We’re a few years removed from the internet firestorm surrounding GamerGate & Anita Sarkeesian‘s (feministfrequency) mission to dismantle the patriarchal hegemony in Interactive Entertainment; video games to be more precise. While I can attest that there was some validity to her stark and shallow claims, it was muddled by overgeneralization and misinformation. Anita was good at taking small and sometimes minuscule segments or concepts (mostly out of context) within a game and expanding it to a large scale to fit her narrative. Her narrative was however met with death threats (bomb threats too) and doxing which, of course was wrong, stupid and only fueled her claims that male gamers were toxic man-babies unable to have civil and rational conversations about the medium. For some reason, because Anita spoke out against things she felt were damaging to women (which were valid), this meant that they were going to take away their games or at least “sanitize and sterilize” them. While there were developers who didn’t want to feel the wrath of Social Justice Warriors (SJW), most just took it as a lesson to be more reflective in how they told stories. Fair Enough.
Picture this: France 2017. Paris Games Week just unveiled tons of new information and trailers for upcoming video game titles set to launch in the next 18 months or so. It’s a joyous time. Many high profile games are being shown and the excitement is astounding. Then, the latest trailer for Detroit: Become Human is shown. That’s when things take a turn for the worst. The Paris Games Week trailer featured a new character and storyline. Kara, the live-in android nanny was confronted with domestic violence and child abuse. The entire gameplay trailer featured her struggle against an abusive master. While technically impressive, it plays into so many stereotypes of male power fantasy, patriarchy, objecting women (literally), placing them in subservient roles, and using violence against women as a plot point or character development mechanism. All these things Anita was trying to prove with her video series “Tropes against Women.” (Dammit…was she right all along?) As if the only way women can be strong is if they are being oppressed by men.
David Cage, everyone’s best friend offered a very sophomoric retort when asked why he decided to depict these themes in his game. It goes to show that gaming is still going through its growing pains. The medium wants to be taken serious akin to film and literature but the developers or talking figures aren’t equipped to have rational dialogue about these very sensitive and graphic themes within their games. Domestic violence and child abuse are no joking matters. They are serious matters and shouldn’t be used as a way to entertain. They should however be used as a way to bring awareness and inform. This may be just a small section of the game. However to show this at a video game trade show means this was an important gameplay segment that the public needed to see. Maybe this is just me and others being overly sensitive. Who knows? You can be the judge. Take a look at the trailer below and leave us a comment: