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GoG Short #5 – Contrasting Female Images at E3

This week our short episode takes on the game industry and its marketing tactics. Specifically, Rhonda and I discuss the E3 trailers for these two games: Tomb Raider Crossroads and Far Cry 3.

As many of you who have followed the site and my research already know, I am generally very celebratory about game culture. I think that gaming is a wonderful way people can learn about themselves, how to solve problems, and explore their identity. However, I often take issue with how games are marketed. This year’s E3 pressers leave me cold looking at how female characters are displayed and the uneven reactions these images produce in game news.

Rhonda and I discuss the controversies these two video clips generated, specifically the issue many male game journalists took with the attempted rape of Lara Croft. I guess it hasn’t been easy for many fans of Lara Croft to see her origin story begin gritty, violent, and dangerous. Oh and less boobtastic. She looks and acts like a fully developed character in this trailer, something that I cannot help but applaud. I am left wondering if the male reaction to this character development has something to do with the guilt they might experience now that they cannot openly and freely sexualize her character without some sensation of guilt.

The trend of game design towards more cinematic, complex, and deep stroy telling is exciting and wonderful. I sincerely wish the marketing executives would avoid such blatant stunts as the one seen in the Far Cry 3 trailer. It is apparent that the opening scene, which few have called pornography (a term used to describe the Tomb Raider video), was purely for shock value. Unfortunately, attention getting stunts like these only diminish what might be a beatiful, intriguing, and engaging game. I’ll never know because after this trailer, I’ll likely never pick up a copy of the game.

One of the themes that emerged from my dissertation research is that gamers consider themselves to be very savvy, intelligent consumers mainly because they choose to game over say a more passive media like watching tv shows or other, less engaging hobbies. I hope that at some point in the not too distant future the marketing mavricks at the major game companies will figure this out.

As always, and perhaps even more so with the controversial nature of this topic, we would love to hear what you think. Drop us a Tweet @game_on_girl or leave a comment here.

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Until next time, Game On!
Regina and Rhonda

Regina is the founder and lead ambassador of The Geek Embassy. Studying and writing about geeks and geek culture is Regina’s favorite thing to do when she’s not reading student papers, dancing an excessive amount of calories away, or chasing after her daughter. Inclined towards mobile and social gaming online, Regina also loves a good round of 7 Wonders, Qwirkle, Small World, or Lords of Waterdeep. Someday, she hopes to actually take part in a D&D campaign so she can officially “roll” a character and role play her as a devious, highly intelligent mischief maker, which would be nothing like she is in real life.

7 Comments

  1. I haven't listened to your comments via podcast yet, but the selection of clips you made sort of help further your point. The Farcry one reads "E3, Gameplay, Boobs, and More!" in all capitals, and the user chose to highlight the woman in the middle of the sex scene. Obviously a fan put up that one. The Tomb Raider clip in contrast was official from the game's Youtube channel. I'm assuming these were popular vids you plucked from Youtube from a search of the games, but it does showcase your argument.
    Will listen in shortly and add more.

  2. I was actually very conscious of the videos I selected to include in the post, not just because the "BOOBS!" highlighted one of the issues I discuss in the podcast but also because on the official trailer for Far Cry 3 UbiSoft removed the opening. They edited the version on their YouTube channel so it doesn't start out with the sex scene but only shows a quick clip of it 15 seconds into the trailer. The fan video shows it just like it premiered at the UbiSoft Presser. Sometimes fans are an invaluable resource. 🙂

  3. Huh. Considering how UBI Soft stormed E3 with that footage, you would think they would want to keep it in their official trailer. Curious indeed.
    About to listen to the show!

  4. Hey, that reference option is nifty! Anyway, I enjoyed the podcast and agree with you both. I wrote up an article about it, which I used the aforementioned reference tool to link. 🙂 I look forward to hearing the podcast with me in it! ^_^ Keep up the good work!

  5. That is awesome, thank you! I really feel passionately about this one and all the cross coverage we can get is fantastic. You'll be up next week.

    Thanks again for your continued support. 🙂



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