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Default Dark Messiah - Scathing Review @ The Game Chair

December 16th, 2006, 10:30
I think her dialogue really fits well and while I don't think she should win an acadmey award I do think she acted/voice a Succubus very well, obviously the story and script limited her on what she could do.

From Wikipedia:

In medieval legend, a 'succubus' (plural succubi; from Latin succubare, "to lie under") is a female demon which comes to men, especially monks, in their dreams to seduce them and have sexual intercourse with them, drawing energy from the men to sustain themselves, often until the point of exhaustion or death. This legend was an explanation for the phenomena of wet dreams and sleep paralysis. Lilith and the Lilin ( Jewish), Belili ( Sumerian) and Rusalka ( Slavic) were succubi.

From another site
It was also paired with the incubus, the male form, sometimes transforming between the two forms to pass along the stolen seed to unknowing women. In later stories, especially in contemporary horror writing, both would be given hypnotic powers that would give them the ability to command and compell members of the opposite sex

An estimate of game time to the ship would be 25%, the next 50% takes place on the island and the last 25% back at Stonehelm.
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Default chain of reasoning

December 18th, 2006, 23:13
My tortured chain of reasoning on Xana goes something like this. She is portrayed as evil incarnate alongside of her aggressive sexuality. Reverse this and you have goodness equated to submissive or nonexistent sexuality (depending on your take on the opposite of aggressive). This has been a central stereotype in western literature for centuries, the conflict between the “fallen” woman and the virgin. I once took an excruciating class in the long emergence from this type of writing called Jane Eyre’s Literary Daughters to the tune of 15 or so novels. Fun stuff. Some similar ideas can be found in China’s “Traditions of Exemplary Women,” dating back 2000 years or so.

(Reference for Exemplary Women)
http://jefferson.village.virginia.ed…en/essays.html

Yes, it would be easy to chalk this up under the mediocre writing column and continue merrily on our way. However, this is more than simply an embarrassment to my hobby. Cultures aren’t made by religious texts or moral treatise. Cultures are the accumulations of thousands on tiny bits: songs, music videos, novels, conversation, advertising, pornography, film, prose, poetry, and yes, even games. Each one of these bits contributes a small amount to the end result; in our case, a society skewed ever so slightly toward the subjugation of women (see any magazine cover, teenage ditz act, or woman’s salary for proof of this).

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we need to err on the side of overreaction here. This kind of writing should get exactly what it deserves, an offhand remark in a review, which is otherwise critical for other reasons. Not to mention a great chance to dust off the ever popular Custer’s Revenge joke. That thing never gets old

-Acleacius

Would I have felt the same about a male Succubus? Absolutely not! That would have been great. Why? Because it is a reversal of traditional stereotypes, and therefore interesting. Art is all about layering on as much novelty as you can get away with.

I have no problem with a character, which has sexuality as a part of its dimensions. A great example is Patricia Helfer’s Number Six character in Battlestar Galactica. This character is also succubus, but expanded on in a multitude of ways. Not the least being she has motivations other than sexual conquest and a wonderful layer of ambiguity as we are never quite sure if she’s imaginary or real.

What I meant by “sexuality and personality are indistinguishable” is this. I just don’t see any other dimensions to the character of Xana. There is no back-story, no (nonsexual) motivations, no real emotions, no exposition, no monologue, in fact, I found no “writing” that you couldn’t have grabbed by placing microphones into High School locker rooms. I highly agree that real subjugation is a cultural imprint and this game is a piece, however small, of our culture.

Thanks to everyone for your great comments!

-Jake

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December 19th, 2006, 09:16
"My tortured chain of reasoning on Xana goes something like this"
I understand what you mean and I agree with the current and past intentional subjugation of women especially by Religions and Governments, I disagree the chain of progressions.
Instead of the "songs, music videos, novels, conversation, advertising, pornography, film, prose, poetry, and yes, even games" being Culture they are actually just representative of our Culture and very much based on social structure of communication.
Since songs and music predated the written word, this is how people communicated learning what was happening in foreign lands like the next county, pre Gutenberg.

It has only been Government and Religion whom have subjugated us all man, woman and child of any race or culture and to my knowledge post Gutenberg first western culture book to speak of equal rights for all men and women of any race or culture whom try to free us from the shackles of Government and Religion was by a corset maker.

"Never has the sun shone on a cause more worthy. This is not the affair of a city, a district, a province or a kingdom: this concerns a continent—at least an eighth of the habitable Earth. This matter does not concern a day, a year, an age: posterity will be influenced by this struggle and will be touched by these events until the end of time. Now is the hour to establish the unity of a continent, truth and honor. The smallest error would be like a name scratched into the tender bark of a young oak, the wound grows with the tree and posterity reads the sign full-sized."

You seem to be blaming the byproduct of civilization or construct not the designers of the subjugation, civilization can and will exist without these shackles, one day.
I think it's easy to get confused in this day and age where Corprate Marketers use Media to influence and change cultures, which is relatively recently if scaled with the evolution of societies.
This makes things much harder now we have a third player, a third corruptor so never give up and always keep your eye on the prize.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power."
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December 20th, 2006, 00:38
Originally Posted by Jake View Post
My tortured chain of reasoning on Xana goes something like this. She is portrayed as evil incarnate alongside of her aggressive sexuality. Reverse this and you have goodness equated to submissive or nonexistent sexuality (depending on your take on the opposite of aggressive).
Or non-existent? Hmm. Speaking for myself, I'd want to see positive evidence for Leanna's submissive virginhood before hanging Arkane for misogyny. Finding confirmation of your theory in both its presence or absence strikes me as eating your cake and having it. Your standard of evidence may differ, of course. Neither is Xana who you think she is. The demons of Ashan are the principal antagonists and creatures of chaos, but they're not evil. Xana never exhibits cruelty or malice. It's not obvious to me that players will find Leanna the more appealing of the two and come to expect her behaviour from their womenfolk. At the very least, Xana's much more interesting. Leanna's a cipher. A signpost to your next objective.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we need to err on the side of overreaction here.
Then we only disagree on where to draw the line of overreaction. Personally, I'd put it in front of the term misogynist. To come away from the game with the wrong idea about women, you'd have to misunderstand the character of Xana, impute to Leanna a trait not present (in my opinion) in the character as written, and then draw a dubious conclusion about their relative merits. For people not predisposed to look for this virgin/whore pattern, I'd say it's unlikely enough to stop short of throwing around that rather serious accusation. That's all.
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Default any sufficiently

December 21st, 2006, 21:52
-Acleacius

Don’t you love how any sufficiently interesting argument will eventually tread into “meaning of life” territory? I wholeheartedly agree with you that Government and Religion are the origin of Subjugation. I could even jump to conclusions by thinking you’ve read some of Daniel Quinn's or Richard Dawkin’s books recently Yes, culture was originally propagated almost entirely by song (and other oral media). But I would ask you the question, what is culture made out of?

I would answer the above question by saying nearly everything is culture. In my opinion, the only aspects of humanity that aren’t cultural are Darwinian. For instance, the desire to reproduce is Darwinian, while the desire to pierce your ears to attract a mate is cultural. The desire to eat meat over lettuce is Darwinian, while the desire to eat a Subway sandwich over a Big Mac is cultural. In one sense, I can see the distinction between Cooperate Media changing culture in a aggressive and intentional way while culture used to change in a slower and more evolutionary way. However, I would argue that some percentage of cultural change has been intentional since sentience: day one. For instance, the medicine women decides one day that its in everyones best interest to have a big feast in the midst of winter to keep the tribe’s spirits up. So, she invents the winter solstice celebration. This eventually merges with Christian holidays and becomes Christmas. Next, it merges with Corporate culture and becomes the shopping season. Culture certainly changes faster than ever before, but I feel like this is more a product of the speed and ease of communication than the intentions of cultural movers.

That’s a great sense of optimism you have there, Acleacius I also hope we can one day look back on the shackles of Corporatism and Religion with a cheerful smile, saying, “glad we didn’t go down that road.”

-Abbaon

I agree with you that misogynist is a very strong term. However, the other words I could have thrown in there like stereotypical, or sexist, didn’t seem strong enough to me. As a poet, I’ve trained myself to keep an eye out for the terms that are unique, strong, and not clichéd. The two s-words are so overused that they now mean almost nothing; while misogynist tends to bring out the pitchforks. Connotation is very important to a writer, and a constantly moving target.

I love how RPGwatch has this forum set up for such easy anonymous posting. Very cool. Your Captcha system appears very robust. Does anyone know if that is a custom design, or is it open sourced somewhere?

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December 21st, 2006, 23:42
Alrighty then. Personally, I'd lean toward explaining this as a case of confirmation bias. As a result of your education in the subject, you have a greater than average tendency to look for submissive virgins, and therefore to see them where none exist. But if you've said you chose the word misogynistic not for its descriptive value, but for the impact it would have on your audience, well, I don't have anything to add to that. Thanks for a great conversation. Cheers.
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December 22nd, 2006, 02:49
"what is culture made out of?"
In my limited knowledge I would say, perception.
This is of course is the problem as well, since people whom lust after power and control of others due to their misogynistic delusions, have learned to create false perceptions as their tool.
Since culture is subjective to time and perception it's always a sure sign of abuse if someone is making judgments of importance based on culture, i.e. life and death of an individual, group, nationality, gender or race, so it's quite easy to spot these people.

Regarding Darwin’s and Wallace's work, this probably has been the most dangerously abused and misinterpreted piece of Natural Law in existence.
This would include Sumner and Heckle both could easily be viewed as misogynistic delusionaries.
Both have had global catastrophic effects based on subjugation in the last 120 years, probably since the beginning of time.

I don't really know enough about Marx (third interpretation of the 19th century), but it at least seems he got Darwin more accurately.
In the end it was Sumner and Heckle whom crushed Marx, though I guess Marx was a threat to both views at least in the 20th century.

I was thinking Darwin just explained how we got different species, not sure if he was talking about biologically inherent reproduction?
Also eating meat reference is based solely on the theory of our incisor’s (afaik) which could just as easily be explained as a defensive trait.

Yet the human digestive system while able to digest meat is made for eating fruits, vegetable, nuts and grains, something actually verifiable currently unlike the theories of meat and humans, afaik.
Of course the gorilla is a perfect example of this, being one of the most muscular and fiercely compasionate beings with incisors and vegetarian diet, unless the few ants and termites constitute meat to you.

"“glad we didn’t go down that road.”"
Maybe not in our lifetime, since it's inherent it seems quite probable.
Your right of course it would be great, certainly worthy of a nice ale.

"I love how RPGwatch"
Yeah their great, of course they don't let us subjugate the women (dang it) but still it has its strong points.

Another thing that helped me know without a doubt Leanne wasn't intended to be submissive virgin (beside all the things mentioned) was the line she used as you first meet her.
She decisively dismisses, the stammering guard, fawning over her, as we approach.
Clearly not the tone or attitude of submissive virgin, well at least all the one’s I meet.

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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