from a great deal of people. I've read some from men, some from women, and overall the critical response is that booth babes shouldn't have a place in E3. I agree. I can't help but feel like one thing is missing from the critical analysis of why exactly booth babes are bad for E3. Both men and women seem to be focusing on the huge issue of how booth babes effect women in and around the industry. With booth babes left and right, it makes you tune them out. Not only them though, but also other women. It's a horrific thing because no doubt women in game development, publishing, media, or otherwise may be viewed less seriously because of all the booth babes around. It also may be hurtful to women to see these women on display. There's no nice way to say that. These women are obviously chosen and dressed up to be on display. They are meant to attract someone to the booth. As they're all primarily skinny it also isn't helpful to self image, and in general, is just quite negative. Booth babes no doubt are affecting the perception of women in the industry, as well as women themselves who come to E3. However, there's one thing that no men (that I have read) speak about. Whenever they write about booth babes and why this is a bad idea they talk about how it harms women or how it harms the view of the industry to outsiders. If not that, they may speak to it not being helpful for expanding the industry in the future (as it's not inviting to the growing audience of women). This is all true but why can no men say that it effects them too? For me, it was a huge shock and made me feel terrible. Sure, I'm not a woman, but that doesn't mean I'm wholly unfazed by the display of thin flesh left and right. I am a feminist, but the distaste I feel toward booth babes at E3 is not purely because of how it treats women and how women will feel about it. This is a huge deal, and probably the larger side of things overall, but as a man I felt bad too. I felt bad for myself. Were these women meant to pander to me? They must have. I'm a straight man who loves video games. This is what the developers and publishers believe to be their biggest audience and so they were pandering to it. However, thrusting lots of skimpily-dressed women everywhere makes it seems like their biggest audience is actually young teenage straight males. How does this make any sense? E3 is not simply a fan expo but a business convention for adults only. E3 isn't the only part of gaming culture which attempts to treat me like a teenage boy, but it seems most obvious here. Are men like me meant to love this? Are we supposed to flock to a booth simply because a pretty girl is smiling in our general direction? Are we meant to be excited to play a game simply because a girl compliments me on a shirt or says the game she's demoing is fun? Apparently so, and I hated it. It made me feel ashamed. Initially, I didn't even want to enter certain booths because their perimeter was dotted with booth babes. I didn't want to be associated with such a thing. I am not enticed to play a game because a girl is dressed up in the same vicinity. It repelled me, not because I thought the women were ugly, or anything of the sort. It was because I KNEW what this was about. It's about pandering to a specific audience, who I feel isn't even very strongly in attendance. There are definitely people at E3 who like this showing of booth babes. I saw many people taking pictures of booth babes or even posing with them. On the other hand, with the small amount of booth hunks, people only seemed to take pictures OF them, not with their arms around them. So yes, there are definitely people at E3 the opposite of me and who benefit from booth babes. In turn, the companies that hire these women benefit too. However, I doubt this is the majority of attendees who react this way with booth babes. For me at least I felt awful. I wanted to purely enjoy my time but it was hampered tremendously by these booth babes. They did nothing to me and I did nothing to them but it just felt awful. Here I was, participating in an industry which thinks this is completely fine. It's not fine for a million reasons and I doubt it really makes much business difference either. The only way we would know is if one year they suddenly banned booth babes at E3, but I doubt this will happen anytime soon. Companies will continue to argue that it's completely helpful as the majority of gamers are still male. And straight. And horny. This is insulting. Not only is it hugely incorrect, it is completely ridiculous. E3 isn't the only part of the industry which treats us this way, but it certainly is the most obvious with it. Women deserve better treatment in and around the gaming industry than this. The industry deserves to treat itself better too, because this is hardly professional. Men, too, though also deserve to be treated in a respectful fashion instead of this supposed pandering to "our desires". It makes me feel like $@#%. It makes me feel worse that no men who I have read on the subject have ever brought up their own issues with booth babes. Why don't they? Sometimes I worry it's because they are okay with it themselves, and only change their thoughts when thinking about how it must cause women trouble. Again, I'm not trying to say women shouldn't be a big focus of this. Of course they should! However, we have tons of discourse already about how this affects women, both by women and men on the subject. The issue of how booth babes may be problematic for men though is left un-discussed. So there are my thoughts about it.
  2. Are you hungry for the cold hard numbers of American consumer spending when it comes to video games? If so, you've got oddly specific tastes, but are also in luck! The NPD Group released the 2012 Games Market Dynamic: US report today which details a lot of interesting buying trends. How much was spent on video games over the past year? A massive $14.8 billion was spent on new, used, digital, physical, and DLC content for games. Notably, the number does not include video game consoles or other hardware that goes along with them. In comparison to 2011, spending is down 9%. What of the divide between physical and digital games? Digital download titles were not a big factor at the start of this generation, but now that we're near the end of it things have definitely changed. Purchases of all physical media-based games reached $8.88 billion. This is a massive 21% decrease from just last year. Digital games and downloadable content rose with $5.92 billion sales equating to a 16% increase. Digital's gains mostly made up the losses by physical counterparts, but not quite enough to stop the overall decline of purchases in 2012. Do you think that digital game sales will continue their rapid growth in 2013?
  3. 2013 is a day away but it feels like I still have so much left to do in 2012, at least where gaming is concerned. I've probably played more new releases in 2012 than any other previous year in my life-as-a-gamer. That said, my played to finished ratio is terribly out of balance and there are quite a few games that would have likely made this list had I played them before writing this list (Journey, Tokyo Jungle etc). Still, it was a fantastic year to be a gamer and here are a few of my personal favorites of the year. 10.Retro City Rampage (PS Vita, PS3, PC) It's a bit of a love-hate relationship for me with Retro City Rampage. On one hand the retro-GTA feel of the game coupled with the plethora of old school in-jokes and references make this game a blast to play. On the other the story and missions feel a bit lackluster to me, and I fail to find any interest in them so far. Still, for a game that has been in development as long Duke Nukem Forever it definitely has more to show for it. 9. Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir (3DS) Being a huge Fatal Frame fan, this was one of the first games I picked up for my shiny new 3DS. It's not a very good game all things considered but the niche Japanese horror style, and the use of AR, 3D and the 3DS's cameras make it a fun experience for fans of the genre. 8. XCOM Enemy Unknown (PS3,360,PC) I'll be honest, I've never played an XCOM game in my life. I have no idea what they're about. But people were hyping this game up as one of the best strategy games of the year, and seeing as it's made by Firaxis, the studio behind Civilization (another favorite of mine), I decided to give it a whirl when it popped up for under $20. This game is a BLAST. It's got all the elements of a deep strategy game mixed with faster pacing and style of an action game. Naming your squad members also gives it an added layer of depth as losing squad-member "Kawaii Khorne" (Nationality: New Zealand) to the alien scourge is alot more engaging than losing Joe XCOM. A must play for strategy lovers. 7. Silent Hill Downpour (360, PS3) Despite not actually having finished Downpour, I can still safely add it to my list of "good Silent Hill games". The tone of the game feels right, the combat and gameplay is clunky (As it should be). The rain adds a new layer of environmental decore to the game. It's not a perfect game, but it's a great entry into the Silent Hill series. 6.Uncharted Golden Abyss (PS Vita) Here's a title that I personally haven't even started. The little bit I HAVE played of it was on a friends system. That said, it still manages to snag a spot on my list because it does what Sony promised Vita games would do, bring the console experience to us on the go. It's not a watered down version of Uncharted with less features, or a shorter campaign. It's a fully capable entry into the series, every bit as good as it's console brethen. That alone puts it on my list. 5. Binary Domain (360, PS3, PC) Originally I brushed this off as just another third person shooter set in the future. But after giving it more of a chance I came to love this game despite its faults. At it's core it IS just a third person shooter but on top of that it tells a great story and shows wonderfully deep interaction between it's characters. You eventually come to like everyone in your squad (Well, except for Big Bo) and that just makes the events and choices that much more personal. 4. Walking Dead (360, PS3, PC) Not too much to say about this that hasn't already been said. Another great action-adventure game from Tell Tale with a much more emotional story than seem in their light-hearted Sam and Max series. While I got a bit chuffed at the fact that your choices ultimately don't affect the overall direction of the story the fact of the matter is, the story is excellent and you don't see many of this quality in videogames very often. And speaking of choices... 3. Mass Effect 3 (PS3,360,PC) Lets just get it out of the way. The ending was garbage. Even after they "fixed" the ending it still wasn't what most Mass Effect fans envisioned as the finale of the space adventures of Commander Shepard. Still the preceding 30 hours of gameplay were great. And while the third installment of the Mass Effect franchise goes in a very scripted third person shooter direction, the story and characters that you've grown to love over 5 years and 3 games are all there. 2. Persona 4 The Golden (PS Vita) I've been meaning to play Persona 4 for years now, but never got around to doing so. The Golden has finally gotten me to make the jump. And I'm sure glad I did. This is by far one of the best RPG's I've ever played, and perfectly suited to Sony's handheld system. This may be the only Vita game I've played so far but it already has justified my $170 purchase. 1. Sleeping Dogs (PS3,360,PC) You all knew this was coming didn't you? Sleeping Dogs takes everything I love about Hong Kong action movies and puts it into videogame form. It's got an amazing line up of top notch voice actors, the story is extremely engrossing and the gameplay is some of the most fun I've had in an open world game since Saints Row the Third. The visuals are jaw dropping, especially on a high end PC and the soundtrack is a wonderful mix of Chinese pop songs. I only had a few quirks with the game, mainly regarding the accuracy of the city compared to Hong Kong itself, as I am very familiar with the Streets of Hong Kong. But I can forgive it that because it truly was my GAME OF THE YEAR.
  4. Cipher Peon

    My Top 5 Games Of 2012

    I look back at 2012 as one of the strangest years of gaming for me. I graduated high school and went to college, and although I have ridiculous amounts of free time, I spend almost none of it on gaming. Especially since I have to budget myself, the amount of new games I get have drastically decreased. But worry not, as my Top 5 games this year are still extremely fantastic titles that I'm simply dying to talk about. Without further ado... My Top 5 Games Of 2012! 5. Spec Ops: The Line Oh Spec Ops. I heard great things about you, and I knew what you were about even before I played you. But even though I knew every trick you had up your sleeve, nothing could stop you from impressing me. It's rare that I would play through a game immediately after I beat it, but Spec Ops delivers. With unforgettable characters, astonishing setpieces, and enthusiastic intelligence, the game does all it can to provide an extremely powerful narrative that simply blew me away. The really small details stuck with me, especially regarding how your main character behaves during gameplay during the later stages of the game. It's the small details that reward players who are paying attention that make the game shine brightly. I can see myself playing this game long after the other games on this list. It's simply that good. 4. Lone Survivor Wow. Just... wow. I'm a very vocal Silent Hill enthusiast, so this year has been... mixed to say the least. Silent Hill HD Collection ended up being a bad collection of 2 classics, and Downpour was simply just awful. I loved the two titles, but their flaws were incredibly apparent, and it bummed me out that the series had lost its way. Then I played Lone Survivor. If anything could rekindle my love for a Silent Hill game, it was a completely unrelated indie game whose very existence is a love letter from a dead spouse. The game oozed style and charm, and when 16 bit graphics are scaring you much more than Japanese horror films, then you know you're doing something right. The atmosphere was tense, the journey was incredible, and the gameplay is... addicting. That's kind of bizarre considering that it's a survival horror game, but I can't put it down. I look forward to seeing its impact on the horror industry. 3. Rock Band Blitz Ahhhh, the token Rock Band entry. This should surprise absolutely nobody. With incredible Facebook integration, great tracklist (it grew on me after a while), complete compatibility for all Rock Band songs, and a still updating goal system, the game is perfect for a quick solo session. And it doesn't hurt that I'm pretty good at the game. AND THIS GAME EXPORTS TO ROCK BAND 3! Just more reason to get this game, because it's an incredible value and it's just really really fun. Harmonix really is a fantastic developer, and I'm excited for their future. 2. Kid Icarus: Uprising The controversial entry on my list. For me, anyway. If you followed me on Twitter, you know how much I moan about my grievances with Kid Icarus: Uprising. Or rather grievance: it's completely stupid plot. What angers me about this game is that it tries so hard to have a great plot, and the fact that it fails so miserably upsets me, especially since everything else about this game is fantastic. I know people are down on the controls, but I personally found them incredibly natural WITHOUT the dumb stand. With addicting gameplay, incredibly fun multiplayer, and tons of content, Kid Icarus: Uprising is the absolute BEST game to get a 3DS with. It'll last you a ton of time, and it's actually good, unlike Super Mario 3D Land and Kingdom Hearts 3D (which are both very mediocre in my book). Also this game has Pyrrhon. That guy is awesome. And my Game Of The Year IS... ... ... ... Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward I can not tell you how much I thought this game was going to blow. I really enjoyed it's predecessor Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, and found it engaging all throughout except for the finale, which introduced psychic shenanigans that for me broke the realistic atmosphere the game tried so hard to make. Especially since I DETEST time travel stories (yes, I don't like Doctor Who), the curveball left a bad taste in my mouth. When it came time to play the sequel, I only had one request, to integrate the time space stuff throughout the story and have them weave into the exposition naturally. And did Virtue's Last Reward hit it out of the park. Although the To Be Continueds were detrimental to flow, the game handled my request beautifully. My other fear was that the original felt compact and definitive, so I thought a sequel would only try to make things BIGGER in order to outdo the original (ala Ghostbusters 2). With 24 endings (over the original's 6), fully voiced cast, 3D models, etc, I had good reason to fear this. And while the game is "sequely", the execution is done so well that I can't complain. And the twists, oh the twists blew my mind away in every conceivable level. When a game's story is keeping you up at 3 in the morning, you know something is done right. And this game is about the Prisoner's Dilemma. As someone who LOVES economics and is fascinated with game theory, this game's very core made my tremble with excitement. On the negative side, the cliffhanger ending was disappointing, and the save glitch (which I thankfully did not go through) and some of the puzzles can go die horribly. However, I left the game (which is about 3-4 times longer than the predecessor) with a huge smile on my face and sky high expectations for Zero Escape 3.
  5. Adam McCarthy

    Fils Aime

    From the album: Adam McCarthy's Album

    A random picture of Reggie Fils-Aime accompanied by his favorite two consoles
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