So this is gonna probably be really RANTY and might even go incoherent when i start raging like a madwoman but...i'll try to contain myself.
This started a few weeks ago when i was looking around for Hakuoki info and stumbled on a short blurb on Joystiq about it.
The title alone made me want to punch something... "Sexy Warrior Dating Sim Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi Coming To North America"
Hakuoki is NOT a "dating sim" but whatever, I continue reading this font of misinformation which mentions how Memories of the Shinsengumi is going to be released in NA in an article written a month after Memories of the Shinsengumi WAS released in NA and find this sentence: "The Hakuoki series is part of the otome (female market-targeted) visual novel subgenre, offering a harem of cuddly warriors for players to woo in a 19th century Japanese setting".
The entire "article" is only 3 paragraphs and the only info on it offered is some dismissive bullshit about wooing cute boys. Words can't describe how much that pisses me off. Did they even bother to glance at the game? I'm guessing not.
no mention of the fact that it is based on actual history? That these "cuddly warriors" were real men fighting a losing battle at the cusp of the Meiji Restoration? Of course not, that would imply the game might actually have some depth and you just can't have that in a girly little dating sim can you?
Look, I'm not gonna bullshit, I'm not gonna say the game is an accurate historical depiction of these men, I'm not going to say that you aren't gonna try and win the heart of one of these guys throughout the game. What I am going to say is that there is so much more going on in this game than a girl picking a cute boy to hook up with.
I'm not going to review the game because I already did that but I will point out here that the "romancing" is a lot more low key than anything the words "sexy warrior dating sim" implies.
You gain the affection of the men based on your choices throughout the game and those choices are NOT romantic. I'd say that more than gaining their love, you gain their respect. You decide who to follow into battle, will you even go into battle or stay behind. Will you stand up to the villain or do as he says?
You don't go out for ice cream, the guys don't bring you flowers and candy and tell you you're pretty. Hell they could have cut the "romance" out and it would still be a fabulous story.
So now that I've defended the game near and dear to my heart I want to move on to the second half of this and yes, I have a point to all this, bear with my rambling style (you should be used to this by now).
A couple days ago I was browsing Steam and saw a Barbie game on there and wondered...wtf? Some guys on my friend list even had it on their wishlist which made me doubly wtf? But you know, whatever floats their boat. I moved on...Til yesterday when a friend sent me a link to a video on Giant Bomb where they did a "quick look" of this Barbie game. Apparently this came about because Rock, Paper, Shotgun had already done a feature on it.
I read the article and got halfway through the video before I felt that if i didn't stop i'd go full blown apeshit and start throwing things.
Let's get one thing out of the way, I love Barbie dolls, always have. I have never played a barbie game and probably never will. Do I think this Barbie Dreamhouse game is good? From what I've seen I wouldn't play it or like it. HOWEVER, the game is not made for me. That's the thing. It wasn't made with a person like me in mind.
I could sit here and bash its graphics, the voice acting, the gameplay but ultimately that would mean nothing at all. I think that little girls that like Barbie would probably really enjoy the game.
I'm not going to even go into the whole crap about how Barbie makes girls have body image issues because frankly i find that a crock of shit and that's a whole different can of worms.
My problem with these 2 sites and their coverage of the game is the same as Joystiq's coverage of Hakuoki.
You don't understand it, you don't care about it and yet you waste everyone's time with your bullshit.
As I suffered through the video I listened to these jackasses make snide comments about EVERYTHING. But, you know, I watch Zero Punctuation, I'm used to snide. It was the fact that they were making these inane and unnecessary comments attributing bs to the game that really got me.
In one part there's a challenge to put on the outfit pieces shown and while these guys sift through skirts and boots they make comments like:
"If you're not wearing the right shoes you're pretty much garbage"
"Also never eat, eating is for losers."
"there's gotta be some fat shaming in here somewhere."
"Isnt the whole thing fat shaming?"
"Well yes but I meant more direct."
Afterwards when Barbie is explaining that the whole point of that minigame was that when you're a model you have to chance quickly and that fashion sometimes goes out of style in a flash, she suddenly gets up and changes her outfit which leads to these comments from the guys:
"Who told her that?"
"Her stomach, it was just grumbling at her because she never eats...all you eat is ice cubes and cotton balls"
Afterwards they choose the Kitchen as the next room in the house for a minigame with these comments:
"Kitchen i'm sure there's a a lot of positive messages there" (heavy sarcasm)
"No man will love you if you cant make a meal"
Now stop right there...
Who is making a commentary on the unrealistic expectations of society? The game that has girls picking out shoes to go with their skirt and making cupcakes? Or the douchebags making misogynistic comments in an attempt to be witty?
I don't find the GAME insulting to girls, I find these guys mocking it insulting.
Fuck you very much, seriously. This wasn't clever. It wasn't funny. It was a bunch of jerks making fun of something that CLEARLY wasn't meant for them.
And there it is...
These games, they're outside of the scope of your average gamer, particularly your average male gamer.
Do I think a game like Barbie Dreamhouse should be reviewed, covered, whatever on a gaming site?
I don't really know, I mean, I think that for the most part the parents buying it and the kids playing it are probably not people that would frequent such places. However, I know sometimes I want to read up on an obscure game and its frustrating not to be able to find some info on it.
I can say with certainty however that if someone IS going to put out some info on a game like this it should be done fairly and honestly. It shouldn't be done with the mindset where you are LOOKING to find insult, or to make a mockery of it.
The Barbie game is kind of a "special case" because its so obviously meant to insult the game...Which makes me wonder why? Why so much hate and negativity towards it? Did it piss in their Wheaties?
The Hakuoki one to me is in some ways worse, because it just shows that no one gave a fuck. Its just a chick game, whatever. Look it has Bishies...and the word "Romance" on the back....yeah yeah..sexy warrior dating, chuck it in the bin and lets move on to COD and Ass Creed. Its kind of a slap in the face how dismissive they are of it.
Once upon a time I was like that. I remember with shame how i used to make fun of my daughter for playing Imagine games. Now I know how she felt. Being told something she really likes is stupid and she should play "real" games.
As an experiment for this blog I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried her Imagine games and...it changed me. Not only did I apologize to her and tell her that if that's what she wanted to play then that was totally cool but that experience made me branch out as a gamer. There are so many great games I've played, like Hakuoki for one, that I would never have touched 5-6yrs ago. I probably would have cracked insulting jokes like an asshat too. But I grew up.
I'm not saying you can't dislike a game, I'm not saying you can't give it a bad review. I'm saying that when your ONLY view is to cut it down then you need to leave it the fuck alone.
I'm saying that because games are geared at little girls or women or little boys or pre-schoolers or whatever it may be that you aren't, it doesn't mean the game is complete and utter garbage. It means it isn't meant for you and you won't appreciate it the way the people it IS geared to will.
*I apologize for this being so long and being so...EVERYWHERE...its just thit shit like this really drives me up a wall.*