July 2009


The totally awesome and not at all insulting to

  • women who resent being viewed as a walking support system for attractive curves and to
  • men who resent being viewed as a random collection of lustful urges

EA advertising campaign is attracting a bit of attention.


Just a bit.

Zubon at Kill Ten Rats has a modest proposal.

Since the approach is apparently, “any publicity is good publicity,” I’m just not going to mention any EA games for the rest of the year unless this is somehow made right.

Sorry, Bioware! A commenter at Ars Technica has some experience, being an actual attractive female company representative at conventions. You know.

Have any of you BEEN a “booth babe”? No? Then STFU. Myself, I’ve been a “booth babe” at many comic, scifi and anime cons for the last several yrs. I was also the training manager for ALL employees, running the booths and overseeing the product of two major companies. I also happen to be attractive and enjoy wearing costumes. I have a four-yr degree and my day-job is in the comic industry. But I guess I’m ASKING to be groped because I’m one step up from a hooker, right? Even if I WAS a fucking hooker, that gives no one the right. I can walk around in a thong and pasties and it’s nobody’s license to touch.

The irony: this has happened before. Last year we had legendarily creepy LiveJournal ‘celebrity’ “The Ferrett” announce that you know, it would be a better world if he could just walk up to random strangers at ComicCon and feel their boobs. And being a totally Aspergian geek, he MADE IT OPEN SOURCE.


We talked about this. It was an Open-Source Project, making breasts available to select folks. (Like any good project, you need access control, because there are loutish men and women who just Don’t Get It.) And we wanted a signal to let people know that they were okay with being asked politely, so we turned it into a project:


The Open-Source Boob Project.


Why would anyone take offense at this? WHY GOD WHY? Oh.


This sort of thing happens frequently at cons. Don’t believe me? Ask isako or purpletophat. Women who wear skimpy outfits at cons or even slightly flesh bearing outfits at Cons hear this all the time. Or worse, people just go ahead and do it. I’ve slapped many a fanboy hand.


The idea that you can touch whatever on display is not body positive. It hearkens back to the common plea: “Well officer she deserved it! She was wearing a mini-skirt! She asked for it.” That idea is frankly repugnant. To be fair, I think however that this is more the writer’s salivation than the project’s.


To be fair, I don’t actually believe that the EA marketing droids that came up with this juvenile drivel thought for a moment that they were encouraging the mauling of female convention-goers. Given the history of the marketing for their project, they were really just pulling a Madonna and dancing in front of a burning cross because, hey, fire pretty. Thoughts about consequences? That’s for lame-os!

That doesn’t make their ‘I’m sorry you were offended by our witty marketing, oh, and please buy our game!’ standard corporate straight-from-image-management pseudo-apology any less disgusting.

We apologize for any confusion and offense that resulted from our choice of wording,

And I apologize for any confusion in how I worded my belief that your marketing team was devoid of common sense, views its female employees as sexual objects, and reflects poorly on our entire industry in its juvenile pursuit of attention.

and want to assure you that we take your concerns and sentiments seriously.

How nice for you.

I wish I could be surprised. Unfortunately – not really. Really, the only way this sort of complete and total nimrod idiocy will ever get addressed is if the industry as a whole starts actually, you know, hiring women and promoting them, so that at some point the fratboy “huh huh” atmosphere breaks down and sexual harassment isn’t viewed as a clever in-joke.

Nothing Is Real, Strawberry Fields

Paul Barnett, Mythic EA Mythic BIOWARE Mythic creative director, on the state of the industry he is creatively directing:

The concept of there being MMOs is probably dead.

Well, then. Everyone go home, we’re done!

Oh… wait.

The concept of there being MMOs is probably dead. There are just games. There’s online games, and very soon there will just be games. They will all be online anyway. I don’t think there’s an MMO any more. I think there’s online games and there’s online revenue, and they’re sort of going to combine.

Hope you like microtransactions!

This Just In: We Can’t Trust Any Of You With Those Body Parts You Think About, Like, All The Time

GLAAD announces they are going to combat homophobia in game communities. Joshua Meadows (sometime commenter here, frequent commenter on Second Life issues, and I suspect, you know, may be that way) has a few things to say about it.

I believe, after years of experience inside these environments, any plan that is little more than “Let’s ask the players to be nicer to each other,” is utterly doomed to failure. By the same extension, however, any plan that demands companies adopt an authoritarian stance against homophobic behavior is going to end up increasing vitriol against gay players.

More here.

In case you think he might be overreacting a tad: EA encourages convention-goers to molest their employees for valuable prizes. My reaction to this pretty much exactly matches Jeremy Preacher’s.

I understand that abysmally stupid ideas get floated in meetings all the time, but at a billion-dollar company like EA, you’d think SOMEONE would have the basic common sense to put a stop to a FUCKING CONTEST TO SEE WHO CAN HARASS YOUR EMPLOYEES THE MOST.

Tune in next week, when more people say things before and better than I could!

Asia Makes UO2, You Can’t Have It, But They Can Have WoW Again

Apparently, EA isn’t just bringing a simple localized version of UO to the Chinese market, but making a new MMO using the UO “license”.

Hong Kong-based NetDragon Websoft will develop the massively multiplayer online game — where thousands or millions of players play simultaneously in a virtual world — in conjunction with EA’s Mythic Entertainment division. NetDragon Websoft will have the exclusive license to operate the game in China, Hong Kong, Macau and India.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has approved the release of Wrath of the Lich King and provisionally allowed NetEase to relaunch the game after a long downtime which caused some discontent!

Thousands of anxious gamers who have been missing the game are expected to gather at today’s opening of Chinajoy, an online game carnival in Shanghai, to demand the game be made available again, the Southern Weekly reported last Saturday.

“As a large consumption group, we at least have the right to know when will the game be re-opened or will it be re-booted,” the newspaper quoted a WoW fan, named Laode, as saying.

WoW fans vented their anger by logging on to servers belonging to Netease on July 11. After 5,000 signed on at the same time, they succeeded in paralyzing seven servers.

WoW players also left nearly 3,000 complaints on the official website of China Consumers’ Association and some players said they planned to sue.

So, for those keeping track: protesting racial inequality in Xinjiang is bad, protesting talent spec inequality in Wintergrasp is fine.

However, everything seems to be back on track now, thus showing that the appropriate palms were greased that Blizzard and NetEase showed the appropriate awareness of socialist norms and morals.

Good, Bad, I’m The Orc With The Axe

Sam Raimi to direct World of Warcraft movie, thus ensuring that World of Warcraft will maintain a lead over Duke Nukem for pop reference non-sequitors in the near future.

Edit: Variety’s posted a story with (very slightly more) details.

The plan is for Raimi to supervise development of “Warcraft” and shoot the picture after he completes work on “Spider-Man 4,” which gets under way early next year for Columbia Pictures.

Finally, Equal Time For The Chosen People

I bet you’d go to synagogue more if your rabbi was shadow spec.


Taken from new Evony clone HI THERE!, where you can fight with “Holly light” and, apparently judging by the counter at the top of the page, the developers assume that only real females would pick the scantily clad druidess.

I couldn’t get past page 2 on my Macbook running Safari. Maybe you can do better!

Hat tip: Thomas Bidaux

Darkfall Re-Reviewed By Eurogamer

Kieron Gillen discovers that the meta-drama of Darkfall is far more interesting than the actual game of Darkfall, especially after the first attempt at a review was met with much caterwauling.

In short, for one side, there was all the proof in the world. For the other, there was nothing.

From Aventurine’s perspective, they have logs showing that a reviewer who slaughtered their love-child had barely touched the game. They’re happy to show them to Eurogamer. Hell, they’re so confident they’re happy enough to fly a tech guy over to show them the logs. It’s clear the reviewer is lying about how much he’s played. The review is an outrage and a fiasco.

From Eurogamer’s perspective, they have a developer claiming that logs show something. Logs which are entirely within their control. I’d be surprised if Eurogamer has a tech guy in-house capable of ascertaining the meaning of the logs. More so, when changing logs is an absolutely trivial task, what the logs say when that tech examines it is ultimately meaningless. If Aventurine was dissembling, Eurogamer wouldn’t be able to tell.

As long as the reviewer claimed reasonably that he’d played the game for longer, Tom [Bramwell, editor] had to back him because – really – it was his word against theirs.

Aventurine should be pleased now, though, as their score is significantly improved from the original 2/10! However, there is a definite paucity of Ayumi Hamasaki videos in the piece, which we’ll rectify here: