The Unfulfilled Potential of Video Games

This video series primarily focuses on film and television, but every once in a while I like to check-in on the world of video games.
Interactive media has the incredible potential to deliver a wide range of immersive, emotional experiences, yet year after year the gaming industry seems to fall back on one underlying theme — kill or be killed. This year I did a statistical breakdown of all the games featured at Electronic Entertainment Expo press conferences. I found that 82% of all new titles focus on combat as the core gameplay mechanic. Imagine all the stories we’re missing out on because game developers insist on building virtual worlds we experience from behind the barrel of a gun or the blade of a sword.

Incidentally this issue isn’t restricted to big budget AAA titles; a majority of indie games also prioritize combat. I did a quick rundown of the 105 independent games featured in Xbox sizzle reels at E3 over the past 4 years. The results are only very slightly better than the ratios for the industry as a whole. 78 of those 105 games (about 3/4) focus on combat mechanics.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
My full statistical breakdown for games in E3 2017 press briefings is available here

IMAGES
Press images of the charts used in this episode are available here.

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The full transcript text coming soon.

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The Fantastic Masculinity of Newt Scamander

As a cultural critic, I watch a ridiculous number of movies, always on the lookout for more positive Hollywood representations of masculinity. I usually walk out of the theater disappointed but occasionally the stars align and I find myself pleasantly surprised. That’s how I felt after seeing Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. Newt Scamander, the protagonist of this Harry Potter spinoff, is a refreshingly atypical male hero for a fantasy adventure blockbuster. This video essay is a detailed character study of Newt Scamander’s performance of masculinity.

NOTE: Warner Bros. Pictures has already tried to block this video essay. I’ve filed my usual fair use appeal which should be sufficient. However if the video goes down again don’t worry, there’s a working version posted to the Internet Archive. All my videos rely on the fair use doctrine which allows for exceptions to Copyright Law for the purposes of commentary and critique. Unfortunately YouTube’s Content ID system doesn’t seem to have read that particular law.

SUPPORT
This video essay was made possible by support from viewers like you! If you’d like to see more videos focusing on the intersections of entertainment, politics and masculinity please help support this video series on Patreon. Or if you prefer, you can make a one time donation via PayPal on the sidebar of this website.

FAIR USE
All multimedia clips included in this video constitute a ‘fair use’ of any copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright law, which allows for criticism, comment and scholarship. Learn more about fair use with this awesome app by New Media Rights!

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The full transcript text of this episode below the fold.

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Born Sexy Yesterday

This video essay is about a gendered trope that has bothered me for years but didn’t have a name, so I gave it one: Born Sexy Yesterday. It’s a science fiction convention where the mind of what’s essentially a naive, yet highly skilled, girl is written into the body of a mature sexualized woman. Born sexy yesterday is about an unbalanced relationship dynamic, but it’s also very much connected to masculinity. The subtext of the trope is rooted in a deep seated male insecurity around experienced women and sexuality.

SUPPORT
This videographic essay was made possible by support from viewers like you! If you’d like to see more videos focusing on the intersections of entertainment, politics and masculinity please help support this video series on Patreon. Or if you prefer, you can make a one time donation via PayPal on the sidebar of this website.

PRESS
• The Mary Sue – Science Fiction and the Problem with the Born Sexy Yesterday Trope
• io9 – Video Explores Scifi Trope of Women Who Are Born Sexy Yesterday
• AV Club – Sci-fi’s troubling trope of serving up hot adult women with the minds of children
• Geek.com – Science Fiction Really Hasn’t Been Good to Women
• The Verge – Why are some of sci-fi’s beloved female leads hopelessly naive?

FAIR USE
All multimedia clips included in this video constitute a ‘fair use’ of any copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright law, which allows for criticism, comment and scholarship. Learn more about fair use with this awesome app by New Media Rights!

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The full transcript text of this episode below the fold.

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Romance According to Harrison Ford Movies

Harrison Ford has played some of the most iconic male heroes ever to appear on film. Many of his most popular characters antagonize women, disregard basic ideas of consent and ultimately force themselves on their love interests. Although each movie attempts to frame these actions as sexy or romantic, predatory is a more fitting description.

SUPPORT
This videographic essay was made possible by support from viewers like you! If you’d like to see more videos focusing on the intersections of entertainment, politics and masculinity please help support this video series on Patreon. Or if you prefer, you can make a one time donation via PayPal on the sidebar of this website.

FAIR USE
All multimedia clips included in this video constitute a ‘fair use’ of any copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright law, which allows for criticism, comment and scholarship. Learn more about fair use with this awesome app by New Media Rights!

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The full transcript text of this episode below the fold.

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The Stormtrooper Paradox: Finn’s Awakening


The Force Awakens does what no other movie in the long running Star Wars franchise has even done before: it humanizes Stormtroopers. Strangely the filmmakers seen unaware of the rather profound implications their new narrative has for the rest of their cinematic universe.

SUPPORT
This videographic essay was made possible by support from viewers like you! If you’d like to see more videos focusing on the intersections of entertainment, politics and masculinity please help support this video series on Patreon!

PRESS
AV Club – A moral inquiry into the pleasure of watching Stormtroopers die in Star Wars
io9 – The Paradox of Humanizing Star Wars’ Stormtroopers

FAIR USE
All multimedia clips included in this video constitute a ‘fair use’ of any copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright law, which allows for criticism, comment and scholarship. Learn more about fair use with this awesome app by New Media Rights!

Full text transcript coming soon.

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