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The strange case of Jade Raymond

[TNT] Sonic Goo

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I'm sure you've all heard of Assassin's Creed. It's had quite a lot of hype. They are now getting even more attention, since people have found out that the game's producer is female and pretty good looking. The response went sort of like this. Sometimes the headlines can be deceiving, as witnessed by this quote from one of the sources:


I'm trying a little bit of an experiment here. It's called the "reference Jade Raymond's body parts in the headline and see what happens" experiment. It's my theory that Assassin's Creed, once an important game that had many people intrigued, has become next to meaningless now that a female is publicly involved and it has been demoted to "the game that Jade Raymond does something on. Oh my God, she has boobs."


For reference, Assassin's Creed has now gone gold and is set for a November 13th release, but it's not like that actually matters, because Jade Raymond happens to have breasts. Oh, and an arse too. Let us not forget the arse. They could have changed the game to one about Keenan & Kel going back in time to stop the Statue of Liberty being built so Keenan doesn't get spiked on her tiara in the year 2010, but nobody would notice anymore.


By the way, if you clicked on this post from an outside source thanks to the headline, congratulations! You have proven how easily manipulated the general public is and have become valuable data in one of my many cruel and unfair social experiments. Also, many congratulations to Jade Raymond and Ubisoft, who know damn well how to get attention for a game, even if it's not the game itself we're all looking at. I mean that sincerely, too.


This has been a lesson in business, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you were paying attention.


But would ironically using a certain tone, only achieve the same results, not be the same as unironically (cynically) using it? The result, at least, has become what he tried to comment on, rather than a comment itself.



Working in the gaming industry, I know there are a lot of people who play games that are not 14 year old boys. However, they do set the tone of voice for the whole scene. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Openmindedness and enthousiasm are obviously better than rigidity and cynicism. However, the downside we can see here.


From a comment at mefi:

...you make a game that appeals to the reptilian brain, the hunter-killer part of the male psyche, and then you are surprised that those same people are also driven by their libido to look at her chest? It's the same part of the brain.


There seems to be a feedback mechanism going on here. Teenage boys buy games. Teenage boys set the tone of voice of the scene. This attracts more teenage boys and turns off non-teenage boys. So companies make more games for teenage boys because they buy games. Etc.


There are some developments that counter this trend, both in consoles (the family friendly Wii) and pc gaming (the more sophisticated storytelling in games like Half-Life 2 and Bioshock). However, excluding the Wii, many games still feature the run-shoot-kill idea at the heart of their games. In a more general manner even, if you include management, strategy and puzzle games, they are games. Things you play to win. And that's in itself not a mature, sophisticated kind of thing.


Another problem I think is that when people think 'mature' they think about ratings and that adding more sex and extreme violence (normal violence is ok, of course) makes something more mature.


What art and literature have that games do not, is what makes games games; the part where you win. Making games less like games and making them a deeper, more touching experience would mean making it less of a game and more of an experience. Rather than a game with some nice moments thrown in, which is the stage we are now.


Games do the rags to riches part of Citizen Kane pretty well. What they need to learn is the Rosebud part. Then the industry will truly be mature.



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