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Saints Row 4: strap on the silly, not the sexually violent

Thursday, 27 June 2013 07:53 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Do we really need “alien anal probes” to have a good time? Brenna argues for a Saints Row that does what Saints Row does best – without the squick of sexual violence.

This article will discuss sexual violence in frank and potentially disturbing terms.

SAINTS ROW 4′S ALIEN ANAL PROBE: WHAT HAPPENED

Saints Row 4 has been refused classification in Australia, the first game to be so judged since the introduction of an R18+ ratings category for video games on January 1. The R18+ category was intended to demonstrate a clear demarcation between material intended for minors and material intended for adults, rather than to significantly alter Australia’s guidelines for content deemed acceptable by common community standards.

As such, Saints Row 4 has been found unacceptable because it manages to “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified”. The content which has garnered the most attention is an “alien anal probe” weapon, described in graphic detail in the Classification Board’s ruling.

Volition and Deep Silver have confirmed that they will prepare a territory-specific version of the game for retail in Australia – and likely New Zealand.

I really like the Saints Row series. Saints Row began as an “also ran” in the crowded field of open-world, crime-themed games that sprang up in the footsteps of the titan Grand Theft Auto, trudging heavily across the landscape of the PlayStation 2 generation and changing everything forever.

But where other GTA clones ended up mostly forgotten, traded in or left dusty in a corner, Saints Row has persevered. It had something others did not: it was fun. “Here is a silly world,” it said. “Here is a world where crime pays, and the gangster lifestyle is glamourous and fancy-free. Here’s a world where violence is cartoonish and over the top. Go crazy.”

Grand Theft Auto says that, too, in its gameplay – but not in its story, and the artistic grim-dark patina Rockstar now seems to feel obliged to plaster over its often inherently humorous games is, I believe, the franchise’s weakest point. Grand Theft Auto is actually enjoyable, because Rockstar pioneered the genre and remains best in field at crafting the kind of mechanics that make open-world insanity fun. Most of the clones were not, and that’s why they’ve all died off.

Significantly Less Silly

That’s not to say that Saints Row is without its problems. As with any piece of media, it runs the risk of stepping into deeply problematic territory by taking the permissiveness of humour as a carte blanche to do whatever the hell it feels like, with no thought to consequences.

In fact, this attitude seems to have been seized upon at the highest level and turned into Saints Row’s calling card, to the exclusion of its myriad other virtues. When Jason Rubin took over as president of THQ, he made no secret of his love for the more controversial features of Saints Row. When he walked away from the cooling of ashes, he took his giant purple dildo bat with him, and new publisher Deep Silver promised to “keep the dream of the cock alive”.

This really bothers me. I’m proud to talk about so many aspects of Saints Row – its unrivalled inclusiveness, its tongue-in-cheek cultural references, its delightful writing – that I’ll discuss them over dinner with non-gamers. I’m not embarrassed to be an accessory to an industry that promotes violent media; I believe violent video games needs to be subject to the same scrutiny and criticism as other art forms, no more and no less.

I’m not embarrassed to be an accessory to an industry that promotes violent media. I am embarrassed by the purple dildo bat, and although I’m yet to see it in action, I’m very troubled by the anal probe gun.

I am embarrassed by the purple dildo bat, and although I’m yet to see it in action, I’m very troubled by the anal probe gun.

The problem is that a dildo is a sexual object. There’s really no argument here. That’s what it is. When you use a sexual object to commit an act of violence, you turn that act of violence into sexual violence. That’s extremely troubling to me. I can’t tell you with as much certainty that an anal probe is a sexual object – presumably there are some medical situations where it is not – but I am almost certain that in any instance in which a person forcibly penetrates another person’s rectum for their own gratification – shits and giggles, which is no doubt why you’d be pulling that trigger – that is sexual violence.

Do depictions of sexual violence have a place in video games? My first instinct, my gut reaction, is to say that no, they don’t – but that’s because I don’t want them there. I don’t see why you would, either, but I’m aware of the counter-arguments. “Art can have no boundaries”, you will say; it can deal with any subject matter. “Freedom of speech, and all that”, you will perhaps offer, not even bothering to make an actual case. “It is only a joke” is another one I’m expecting.

The thing is, we are mounting these arguments to defend a piece of media which depicts people having something shoved up their arse in a way that clearly causes them distress, for no reason beyond the fact that we will find it amusing. We are supposed to laugh at it. We are supposed to be so childish and so unable to have empathy that we find nothing wrong with this.

Maybe there is nothing wrong with it on its own, although I’m not convinced. But there is something wrong with it in the context of our culture – the culture of video games, and broader human culture. We live in a culture in which horrible acts of sexual violence are enacted and the perpetrators are not punished – this is overwhelming statistical fact. We live in a culture which blames victims and instead of teaching do not rape, teaches us do not get raped. There are so many seriously fucked up things going on in the way we all think, the media we consume, and the lessons we propagate, that even after hundreds of years of examination, discussion, and action we’re only just starting to understand, expose and with any luck one day eradicate them.

“What’s the difference between laughing at dozens of virtual people being virtually murdered and laughing at dozens of virtual people being virtually raped? I don’t know, actually. But I can feel the difference, whatever it is, and I’m with the Classification Board on this one.”

I think there is potential for a safe space, for a world where everyone knows, deep down in their bones, what is right and what is wrong when it comes to sexual violence. Everyone will know instinctively how to conduct themselves – what to say, what to do, when to speak out – to keep everyone around us safe. In that world, “it’s just a joke” and “it’s art” will really ring true. But that is not the world we live in today and every time we add another message (like “it’s funny to rape people”) on the wrong side of the tally we make it harder and harder to get to that world – the world where something like the anal probe gun provokes thought and discussion instead of just mindless titillation.

What’s the difference between laughing at dozens of virtual people being virtually murdered and laughing at dozens of virtual people being virtually raped? I don’t know, actually. But I can feel the difference, whatever it is, and I’m with the Classification Board on this one.

I don’t think the removal of the anal probe gun from Saints Row 4 will make the Australian version weaker than the International release. I don’t think Volition Inc showing a little sensitivity to the manifold concerns surrounding depictions of sexual violence is copping out to censorship and destroying free speech; it’s taking responsibility for the game’s position as a cultural force.

I also think Saints Row 4 is probably going to be an excellent game, and would have been even better if all along developer, publisher and fans had focused on its strengths and positive aspects instead of celebrating the crass, the childish, and the distasteful.

Volition, holster your anal probes and whip out your dubstep guns; let’s just have some fun.

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49 Comments

  1. Ali

    I don’t need sex nor any bit of sexual themes in my games. GTAIV had a useless mindless frontal nudity, that serves nothing to push the story. It was there just to shock the gamers/media. Sexual themes never if ever are necessary. Some argued that Heavy Rain’s was important, I found em disgusting and I really sold the game because of them coming back more useless than before. Wanna show some love between two major characters, stick to a kiss better be a cheek kiss.

    That’s all for serious games, Saint Rows ain’t serious and there is only one place you hear non serious sexual jokes at these times, 1st grade elementary school and I sure as hell find that stupid and boring.

    Bring us Sleeping Dogs 2 already !

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Soong

    Sounds like something an Australian would say.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. The_Red

    “instead of celebrating the crass, the childish, and the distasteful.”
    That right there shows me that we have very different expectations from Saints Row games.

    They CAN be both super silly AND super crass and offensive.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Not The Eyes

    There’s no actual argument or explanation here as to why it’s ‘not okay’. Just acknowledging the regular violence that games depict, then saying it ‘feels’ different is meaningless. This is for 18 year old and over. Jokes are jokes, whether they are crude/crap or not. If you are in any way offended, which I find rather childish in itself, don’t engage with the content. It is very much in keeping the style and attitude of the series and game.

    As an aside – it’s utter rubbish to say that “our culture teaches don’t get raped rather than don’t rape”. There are extremely extensive laws, campaigns, government advertising materials all ‘teaching’ people not to rape. Just because there may be (common sense) advice on how to try best to avoid getting raped, doesn’t mean there’s somehow a failure of teaching not to rape.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Jerykk

    So… it’s okay to brutally murder hordes of innocent and defenseless civilians but probe one of them with an alien anal probe and all of a sudden, we’re crossing the line?

    Some people have the strangest priorities. Murder is worse than rape. You can recover from being raped. You can’t recover from being murdered. Yet somehow, rape is viewed as the more heinous and vile act. Maybe this is due to the general public being so desensitized to murder after years of seeing it on TV, in film and in games. Rape (and I use the term loosely in relation to alien anal probes) is far less prevalent in popular media so we have yet to be desensitized to it.

    If you want to ban depictions of rape in videogames, then you should also ban violence of any sort or any other act that causes pain and suffering, whether physical or psychological. Consistency is important, otherwise your moral high-ground falls apart.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. jmg24bad

    Oh so its ok to dismember humans, headshot them, blow them to bits, but dont let someone pull out a fucking dildo, thats TOO MUCH. Really? GTFO

    #6 2 years ago
  7. jmg24bad

    @#5 I didnt read your comment , but we said the exact same thing lol

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Wertisdk

    Let me just start out by stating, that there is almost nothing that I despise more than any kind of sexual-abuse. That should go without saying, but still.
    I played Saints Row: The Third and I enjoyed it, and while I didn’t giggle every time I used the Purple Dildo Bat™, I did appreciate the wobbly rubber
    effect it had every time you swung it – from a purely technical perspective.

    I don’t find the Purple Dildo Bat™ and the Alien Anal Probe™ especially funny, but neither am I offended by them.

    They are so silly and so over the top, that I do not associate them with an actual real-life sexual abuse, or at least I can clearly distinguish the difference.

    Is this worse than some of the other stuff you can do in the game, like murdering people at random and blowing up the city? I would argue that it is not, and that they at least do it in a way so crazy and silly, that any sane person would be able to clearly understand the difference between this and real life and that you shouldn’t do ANY of the stuff in that game. In that regard, I think pseudo-realistic games like GTA IV or games that promote sadistic violence like Manhunt are way more “troublesome”.

    Leaving out the general discussion about unethical or wrong stuff like violence and murder in video games, I don’t see how this is any different than murder, torture and the likes in video games.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. OmegaSlayer

    @1
    Geez, you have less libido than the Pope.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. BlueMaxima

    We, as adult gamers, are old enough to decide what we want in games, we are old enough to determine fantasy from reality, and we can’t have people who probably have no idea how relevant video games are in today’s media pick what we should be allowed to play.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. MidlifeAxe

    @5, @8, @10 Amen to that.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. broomburgo

    The point is: there’s no place for sexual violence in videogames. Period. There’s no place for rape. If you enjoy a scene in a videogame in which you get to rape someone, you have problems. To be clear, it’s not that rape and sexual violence in general shouldn’t be depicted in art: they should be, it’s art, but they should NOT be glorified, and their representation is not there for you to enjoy, but to despise, to show the horror of someone that’s undergoing something like that (e.g. the rape scene from the Sopranos).

    Videogames are DIFFERENT from other media, because they’re interactive, and you enjoy playing them. But murder and rape are not the same thing, even in videogames, even in fantasy. There’s a very nice Jimquisition about the topic, go and watch: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/5972-Rape-vs-Murder

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Wertisdk

    @12
    Could you please elaborate why YOU believe there’s a big difference between murder and sexual abuse in video games?

    I’m not asking because I wan’t to be a jerk, but rather because you don’t bring any arguments that supports your point other than “it’s wrong”, so it’s hard to argue against.

    My personal limit would be a “realistic” game that portrayed or enabled you to actually rape someone or sexually abuse them.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Belmont

    I think a game developer has the right to portray what it wants in its game and it should be released everywhere with but with the Age Ratings (and perhaps in-game warnings like the two Modern Warfare titles). However no Classification Board or whatever else has the right to decide what is extreme and what is passable. It is the consumer of the media that decides.

    The argument held here is stupid . It IS ok to kill thousands in games, to stab them with knifes, jabbing knifes into their eye sockets, cutting them in half with chainsaws, setting them on fire,dropping nuclear bombs on them, killing them with electricity,blasting their heads off. It is all fine and ok and it is accepted by Classification Board !

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Not The Eyes

    @12 “there’s no place for sexual violence in videogames”. Even going on the tenuous premise that this constitutes serious sexual violence, who are you to say what any medium should and shouldn’t portray?

    Sure, if they were presenting a game that was “rape anyone you want”, then it would be far more questionable, but with something as silly and surreal as this, and with a 18+ certificate, there’s no question to me that the developers should be able present it.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DSB

    Whether the classification board was on the side of good taste or not was never the question. The fact that they truly believe themselves to be rulers of how grown men and women, and how they consume entertainment, is.

    I don’t think the anal probe will add anything to the game either, but then I can just leave it the hell alone, and I don’t see a scenario in which Australia would be destroyed by a pandemic of brainwashed anal rapists on that account.

    Antiquated reactionary morality courts have no purpose in the 21st century. They didn’t fit into the 20th either.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. silkvg247

    Stopped reading here Brenna.. sorry, I normally respect your articles but I just can’t take your opinion seriously:

    ” am embarrassed by the purple dildo bat, and although I’m yet to see it in action, I’m very troubled by the anal probe gun.

    The problem is that a dildo is a sexual object. ”

    No sweetheart, a 40 inch long, approx 15″ girth purple dildo is not a sexual object. Certainly not for any male or female human being I’ve ever come across.

    It’s a joke, a parody. Smacking people and cars and cops with it is comedy. If it were a regular sized black dildo which you thrust into people cavities whilst they scream for you to stop, then I can see it being a problem.

    It isn’t sexual violence at all – at a push it is sexual COMEDY but largely for me it is just downright silliness and doesn’t feel sexual at all.

    If games news journalists of all people can’t differentiate between a joke and a serious and offensive theme then we’re all screwed. Next they’ll be banning actual dildos in shops for fear of them being used to rob a fucking bank. :p

    I also find it a tad daft you are commenting on the anal probe gun whilst admitting you haven’t actually seen it in action – furthermore you side with the classification board without seeing whatever it was they banned the first game for.. sorry but.. what?

    Do you think that a, the protagonist holds a victim down and anally rapes them or b, that the gun fires into a guys ass and launches him into space? I’ll give you a clue, it’s saints row. It’s b. It’s meant as fun.

    For what it’s worth I also wish they’d stuck to the 50/50 serious/fun ratio SR2 had. I do. But to pretend SR3 and SR4 are anything other than pure silliness, is rubbish. How can anyone in their right mind even try to take them seriously enough to be offended. I worry about people, I really do.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. NeoSquall

    Where were you, Brenna, when Running with Scissors allowed people in Postal 2 to use cats as pistol silencers by brutally plugging the barrel in their butts, with apparently no pixelation whatsoever?

    Postal 2 = animal brutality in its “real world”
    Saints Row IV = slapstick assault with an impossible sexual object in a virtual simulation of the game’s “real world”, with the backsides pixelated as well as all porn-ish situations

    #18 2 years ago
  19. tmac2011

    idk , but GTA san andreas you could get a purple dildo in it and beat people up. but their was more insane. for me this game will just be dlc….. its not even another city or anything.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Meta_Dragon

    @19
    Well that’s how this sequel started was DLC. That fact that little has been changed should be reason enough to not run out and buy this title right away.

    Regardless, I don’t see this game glorifying murder or violence. And I’m pretty sure glorifying rape would do damage to a company. It’s not like the character is holding down a defenseless woman and raping them. There is not a mini-game where you rape someone.

    This game is not to be taken seriously. It’s not a documentary. If anything, the bible has more sexual violence then this game.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. ps3fanboy

    @5, @8, @10, @11 Amen to that.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. minxamo

    This article is just plain fucking retarded.

    Brenna seems to believe that rape is worse than murder, since running people down with cars is perfectly fine, but beating them round the head with an object which could potentially be used for sex is WHOLLY UNNACCEPTABLE.

    Granted rape victims are more likely to be offended than murder victims (they tend to be pretty chilled out) but that doesn’t mean that the depiction of the crime is less acceptable in a video game, especially when it is, at most, a light-hearted reference to it, in a game which prides itself on ridiculousness.

    Personally I think it’s a bit forced and immature anyway, but objecting on moral grounds is like saying large scale destruction should be omitted from Battlefield to avoid offending 9/11 victims.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. silkvg247

    It’s like accusing a little boy of being a sexual predator if he draws a cartoon penis headbutting a dude in the face.

    Really, it is.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Schwarzerwind

    I have to agree with everyone who basically said:

    “So to recap. Murder is OOOK!

    Headshots, groin shots, automatic weapons, rocket launchers, sticky grenades, they were asking for it! They were coming right for me!

    But a giant purple dildo bat that you smack people with? WHAT KIND OF MONSTER ARE YOU?!”

    #24 2 years ago
  25. YoungZer0

    “We live in a culture which blames victims and instead of teaching do not rape, teaches us do not get raped.”

    Oh boy, it’s that silly slutwalk slogan.

    First of all: No, we really don’t. Nowhere do you see judges letting rapists go because the victim was dressed or behaved in a certain way. Rape is a crime. The end.

    The only place people are taught that rape is your fault is prison. That’s actual rape culture. For some unknown reason prison rape is nowhere to be found on any rape study. Prove again that this is actual rape culture.

    Second: The Slutwalk movement was created by dozens of morons who have poor reading skills. The movement is the reaction to Constable Michael Sanguinetti’s quote: “You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here, I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.”

    He said that to 10 students. Nowhere did he say rape. That’s actual fucking advise. He lost his job for this if remember correctly.

    It’s not victim blaming when I tell my godchild not to talk to strangers. It’s not victim blaming when I tell my friend not to wear expensive clothes in poor neighborhoods.

    It’s advice.

    Like it or not, the reality is you can increase or decrease your chance of being the victim of a crime. But no one is going to blame you for that. It’s still the criminal who choose to do you wrong.

    #enoughwiththenaivebullshitwearenotkidsanymore

    To the topic: #4 pretty much said it all.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. broomburgo

    @13, @15
    I linked the Jimquisition video becuase it represents my thoughs in the best possible way, but I’ll elaborate.

    First, I’m not saying that the censors are right: censorship is always bad, because it removes only the effect of the attitude that produced the censored content in the first place. But the fact that you are physically able to do something doesn’t mean that you should, and doesn’t mean that what you produced is necessarily good and shouldn’t be criticized and labeled as “bad”.

    I’m not supporting the Australian Classification Board, but I think Brenna is right about her concern: the article’s message is that sexual violence has no place in videogames, and I agree. In fact, I think sexual violence, much more than murder, should only be depicted as bad, evil, unrewarding, and certainly not something you can do to spend your free time, even in a interactive medium.

    In videogames, you usually murder a lot of beings: animals, humans, aliens, bad humans, good humans, so and so humans and so on. But you don’t murder “just to”: you murder for a purpose, and even if the purpose is not exactly benevolent, like expanding your turf by killing opponents, it’s still a purpose.

    Also, the violence in killing is usually depicted in a unrealistic fashion, and anybody, even a kid, is able to see to difference between and actual murder and a fantasy murder: actual murders are disturbing, gruesome, at a point that even if you score a million kills in Call of Duty, you won’t be even remotely desensitized to violence. Violence in murder is an accessory: you’re doing your duty, and it happens that to do that you were given a loaded bazooka and your target is among other unaware people. You’ll be shown a lot of gore details, but you’ll forget them after mere minutes.

    But if someone creates a videogame in which the whole goal is to kill helpless children in front of the respective crying parents, and nothing else, would you like that? No other purpose than that: just the crude violent murder of innocent kids, while their parents scream and beg for mercy. If you enjoy that game, you have problems; it’s not like you are acquiring influence, wealth and power through violence in a fantasy world: I enjoy doing that, and the means is not relevant because is a fantasy world. But gruesome murder of innocents just for the sake of it is not the same thing. Also, consider this: in the child murder example, you’ll probably have children crying and parents screaming in despair: your action has consequences, there’s a grim feedback in the same moment you are executing your targets, but you ignore that feedback, and that feedback is exactly the same that you’ll get if you do this kind of thing in the real world.

    In the real world you wouldn’t kill anybody, in the fantasy world you can without consequences, but if you actually HAVE these consequences, the same that you would have in the real world, and you ignore them, then your act is equally despicable, because you are trivializing something that in the real world would hurt anybody, except for psychopaths. And rapists, leading to my second point.

    When I say that sexual violence has no place in videogames, I mean that in our current society sexual violence is not something that should be trivialized at any level, and that’s much more important than trivializing murder. If kill someone in a game, it’s done, no consequences, no one will miss that person, and you can achieve the goal for reaching which the murder was needed; but if you practice sexual violence, you are (your character is) doing it because you enjoy the act per se: you don’t need to do that to reach your goal, it’s not needed, but you do it anyway. Now, sexual violence poses some problems that murder doesn’t:

    1) it’s mostly one way only, it imposes a supremacy of males over females in the same fashion as other psychopathic activities like christian domestic discipline and bride “ownership”;

    2) you ignore the real time consequences, like your victim begging for mercy;

    3) you are consciously doing something that burdens your victim of a lifetime of psychological damage just to have fun; in videogames, your victim is not real, but she is there anyway, you can see her and hear her;

    4) rape is not treated like a despicable activity enough in our society: blaming the victim if frequent, the “don’t dress like that” argument is frequent; I don’t mean it often happens in court, I don’t think it does, but it’s a diffused opinion among the general public;

    So I don’t think videogames as a medium are ready to treat this topic, sexual violence, with the proper weight: I mean, every time I read a gamer girl’s opinion on the topic, or I talk to one about it, the feedback is the same I receive about sexualization and objectification of females: they are bad, they make females uncomfortable, and they help perpetrate the underlying machismo in out society; so, even if I feel that these things are bad in videogames, I cannot probably really understand how much they are bad.

    I enjoy some sexual fetishes, and I’m turned on by stuff that I would never do in real life, but I think that the fact that you’re making your victim suffer with a violent act of supremacy while you basically ignore, or even enjoy, your victim cries is something that no one sane should enjoy doing. Obviously this is a superficial statement: I’m not judging anybody as a whole just by that, but I most certainly would consider it as a factor.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. salarta

    Actually, we live in a culture of “do not rape” that has some idiotic elements inside it that are doing their best to turn the culture into one of “do not get raped.” The latter are failing. This is evidenced by nothing more than the Steubenville rape case making headlines, and the “slut walks” that were a response to the one police officer’s remarks.

    Keep in mind that in some countries, it’s still entirely within the laws of those countries that a woman that gets raped is then legally punished for having been raped while the rapist goes free.

    That said, I’ve been saying time and again that formerly strong female characters are being treated horribly, especially in attempted reboots. At least in the past, strong female protagonists with their sex appeal put out there could have been interpreted as empowering. “Look at her, she’s sexy and she knows it, she wears what she wants when she wants.” They were based in male fantasy, yes, but the characters were still depicted as happy and comfortable with their bodies. Today, the running theme is to have the women wearing impractical or sexually pleasing clothes while simultaneously having them act cowardly and/or depicting them getting beat up and smacked around, torn clothes and dirt and deep cuts and all, things male characters never get.

    Back to the implications of rape in games, here’s the difference between virtual murder and virtual rape. Virtual murder is to some extent a necessary evil for most video games, and even if we took things very literally, people inherently know the boundaries that constitute murder, and that it’s bad both morally and legally. A murdered person also doesn’t have to live with having been murdered. All of that isn’t applicable for virtual rape. Virtual rape isn’t necessary for any gameplay mechanics, what counts as rape is something with undefined boundaries in society, and a rape victim has to live with the aftereffects of having been raped.

    There’s also a very real difference in that virtual murder tends to be seen in the same sphere as a carnival wooden duck shooting game because no actual people are harmed, but with virtual rape, what happens is that all the bundled issues of rape are devalued as if a person that’s been raped and everything they go through in the aftermath has the approximate value of an object free to be used and abused for the fun of others.

    Technically, rape is a perfectly legitimate topic for video games to cover, so long as it’s handled with all the seriousness and respect that such a big issue deserves. Video games could provide a sense of what it’s like to feel powerless, and to show and express the very real aftereffects.

    But that’s the problem. We’re not collectively mature enough for video games to cover rape and similar issues with the seriousness they deserve. Someone’s bound to say and think that we’re all mature adults and more than capable of mature subject material, and I would say that they’re wrong.

    Resident Evil 5 depicted a Jill Valentine that was body-controlled for two years, forced to murder her old allies and wear a highly suggestive bodysuit while taking orders from a man she hated to work against everything she ever stood for… and yet, what Jill went through is treated like it’s nothing compared to the “suffering” of Chris seeing Jill that way, and Jill gets no resolution to her trauma. Jill was essentially body-raped and RE5 handled it with the maturity of a spoiled child only concerned with how it might affect his play time. 3rd Birthday depicts an “Aya Brea” that acts terrified at the very prospect of combat, and runs around in everything from ripped jeans and a vest to maid outfits and bikinis, with the clothes tearing off her body every time she takes damage. “To be realistic,” claimed Hajime Tabata. “To titillate by showing more skin, boob and ass,” said everyone else. And of course, Tomb Raider, which treats such issues more like a gimmick to pick up the new game and start selling copies of a dead franchise, going against the way the franchise and the character used to be to follow the same logic as a teenage boy that thinks looking at boobs makes him an adult.

    Other people may see it differently, but the things I’ve seen with these games comes across to me as “hurting and traumatizing women is sexy and cool, especially if they’re expected to be tough.”

    I wish we were mature enough to handle mature subjects in a mature fashion. Sadly, we’re not. We were closer to that point ten years ago when we had games like Parasite Eve, and people had the presence of mind to make new franchises when an idea wasn’t appropriate for existing ones. Someone’s bound to disagree with me, which is perfectly within their rights, but I think we took a big intellectual and philosophical backstep this generation, and a few genuinely progressive games can’t make up for the general trend.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. broomburgo

    @27
    I agree with every single word, and I’m getting tired of seeing these things in video games: that’s why I agree with Brenna, we don’t need to trivialize something that’s disturbing and despicable, and we should not. We can actually see that, despite lots of journalists writing about sexual topics in videogames, they’re still treated very badly, and the industry is not exactly moving forward because most of the (male) audience is still acting like nothing’s wrong.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. silkvg247

    @28 I agree we shoudln’t trivialize certain things but the big mistake here is we’re putting SR4 in the spotlight when there are dozens of other worse offenders that would be far more apt when discussing rape and violence. At least SR is a piss take and everyone with sense knows it.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. salarta

    @28: Yes. I don’t think it’s much wonder that women are still treated poorly at events like E3 when we’re supporting backslide on these kinds of issues so thoroughly in the games we consume. It’s a two-way street; the games we support and the reasons we claim to support them tell the industry where to go with their games. It doesn’t require a company to go around and ask consumers individually what they like, it just takes companies seeing which games make money and which do not.

    I think there’s very occasionally some cases where certain individuals in the industry are unintentionally ignorant to the way people think and act about content in this industry. A well-meaning project can easily be perverted by corporate interests seeing something sells and more or less fetishizing it. It’s not just issues like sexual violence, it includes things like “Hey, shooters are selling, obviously we need to turn everything into a shooter even if there’s no reason to do it and it makes the franchise worse.”

    #30 2 years ago
  31. DSB

    @25 That’s not entirely true. Especially in the US where your success in court can really depend on where that court is located.

    For example a court in Texas recently ruled that it’s perfectly legitimate to kill a hooker if she takes your money and doesn’t give you sex.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/06/06/1214238/-WTF-In-Texas-you-can-shoot-an-escort-who-won-t-sleep-with-you

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Fin

    @30

    God yeah. With comments sections like these, is it any wonder women are alienated from the games industry?

    Anyway, an anal probe weapon, does anyone think that’s pushing forward the games industry? Maybe it’s funny to teenage boys, but anyone with a lick of sense or maturity should see it as crude and puerile.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. DSB

    @32 There’s a pretty huge leap from seeing something as crude and puerile, to actually making it illegal.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. fearmonkey

    Admittedly, when I saw the dildo weapon I was turned off by the game, and never tried it. I didnt care for the for two GTA type games either. I tried “The Third” on a Steam free weekend and loved it though. I ended up getting it and all the mission DLC. It’s a good game and alot of fun, and I would be happy if they took out the extremely juvenile stuff out for the next game, I won’t miss it at all.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. silkvg247

    To be honest I hope they don’t stop at anal probe guns – I won’t be happy til I have a nuclear dildo.

    @32 The saints row games are the only sandbox games I know of that don’t alienate women. Because you can be a woman. In any shape or size you want. And then you can smack people around with giant dildos or tanks.. your choice. You don’t suffer strength penalties for being female. You don’t suffer any detriment at all – you go out there and you kick ass. You are a powerful, unstoppable woman. How many other games give us that?

    @34 The dildos etc are completely optional. :)

    #35 2 years ago
  36. salarta

    @32: I think a lot of people say things and haven’t thought about the actual underlying issues. A lot of it appears to be kneejerk reaction, and a lot of it seems to be based purely in “I like this thing, therefore it’s perfect and I will defend it as such.” Which is another thing that makes me think that gamers as a collective aren’t mature enough to handle mature subjects yet. We can’t even admit when something we like simultaneously carries some really heinous elements, spend more time finding excuses to say they’re not so bad after all.

    Quite honestly, I find myself coming close to falling into that same trap sometimes, increasingly vulnerable to it if I’m arguing with someone depending on if they’re doing it. I had a kneejerk response of “SR4′s anal probe is fine” just because I’m looking forward to the game, but stopped to actually think about the issue. Likewise, I almost defended The Last Of Us using Ellen Page’s likeness (or rather, a modification of it) before I took the time to really think about why Ellen Page would be concerned about such a thing.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. Belmont

    This way of thinking that says: Rape is worse because the person has to live with it for years…
    The second part of the statement is correct,but don’t I get it. We are talking about a over-the-top and unrealistic (and probably not that graphical) portraying of something stupid. Even in that case, I think-and I strongly defend this thought- that Murder and Rape are on equal grounds in terms of their Evil.
    But by reading some comments I wonder that perhaps Rape is worse than Murder, because the person who is murdered never protests about it !
    I can cut someone in half with chainsaw(Geow) and butcher them with precise sword blows (MGR Rising)-all with intense graphical detail. But an over-the-top thing in an unrealistic games is… worrying?

    #37 2 years ago
  38. silkvg247

    @36

    Again, if the game showed actual realistic sexual violence and suffering then there’d be an issue.

    Since there doesn’t, then the actual issue here is that some people can’t tell fiction apart from reality.

    Heck, I don’t care one way or another that there is cartoon violence in SR and it happens to sometimes involve firing a cartoon probe up a cartoon guys butt and watching him fly off. I can live with or without it. it isn’t offensive.. I struggle to believe that anyone could be offended by it, and if so, surely they must also take offense to a kid drawing a cartoon dick in their Dad’s windscreen since it’s the same level of childish humour.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. PEYJ

    I feel the biggest problem in this case (and many other video game cases) is that bad taste (I think it’s fair to call SR that) is kind of “writing” contemporary history through it’s possibilities, expression and the stir it causes.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Jerykk

    The argument that rape is worse than murder because the person continues to suffer after the act is silly. Guess what? When you’re dead, you can no longer feel joy. You will never see your loved ones again. You will never get to play with your kids again. You’ll never pet your dog again. All the experiences that make life enjoyable are no longer possible. Any potential you had is now lost. Anyone who cared about you will now suffer far more than they would if you had only been raped. The impact of murder is far more significant than the impact of rape.

    Also, there are people here that seem to think that using the anal probe in SR4 will essentially trigger a realistic and prolonged rape scene like the one in Irreversible. I seriously doubt that will be the case. It will be handled in a very quick, silly and over-the-top manner, much like everything else in the game. To even call it “rape” is ridiculous, as I seriously doubt players will be derive sexual pleasure from doing it.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. Fin

    @35

    “The saints row games are the only sandbox games I know of that don’t alienate women”

    Really? You don’t think “Whored” mode was the tiniest bit misogynistic?

    @36

    Yeah, I think the knee-jerk reaction of gamers has become quite common recently. It’s a near fundamentalist defense of games (and the industry) from any outward attack. Oh, you’re stopping us from doing something? Or you think we’re wrong? NO YOU’RE WRONG BECAUSE [insert personal attack here]!

    PS Everyone shut the fuck up about which is worse, rape or murder, its making you all look like fucking morons.

    #41 2 years ago
  42. DSB

    @38 Yeah, it’s funny how some people can be completely seduced by an unassuming title and a “noble cause”.

    Imagine if the Australian Classification Board was called the Holy Islamic Council of Morality. I’m sure some people would have a slightly different opinion.

    (It doesn’t have to be Islamic, though. Divine Catholic Morality Council would work too!)

    Censor something for “the kids” and you’re a hero. Censor something for Allah or Yahweh, and you’re a tyrant.

    There’s absolutely no difference in how or why they do what they do, both are unrepresentative, unqualified minorities who are inexplicably empowered to decide on behalf of a majority, leaving no possibility for that majority to intervene or speak for themselves.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. The Dude

    @41 Dude, you just made a point about people being fundamentalist in their defence of games and dropping personal insults… and then finish with this thoughtful gem:

    “PS Everyone shut the fuck up about which is worse, rape or murder, its making you all look like fucking morons.”

    Sorry if I’ve mistaken that quote for a joke or something, but I think it’s a totally valid discussion point in the case of this topic.

    Again, really sorry to be a “fucking moron” there, Fin.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. salarta

    @37: I think you do make a good point that murder and rape are both evil acts. Rape being bad doesn’t make murder not bad, nor does it mean that murder’s “less bad” compared to rape. But there are very different problems at play. Rape involves trauma, and traumatizing a person. If they’re still alive after having been raped, it’s a very deep wound. We have people that are still alive, that were raped, that have to see how the world depicts the kind of things they went through. You’re not going to find someone that was murdered (though you may find people that nearly died from a murder attempt).

    So, we’re not going to see people that were murdered having to watch someone turn the experience of having been murdered into a parody. But we will see people that were raped having to watch the act or one like it that made them suffer, and for many continues to do so, treated like it’s all fun and games.

    @38: The only answer I can give you, at least at the moment, is what I said above.

    @40: You make good points on the impact of murder, which shouldn’t be ignored or taken for granted, but there’s a distinct difference between observing the loss of life from an outsider’s perspective that comes with murder and experiencing and having to continue to experience the shame, violation and loss of self-dignity and self-respect that comes with rape. And note, for people not following along, that saying many rape victims feel shame is NOT the same thing as saying that being raped is something they should be ashamed of. That’s victim blaming, and my saying that many victims feel shame is pointing out that many blame themselves even though they shouldn’t.

    Though I have to be completely honest, this does make me start to question just how justified we are to have games that involve killing things. Just because it’s the standard operating procedure doesn’t mean it’s instantly appropriate.

    Rape is not about sexual pleasure. It’s about power, domination and “ownership.” People too often mistake the sexual gratification that is achieved during rape with the reason for doing it. Rape is not about sex.

    @41: While I’m glad to see your comment agreeing with me, I also agree with TheDude that I think the issue of murder vs rape is a valid topic. At this point, if I had to choose between “rape and killing things are both acceptable in games” or “rape and killing things don’t belong in games,” I’m going for the latter if those are my only options.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. TheRealMrCreeper

    Ok, I Admit It, The Dildo Bat Gone Over The Top.

    BUT WHO CARES?!

    That’s what gives Saints Row More Appeal In The Gamer’s Eyes And Mind.

    Stop Bitching about how “Sexually Violent” It is, ITS JUST A GAME!!!

    It’s not real life, Just A Game Made By A team of Developers made for the whole world’s entertainment.

    The Australian Government Needs To Calm They’re Tits.

    Its just a game, it has a warning label, the people should get to decide what they’re children play on they’re Gaming Console, Not the whole damn government.

    If i get a Gaming Company, Australia is not going to get my games if it keeps on demanding edits of completely harmless games.

    -TheRealMrCreeper From Youtube.com

    #45 2 years ago
  46. Jerykk

    @44

    Ultimately, everything you do in an action game is about power. By murdering hordes of enemies/random civilians, you feel empowered. So if empowerment is the objective of rape, then the gratification you derive from killing stuff in games isn’t all that different.

    As for the impact of rape depictions (again, I use the term loosely in regards to the anal probe) on players who have been traumatized by rape, one could easily apply the same logic to those whose friends or family have been murdered. If my brother had been murdered during a carjacking, would I not be more sensitive to carjackings in GTA or SR? If my wife had been killed in a hit and run, would I not be more sensitive to running people over in said games? If my son had been gunned down in the street, would I not be more sensitive to shootings in these games?

    Bottom line is that rape and murder are both terrible acts that cause long-term suffering to either the victims or the people that care about them. That’s why demanding the censorship of one but not the other is inherently stupid. The depictions of murder in Saints Row are comically unrealistic, making them less offensive. Likewise, the depictions of “rape” via anal probe are also comically unrealistic, making them less offensive.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. silkvg247

    @41 Have you even played the game? Whored mode pitches ridiculous waves of enemies of both genders towards the player. It’s called Whored because it’s a play on words (horde) and the “whores” are both male and female.. or not even a gender at all. Thus there’s nothing sexist about it. My female avatar loved every second of it as did the female gamer behind her.

    If you are trying to find a reason to label SR with sexism then you are way, way off base. As I’ve written before, one of the worse forms of sexism is exclusion (http://wp.me/p3l6Dk-2). SR includes women 100% as much as men, both as the targets (npcs) and the player. You can’t call sr3 sexist towards women when there’s semi naked guys in gimp suits on the street. You just can’t. It targets everyone, so that no particular audience can or should be offended. Which is what makes it great.

    If you do try and segregate out our gender in a game like SR and pretend we’re the victims, then all you do is make it out like we’re the superior gender and it’s fine to blow up guys and it’s fine for male prostitutes to be in there but don’t dare treat women like that. Trying to make us to be the stronger gender is a ridiculous notion when we’re talking about equality. SR has more equality than any game I’ve ever played, period.

    You should target your energies towards games that exclude women altogether or only cast them as a piece of eye candy or victory reward or a cheap fuck. Like GTA and it’s prostitutes. Just saying.

    SR should be celebrated for it’s versatility and the fact we can all enjoy it however the hell we please and that we are ALL targets of it’s stereotypes and humor.

    #47 2 years ago
  48. salarta

    @46: You’re stretching the definition of what you do being about power, there. That, or this is a simple misunderstanding, failure on my part to make the way it works clear enough.

    When I said rape is about power, it’s nowhere near comparable to a video game. The most obvious reason is that a video game is something that isn’t actually living, but more importantly, rape is about power as in power over the other person. Most, but not all, rape cases in developed countries come about between people that already knew each other. And I only limit to ‘developed countries’ because while I read that most rape cases involve people who knew each other, I considered war conditions in Africa and the Middle East. The act of rape isn’t merely a matter of the physical act, it’s the intentions behind the physical act, which are very personal.

    Killing enemies in a video game is impersonal, largely treated like animated cardboard cutouts because an actual person isn’t hurt in the real world. Treating rape with the same level of indifference as killing enemies is essentially saying that rape is that impersonal, that a person getting raped is fair game to be treated like it’s for kicks.

    Also as I’ve said before, the boundaries of what constitutes rape makes it even more difficult and murky. There’s absolutely no question of what constitutes murder: you kill someone, you’re a murderer. But with rape, we have actual arguments out there about if women secretly wanted sex if they get pregnant, and suggestions that a woman that got drunk and didn’t resist or went along with the suggestions made by others in that impaired state couldn’t count as rape. We know a drunk person letting someone else kill them still makes the person that killed them a murderer. And while many of us know a drunk person letting someone rape them still makes the rapist into a rapist, the overall society still entertains the idea that it’s up for debate.

    #48 2 years ago
  49. Devianza

    Here’s the thing, there’s a pretty large interest in sexual content in video games, its just there’s a stigma to it so many don’t go on Gamespot, this site, and others and go on about how they’d like it if there was sex in Saints Row. But the thing is, there are various large modding communities for Skyrim, Sims, Oblivion, Dragon Age, New Vegas, and numerous other titles that are devoted to all sorts of sex mods, from consensual sex mods to rape mods. And if one opened their eyes, they’d see that many Japanese titles are sex games, Illusion and Teatime are extremely successful. The success of the first Nude Raider mod should be evidence enough the interest is there.

    The haters like to be crude and call those who like games with sexual content losers, or they like to say they need a real life girlfriend or are juvenile. But they seem to not realize the reason some like lets say the Oblivion mods because it allows them to enjoy kinks that aren’t legal in the real world, and that sex sells in all forms. It doesn’t matter if its the real thing, a cartoon, or a video game.

    #49 2 years ago

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    One of the stranger and more beautiful stories to manifest in the gaming world this week, I think. Elite: Dangerous has given birth to an unintended, emergent style of gameplay; a destruction derby like affair where players gather in no combat areas to both race and gleefully smash into each other until a victor limps […]

  • Destiny’s stunning landscapes captured in panoramas

    Destiny has some beautiful environments, which screenshots don’t necessarily do justice to. Walking around Destiny exclaiming over the lighting effects and the tiny animated details is the best way to experience Bungie’s tremendous achievements, but these panorama images stitched together from in-game screenshots are a good second. Click to see them fullsize. Redditor CenturyEagle made […]

  • Star Wars Disney Infinity re-release on the cards – rumour

    Star Wars is a no-brainer for Disney Infinity, and at long last it looks like it’s happening. A Star Wars re-release called Disney Infinity 3.0 has reportedly leaked from German retailers. We have to lable this one a rumour as we haven’t seen the original source, but the story was originally reported by DisKingdom, which […]

  • Award-winning mobile indie Monument Valley out now on Windows Phone

    Windows Phone’s game selection can be a bit restrictive, but has expanded delightfully today: Monument Valley is now available. Monument Valley is one of those gorgeous, mind-bending puzzlers the indie scene produces on the regular, winning awards and consuming everyone’s lives for weeks on end. Developed by Ustwo Games, with beautiful, understated art from Ken […]

  • Old-school EverQuest servers safe from legal troubles thanks to Daybreak agreement

    EverQuest rights holder Daybreak Game Company given its blessing to the wonderful Project 1999. EverQuest: Project 1999 is one of those lovely ideas that it are all too often crushed by the realities of the games industry. An entirely fan-managed affair, it provides an emulated version of the classic EverQuest experience, which is no longer […]

  • Free Dragon Age short stories fill us in on Corypheus’s followers

    Dragon Age: Inquisition developer BioWare invites you to learn more about the lore and characters that make up its beautiful role-playing setting. Dragon Age is set in Thedas, a world still only partially revealed by the three core games to date. BioWare puts a heck of a lot of work into its worldbuilding, employing a […]

  • Remember that gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo? It now utilizes DirectX 12

    Remember the gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo Square Enix showed off three years ago? The firm showed it again at Microsoft’s Build Conference, this time utilizing DirectX 12. The Witch Chapter 0 [cry] real-time tech demo was created from research Square conducted using real-time CG technology and DX12 in collaboration with Microsoft and Nvidia. The […]

  • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones sneaks onto GOG and Steam services

    Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones can now be purchased through GOG and Steam. On both services it will run you £12.99/€14.99/$14.99. Links here and here. The game features: Fully explorable ‘Metroidvania’ style overworld, laying siege to a diabolical cloning facility with varied and detailed environments. A variety of special equipment to unlock new […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC Ascendance has arrived on PC, PlayStation consoles

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players on PC and PlayStation consoles can now download the Ascendance DLC. The second content pack contains the OHM weapon, the OHM Werewolf custom variant, and the second entry in the Exo Zombies saga, Infection. Four new maps are also included: Perplex, Site 244, Climate, and Chop Shop. Ascendance was […]

  • Latest Xbox 360 system update is live, now supports 2TB hard drives

    Xbox 360 now supports 2TB hard drives via the latest system update for the console. Support for the drives was announced earlier this month and has been available for preview members. “In addition we will also no longer reserve space in advance on your hard drive,” said the firm. “If you are using 16GB of […]

  • Kickstarter for Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee launches tomorrow

    Playtonic Games has announced the Kickstarter campaign for its spiritual successor to the Banjo Kazooie series, Yooka-Laylee, will launch tomorrow. The title of the game was announced today along with the Kickstarter date. Formerly known as Project Ukulele, the 3D platformer is said to be “between the size of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie,” and stars Yooka […]

  • Console version of Mistwalker’s Terra Battle is in development

    Now that Mistwalker’s Terra Battle has surpassed 2 million downloads on mobile, the developer is now working on a console version of the tactical RPG. As part of the original Download Starter campaign, the 2 million milestone means the company will begin development on Terra Battle’s console version with details to be announced at a […]

  • Prison break game The Escapists is heading to PlayStation 4 from May 29

    The Escapists, Mouldy Toof’s prison break game originally released as a timed console exclusive Xbox One, has a release date for PlayStation 4. For those unfamiliar with the title, which is also a PC release, it tasks players’ time management skills as they do a bit of digging and crafting, and other prison-type stuff as […]

  • Dead Island 2 delayed into 2016 to ensure series is “taken to the next level”

    Dead Island 2 has been delayed into 2016 by Yager in order to ensure the sequel “takes Dead Island to the next level.” According to a tweet from the developer, it set “big goal” for the game, and in order to deliver what fans expect, the team needs more time to reach development goals. “We […]

  • Project Cars: here’s a list of all available cars at launch

    Project Cars will contain many, many cars and if we are counting correctly, there will be 74 total at launch. The standard edition contains 65 total, and when factoring the free car as well as the Modified and Limited Edition cars packs, you can add an additional nine cars to the mix. Comb through the […]

  • Competitive matchmaking support is coming to Team Fortress 2

    Team Fortress 2 will soon feature support for competitive matchmaking, which Valve says is a “high priority” project for it at the moment. According to a report from TeamFortress.tv, which visited Valve headquarters recently, Valve is looking into the possibility of 6v6 or 9v9 matches 9v9, a possible quick play option and it is also […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch fixes garage, Job crashes – full notes here

    Rockstar has pushed out a 353 MB patch for GTA 5 on PC The patch fixes a number of annoying bugs related to vehicles and garages, some deathmatch issues and purchase errors. It should also fix various freezing and crashing bugs, as well as a little issue with Steam. Time will tell if the patch […]

  • Fire Emblem If will come in White Kingdom and Black Kingdom versions with amiibo support

    We’ve finally got some juicy details on the next Fire Emblem game, but the most interesting aspect is that there will be two versions of the game. According to Siliconera, who translated an interview between Intelligent Systems and 4Gamer, there will a White Kingdom and a Black Kingdom version that offer different aspects of the […]

  • Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess heads west with “Golden Toilet” pre-order bonus

    Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess will debut on western PlayStation 4 systems this summer, Koei Tecmo has announced. It is also coming to PS3 and Vita. The game was produced by Keisuke Kikuchi of Fatal Frame fame and takes up where Deception 4: Blood Ties left off allowing players to relive Laegrinna’s pursuit to free […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario demo, Paper Mario, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo of Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition, Paper Mario on Virtual Console, and amiibo Tap. The full update is below. eShop update amiibo Tap – free – Wii U Star Wars Pinball DLC – Wii U Paper Mario – Wii U […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PC port handed off to Nixxes

    The PC port of the new Deus Ex has been handed over to Netherlands based studio, Nixxes software. After the initial reveal trailer at the beginning of April, we’ve only had a few morsels in the way of additional news. The most intriguing tidbit to date has got to be the fact that you’ll be […]

  • First-ever PC Gaming Show to take place at E3 2015 in June

    PC gaming will finally have its very own E3 press conference this year, thanks to PC Gamer and AMD. The PC Gaming Show will take place on June 16 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles and it will be livestreamed on Twitch. PC Gamer said speakers at the presentation will include representatives from Blizzard, […]

  • Majora’s Mask light available now on Club Nintendo for 6000 stars

    Club Nintendo shuts up shop on September 30 and members are being encouraged to spend accumulated stars before then. And what better to spend them on, than this adorable Majora’s Mask light? If you’re a member based in Europe you can nab it for 6000 stars. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, it’ll only […]

  • Unity support announced for HoloLens, will work with Windows universal apps

    Microsoft is partnering with game engine developers Unity in order to make HoloLens compatible with apps and games which use the cross-platform engine. The partnership was announced yesterday during its Build Developer Conference. Universal apps for Windows 10 systems will also be available on Xbox One later this year, suggesting possible HoloLens functionality with the […]

  • Splatoon Nintendo Direct airs Thursday, May 7

    A Nintendo Direct focused on Splatoon, the Wii U multiplayer title, on May 7. It will kick off at 7am PDT/10am EDT/3pm UK and it can be watched via the Nintendo Direct website. You can also have a look at the game through Nintendo’s Twitch channel. The last game-specific presentation took place last week and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: clean up the streets as a member of the San Andreas PD with this new mod

    Remember the awesome mods for GTA 4 and San Andreas that let you run amok online as a member of the po-po? Well, dust off your taser and load up your gun, because it’s coming to GTA 5. The new mod for GTA 5 is currently in alpha and can be downloaded at palmbeachgames.com. You […]

  • Indie shoot ‘em up Project Root comes to Xbox One, PS4 and PSVita

    Project Root is a self-proclaimed rejig of the shoot ‘em up genre that was released on PC last year, and it’s finally coming to consoles. Combining free-roaming elements with the usual business of shooting things, Project Root was released this week for Xbox One, PS4 and the PSVita.

  • You can now bet on eSports online, starting with League of Legends

    If you’re getting bored with sticking a pony on the races, you can expand your gambling horizons at Unikrn where you can watch esports streams and get a little action on the side. The new platform was set up by Rahul Sood – previously the general manager of Microsoft Ventures. At the moment, customers are […]

  • Has Watch Dogs 2 been leaked?

    Ubisoft employee, Julien Risse, may have inadvertently confirmed Watch Dogs 2, thanks to his online CV over at LinkedIn. Videogamer.com spotted the slip up, in which Risse lists Watch Dogs, the DLC Bad Blood, and Watch Dogs 2 on his profile. Creative Director Jonathan Morin has already talked about his ideas for improvements for the […]

  • GTA 5′s Trevor makes his Jackass debut, complete with leopard-print knickers

    YouTuber Abstract Mode has shared his vision of what Trevor Philips’ life might have been like, had he not been completely batshit crazy. Watch Trevor get mauled, run over, and hit by a train, before taking a majestic swan-dive into someone else’s pool at the climax. Thanks, Kotaku.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 season pass will cost you £35

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 isn’t released until November 6, but you can already hand over your cash for the Season Pass. The Season Pass is available for pre-purchase on Steam for £34.99, and will cover four DLC packs – although the details we have on the content are limited to ‘exciting’ at this […]

  • GTA Online’s cheating assholes are no match for this player’s vengeance

    Think you’re smart for using invisibility and infinite ammo glitches? You need to be taught a lesson, sucker. You can have all the hacks you want but if your GTA Online game is weak, you’ll still get your ass handed to you. As this fool discovered when attempting to hassle another player. There’s a fair […]

  • PS4 sales help Sony’s games division swing to profit

    Sony’s PlayStation business has made an operating profit of 48.1 billion yen ($404m / £261.5m) in the past 12 months. That’s thanks to stellar sales of the PlayStation 4 and PS Plus, even as sales of the PS3 have stalled and the company wrote off costs for the PSTV and PS Vita. The profit puts […]

  • New patch for Dirt Rally gives co-driver’s attitude a tune-up

    Dirt Rally gets a new patch three days after release on Steam. On Monday, we reported that the newest Dirt game has popped up on Steam’s Early Access and is available to pick up for £24.99, as well as giving you an eyeful of tasty screenshots. The patch – released yesterday – fixes some issues […]

  • New The Witcher 3 screenshots show combat, exploration and general carousing

    New screenshots released on the official facebook page for The Witcher 3 show Geralt annihilating a winged beast, out and about in the world exploring, and living the life of Reily amidst a bustling feast. We were already treated to some glorious screenshots a few days ago, but these new ones are in-game and give […]

  • Destiny: 14 things you might have missed during House of Wolves intel drops

    Destiny: House of Wolves does a great deal more than just slap some new content on the existing game structure. House of Wolves changes Destiny in a lot of interesting and very welcome ways. Bungie showed off many of these changes in its livestream, and let both me and Arekkz come and have a look […]

  • Scratch that cyberpunk itch with Technobabylon on May 21 – new trailer

    Technobabylon more like Wrecked-yo-babbling with my smooth flow about how good Wadjet Eye games are. I don’t know y’all, it’s clock off time and everything feels like a reach. Wadjet Eye makes pretty good adventure games – award winning, in fact. The latest project to spring forth from the benevolent, sheltering hand of the label […]

  • Skullgirls 2nd Encore brings exclusive new features to PS4, Vita in northern summer

    Skullgirls, the little indie fighter that could, is getting another crack at it. Skullgirls 2nd Encore is the second re-release of the one-time troubled 2D versus fighter from lab Zero Games. Having survived the shut down of its developer and collapse of its publishing contrast, Skullgirls re-emerged as Skullgirls: Encore, adding in a ton of […]

  • Danganronpa series generates “impressive” sales for Vita exclusive

    Danganronpa is selling quite nicely, thank you, says NIS America. Danganronpa is a series of murder mystery visual novel puzzlers in a similar vein to games like 999. Two of these have been released for Vita in the west – Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair. Speaking to MCV, NIS America CEO and president Takuro […]

  • I have no idea what is going on in J-Stars Victory VS+ but I kind of like it

    In this J-Stars Victory VS+ trailer, we see – uhh. Well. We certainly see some things. Look y’all, I was a massive weaboo in high school, but that was back in the dark ages when we had to take out Manga Entertainment VHS tapes from dingy little specialist rental joints that were literally underground, and […]

  • Please just watch this terrific trailer for Toren

    Toren is the kind of game I dream about when I drift off to sleep at night. This indie puzzle adventure strikes a spark in my little soul in the same way as Ico and Tequila Works’ Rime do. Mysterious, almost ethereal fantasy setting – check. Chance to actually walk around in that setting – […]

  • Play classic MS-DOS games on your own tweets

    In today’s episode of “what will they think of next”, someone’s figured out how to post playable versions of classic games in tweets. For some time now, Twitter has allowed you to embed various forms of media in tweets, most noticeably YouTube videos, simply by pasting a URL into the compose field. Turns out this […]

  • VR: Unreal Engine to add HTC Vive support

    The biggest digital PC game distributor and the most popular game development engine have both backed VR. It’s going to happen. An upcoming Unreal Engine 4 update will expand the development suite’s support to the HTC Vive, Valve’s VR headset. In this glorious new future where work on one of the most important engines in […]

  • WWE 2K15 PC supports modding

    WWE 2K15 may be the series’ PC debut, but it’s already getting into the spirit of the platform. WWE 2K15 does indeed support mods on PC, 2K’s Marcus Stephenson has confirmed. @ElementGamesTV you can. Now buy. — Marcus Stephenson (@stephensonmc) April 28, 2015 As Destructoid points out, this opens the door to all sorts of […]

  • Overkill’s The Walking Dead coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2016

    Overkill’s The Walking Dead is one step closer to your grasping little paws. Overkill’s The Walking Dead will be published by 505 Games, Overkill parent Starbreeze has announced. 505 also published Payday 2, Overkill’s previous title, so the two companies have established a working relationship. In a press release, the publisher said the co-op title […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 pre-orders net Advanced Warfare DLC

    Buy Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for later, enjoy bonus Advanced Warfare content now. Blacks Ops 3 is being supported by a rather cunning pre-order incentive even more likely to get you to lay your cash down sooner than you might otherwise. Gamespot reports a Black Ops 3 pre-order will receive a couple of […]

  • Steam Game Ban system lets developers determine who to block

    Steam users can now be blocked from individual games by their developers. Steam has always supported multiplayer bans for disruptive users, but a newly-implemented system allows developers to ban users from individual games using their own anti-cheat systems. Game Bans are enforced by Valve, but are enacted at the developer’s request and discretion. This change […]

  • Far Cry 4 devs matching Red Cross donations up to $100K to aid Nepal earthquake victims

    Far Cry 4 developer Ubisoft Montreal will match any pledges made to The Red Cross up to $100,000 to aid Nepal after the 7.8 earthquake struck the area in and around Kathmandu in Nepal. According to Ubisoft: “Having spent the last few years working on Far Cry 4, a game heavily inspired by Nepal and […]

  • Tales of Zestiria retail listing notes September release date, PS4 version

    Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, and while it’s confirmed as a PlayStation 3 release, a Dutch retailer has it listed as coming to PS4 as well. Of course, listing it for PS4 could also be a typo, not that I would personally know about that sort of thing, really. However, according […]

  • Official mod tools for Total War: Attila are now available

    Official mod tools for Total War: Attila are now available and you can grab the new Assembly Kit as a beta through the tools menu via your Steam library. The Creative Assembly said the tools will be “immediately familiar” to modders of Rome 2 and Shogun 2, but the new version is the most “extensive” […]

  • How to get level 34 Ascended Raid gear in Destiny: House of Wolves

    Watch: two videos showing you how to get level 34 raid gear and a shopping list of what you need. One of the big changes that House of Wolves is bringing to Destiny is the chance to upgrade your weapons and gear to level 34. In these videos Arekkz Gaming shows you how to use […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves puts PvP back in the spotlight

    Destiny PvP players, your time has come to shine. New Crucible maps. New Crucible rewards. And the glorious wonder of Elimination mode. Destiny: House of Wolves puts PvP front and centre. When Destiny was first detailed, one of the things Bungie stressed was that there’d be something for everyone. If you wanted to play solo […]

  • Destiny: Trials of Osiris – everything you need to know in one video

    The Destiny: House of Wolves embargo has lifted, and with so much information floating around pertaining to Trials of Osiris, it can be overwhelming. Thankfully, Arekkz Gaming tells you everything you need to know in one video. In the video above you will be informed of how the 3v3 Team Deathmatch event works, how you […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch a Trials of Osiris match from start to finish

    With the release of Destiny: House of Wolves looming, players will soon be able to participate in the new 3v3 Team Deathmatch event in The Crucible, Trials of Osiris. Below is a video featuring an uncut, complete match from start to finish. In the video, Arekkz Gaming gives you a breakdown of the mode and […]