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October 25, 2005


Robert 'Groby' Blum

Nonono! You just don't understand - he liked the game.

He clearly must distance himself from it, though. Otherwise he's teh ghay. So, it's a good game, but only for girls. And girls are clearly made for this games, because only girls will like it, and manly reviewers don't.

Yet they possess the intellectual capacity - note the extraordinary number of polisylla.. policyla.. policyclic.. well, long! words (at least for IGN) - to accurately explain the game.

And lest those manly reviewers be accused that they're teh perv and only like childporn, those manly reviewers clearly have a fatherly responsibility towards those little girls, that, though clearly not up to par with boys, are somehow loveable and in need of protection.

Further insights into the male psyche can be requested anytime. The doctor is IN ;)


I wholeheartedly apolise for my simian 24 yr old IGN friend who obviously doesn't have a GF, though you have to admit, such ignorance can be amusing (I fluctuated between toe-curling embarrasment for a fellow species member and laughing out loud).


LOL Groby :)

Ah dear. What fun.


Michiel - I did laugh. Hilarious. Just.. you know, made me choke on my porridge, is all :)

Brian Carnell

Wasn't a very good review, but your out-of-context summary was even worse.

As I sent to Cory Doctorow a bit ago:

I thought the summary of the IGN story was a bit unfair. The reviewer is a poor writer and does not express himself well, but I thought the whole paragraph -- of which you and the site you linked to snipped a bit out of context -- made a legitimate point in its entirety, in that the game is targeted at young girls and the gameplay rewards young girls for being passive objects. The Zelda counterexample isn't really appropriate here because those are clearly fantasy worlds, where this is a stylized version of the real world with malls, etc.

Why do companies who target this market segment think that all my young daughter wants to do is go to the mall and look good? It is just a high-tech version of the "Math Is Hard" Barbie.

"If inappropriate content in videogames can adversely impact the youth of our nation, how can we encourage young girls to dress promiscuously in a game that focuses on the application of makeup and an approved obsession with vanity? I just don't know if it's healthy for impressionable girls to be bombarded by more of these messages.

Just look at how the Bratz earn money. After completing arbitrary assignments players are rewarded with the equivalent of cash. Okay. But, most of the time just walking around yields coin. Money appears on the ground! This is what we're teaching our girls? "Honey, go saunter around a mall and find some money while you try on clothes. That's all you're good for." What? It would have been nice if instead of posing for some nightclub owner's personal gratification and scooping up quarters we'd have to earn our cash with other interesting photography assignments and mini-games, like building all sorts of different wardrobes and applying makeup at film shoots. Obviously that still pigeonholes young girls who'll play this game into a very specific set of career opportunities, but at least it's not "dancing scavenger."


The reviewer got on his high horse about what we teach girls, but didn't seem to have a problem with what we teach boys:

"If you're reading IGN you're likely a young male big on killing living things with heavy weapons. If that's true (which it obviously is unless you're seriously abnormal)..."


"...the "befriend animal" option in Bratz will not appeal to you at all."

Even the UK Revolution guys have Nintendogs and they're serious macho (hello Zorg! ;D) I've just had it with these stupid gender stereotypes, they're boring and ill-informed.

Also, picking up coins in Bratz and spending it in malls - what's the technical difference to picking up coins in Resident Evil and spending it with the Arms Dealer?

No, it was a terrible article, good only for a giggle.

Robert 'Groby' Blum

Actually, it theoretically might be that the article was an attempted tongue-in-cheek look at gender stereotypes and he is really just that bad a writer. I was never entirely sure. If that's true, he must be a *really* bad writer.

Interesting choice. "You stroll trough the dark forest and reach a fork in the road. To the west, you will become known as a troglodyte. To the east, there will be public ridicule of your horrible writing skills. The torch begins to flicker."


Just thought I'd post an alternative view on the 3 points you made about the review:

1) I have a couple of takes on this:
a) It could be that the opening is more of an attack on the cynical way that the game is targeted by appealing to a stereotype. Ok, so all games are targeted at a particular audience, but in the case of Bratz Rock Angelz, the reviewer seems to feel that the target seems particularly stereotypically.

b) The reviewer is making light of the fact that he is so different from the target audience. I remember reading reviews by older people of items intended for younger people that involve a quick joke about how they’re not the best person to conduct such a review, but they’ll try to do it objectively. Unfortunately, I cannot cite any sources for this. In this case, the reviewer is not only both older than the target and the opposite gender, but is also uninterested in fashion and become a rock star.

I’ll grant that the reviewer labours the point somewhat, but in the third paragraph, he does start to juxtapose his inability to subjectively assess the game with praise for the game from a technical standpoint.

2) I feel that you have taken this statement very much out of context – when I read the paragraph it is from, I interpreted it as being a sarcastic attack on the marketers/developers of the game:

“It's a game that uses a candy-pop style to hypnotize girls and then starts slapping them with basic gameplay devices that exploit their very nature. The purpose of woman is to create and this whole game is about making and changing stuff. It's brilliant!”

It could be taken either as sarcasm or as overt sexism, granted, but I interpreted it as the former.

3) I would echo Brian Carnell’s point that this seems a very much more realistic style of game and that the examples you provided might not be very good analogies, since Bratz seems to imitate real-world activities while the others do not.

Just as a response to your latest comment (October 25, 2005 at 01:33 PM):
- It is still true that most gamers are male (http://www.womengamers.com/doctork/myths.php), whether they’re “big on killing living things”, I cannot say
- Resident Evil was rated at 16+, if I remember correctly – a much less impressionable age than Bratz (and hence why violent games in general are technically only allowed to be bought by older audiences).
- As for the manliness of befriending animals – the reviewer never stated it was un-macho, he merely stated that guys would not find the idea appealing at all. This is a generalisation, true, and is open to interpretation. Just as the statement “Americans are fat” could be interpreted as “the average calorific intake of an American is too high” or “the calorific intake of each and every American is too high” (or, indeed, in many other ways), so too can that in the review. The author could equally mean that “on average, guys would not find the idea of befriending an animal appealing” as “all guys would not find the idea of befriending an animal appealing”. However, lacking any statistics, it is entirely subjective whether either statement is true. Your reference to an example of some men that would find the idea of befriending an animal appealing certainly disproves the latter interpretation (if your reference is valid), but not the former.

These are just some ideas that may interest you/your readers; this was not intended as a criticism/flame of anyone.

Anyway, I better get back to fighting bears, digging in the coal mine and chopping up trees ;)


So, I'd disagree with most gamers being male. Most *hardcore* are male, yes, but if you look at recent surveys (and we've done one at work, the results of which will be published soon), the gender breakdown of gamers overall is more like 47-53 or so. In my book, that may as well be equal.

Overall, I agree that the reviewer was probably trying hard, but the fact of the matter is, he got himself entirely and utterly tangled up. It happens! You guys will feel sympathy for the poor sod for having to review the game in the first place, and the girls will point and laugh at him, and get back to their games of GTA.
On we go :)


I saw the link over on Boing Boing and was pretty sure that there was some misquoting going on. After reading all this nonsense, I'm sure of it.

Having read the article I took many of these comments that you're having problems with as some badly done sarcasm. Granted, I've read some of that writer's stuff before and talked to him so that may color things a bit, but I think it's still there.


- It was meant to be funny. Yes, even if it wasn't.
- The point is more simulation than fantasy. Also pointed out before which makes your one-line comment pretty much off-point.
- Many of the rabid game fans are all about "teh killing." Not all, but a lot.

Going with your point about mature gamers liking the cute stuff, look at lots of Nintendo's wares (Animal Crossing, Nintendogs, Pikmin, tec.) and you'll see older fans of cuteness. I've seen grown men fall all over themselves becuase of their Harvest Moon addiction. But I think the point was that these are still couched in fantasy and strategy and role-playing a teen girl's life is not as exciting for guys. A point that he beat to death and then slapped around some more.

And I'm curious about the surveys of gamers since that number can be skewed in several different ways. What are your parameters there?


Sorry to nitpick, but I'm just musing over the sentence:

"You guys will feel sympathy for the poor sod for having to review the game in the first place, and the girls will point and laugh at him, and get back to their games of GTA."

Would that be a generalisation based on gender? ;)

I found the review mildly amusing and vaguely informative. I wouldn't respect the opinion of the guy about whether my young daughter (if I had one) would enjoy the game, just as I wouldn't trust the opinion of a plumber to tell me whether the phylogenetic tree algorithms of Seqlab are reliable. Unless, of course, (s)he could provide reason to. Likewise, when it comes to the subversive nature of the gaming industry, I'd generally turn to a more qualified person. Were I considering buying the game for that fictional daugher, though, I would be grateful to be made aware of some of the elements raised by the review, such as its mindlessness and preoccupation with vanity etc.


IGN's reviews are usually not known for their top-notch writing, as seen in the link.

However, the one thing I don't really get is the one-line comment, which someone else mentioned was a bit... odd.

You do collect money on the ground and from killing things to buy things in Zelda, but coins in the Mario series have no purpose except to get a higher score and collecting rings in the Sonic series is the only way you can survive being hit by anything, except being squashed or falling into a pit I think a better comparison would be with a game similiar to the GTA series with more realistic settings and goals.

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