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« Lesbian in The Precursors game? | Main | Gaming News Rundown and celeb parties »

July 28, 2008

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Hi,
You know I've been reading about this over the last few hours and I'm really glad to see the stand you've taken with it.
I think that some people are being reactionary to this and too over the top. They're dissecting this to a ridiculous degree and I think all that does it give fuel to the fire of publicity for this game.
I'm a feminist, but I like to think that I can look at things objectively and without persecution unless it's really called for ;o)
You've handled this in a nice manner and I'm grateful to you for bringing it to our attention without appearing uneducated and slightly insane.

I agree.

People are so quick to anger, that they don't stop and think. And anyone that doesn't totally agree, is lumped with those that they are angry about.

Personally, I wouldn't play it, (I don't like cutesy games) but neither do I think its particularly offencive. In poor taste, perhaps, but I actually think its a little endeering that (like you guys did alude to in the feature) the 'hero' is rescuing her anyway, dispite her weight gain and how difficult it will be.

Now, if it was your typical rescue-the-princess game, but instead of "the princess is in another castle" it had something like "the princess is fat and you don't want her anymore"... then THAT would be offencive, and worthy of this much ire, IMO.

It's insulting to women because the princess in this game is treated as an object. She has no will or agency of her own. She can't refuse the cake she's given to eat. The players in the game force her to eat. She can't refuse to partake in the entire stupid exercise of sitting in the middle of a field, waiting to be carried off to one team's castle. She is merely an object, a trophy, that the two opposing teams play with in order to defeat each other.

The game is insulting to overweight people because it reinforces negative stereotypes about them and about fat in general:

-- that they have no self-control when food is put in front of them
-- that they are lazy and if they just got off their asses and exercised, their fat would magically disappear
-- that being overweight is only caused by over-eating -- when there are so many things that can factor in to weight gain: genetics, health problems, lifestyle changes such as pregnancy/giving birth, mental issues, etc.

Furthermore, it insults fat people because one of the reasons they decided to have a woman which you force-feed with cake, rather than a box that you overload with random crap, is for the purposes of humour. A box that you overload with stuff isn't funny, you see? But when you're forcing cake down a woman's throat to make her fat, the game mechanic suddenly becomes so fucking hilarious (that's sarcasm, in case you didn't spot it).

In short, I totally disagree with your post.

Hey guys,
firstly thanks for the comments, much appreciated. I realize it was a touchy subject and that it was probably going to get disagreement and that's fine.

I would have to agree with what Jo said about trying to remain objective here and not just looking at this in a one sided manner. And I think teh Spikey did a good job of highlighting the general nature of many 'rescue' games and that this is more in 'poor taste' than an outright bash at fat people. I'm not sure the developers all sat around and thought, how can we upset overweight people today.

I also see what you're saying Brinstar and you're right there are many reasons people gain weight or are overweight. Sadly though the main one is that people eat too much and take little exercise, not necessarily through lack of self control or laziness however. Time can be a factor, particularly in this day and age, along with many other factors.

In short it's fine to disagree and I appreciate you did so with decorum. When I wrote this post I was truly shocked at the way the feminists had just attacked anyone that disagreed with them and not in a constructive manner. I don't think that helps anything, it just helps fuel the fires really.

"Again though any polite response that differs from the original argument is ridiculed by the administration or called trolling"

I believe this is an unfair assessment of FG's response to their commenters. The accusations of trolling were not directed towards polite commenters, but towards other comments that were not as tactful (many of which were filtered through moderation). If you examine the comment section more closely, you will find that the administrators were generally respectful towards commenters who were respectful towards them.

Brinstar pretty much said what I wanted to say.

And just to add, of course the developers never intended to offend anyone, but it DID offend someone (as you can see), and so people are pissed off. Just because they didn't intend to offend doesn't mean people should all shut up about it if it does offend. Different strokes for different people.

So the develoeprs should watch every move in-case they upset one person with a weight problem. The feminsits are taking this to the furthest degree for one reason, website hits. I bet their site has never been so busy and all because they're making a mountain out of a molehill again.

The comments on that site are rude. They're meant to be feminists hleping a cause but all they aer doing is being agressive to people. That really makes you want to take them seriously. It makes me want to just switch off.

I am overwight and I didn't find it offensive, so does that mean i cancel out the person that did. Let me guess it doesnt work like that.

I would argue that the Resident Evil 5 racist trailer garnered more hits for blogs and articles that were critical of the portrayal of black people than for this issue. Why? Because it's more acceptable to bash fat people than to come across as racist.

At the end of the day, gamers still got overly defensive and reacted badly when their games were criticized. Until gamers realise that games are not above criticism and analysis, this industry and the medium of videogames will never be regarded on the same terms as books, film, or music. Look at what happened to comic books.

@Fat Lui: What you and most people fail to realise is that sites like Kotaku and Destructoid incited trolls to go over to Shakesville and Feminist gamers by reporting on the posts in a borderline inflammatory manner that was irresponsible as far as journalistic standards are concerned. Until those gaming blogs wrote their posts about the views of Feminist Gamers and Shakesville and Fat Princess, the latter two blogs had reasonably well-behaved commenters from their regular audience. But once the gaming news sites and gamers got a hold of the story, they actively went to those blogs and started trolling and flaming. This sort of trolling is not new. So the drama/wank/trollage was actually started by gamers, not by feminist gamers.

This shit happened when people criticized Capcom for publishing a Resident Evil 5 trailer that reeked of racism. So do you really expect Feminist Gamers, Shakesville, and the feminist blogosphere to be welcoming to mainstream gamers when all those people do is troll their sites every time video games are critically examined?

Also, just because you are overweight and did not find it offensive doesn't mean that it wasn't. I don't think you speak for all overweight people.

In before flame war....

Oops, too late.

At any rate, I agree with you ladies. There certainly are issues with the game and its portrayal of women but no progress is made when those bringing up the issues do so in the exact manner suggested in the Internet Troll's Guide to the Internet (which says on the back 'do panic').

Sony saw Castle Crashers and wanted to rip it off, and apparently had the guys who do their TV and Print ads do the game design.

The argument for Fat Princess perpeturing the "Fat people are funny" stereotype is valid.

Sorry! That's not something any trolling can deny. Anything predicated on a stereotype is reinforcing that stereotype to the culture.

So did the devs go out to real take a jab at fat people? No. Did they bank on using a readily recognizable stereotype? Yes.

Its the same as the token black guy, or vapid blonde. Stereotypes are used in place of actual character development.

@George Romero

Actually, this might have been a calculated move. Consider this: after Resistance brewed up a huge pot of bad press over the use of a church, and Sony was universally chastised for its insane/racist/weird ads both in print and on TV the PS3 is finally doing somewhat well.

Perhaps they cleverly thought of a way to create something that would give them plausable deniability while at the same time making people RAGE about the content and then rage about the rage over the content.

@ no one important
I went over to the link to see what all the brouhaha was about and holy toledo fatman the admin were being pretty darn aggressive. I understand what you're saying about the admin filtering the filth (as it seems has been happening here all day, some people truly are brainless). Don't you think though that replying with more abuse just gives these idiots what they love, so they can return to their little forum cliques and laugh together about those silly feminists getting upset? That was my take on it at any rate.

As far as our portly princess goes, let's give the response majority's always give to the pained cries of the minority 'so what'. George> stereotypes are everywhere, with political correctness as insane as it is these days, nothing is safe, no one is safe. I understand it's annoying, like the 'all lesbians look like men', but if answering with aggression is only getting you more aggression, there must be another way.

@ Thefremen
apologies, meant to say, good point. Let's all rage rage rage so that this title gets more time publicity time.

That will REALLY hurt the game ;-P

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a game that when you progressed you became happier, more self assured and confident (but not egocentric) and the goal was to be enlightened. Not sure a human can do that in reality but sure the brainiac's will find a games way to it. Just sayin', don't take me too seriously please. Keep on bloggin ladies.x

I'm rather new to this site, but an avid bisexual gamer.

I find seeing skinny women with huge breasts consistently in games rather.. hurtful to be honest. Not only does it raise standards for women, which are incredibly high, but it shows that it isn't socially acceptable for a female to be 'fat' where as a man is free to be whatever shape or size they wish.

It's the same in movies, and the only time you really see a 'fat' woman being portrayed as something good, is only in movies where that is the goal, to show that fat women are beautiful.

In this game it could be seen as the same as in those movies. Taking an exceptionally large woman and prove her to be beautiful and still loved.
But, correct me if im wrong, to me it just seems to be mocking fat women.

Firstly, it mentioned that she was 'fattened up' which leads to the thought that she was skinny before being captured (and most likely will slim down once she is 'rescued') and also i think the whole grand EMPASIS on the point she is fat, eats alot and needs a whole army to carry her is just coming across as insulting.

I wish for the day we see females in games of all shapes and sizes.
Games like Mortal Combat, where skimpy clothes are large breasts are a favourite.
Can we have some muscles?
Some curves?

Included as if it were natural, which in this world it is!

I don't think this game makes any generalisations about any group aside from binge eating princesses, but we all know a lot of these don't we?

It is so removed from reality with such fantastical elements as a princess and wizards among other things coupled with its light-hearted feel that it is clear it is not meant to be taken seriously and it's quite laughable to consider it denigrating to any real person.

There are two distinct issue that people seem to be taking with this game: the gender issue and the fat issue.

Interesting questions that I've been thinking about as part of an internal debate.:

Would the game be ok if the fat person was a man? Or, more specifically, would a fat man have flamed the fat-hating accusations? Many of the people who are offended by this game inextricably link the issue that she's a helpless princess with her being fat, and then conclude that the game is fat-hating. They could have easily built a similar game mechanic around other stories with different gender roles: a fat king who has to be carted around by his followers, a fat guy being rescued by amazonian types (sweet). Would the same people have jumped on these other plots as being hateful towards fat people? I kind of doubt it. In fact, the latter one might even be viewed by some as progressive. But, if the issue can be solved by changing genders, doesn't that conflict with the tenant that genders should be on the same level?

Would the game be ok if the princess was skinny but still had to be rescued? That sounds like a pretty familiar story. Sure, lots of feminists (myself included) have issues with it, but other games that feature this frequent theme don't usually receive any special criticism. I'm sure the image of a woman being thrown of the shoulder of a rescuer and carried to safety is something we've all seen. There is no reason to think that if the princess was not fat in a game, she would be charging into battle with flame held high. So if it's all too common for a princess to be portrayed as helpless in games, why is this one fat-hating just because the princess is helpless AND fat?

What is the real (and deeper) issue here? Maybe it's not that she's fat, but that it's so extreme. Both men's and women's bodies are often idealized in games, but women are arguably protrayed in much more exagerated, unrealistic ways. Sexy characters have ridiculous proportions and this fat character is a human house. And, when there are stronger female characters, they are usually practically naked, even when fighting beside a man in full armor. Surely, that is a reflection of objectification. But then, that leads me to conclude that this game is not fat-hating, but simply another game to add to the bulk of games where gender roles suck.

Can the issue of being fat be considered separately from gender or is the way we view fat people dependant on their gender? This opens up a much larger discussion, but my inclination based on all forms of popular media is that they are linked completely. That's probably why many people derive fat-hating from the obvious gender issues.

I need to just stop thinking about it and just post or this will go on forever...

@ anabbeynormality

You make some very good points - I think if it was an overweight man being lugged around by an army, it would be harmless fun and not much, if any, fuss would be made about it.
But, like Harry said in his comment - I think this way of thinking resinates from the mind-set that men can do what ever and look how ever they want, without being judged; compared to women, who have been and are subject high criticism.

I'm not offended, but i'm not applauding the game either... I guess I just want equality. In games men are villains, slobs, heroes and everything inbetween... women seem to mostly be either in need of rescuing or are evil (of course there are exceptions to this rule, e.g. Lara Croft)
But I wish female characters were more 3-dimensional and less stereotypical.

Hey, well boys didn't get offended when fat albert came out and all of the sudden fat princess is announced and boom feminist everywhere spaz out.

What would be the opinions of everyone if say the princess still is fat and needed to be rescued, but the soldiers themselves were females?

Actually, I think Fat Princess is more a statement on class struggle and the bourgeoisie. The Fat Princess clearly represents the capitalist over-indulgences of the First World, and her need to be carried around obviously symbolizes the way that the wealthy are effectively 'carried' through life on the backs of the poor.

I really can't see where all of this other stuff you are going on about is coming from.

Fat Princess is blatantly a subversive intellectual marvel of Socialist/Marxist gaming, can't anyone see that?

Whenever I post on most feminist sites, opinions that deviate including having no insults- I'm cast off as a troll, told to shut the f*** up, etc. Decorum is important. Hostility will only be greeted with hostility. I've pretty much given up on them and it didn't take long.

I don't understand how people could have a problem with this. I think the idea is hilarious and has so much personality! I'm glad that the people who made this game came up with such a creative idea.

If they had replaced the Fat Princess with a regular princess or treasure chest, it would not have the same humorous feeling, and it would not be as original. And obviously the princess' people, who carry her back to their side, care enough about her to not obsess over her weight. Her subjects clearly value her as their beloved princess, regardless of her being morbidly obese.

Some feminists go too far, and they end up making other feminists look bad. They're entitled to their opinion, but aren't there other issues to focus on rather than being fired up over something that is not anti-female in any way, shape or form?

Well, I've read through the comments on this and there's some very thought provoking posts, especially the one by anabbeynormality. As a male bisexual gamer and a strong proponent of equality regardless of gender, sexuality, race and others too numerous to list, the continued debate over this game has piqued my interest.

I do feel the need to address the point raised by some that males are less stereotyped in games than females.

This is blatantly untrue, men are as stereotyped in games as anyone else. Take a good look at the 'heroes' in games like Resident Evil 5, F.E.A.R 2, Fallout 3 (no matter how you twiddle with the settings), The Orange Box - practically any game you care name. The men are all hollywood good looking leading man types. The 'tech guys' if there are any are either a 'geek' wearing glasses or worse a Dennis Nedry from Jurassic Park style fat guy. A portly hero or good looking nerd are even rarer in gaming than a flat-chested woman.

Men are as stereotyped as anyone else, with chiseled jaw and fabulous six pack (oh how I wish that were me), as completely unrealistic as Lara Crofts ever inflating assets. If feminism is about equality - well congratulations, it's arrived. Welcome to the world of equal opportunity stereotyping in all areas of the media. Male or female, a character immediately falls into stereotypes in gaming. A female or male lead MUST be attractive, an idealised attractive at that. The villian must be moustache twirlingly evil (and preferably British or A Terrorist). The plucky assistant must be cute, not hot, and always admiring of the lead.

Personally, I find the concept of someone being overfed to the point of needing an army to carry them to safety ironically amusing, being overweight myself. After all, if we can't laugh at ourselves, what can we laugh at?

Sometimes I feel people take offense for the sake of taking offense, that if they don't perceive themselves as being victimised then they lose perspective and direction. Humor shouldn't be politically correct - if never has been and never should be. The best humor pushes boundaries imo, going right to the edge and often beyond, forcing us to look at things from a new perspective.

Anyway, just my (somewhat late to the game) tuppence worth. Sometimes a game is just a game, with no deeper meaning than providing silly interactive entertainment.

Oh, it's the tone argument! Fatties need to stop being so angry.

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