"The groping scenes in Dragon's Crown" article; a response

If you haven't read the article by Patricia that inspired this response, you can find it here.

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Patricia,

This is a really misleading article.

In fact, I find this article more offensive than anything I've seen in this game, and let me tell you, I find the art style of this game to be fucking abhorrent. This is just the latest in a long list of articles that have narked me, both on this site and otherwise. It's by no means the worst I've seen, but it's here, and it's the one that's just raised my ire, so it's getting it.

Straight away, the first thing we see; "The Groping Scenes In Dragon's Crown" is part of the headline. Let's throw in a picture of a buxom wench for good measure. That'll get the point across with the sledgehammer-to-the-face subtlety us Kotaku'ers need. But are these groping scenes? Or are we just trying to drum up a little more interest in the article by dressing them up as more than they are? And by doing that, aren't we only exacerbating the problems at hand here?

These aren't groping scenes. It's as simple as that. These are scenes in which you're talking to your chums and, as an easter egg, an easter egg that the game doesn't tell you about or in any way instruct you on how to perform, you can touch them for a response. I'm aware this caveat is covered later in the article, but brazenly opening an article with a headline calling these "the groping scenes" instantly misleads the reader into believing that the scenes are part of the game proper, i.e. something that the player is required to perform, or view.

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To me, this would be like talking about Metal Gear Solid 4 with an article title of "Those scenes where you make chicks in skin tight outfits dance while you take pictures of them". Yes, you can do that in Metal Gear Solid 4. But you have to go off the beaten path to do it. It's not part of the game proper.

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Does that change anything about what you see? No. It's ridiculous, and you could quite easily ask some valid questions about why it was included in the game, but raising those questions in this skewed manner would almost certainly receive backlash, and rightly so. By the same token, knowing that these easter eggs in Dragon's Crown are easter eggs rather than required parts of the game doesn't change anything. Easter egg, cut-scene, reward for beating the game; it doesn't change anything. These are absolutely ridiculous.

I know that these are ridiculous, and I'm happy to talk about how ridiculous they are, but I don't need to be coaxed into it with an intelligence insulting, overly biased article. I don't need to see misleading article headlines to draw me in.

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What really narks me about this type of "journalism" is that it's actually counter-productive to the good cause you're presumably fighting for. There's a very good argument to be made against a lot of the things we see in video games, and we don't need bias clouding the issues.

You see, when you use obvious bias, with an obvious agenda like this, it makes everything else you say, even the iron clad stuff, seem less genuine. If a guy comes up to me and tells me a story about how he once trained his dog to recite the Gettysburg Address, and then tells me the sky is blue, I'm going to look up to check. He lost my trust when his cocker spaniel woofed "four score and seven years ago".

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Worse still, while this game is accused of using sexism to sell, this article is just as guilty of using sexism to attract to readers, and that's what I find really offensive. The second you take something like this and skew it to further your own agenda, you trivialise the cause that you're fighting for, and that's why it's counter-productive to employ this journalistic approach to serious issues. Sexism in gaming isn't a trivial issue, but it appears more-so every time someone is liberal with the facts like this.

I used this analogy in a post the other day about the Tropes Vs Women videos and why I have an issue with the way they're presented, and I'm going to use it again because it applies here. The reason I dislike Michael Moore documentaries (and to a much lesser extent those TvW videos) is that he presents the information in a skewed, often deceitful way despite the positive message at the core.

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What makes this annoying is that I know he's fighting for a good cause. I know he has valid points. But the method by which he chooses to put these points across is so biased, so skewed, so insulting that I can't stomach him. I don't need to be told that Iraq was a Willy Wonka's factory-esque utopia before evil America invaded to know that George Bush made some fairly bum decisions. Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of world politics can see through the façade. I know Bush made some poor choices. And seeing this documentary, while annoying to me, isn't going to change my mind.

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But what about the people out there who are on the fence? What about the people out there who aren't in the know? What about the people who see it and think, "That doesn't sound like any Iraq I've ever heard about". They're questioning everything that follows.

What about the people out there who don't follow every bit of news about video games on daily basis? What about the people who turn up at this site by accident for the first time in their lives? What about younger readers who've never really thought in any depth about sexism in any way before?

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Those people are looking up to make sure the sky is blue because we lost them with all the bullshit in the beginning. This article gets a few more hits while a few more people question the good points you've raised because they're presented in this manner. And nothing is achieved.

The real kicker here, of course, is that there's no need for bias. Perhaps it gets a few more people to click articles, but to actually raise awareness of this issue, bias isn't required. There's evidence everywhere. The evidence against sexism in video games is stacked like that warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. There's fucking mountains of the stuff.

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I'm not trying to make it sound like you're the Anti-Christ here, and I certainly don't think that there's anything intentionally nefarious in what you've done. But give us more credit and let people make up their own minds a little more. We don't need to be tricked into being angry about sexism.

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This is something I care about, and it just makes me cringe to see it handled like this. I like Kotaku, and I enjoy coming here and reading the articles (including many of Patricias - this isn't some sort of vendetta). I just think you guys could use a little more thinking sometimes. You have the power here, and the responsibility, to do better than this.

Pibbles.

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