Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

2,105 posts in this topic

Wow. No. It doesn't matter. I haven't been in here forever, but come on. No-one would be upset about that if she didn't get a bunch of money.

Fixed that for you.

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Wow. No. It doesn't matter. I haven't been in here forever, but come on. No-one would be upset about that if the series wasn't supposed to be objective, well researched, and not 99% of other people's regurgitated material.

a capture card setup and a 1 TB hard drive is really cheap. if you're going to play 'all these games' (she's not actually playing all these games) it takes literally zero extra effort to just record gameplay while you do it.

i wouldn't even care if it were all stock footage but taking other people's material from their youtube channel and not even saying so is kind of bullshit. it would take no effort whatsoever to just put the people who actually recorded this footage in the credits or something. acting like it's all you when it's actually all wikipedia/tvtropes/giantbomb/other people's youtube channels is completely bullshit.

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If you were given 160K

keep in mind she only asked for six grand

i wouldn't even care if it were all stock footage but taking other people's material from their youtube channel and not even saying so is kind of bullshit.

why

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keep in mind she only asked for six grand

6K can buy you a nice ass capture card, top of the line editing software, and a huge assortment of games.

No excuse.

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why

because it's plagarism.

if someone taking an ocremix song and posting it on newgrounds as their own is plagarism how would taking part of someone's youtube video and posting it on youtube as your own not be plagarism

and it's not fair use because she is using her work to turn a profit.

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6K can buy you a nice ass capture card, top of the line editing software, and a huge assortment of games.

No excuse.

yeah it probably can but see the problem is that it doesn't matter

because it's plagarism.

okay first of all it's spelled plagiarism

if someone taking an ocremix song and posting it on newgrounds as their own is plagarism how would taking part of someone's youtube video and posting it on youtube as your own not be plagarism

second of all plagiarism is the theft of ideas; since she only used the visual part of any LPs that she ripped from and not any audible commentary, she isn't actually stealing anything of consequence from anybody, since an LP is not a product of creation but rather a recording of experience

if you think that writing a song is the same thing as playing through a video game then you've got some pretty funky ideas about what it means for something to be an original work

and it's not fair use because she is using her work to turn a profit.

actually people donated to her kickstarter before the videos were made and as such I'm pretty sure the money she made from it can't ethically (probably also legally) be considered to be profit

since she's not actually asking for any money to see the actual videos, anything she uses in them is still covered under fair use

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The problem as I see it is not so much that she (probably/potentially) didn't play the games, because many tropes CAN be identified and pointed out with passive, brief observation. It would have been classy & appropriate to credit the YouTube users whose recorded material she used; I haven't seen any indication that she's done this, my bad if she has. If she hasn't, that's a faux pas that really can & should be corrected. I'm assuming they were at least contacted prior to the footage being used, given the money involved...

However, my main issue remains that she's not just simply pointing out tropes - if she were, I'd actually have far fewer issues with her videos in general. You don't need to play a game just to identify a trope that it employs, so there's no fundamental problem. When she adds her blanket generalizations about the net EFFECT of these tropes, or applies labels and interpretations with unadulterated certitude, however, well... that DOES require playing the game, and really getting a feel for whether the trope, in that specific context, is incidental, is mitigated by events, etc.

In other words, context isn't necessarily vital to simply identifying a trope, but if you're going to proceed to discus its implications or its nature, it can be rather crucial.

My two cents? She doesn't strike me as the type of person who cares much about context, especially when exploring it could reveal information that doesn't jive with her personal ideology.

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If she's really using other people's YouTube footage then that's kind of a dick move in terms of not crediting them, but I don't see how it makes much of a difference in terms of her point. How does her argument become any more or less valid depending on the source of the video she's using to illustrate her point?

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*ducks into thread to see what's up*

*continues seeing people using ad hominem to attack Anita and not her arguments*

...welp, Alright then. Guess there's nothing to see here.

*ducks out of thread*

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You realize that there's been plenty of both, right? I mean, the signal-to-noise ratio isn't as high as one might like, but there's been plenty of legitimate discussion in here as well as the occasional "lol she's dumb".

On top of which, categorically dismissing all criticism of her videos because some of that criticism is stupid isn't exactly a sign that you're doing a brilliant job of good-faith argumentation yourself.

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If she's really using other people's YouTube footage then that's kind of a dick move in terms of not crediting them, but I don't see how it makes much of a difference in terms of her point. How does her argument become any more or less valid depending on the source of the video she's using to illustrate her point?

What would you say her argument IS? I agree that simple identification of the trope does not suffer from the video being secondhand, but if she's never played the games, how can she contextualize the trope enough to go one step further and contribute meaningful analysis? If games are art, doesn't meaningfully analyzing that art involve... playing them? Isn't applying a one-size-fits-all feminist ideology to such analysis a LITTLE premature - shouldn't playing the games come first?

But seriously, in 2-3 sentences, explain what you think her argument is, and how playing the games - experiencing them as they were intended to be consumed - has a zero net effect on the points she's making... because to me, this sounds suspiciously similar to:

"I just did a feminist reading of Moby Dick based solely on the Cliff's Notes!! How would actually READING the book affect any of my arguments?"

I think the answer is relatively intuitive: it would inform them. And more informed arguments tend to be more persuasive. Of course (and this needs to be emphasized) we don't KNOW that she didn't play each and every game; it simply appears, from the secondhand nature of the sources, and - in my opinion - the superficial and dismissive nature of her analysis, that she may not have.

On top of which, categorically dismissing all criticism of her videos because some of that criticism is stupid isn't exactly a sign that you're doing a brilliant job of good-faith argumentation yourself.

Yeah, in labeling EVERYTHING ad hominem, he actually committed composition/division :nicework:

If you're gonna go around citing logical fallacies and acting like doing so is insightful and conclusive, best not to commit one yourself in the process :banghead:

Edited by djpretzel

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It doesn't really matter. I haven't actually played Metroid: Other M, but I have seen enough of the cut scenes to know it's the worst game in the series. I would assume that she did enough research on the games she's mentioned to use them as examples.
Wow. No. It doesn't matter. I haven't been in here forever, but come on. No-one would be upset about that if the series wasn't about feminism.
If she's really using other people's YouTube footage then that's kind of a dick move in terms of not crediting them, but I don't see how it makes much of a difference in terms of her point. How does her argument become any more or less valid depending on the source of the video she's using to illustrate her point?

Like we expect a reviewer to base their review of a game on having played through it, people expect her to base her claims in this video series on having actually played through the games she uses as examples. It would show that she saw all of the game's elements (story, visual scenes, character types, etc.), read through the manuals (which often contain more story elements... especially with older games), and experienced it all for herself to get the full context of the game's events. This would give a greater understanding of the trope example within the game, as it would show if it's an incidental one that doesn't represent the game and its content as a whole, or a truly toxic one that the whole game runs with. It would give her arguments via examples a better sense of being informed, because she'd know if any parts of the rest of the game she's using contradict her statements. So in that sense, it is important, and does matter... especially with a touchy and volatile subject like this.

Now, I don't know if she pulled a cliff notes on her games, played through them all, or did a bit of both. As such, I'm not going to defend or accuse her, because that wouldn't be fair. That said, "Did she actually play those games completely?" isn't an unfair question to ask at the moment, given what's been shown, and what it potentially alludes to (namely, her possibly cherry-picking only what works for her argument, without ever actually playing the game to get its full scope and context).

Edited by The Coop

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"I just did a feminist reading of Moby Dick based solely on the Cliff's Notes!! How would actually READING the book affect any of my arguments?"

I think that video games as an interactive media are fairly unique as far as entertainment goes and as such can't really be directly compared to other media this way

a more apt comparison would be to say that somebody read Moby Dick without physically turning the pages as most book readers do, and then cue me saying that whether or not you turned the pages doesn't really matter probably

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It's not plagiarism or dishonest to use footage other people recorded, because the footage itself isn't her argument (as Bleck said). Game footage is not an idea or a thought. All of the content of her videos thus far could be presented in text or audio format; the footage is just reference material. It doesn't matter whether she recorded it or not.

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If she's using other people's ripped footage that doesn't necessarily mean that she hasn't played the games before. As the Coop said, we can't just assume that because she decided to post other people's playthroughs that she didn't play the games herself.

Also, using other people's ripped footage without crediting them is perfectly fine because it's technically not theirs to put on YT in the first place (it's the developers/publishers material), and she does give proper credit as to what games she's posting on her videos. It's nothing like posting material that another user has created, as an average playthrough of a game has virtually no creative input from the original poster - not even creative commons can apply to something like this.

I'd rather complain about long waits between videos - when do y'all suspect she'll be done with video #3?

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I think that video games as an interactive media are fairly unique as far as entertainment goes and as such can't really be directly compared to other media this way

It wasn't a direct comparison, hence my use of "suspiciously close"...

a more apt comparison would be to say that somebody read Moby Dick without physically turning the pages as most book readers do, and then cue me saying that whether or not you turned the pages doesn't really matter probably

So in your mind, whether or not a player interacts with a game or merely observes it is as meaningful as whether a reader of a novel physically turns a page, or instead uses an eReader and clicks "next"???

I'm being polite when I say that I find that perspective to be "quite baffling"... I find my Cliff's Notes comparison far more accurate, because what you're MISSING when you read a synopsis of a novel is, in my mind, comparable in scope to what you're MISSING when you observe, but do not actually play, a video game. The disparity is substantive, in both instances. The loss of fidelity relative to the creator's intent is significant.

Also, using other people's ripped footage without crediting them is perfectly fine because it's technically not theirs to put on YT in the first place (it's the developers/publishers material), and she does give proper credit as to what games she's posting on her videos. It's nothing like posting material that another user has created, as an average playthrough of a game has virtually no creative input from the original poster - not even creative commons can apply to something like this.

Hey, you should work for Nintendo :)

I don't know what your standard of "virtually no" is, here - I agree that most games limit the number of options/variables such that any given player's experience is similar, HOWEVER part of what (I think/hope) we love about video games is that we DO interact, we CAN express some aspect of who we are through how we play, and the experience does feel like it's "ours"... while I'm not sure this should grant any given play-through video creator a sense of supreme creation or entitlement, I'd be reluctant to say it's entirely devoid of their input in any significant sense, and also reluctant to say that it can and should be cribbed from without any attempts at crediting/permission...

It's not plagiarism or dishonest to use footage other people recorded, because the footage itself isn't her argument (as Bleck said). Game footage is not an idea or a thought. All of the content of her videos thus far could be presented in text or audio format; the footage is just reference material. It doesn't matter whether she recorded it or not.

Hmm. Well, I kinda-sorta agree, and yet not entirely....

  • "It's not plagiarism or dishonest to use footage other people recorded, because the footage itself isn't her argument (as Bleck said)."
    • This doesn't make complete sense to me... you're saying that because what she's using itself isn't her argument, it's not dishonest to use it, without citation or accreditation? Even if the work involved on the part of those who recorded it was nominal, I still think it should be acknowledged. I don't think it's dishonest per se, probably just absent-minded (i.e. an honest mistake), but you seem to be saying she (and anyone else) should have a free pass to do this whenever they want, without any form of credit? In academia, it's more or less de rigueur to credit exhaustively, and when money's involved, all the moreso...

    [*]"Game footage is not an idea or a thought."

    • I think it certainly CAN be; I'd hate to commit to a definition that completely prohibits this possibility. In all of the cases in her videos, however, I'd agree that it doesn't appear to be unique enough to categorize it as such. However, I'd tend to err on the side of assuming that game footage IS an idea or thought in terms of how I would handle permission & credit, because otherwise you end up inadvertently compromising the art form, in a sense...

    [*]"All of the content of her videos thus far could be presented in text or audio format; the footage is just reference material."

    • That's an interesting point; I think it COULD be presented in text or audio format, but I think it would be far less persuasive, partly because it would be slightly more difficult to take out of context.

    [*]"It doesn't matter whether she recorded it or not."

    • Largely agreed, but what about whether she's played the games? Also optional? Additionally, while I don't think it "matters" much, I do think it would be slightly preferable had she recorded it herself, so I guess it does matter an eensy-teensy bit to me... not a lot, but not nothing. If you believe that "field research" has added value, insofar as it forces the researcher to actually immerse themselves in their subject, then I think you'd probably agree?

I don't know guys, it seems like there's this continued perception that acknowledging ANY imperfection or transgression on her part is violently unacceptable to you - I suppose because it would seem like acknowledging an overall weakness?? I know some people are blowing these things way out of proportion, but I fail to see how unequivocally denying that they are even partially meaningful is rational. It seems like a knee-jerk reaction TO a knee-jerk reaction, and if everyone's knees are jerking around like that, it's gonna be like Lord of the Dance and shit... in a bad way.

Certainly it should not be outrageous or particularly objectionable to put forth that it would be PREFERABLE if she had taken the time to obtain her own footage? Or credit those whose footage she used? Or (all things being equal, since we don't know) play each of the games she discusses to some extent? Are any of those three things really scandalous to label as simply being preferable? Perhaps it's the specificity of language, or lack thereof, that's at fault... it's one thing to say that using secondhand footage, seemingly without credit and potentially without having played the games, makes ALL of her arguments null and void. It's another thing to say that it doesn't matter AT ALL. I personally think it matters very little in the grand scheme of things, but I don't know why anyone would feel compelled to put forth that it is completely insignificant... and use dismissive attitudes towards game footage as a linchpin of such an argument...

If it was someone doing a series of videos about something you strongly disagreed with... let's say, arguing that games need more white male protagonists, or more boobies, or something equally silly... would you let it slide? I don't think you would, personally; I perceive a bit of a double standard.

I'm reluctant to accept Andy's definition of game footage as being incapable of representing an idea or a thought, or Greg's opinion that game footage has "virtually no creative input" - they seem like short-sighted generalizations that neither individual would make if it weren't in the context of such blanket ideological support...

Edited by djpretzel

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and she does give proper credit as to what games she's posting on her videos.

Except not.:nicework: When mistakes of this nature show that she did nothing more than a google search and wikipedia read, which to me calls into question the validity of most of her arguments - if you're basing this entire thing around not even doing the most basic of research, why should I believe any of what you say, especially when you're trying to present it academically and as an authority on it?

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Except not.:nicework: When mistakes of this nature show that she did nothing more than a google search and wikipedia read, which to me calls into question the validity of most of her arguments - if you're basing this entire thing around not even doing the most basic of research, why should I believe any of what you say, especially when you're trying to present it academically and as an authority on it?

I agree strongly with this gentleman's assertions.

and djp on the warpath :-) <3

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So in your mind, whether or not a player interacts with a game or merely observes it is as meaningful as whether a reader of a novel physically turns a page, or uses an eReader and clicks "next"???

I'm being polite when I say that I find that perspective to be "quite baffling"... I find my Cliff's Notes comparison far more accurate, because what you're MISSING when you read a synopsis of a novel is, in my mind, comparable in scope to what you're MISSING when you observe, but do not actually play, a video game. The disparity is substantive, in both instances. The loss of fidelity relative to the creator's intent is significant.

I think it depends on the video game, really, and also on what kind of criticisms or observations we're talking about here

for example, I don't really think that saying 'why does princess peach always have to be kidnapped' is somehow invalidated by whether or not you've physically pushed the button that made mario jump

I don't know guys, it seems like there's this continued perception that acknowledging ANY imperfection or transgression or her part is unacceptable to you - I suppose because it would seem like acknowledging an OVERALL weakness??

no in fact I've agreed with most of if not all of your criticisms of the video - it's just that most of the people who are bringing up whether or not she "stole" her video footage are people who are looking to discredit her without actually acknowledging her opinions or the fact that there's an issue in the first place

if you really disagree with sarkeesian's videos, you need to come up with substantial and reasonable reasons to do so; coming up with some arbitrary bullshit like 'nerrr she used a let's play video instead of pushing the buttons herself and recording it happen' to denounce her series with is symptomatic of a large unwillingness to really acknowledge the issues that need to be acknowledged, here

in essence while I believe that there are probably better people out there that could be speaking about this very real issue than anita sarkeesian, I think that it's better that we have her and her videos than to go on pretending like this shit ain't a problem

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In other words, context isn't necessarily vital to simply identifying a trope, but if you're going to proceed to discus its implications or its nature, it can be rather crucial.

This pretty much sums up the entire issue. Yes, it's completely easy to identify a trope just by observing the work, but when discussing the implications of that trope and what it means(which I REALLY hope Anita is trying to do because otherwise she's about 10+ years late to the party and took all your money at the same time), context is extremely important.

As to why it's important to actually cite what are essentially her references, any serious academic/professional worth his or her own salt knows that it's important that readers and others in the community are able to corroborate what they're pointing out. Is citing needed in this case? Well, it all depends on what she's showing, whether it be a snippet of gameplay, a piece of the narrative, or more likely just a scantly-clad female taken entirely out of context.

Furthermore, if I remember correctly, didn't she say she needed the money to actually play the stuff? It seems very odd to me that she'd have to use anyone else' footage in the first place.

And yes yes, it's true that we can't easily say she didn't play the stuff, but it's equally true that we can't really say she did either, as we have no direct proof either way. If I were part of a thesis committee, I'd have serious concerns about giving her the green light on this.

Of course this is just a reflection on her methodology and not necessarily related to her overall topic. To be fair, I AM glad that someone is talking about this sort of thing, I just think it should be someone else who doesn't seem as polarizing about it.

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for example, I don't really think that saying 'why does princess peach always have to be kidnapped' is somehow invalidated by whether or not you've physically pushed the button that made mario jump

Sure, and superficially that seems like a great point to make, because I completely and wholeheartedly agree with it - as phrased. My point is, what about other questions like:

  • How important is Princess Peach to the overall narrative of the game?
  • How important is NARRATIVE to the overall game?
  • Is the game striving for verisimilitude, which would make the trope's usage more troubling, or is it intentionally invoking the archaic, or clearly supernatural?
  • Are there any other aspects of the game that mitigate or cast the trope in a different light?
  • In the fictional universe of the game, is being kidnapped the worst of several possibilities? Is it a powerful & meaningful expression of that character's nature that they are powerless and/or pacifistic towards their plight?
  • How much does the player identify with ANY of the characters, or correlate gameplay to real-world phenomena?
  • etc.

Not all of these are "perfect" lines of inquiry, but I think that in the aggregate they have significant value...

Edited by djpretzel

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Viewed out of context, you can claim almost anything is any -ism you want. It's very important to view, if not the whole picture, then a large majority of it. You don't get to claim X is sexist, and then pretend that X exists in a vacuum. As djp mentioned, if the game is purposely and clearly mocking the archaic, or even a parody of itself, not only would that cast considerable doubt on "this is sexist", but pressing further into the game, something which, with increasing frequency, Anita does not appear to have done, could show that not only were they aware of the trope and it's implications, but they end up turning it on it's head, or at the very least, smile and nod and say "This is bad, and we do not support it."

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