August 29, 2010

Rants Of A Gamer Girl: Misogyny In The Other M

Filed under: Gaming,Gender,Media — Rachel @ 8:06 pm

A sampling of some of the responses to Abbie’s review:

“You just whine the entire review. You don’t say any interesting things about the game and don’t say any good things.”

“Wow Abbie, don’t want to say it, but besides understandable disappointment with a control scheme…you sound just like the ol’ depressed protagonist–with similar father issues even.”

“LOL, the G4 review comes off like a feminist rant.”

“ha, the bad reviews make me want to play this more! But I’m not taking the G4 review seriously, girls don’t know shit about videogames 🙂 .”

“Sure, except that the game isn’t sexist at all. It’s actually probably less sexist compared to Sakamotos former Metroid games.”

“If Samus answers to all the men and she does exactly what they tell her, and we see her strip down to her Zero suit and start serving them drinks like in some kinda sick cafe then you have merit.”

“So if a guy was submissive to his former leader would that be sexist? Just because Samus is a woman doesn’t mean anything.”

“I would agree if Samus and Adam had some sort of sexual relationship, but they have a father/ daughter thing going on. That’s a completely different situation. Can’t be sexist if the sexuality is out of the equation. And it is.”

“Ugly girl trying to get attention by stirring up shit about a new title from a popular video game franchise. Nothing surprising.”

More of these troubling comments can be found on the popular gaming community NeoGaf and G4tv.com

Something that I haven’t seen mentioned,  is the fact that Abbie Heppe’s review of “Metroid: The Other M” is the only review of the game written thus far by a woman.  And because she’s a woman, her review is discounted on the basis of her gender.  It’s criticized by people in the gaming community who don’t even understand the definition of sexism. Luckily, people who wrote some of the above quoted comments were banned from the respective message boards.  Unfortunately, most of them weren’t.  This attitude is the status quo.  The comments that understood the review, and the sexist narrative of the new Metroid game were the exceptions.

Women are not welcomed into this industry, or taken seriously, or listened to.  When someone attempts to deconstruct a video game that shows a former kick-ass woman as subservient to men, it’s torn apart. There’s almost no room for constructive dialogue, or female voices in gaming.  And the reaction to Abbie Heppe’s fantastic, media-literate review, is proof of that.

Abbie also recorded a video that elaborates her thoughts on the sexism in the game.  It’s worth a watch.


20 Comments »

  1. Damn, glad I didn’t preorder this. The gaming community is so full of -ism fail that I just stay far far away.

    Comment by Jamie — August 29, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

  2. It’s sad that if a reviewer mentions if a games is sexist, racist or homophobic, many readers will instantly shun the review because apparently it’s not “important”.

    Which is funny, because gamers are complaining that there aren’t enough female gamers out there, but if a female reviewer mentions sexism it’s all: “DAMMIT! IM SO SICK OF THIS FEMINAZI AGENDA”

    The message is “cope with the -ism, or stfu”

    Comment by No Name — August 29, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  3. You should play the game before start to talk about it. You did not played the game to confirm if it’s sexist or not. You’re just agreeing with Abbie Heppe because she is a woman and because all the men (oh, men, they’re the like demons) are complaining about her.

    C’mon. This Abbie Heppe thing is complaining because Samus is taking orders from a man… WTF? She is just acting like that a soldier. When you act in group, you have to follow a leader. All the other soldiers on the squadron are also taking orders from the same guy. You would say about that? That the whole squadron is gay because they are taking orders from a guy? That’s the same logic behing Abbie Heppe thinkings. Also, Samus has a past and show some personality (some fragility) is this game. What’s the problem with that? Samus is a human, she is not Rambo or something like that. That’s just a choice of the writer: he decided to put some humanity, some background and emotions to Samus, something that was lacking in past games. This is something common is japanese games, for females or males characters. They usually have some kind of problem with their past and they are not so confident about their present.

    Comment by André — August 30, 2010 @ 3:26 am

  4. If you read the post in it’s entirety, you would see that I’m not criticizing the game. I am acknowledging and appreciating Abbie Heppe’s review, and my post is on the RESPONSE her review received. Your comment just simply proved the points I made above. At no point in my post does it say that any of the negative comments are made by men. In fact, if you look at the video linked at the bottom of the post, you’ll see a man stating the game is sexist. Using “man-hating-feminist” to dismiss this post is thoughtless, nonsensical and unoriginal.

    Considering the game isn’t out until Tuesday, I’m assuming you haven’t played the game yet either. Abbie has played The Other M in it’s entirety, so I’d say she’s the most qualified to talk about the storyline.

    Comment by Rachel — August 30, 2010 @ 10:49 am

  5. Lovely, the boys (and they are almost certainly an all-male cast over at Team Ninja) have taken a beloved Ninty character and stuffed it. The general consensus so far seems to be that the game plays fine and is fun (if short) but the story is a droning emotional morass, with a bunch of soliloquies that make Samus come off as a pining love-lorn emo-girl instead of the forged-in-fire hard-ass we’ve come to know and love. Someone points this out, and god help her, she’s a woman. Cue the dick-wagging backlash.

    I wasn’t expecting this to be sci-fi a la William Gibson, but they could’ve taken a nod from Hayao Myazaki and (God rest him) Satashi Kohn in creating a strong female lead. Instead, it appears that we’ve got a cross between Dead or Alive and Battlestar. Of course, I won’t know ’til I play, which I will. Thanks for the article!

    Comment by TempleDog — August 30, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

  6. So, you really didn’t played Metroid Other M, yet, you are “acknowledging and appreciating” a review that is criticizing the game. By doing that, you are also criticizing the game in question.

    You are “acknowledging and appreciating” Abbie Heppe’s whitout knowing if what she is saying is true or not.

    If Abbie Heppe is wrong about what she is saying? If she just ranting nonsense about the game? You should really be defending her?

    If she is talking nonsense about Metroid Other M, then the feedback that she is receiving is just what she deserves. She is getting negative feedback after writing nonsense about something. That’s definitely not a question if sexual genre, but about irresponsible journalism. And G4 is famous for it. They usually act like Wii haters in their reviews. It’s not just about Abbie Heppe. G4, as a company, is seen as unreliable by the gaming community. G4 is a site/channel for noobs. They’re the Fox News of the videogame industry. LOL.

    But, back to my main point. You’re talking about something that you don’t know. If Abbie Heppe is wrong and everybody else are rigth about Metroid Other M? You can only be sure about that if you play the game.

    Oh, the game is actually out on the internet (yeah, piracy). I’ve played some of it in my friend’s place and there is a lot of gameplay videos on Youtube and other sites showing just about everything of it (from the beginning to the end). I’m not buying this game because I don’t really care about Metroid series (and because I bught two games last week, so I have no money right now LOL).

    The changes in Samus background and personality is a just a reflex of a more “japanese approach” for the storyline. Japanese game writes like to be emotion and create characters with personal problems, fears and everything.

    Comment by André — August 30, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  7. @Andre
    There is no right or wrong in criticism, Abbie’s review is her OPINION on the game. Just like every other review ever of every video game, album, movie, television show, etc. Again if you read the post, and the response I wrote to your first comment, you would be aware that my post is NOT “yes Abbie is 100% correct in her review!” It is about the RESPONSE her review received.

    Under NO circumstances does Abbie “deserve” any of the responses listed in my post. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with a review – there is EVERYTHING wrong with dismissing a review on the basis of “She’s ugly/girls are dumb, etc.”

    Every comment you have left, has just further proved my argument in my original post. And making sweeping, unfounded generalizations about the network Abbie works for doesn’t add any credibility to your argument.

    By the way, your comment contradicts itself – you can’t defend the storyline, and say Abbie made everything up in the same sentence.

    If for no other reason, I appreciate Abbie’s review because it made obvious the fact that she is a smart, socially and media literate person. The fact that none of the men who reviewed the game were able to see the context of having Samus take orders from a man, is their problem, not a symptom that Abbie’s review is “nonsense.”

    Comment by Rachel — August 30, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

  8. @André
    Those gamers are all raging at her for giving out her personal opinion on how she perceived Samus, then is disappointed and offended with how Samus was presented. Comments ranging from “she doesn’t know shit” to “Lol stupid Feminist rant”(who says she’s a feminist?). The point of reading a review from a reviewer is reading their opinion, no matter how you look at it.

    So say I do end up playing this and find out that Abbie is indeed wrong, I’m not going to rage over the review but I will disagree with what was said about the game. You may not agree with her or G4, that’s why you should create your own opinion and reason (and NOT putting others down for having an opposite opinion).

    Not to mention how Adam Sessler made a video about the Crisis Core fiasco, because they didn’t rate it as high as other reviewers out there. Right now you sound like a Wii Fanboy going around telling them that they hate this this this about the Wii.

    Complaints about racism or sexism are still being ridiculed. After that, game journalists and gamers are wondering why there isn’t a larger female audience out there today.

    On a side note:
    I like how many people say its a Japanese thing to do whole overly emotional characters thing, when it’s being done over and over again in all media around the world.

    But you have to look at how Miyazaki writes his characters, he doesn’t exaggerates them to a degree where it would irate the viewer or make a distraught protagonist cry in here and there. What he does is create a protagonist who is able to face all the obstacles he or she is being faced with and overcome the challenges ahead, which is what makes his movies great for both genders to enjoy. (Again, it’s not a Japanese thing to do something like this, it’s a good writer thing)

    Comment by No Name — August 30, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

  9. As someone who did play the game I did found some sexism in it, especially a lot of Japanese stereotypes of how women should behave.

    Also *SPOILERS* Samus becoming a whimpering wraith after she sees Ridley was really insulting, especially after she had already fought and kicked his ass in two occasions (four if you count the Metroid Prime series).

    Comment by Gina — September 2, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

  10. Well, I for one definitely agree with all points made in the G4TV review. I just beat Other M– meaning I’ve spent way too much of my life on it, the past two days –and now I just have a hole in my stomach because the Samus Aran I knew is pretty much mangled to near-death in this game. It’s a great game, don’t get me wrong– gameplay-wise, everything is top-notch. But when it comes to her personality, and how she acts in spite of everything that’s ever happened to her– well.

    Let’s just say I need to play some Super Metroid to get this bad taste out of my mouth.

    Comment by Andrew — September 3, 2010 @ 12:32 am

  11. What the **** is so hard to understand, people? Turning a historically strong character into a babbling over-sensitive moron for no reason is offensive no matter what gender they are. Add to that that Samus has been reduced from being one of gaming’s greatest badasses to some daddy-dependant sycophant and this is just intolerable.

    (Sidenote: I’ll bet half the “GOD GET OVER IT YOU FEMINAZI” posters will have to go to dictionary.com to look up half the words in this comment)

    Comment by Rob — September 23, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

  12. Also, “TempleDog,” if that is your real name, I’d like to know what the women in your life think of you and how you treat them.

    I’ll bet its “he’s a prick” and “like shit” respectively.

    Comment by Rob — September 23, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

  13. […] heard people complaining also about Abbie Heppa’s review from G4 and the “sexist” concern that Samus is taking directives of a man she doesn’t ever need. There’s some reason for this argument, but it’s mostly overreacting from both sides. Virtually […]

    Pingback by Delayed Reactions: Metroid: Other M – The truth is in the game « GameCrashers — September 27, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

  14. You have no idea how much I agree. Actually, you all probably do ;D

    *Goes off to play Echoes*

    Comment by Bree — December 17, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

  15. I’ve read the defenses of the game, and more than ever I’m convinced it’s not sexism that’s the problem, as much as sheer stupidity and hack writing theories by people who don’t write.

    One defense I’ve seen even women offer, is that Samus is just following orders, as is expected of a good soldier in the military. Fine. In that case, her commanding officer is a failure on every level, and she has the imagination of a tape worm. Here, let’s bring this into the real world. You have a rocket launcher, the ability to call on an airstrike, and you know the terrain better than the enemy. You’re up against a tank.

    Now imagine the solution the two of you come up with, is for you to punch the tank, because your commanding officer thinks you might blow your own people’s heads off with the rocket launcher and he refuses to let you call in an airstrike because he needs to save the minutes. What does this say, about his low opinion of you? When the tank kills everyone despite you punching it, because he’s an idiot, what does this tell us about your high opinion of him?

    Another defense of the story is that it was written by the original creator of Metroid. Nevermind that Nintendo actually has some talented storytellers of their own, who would have been better suited for the job… ( See: Majora’s Mask ) We’re going to hype that this is made by the same guy who frequently made Samus take her clothes off to reward speed runs. How could anyone possibly see anything wrong there?

    ( Before I’m called a prude, I’m not even opposed to Samus taking her clothes off, if she wants. I know I’ve taken my clothes off plenty of times, and a few times even with other people present. But there must be a reason for it. )

    I started out this rant, wondering if I could find even a sentence to speak about this issue, and suddenly I have this angry manifesto in front of me. And in the end, that’s what’s really wrong with this game –

    I didn’t have fun. Maybe I don’t want to be trying to impress some guy I really don’t care about, unless I’m being paid for it.

    Neither did a lot of other people. It didn’t sell nearly as many units as Nintendo had hoped.

    Good riddance.

    Comment by Sam — January 1, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  16. It is not so much that Samus takes orders from a man (After all, Master Chief takes orders from a female AI in Halo), its the ridiculous degree to which she blindly follows him without question, which comes across as a bit creepy.
    Actually, the angle of Samus working in a team situation was potentially interesting in terms of how a person who is used to working alone reacts to that situation, but that is never really explored.
    Just because the guy in charge was a creator of Metroid (Gunpei Yoki was the actual creator I think), does not mean he understands writing or character. Other: M is like George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels; Lucas bastardised his own creation, which was better handled by others.

    Comment by Gary — September 12, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

  17. I’ve been a fan of the Metroid series since the first game on the 8-bit Nintendo system. I love the older Metroid games, but I hate Other M with a passion. I was among those who preordered the game and picked it up the day it was released; shortly after this, I spent a day and a half playing Other M (I had two days off from work). Beated the game, but wasn’t satisfied with how it unfolded.

    I hated the controls when it came to switching to first person view. I hated the story because I found it boring and Samus was portrayed as a stupid woman who shitted in her panties when Ridley showed up… Um, didn’t she fight and beat this guy 4 times before? Why was she scared of him now? Didn’t make sense. The game wasn’t challenging to me. I did beat it in less than 2 days, and this was my first time playing it. I remember Super Metroid being more challenging and took me a lot longer to complete the first time around. The graphics were ok. I felt team ninja could have done a better job on the graphics.

    I’m glad I was able to sell off my copy of Other M on Ebay for nearly the price I purchased it for. I hope Nintendo won’t screw up the next Metroid game like what they did with Other M. Fanboys and those crying feminazi can hate me all they want for bashing Other M. I don’t care. If a long time Metroid fan such as myself can grow to hate Other M, than that tells you that Nintendo didn’t do something right with Other M.

    Comment by John — December 13, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  18. I never played a metroid game, but I always played as Samus in super smash.

    There are a lot of good points here and I’m exhausted right now, so pardon me if I sound ridiculous.

    I’m sick of feminism (actually that didn’t sound like nonsense to me). Obvious sexism is rude, humorless, and obnoxious. But crying wolf about video games portraying sexism needs to stop. I’m sorry you need the attention you crave because you’re the only female who plays video games. I hope your sense of humor grows back, Rachel.

    Comment by Ian — January 28, 2013 @ 1:55 am

  19. […] until some dude (“Adam”) tells her she can. Seriously… WTF. Abbie Heppe, as per Feminist Fatale, calls the game “the destruction of one of the most kick-ass female characters in […]

    Pingback by Samus Aran | Headshots and High Heels — June 21, 2013 @ 11:41 am

  20. Ignore the dudes, they’re good at hiding their complete condescension for you beneath a feigned desire for dialog and debate. They won’t stop until you recant feminism entirely.

    I’ve seen the game firsthand, and I can vouch that they turn Samus from a lone-wolf bounty hunter, into a whiny, self-doubting, submissive rookie with daddy issues. Worse, they also literally take away her power suit and turn this badass bounty hunter into a damsel in distress! You can see it for yourself here:

    http://youtu.be/jx_KxqrCljQ

    This is the damsel in distress trope that Feminist Frequency talks about in her Tropes vs Women in Videoo Games series: Samus freaks out, looses her power suit, and does her best impression of the actress from King Kong until she is rescued from death by Random New Guy. Even if it is a short damseling, this is Samus “planet-whacking” Aran that we’re talking about, AND she is being damseled while fighting an enemy that she has killed FOUR times in the past already!

    The game is very sexist, and that sexism makes it a pathetic take on the franchise.

    Comment by XY Feminist — June 25, 2013 @ 12:20 am

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