Last year, when I wrote about the video game Batman: Arkham City and its love affair with the word bitch, I included a video demonstrating exactly what I was talking about (which you can see below);
The video was, and still is, posted on my YouTube channel but hadn’t garnered much interest the entire year+ it’s been up… until recently. Why has it suddenly gained so much interest you ask? Well, I’m guessing it has to do with a recent announcement that I will be participating in a panel on “gender in video games” at this year’s PAX East (the now notorious video game convention that visits Boston each spring). Since the announcement (which you can see below) my video of Catwoman repeatedly being called a bitch and subjected to numerous implied rape threats, suddenly received a large uptick in views and comments.
I’ve now received comments calling me an “obese fucking nigger” as well as requests to kill myself and to cut my balls off (since I’ve already given them to the “feminazis” apparently) along with dozens of comments on how wrong and stupid my opinion is. Now, these comments may be bad, but I’m well aware that they’re nothing compared to the sorts of comments women discussing games (and other things) on the internet regularly have to deal with. Anita Sarkeesian, creator of Feminist Frequency and the video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, for example, has had to deal with death-threats, rape-threats, doxing (a harassment technique in which harassers hack and release private information about their victim online) and all sorts of online and offline harassment and abuse. All for pointing out sexism in video games. And trust me, she’s not alone.
I’m bringing this all up, not because I want you to feel bad or worry about me. I’m really not concerned about these idiots… no, I’m bringing it up because there’s a small bit of irony in this whole situation that these angry white men are forgetting and that I meant to mention here on my blog, but never got to. You see, about a year-and-a-half after Batman: Arkham City was released, a third game in the series came out; Batman: Arkham Origins. Arkham Origins used the same formula as Arkham City, same game play, same fighting, most of the same criminals, etc., only this time, the word bitch and the implied rape threats were gone… GONE! Here’s a video I found on YouTube showing what I’m talking about:
Refreshing isn’t it?
Now, before we get too excited there are a couple of addicitonal factors that need to be noted. 1. The game was made by a different developer (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment instead of Rocksteady) and 2. the game also removed the ability to play as a female character (hey, you win some and you lose some). Regardless, the game toned down the language and commentary coming from the criminals across the board and it’s hard not to believe that the many, many, many, many, complaints from gamers about the previous game’s bitch addiction had something to do with that. So it may not be a complete victory for feminists, our allies, and those who just didn’t want to hear that shit nonstop while trying to enjoy some free-time… but it’s still a victory. Don’t ever doubt that consumer complaints and commentary can make a difference. This is just one more example of that fact.
Recently, a soon-to-be-released fourth game in the series was announced. This one, titled Batman: Arkham Knight, is set to drop in October of this year and it will be made by the series’ original developer Rocksteady. I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open, hoping that Rocksteady listens to consumers, just like Warner Bros. Interactive did and chooses to leave out the degrading language.
In the meantime, as the Angry White Male Brigade and the rest of the internet trolls, racists and misogynists blow their gaskets and spew hate filled bile all over my blog and YouTube channel, I’ll be celebrating this small victory knowing that when it comes to this topic the score stands at;
Feminists: 1, Angry White Male Brigade: 0