Versus Mode: Televised Gaming, The Wii’s Name, Sexism in Oblivion, and More

GC writers Steve Hamner and Casey Levine discuss whether televised gaming belongs on TV, the Wii's name, whether Oblivion is sexist, and more.

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wiiiiiYou know him from his spot-on monthly reviews, and you know her from her spot-on monthly reviews and from Casey’s Top Picks for 2006. That’s right! This month in Versus Mode it’s:

vmsteve vmcasey

Steve Hamner vs. Casey Levine~!

1. The world needs a televised gaming league.

Steve Hamner: It’s the next logical progression as gaming becomes more mainstream, so why not? As long as the proposed Major League Gaming promotes gaming as something positive and fun while portraying gamers in a good light, I think it’d be good for the industry, good for gamers, and it would give ESPN something to air besides weightlifting, professional miniature golf or little league baseball.

Casey Levine: I personally think this is silly, and I just can’t see myself sitting down to watch videogame tournaments. Of course, I also generally don’t watch sporting events, so I’m probably not the target audience anyway. Whatever floats your boat.

2. No, wait, what the world really needs is two gaming leagues. But only if one of them deals extensively in hip hop.

Steve: No, because this is the stupidest idea I’ve heard in ages. Two gaming leagues? This smells like a gamer version of the XFL, and it will fail, likely damaging whatever mainstream league is in place at the time. A strictly hip-hop league would alienate a huge chunk of the market, strip viewers (and advertiser dollars) from a more mainstream league, and is just plain idiotic. There’s no Hip-Hop Major League Soccer or National Football League because it’s a dumb idea. If this is really something so many people want to see, maybe build a team around the Hip-Hop idiom and have them compete in the MLG.

Casey: I don’t know what to say to this other than: No. Just no.

3. Wii is just about the worst name Nintendo could have come up with for its new gaming console.

Steve: Oh wait. I was wrong. This is the stupidest idea I’ve heard in ages. Wii? Come on. This is one of those instances where Nintendo, as a Japanese company, fails to completely understand Americans. Regardless of how kickass your new controller is, or what slick stable of franchise games you have, nobody wants a gaming console that shares the same name as a penis. (“I was up all last night playing with my Wii” or “I’ve been working on my Wii for hours and it just doesn’t want to work!”)

Revolution was a great name, a name that popped in every American’s ears, and replacing it with Wii is a terrible decision. Sony might have priced themselves out of the market with the PS3’s meaty price tag, but Nintendo named themselves out. That’s dumb.


Casey: I know a lot of people care about this, and I agree this is a silly name choice by Nintendo. But really, it doesn’t change the fact that the console is going to rock. Nintendo made a very strong showing at E3, and I think they got a lot of people on their side. Eventually, I really think that people will stop caring about the name and focus on the things that really matter: the games.

Yeah, Wii jokes are funny, because everyone likes subtly veiled sexual innuendo (“Hey, you wanna come over and play with my Wii?”) But in the end, to say that no one wants a gaming system named Wii is, in my mind, overkill. I think Nintendo made a silly choice for this one, but I don’t think it will break them. I don’t think it will hurt sales. I think eventually people will just get used to it, even if they don’t embrace it.

4. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is outrageously sexist.

Steve: Outrageously sexist is laying it on a little thick; I think realistic in an injudicious manner is perhaps a better way to put it. The fact of the matter is men are put together to have the potential to be stronger than women. Given the same training and standard of living, your average guy is going to be stronger than your average woman. That said, this is fantasy, so anything should go, and the laws of biology should be thrown out the window. There’s no reason to enforce this in a game.

Casey: OK, I guess the strategy guide could have shown female character examples as well as male. But really, this is a tiny thing to focus on. Also, regarding the difference in stats: It seems to me that the developers were just trying to add more variety to the game. As for males generally being stronger and females generally smarter or more personable, let me just say that in humans at least, males generally are physically stronger on average (I would argue that females are the potential for greater mental fortitude, which in my opinion more than makes up for a strength bias).

Yes, there are exceptions to this generalization. Genetic predispositions are often overcome by environmental factors. Women can train to be body builders. There are smart men in the world. Was it completely necessary for the developers to follow the human example in this regard? No, but I can understand why they did.

Really though, you can make your character whatever you want it to be. The starting bonus can easily be overcome through character planning later in the game. I personally was very happy with the women in-game. They don’t wear skimpy clothes, the female armor models are the same as the males, and women can kick just as much ass as men (and frequently do). This, to me, is far more important than any 10 point difference in stats. Maybe it would be better if the feminist gamers of the world focused on slightly more…substantial issues.

5. Metal Gear Solid could do the impossible and be a good movie based on a videogame.

Steve: I’m not a fan of the whole MGS series, so I may not be the guy to ask. However, nearly every movie based on a video game has been damn near unwatchable. The few that have succeeded have had big money production values from big money studios with big money talent, as well as a good story that doesn’t completely mimic the game. If MGS can put that together, they’ve got a chance.

Casey: You know, I never thought they would be able to make a good movie of Lord of the Rings, but they did. I think the potential to make a good movie from a videogame franchise is always there, but for some reason they always seem to miss the mark (except for Mortal Kombat, which is awesome).

I think the main problem is that videogame movies are viewed by studios as a way to quickly cash in by attracting a particular subset of the population. They don’t care about the story, the characters, or anything actually important. It’s all about bringing those gamers to the theater. I really do think there are a lot of game franchises out there that could be well adapted to a movie, but in order for this to happen a studio would have to invest in it, and I’m not sure that’s something that will happen any time soon.

1 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)

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