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Dragon's Crown: Gaze past the giant witch tits

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I really don't know what to think of Dragon's Crown, but this trailer is the one that made me most uncomfortable. Not because of the artistic choices (ie: a sexually idealized woman in a sheer robe), but because of the mechanical ones (...that you can poke with your finger to make moan).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ex133LSR6xE

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Okay yes that's creepy and suddenly i have no desire whatsoever to defend the game.

 

It's creepy enough that I almost think it's a joke.

 

(Though I do think it's hilarious that you can do it to a dude, too.)

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I'm pretty sure it's tongue-in-cheek to a certain extent, but it still makes the game pretty indefensible, it is wholly in the territory of pandering creepiness.

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I also think it's tongue-in-cheek but it's in that sort of Too-On-The-Nose way that just makes it gross.

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UUUUUUUUGGGGGGH. Can we just forget this game exists instead of bending over backwards to find anything good in it and pretending that justifies pinching barely clothed ladies, wriggling in anticipation, in the boobs?

 

How sad, as a person, do you have to be to either create or play this?

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How sad, as a person, do you have to be to either create or play this?

 

What's the unit of measurement being used?

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I'm pretty sure it's tongue-in-cheek to a certain extent, but it still makes the game pretty indefensible, it is wholly in the territory of pandering creepiness.

BUT NO GUYS IT'S FINE YOU CAN TOUCH THE DUDES. Also it's optional so DON'T DO IT IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT! WAHHH INTERNET TROLL ANGRY WAHHH

 

Dragon's Crown is a work of art because it references no less than 30 random things from art history and Google images and Vanillaware invented Flash, so if you are annoyed at Dragon's Crown, you obviously have no background in art history or an appreciation for high brow video games. You also hate innovation. Shame on you.

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I came here to post that precise link. What a great review. I may not agree with all of it, but it's well-written and -argued.

Picked it up from Tom Chick.

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The designs were obviously chosen for a purpose, and if the choice happens to be giant breasts and touch controls, then said purpose seems pretty obvious. I don't think it's possible to wank ironically.

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The designs were obviously chosen for a purpose, and if the choice happens to be giant breasts and touch controls, then said purpose seems pretty obvious. I don't think it's possible to wank ironically.

 

Interesting. So Kamitani's reason for choosing these character designs is solely for the purpose of a quick wank? 'Seems' is still a far jump from 'is'.


I must say, Amanda's review (The humour of a site called Tap Repeatedly reviewing Dragon's Crown is not lost on me.) touched on a point that every other reviewer failed to emphasize - the art style is consistent in it's execution. Which isn't to say it's not sexist; just consistent, and in line with the tropes of high fantasy.

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More potentially interesting conversation material:

http://blastbombshell.com/2013/08/21/gaming-has-two-big-problems-and-these-aint-them/

Being mostly a PC gamer, I've never played a Vanillaware game and probably won't ever get around to playing this one, but I find the ongoing discussion (in reasonable places like these forums) quite fascinating. It feels like a relatively nuanced issue, which is a nice change from the usual clear-cut video game stupidity.

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Interesting. So Kamitani's reason for choosing these character designs is solely for the purpose of a quick wank? 'Seems' is still a far jump from 'is'.

I must say, Amanda's review (The humour of a site called Tap Repeatedly reviewing Dragon's Crown is not lost on me.) touched on a point that every other reviewer failed to emphasize - the art style is consistent in it's execution. Which isn't to say it's not sexist; just consistent, and in line with the tropes of high fantasy.

You're quoting me literally, which is kind of dodging the point. And if the purpose is really open to interpretation, what reason would you put forward for it? Is the purpose of some of those screenshots really to suggest she's clumsy with a soup spoon?

Also, consistency doesn't actually validate the choice in my opinion. I'm not saying it's not a good game beneath the breasts, but it is pandering hugely.

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I can't see how you can get annoyed about being quoted literally when you throw out a statement like "wank ironically". I construed that statement was somehow related to your former about character designs, breasts and gameplay mechanics. You post seemed to imply that the only reason they chose such a style was because they wanted to titillate you.

 

It's terrible when people make assertions about the intent of the things you write or create, right?

 

I didn't 'dodge' anything. In my mind, the consistency does makes things less murky - everything in this game is hyper-exaggerated. Hate to repeat myself, but I did indicate that consistency doesn't mean it isn't sexist, just that it's in line with the typical style of high fantasy.

 

I think that does validate Vanillaware's choice; it's just not a validation some people are happy with. The game is set in a fantasy realm and they chose to mimic the style prevalent in high fantasy with numerous shout-outs and references to existing works. It is pandering, but not in a purely sexually-demeaning fashion.

 

I think both Danielle's Polygon review and Amanda's have lot of merit. Danielle makes a number of valid points, and is completely in her rights to disagree with the art style and the liberties it takes. I prefer Amanda's interpretation.

EDIT: Another piece to read with replies from Kamitani is this here Forbes article.

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I can't see how you can get annoyed about being quoted literally when you throw out a statement like "wank ironically". I construed that statement was somehow related to your former about character designs, breasts and gameplay mechanics. You post seemed to imply that the only reason they chose such a style was because they wanted to titillate you.

It's terrible when people make assertions about the intent of the things you write or create, right?

I didn't 'dodge' anything. In my mind, the consistency does makes things less murky - everything in this game is hyper-exaggerated. Hate to repeat myself, but I did indicate that consistency doesn't mean it isn't sexist, just that it's in line with the typical style of high fantasy.

I think that does validate Vanillaware's choice; it's just not a validation some people are happy with. The game is set in a fantasy realm and they chose to mimic the style prevalent in high fantasy with numerous shout-outs and references to existing works. It is pandering, but not in a purely sexually-demeaning fashion.

I think both Danielle's Polygon review and Amanda's have lot of merit. Danielle makes a number of valid points, and is completely in her rights to disagree with the art style and the liberties it takes. I prefer Amanda's interpretation.

EDIT: Another piece to read with replies from Kamitani is this here Forbes article.

Not annoyed at all, just to be clear. But yes, I'll admit I do find it a stretch to think that it wasn't solely for titilation. If you look at the artwork outside of the game, I think the intention is pretty clear. Maybe I'm wrong, but it's not difficult to come to that conclusion.

I also think the point about consistency is an interesting one. In my opinion, it doesn't strengthen or weaken any points raised against it. If there was a game called 'Naked Crusaders 3: Fukugadame' or something, would it really make a ifference if one or all of them ran about with no clothes? It doesn't impact the quality of the underlying game, but it's hard to say it's not exploitative.

I also don't see how this is actually typical of high fantasy. It seems more typical of the banner ads you see for internet games that are kind of about fantasy.

Thanks for the links though, I'll check them out.

EDIT: Checked them out. The Forbes article was really interesting. I can see that context for how everything fits together and works off each other, but it's still very targeted exaggeration. An alternate example of an absurdist female character design is Millia Rage from GGXX. Everything in that game is crazy and super exaggerated, and so is she, but in this case it's because she fights with her hair. It's very different kind of effect.

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So has anyone actually played the game? 

 

There are a lot of clunky UI problems but it's actually pretty fun once it gets around to presenting the very specific loop it wants you to play. 

 

The combat is silky smooth and just deep enough not to be boring. 

 

It actually does a pretty good job of figuring out how to make trying hard matter in a beat'em up for the first time since you were shoving quarters into Shadows over Mystara at the bowling ally in 1996.

 

Honestly, the only time you even notice what the characters look like with any detail, its in town (which makes up about 1% of the time you spend in the game). 

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I think that does validate Vanillaware's choice; it's just not a validation some people are happy with. The game is set in a fantasy realm and they chose to mimic the style prevalent in high fantasy with numerous shout-outs and references to existing works. It is pandering, but not in a purely sexually-demeaning fashion.

But even in this interpretation, the game is just mimicing a style of art (basically cover art from pulp fiction novels) that was explicitly designed to appeal to teenage boys. So Vanillaware is mimicing a style of art that was itself sexist. How is that better? 

 

Here's an admittedly controversial analogy. Say that there is a game with really hackneyed stereotypes about black people. Would it really be better if the artist claimed to have been influenced by a prior style of art: a minstrel show? 

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@Reyturner, I haven't yet. I'd like to pick up the EU release, so I'm waiting for that. I'm very keen, though.

 

@Tirranek, Fair enough, and all valid points. I'm afraid I disagree with you on the assessment of its high fantasy roots, but that's more opinion than anything else.

 

But even in this interpretation, the game is just mimicing a style of art (basically cover art from pulp fiction novels) that was explicitly designed to appeal to teenage boys. So Vanillaware is mimicing a style of art that was itself sexist. How is that better? 

 

Here's an admittedly controversial analogy. Say that there is a game with really hackneyed stereotypes about black people. Would it really be better if the artist claimed to have been influenced by a prior style of art: a minstrel show? 

 

By pulp fiction, I assume you're referring to sword and sorcery literature, which is similar to high fantasy in some respects but deviates in many key areas. Sword and sorcery is definitely more masculine/sexist. Certainly, Dragon's Crown does seem to draw from both, but I would argue that it leans more heavily towards high fantasy than sword and sorcery.

 

With regards to the minstrel show analogy, I'm going to say: no, it would not be better, but their reason for using it might be justified. Context is everything. Why's the artist making a game with really hackneyed stereotypes of black people? What's the motive? If, for example, they're using it in a way as to highlight continued stereotypes of black people, then perhaps it's useful, cutting. If it's because they're looking to be deliberately provocative... well, that's also fine, but utterly distasteful. It far worse if they're defaulting to stereotypes because they haven't even thought about it.

 

I know people would argue that what most artists trot out for portraying x in a y manner is more often an excuse rather than a reason. I think Kamitani's earned a little more credibility in the varied manner in which he's portrayed his other female characters to warrant the benefit of the doubt.

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That's a pretty interesting review, and makes a lot of great points. Jenn Frank's article in Unwinnable (which was brought up earlier in this thread) also brings up the idea of the puritanical male gaze being detrimental to art: http://www.unwinnable.com/2013/04/26/tits-or-gtfo/

 

I do pick a bone with this idea of consistency though. Drawing a comparison between male and female characters based on how little clothing they're wearing is missing the point. It's been said before but: the objection to fantasy women wearing no clothing isn't just about inadequate protection; it's about the perspective of the artist. This is why the women are busty and scantily clad and the men are muscular stacks of testosterone. The (usually male) artist tends to picture himself occupying the role of the man, thus making him look powerful.

 

This is true for Dragon's Crown as it has been true for fantasy art since forever. I'm not sure that taking the grosser elements of fantasy and exaggerating them makes any kind of coherent point. Feels a lot more like pandering hidden behind a veil of irony.

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