Cleopatra in Video Games

WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY was I not aware of the artwork around Civilization: Revolution?
I mean, I knew of the game and I’d seen the art, but I hadn’t played it because I don’t get enough quality time with my DS to even finish Soul Silver >.<. I was UNAWARE that their Egyptian ruler was supposed to be Cleopatra.
Civ Rev Cleo

Ok, barring the “omg, how does that ‘bra’ stay up without modern tape” thing, I like this illustration. She’s powerful, haughty, and able to run your puny civ over with her massive army of war chariots that she built while you were still researching Bronze Working.

But she’s not Cleopatra.

Now, repeat after the archaeologist: Cleopatra VII was not Egyptian. Cleopatra VII (all of them actually) was Macedonian Greek and she looked like this:
REAL Cleopatra

Come to think of it, why do we even use her in games as the Egyptian monarch anywho? SHE wasn’t Egyptian, EGYPT wasn’t very Egyptian, and she kind of sort of lost the country to Rome. Literally the only game in which this was ever appropriate was Sierra’s “Cleopatra” expansion to “Pharaoh” because it added missions from Alexander all through the Ptolemaic era ending with – you guessed it – Cleopatra VII herself.

“But Jediravenclaw, Cleopatra VII tried to make herself appear Egyptian and had her image carved in to temples as an old Egyptian queen would have! Why can’t the game industry do the same?” you may protest.

Well, sure, but Civ III did that fine here:
Civ III Cleo

But also because while Cleo was trying desperately to appeal to her people as their rightful ruler in a time when everyone was after her crown…and while Cleo was trying also pretty desperately to recover the power her layabout father lost and the trust that her sisters lost and the army’s competency that her brother lost (all of that resulting in the very propagandist images of her as an Egyptian), she was also trying to show to the rest of the Romanized world that she was educated like them, cultured like them, and worshiped Alexander just as much as they all did (resulting in her also being portrayed as she was – a Macedonian Greek). Not that any of that helped her in the end.

“But Jediravenclaw, she was the last ruler of a great empire! We all know her from Shakespeare! … and Elizabeth Taylor etc!”
Cool story. You know who else was the last ruler of a great empire? Romulus Augustus. Do we talk about him in history books? No? Oh wow, it’s like we don’t want to celebrate the fall of Rome by idolizing the child who lost it. Cleopatra idolization irks me because it is celebrating the conquest of the Egyptian Empire. You think you want to play Cleo in Civ because she represents a golden age? Think again.

Now granted, Firaxis has done well with Egypt since then. Ramesses II and the whole 19th dynasty pretty much kicked ass (I’m so glad Civ V has him in the war crown). Hatshepsut and her fellow 18th dynasty God’s Wives of Amun were pretty hardcore – just look at her nephew’s rage at not being king until he was 23 to see how powerful she was. I don’t think Hatshepsut should have been portrayed in a crown made famous by Nefertiti, but … well, hey, maybe God’s Wives liked to share fashion tips or something (and they’re really only a few generations apart).

But Cleopatra doesn’t represent any of that. She ruled in the Greek period after Alexander’s conquest. She ruled from the Greek city of Alexandria. She spoke Greek first. Even her name is Greek. (WHICH btw, I’m still VERY SORE at Firaxis for STILL using the Greek names for the Egyptian cities instead of the Egyptian names – Thebes = Waset, Memphis = Men-Nefer, etc).

So forgiving the fact that she is or was ever chosen to be the Egyptian ruler in any Civ game, can we at least not spread the misinformation about her heritage? It would certainly save poor Fenbab from being subjected to a number of angry archaeologist rants…

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

Dragonborn!

…will have to wait :(

I haven’t waited this many years to go back to Morrowind just to play it in a hotel room at a training conference on my laptop with substandard graphics, smaller screen, and compressed keyboard.

But I will spend this friday night back in the home-ish of my beloved House Hlaalu! The week seriously can’t go fast enough :P

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

Mass Effect 4

This post really just started as me wanting to Reblog this Article called “Mass Effect 4 – Is It Needed?” and voice my agreement 100% with the author.

But in reading his assessment of ME being almost solely about Shep, I feel I have to point out something. Anyone remember This Trailer for ME2 and the absolute hoopla that erupted from it? Bioware had to come out VERY quickly and reassure fans that no, Shepard was indeed still alive and yes, you still played as him/her. Fans were threatening to leave the fandom EVEN BACK THEN if they didn’t have Shepard.

So, ME4 gets to try and redeem Bioware not only from the clusterfrak that was the Ending and the HORRIBLE PR nightmare that followed and bashed their most loyal fans….but it gets to do so without Shepard.

Have fun with that one, Bioware.

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

TESOnline Beta Sign up and Cinematic Trailer

But…but Zenimax…I have a life! What’s that? Oh, ooookkkkkkkkkk…

PC Gamer TESOnline Beta and Trailer

With life being so hectic right now, I don’t think I’ll be doing the Beta, but I will definitely be getting in on the action once it comes out. If you haven’t seen the Actual Gameplay Video go ahead and check that link out. Besides being a gameplay preview, it’s kind of a plea to MMOers saying “heeeyyy, MMO guys – sooo, this is how you play an Elder Scrolls game….TES fans, please don’t hate us for making this an MMO!”.

I have to say though, the cinematic trailer makes me worry about 2 things. First: That Zenimax still doesn’t quite “get” the races involved. I understand leaving out the Beast Races from the trailer because budget and CGI and costumes…but they left out the Redguards entirely (RACISM *gasp*), made a Breton in to Assassin’s Creed, and screw the “lesser” elfs, right? And would a Dunmer seriously be taking that many orders from a Nord?

But the second is – and this will be an issue that I’m sure the players will perpetuate – I forsee great strife within the Ebonheart Pact. Zenimax is billing the Nords as the leaders, to the great dismay of Dunmer fans. This is going to be by far the biggest alliance (those two races are reportedly going to be the most commonly chosen), but if the Nord players go in to it assuming that they are in charge as all advertising suggests, they’re probably going to have a Morrowind rebellion on their hands. It will be interesting to see which side the Argonian players (reportedly going to be the third most popular race to play) will fall on, and if the Dunmer end up dividing in to Great Houses or banding together to keep the Nords out of their turf.

I mean, personally I’ll just be in it for the Glory of House Hlaalu…but that’s just me. And I really don’t see myself being crowned emperor anywho :P

[EDIT]: Fenbab is still fuming over not being able to play an Imperial, poor guy. Yes, I know, pet, pet … “For The Empire” he whimpers. It’ll all be ok dear, it’s not a real TES game anywho.

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

THQ Woes

Thank you PC Gamer for keeping us up to date on THQ’s sale progress:
THQ Quick Sale Blocked

You know, I actually had hope for poor THQ after I saw what was going on with Clearlake. Their sale would pull them out of the hole, keep them in tact, and let them remain focused on their massive lineup for the coming year. I am pretty sure that SOMEWHERE between South Park: The Stick of Truth, Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light, Saints Row 4, and Homefront 2, there is a decent profit.

But no, of course it can’t be just that easy. I hope that whoever they got their $37.5 million loan from takes a note from their judge as an excuse for not paying back on time, but somehow I doubt the world of banking works like a 1st grade classroom. And with all these shenanigans pushing the biggest money makers back to the 2014 Fiscal year (namely South Park and Saints Row), I just hope that they can get there *in one piece*.

We’re rooting for you, THQ! But as we all learned from EA last year…the fans really don’t mean anything to the Industry anymore :(.
(Dear System: Please make me wrong!)

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

I am a Female Gamer, and I am Angry at Feminists

It’s time to sit down and have a rather serious chat. I am (obviously) a gamer, I am also a graduate in history. Half of my professors in college were also in the Women’s Studies department, so I’m pretty familiar with the feminist movement since it began. I have not, however, “taken up arms” in the great feminist fight, nor have I ever wished to. I just want to do my own thing as one equal human being with a bunch of other human beings – women shouldn’t get special treatment just like no one else should get special treatment. I would like to think that should be end of story.

But of course it’s not. After this last November even non-feminists like myself were forced to defend their baby making parts, and that made me angry….but whatever, it’s over right?

Glass ceiling? I own 50% of my company…no such thing here for me or any of our employees. In fact, I think I’ve been accused of more shenanigans for STAYING OUT of arguments, or even defending guys who have been ganged up on. I’ve really REALLY wanted nothing to do with this.

But then feminists got a hold of video games, and that’s where I have to stand up and say something.

FIRST OF ALL, if a self titled “feminist” is going to attack a video game, she damn well better be a gamer. I’m sorry, but if I have to sit and listen to *one more* woman complain about Lara Croft who has never played Tomb Raider, she’s going to get a massive piece of my mind. You want to complain about Morrigan’s outfit in Dragon Age? If you’ve played the game you know that the outfit fits her character better than a turtleneck and long skirt ala Professor McGonagall would. I’ve even run in to someone complaining about how SKYRIM dresses it’s women (I’m now under the impression, however, that the one-time exposure this girl got to Skyrim was on a computer that had modded in Nocturnal’s outfit as playable). If she’d ever *actually* played any of The Elder Scrolls, she would have known that it’s one of the least sexist games in existence. Besides if my assumption is true, mods are not representative of anything but the people that have made them anyway.

And then we get in to the realm of Bayonetta, Lollypop Chainsaw, and EVERYTHING ELSE JAPANESE. Feminists, if I was speaking I’d go really slowly here so that you could pay close attention: Those games are from Japan. Japan is a bit crazy in most aspects when viewed by western culture. It’s part of what makes them amazing! There is no way any western feminist can criticize any game that comes out of Japan for sexism or misogyny and not look like an uninformed sod. It’s one of those things that you just have to roll with, and if you don’t like it….well, know that it isn’t being made by the people you’re angry at anywho. Skimpy outfits (female AND male), giant robots, crazy plots that MIGHT make sense sometimes, creatures that live in your pockets (not just pokemon anymore!), it’s just Japan. We’re talking about the country that invented tentacle porn over a hundred years ago! Feminists, if you want to go yell at Suda 51 to “tone it down”, you go right ahead and try. The rest of us will just laugh at your futile attempts and go back to carving up things with chainsaws while dressed as cheerleaders.

Which brings me nicely to my third point – parody. Saint’s Row is an EXCELLENT example of parody in the “sexism” category. Sure, it’s got sidequests focusing on retrieving rogue hos for their pimps, but this is the same game that has an expansion called “Gangsters in Space” and a gun that makes a shark come up out of the sidewalk and eat people. You can even take a tank skydiving. It’s total lunacy and the way female characters dress should really be the least “concern” that a parent might have when deciding whether Saint’s Row is right for their child. Did feminists who critique this game forget that you can go streaking as a male too?

Now, I’m not going to sit here and rant against every feminist complaint of a video game ever (I’d end up with a novel). Nor am I going to deny that yes, in some cases, there MAY be instances of sexism or misogyny present in games (as with ALL MEDIA EVER). However the “problem” is not so blown out of proportion as feminists would like all of us to think it is. I’ve been yelled at, called out, cursed, etc for having this opinion and being vocal about it, but there ya go. It’s out there now.

To any and all males reading this: I PROMISE you that there is a large population of female gamers out there who think this way. We might not be too vocal because our war mongering counterparts tend to shut us down pretty quickly, but we exist. We understand that Japan is just Japan and that parody is for fun and we enjoy it just as much as any other sane gamer does.

To women who I have angered with this post, I ask just one question:
Look to the feminist “slut” movement. Now look at Lara Croft. Ms. Croft is a rich, successful, entrepreneurial woman. She manages her patrimony herself, runs her own life, and has time for her outrageous hobby on the side. She dresses in the way that she feels empowered, and NO MAN can put her in a business suit. In fact, with her recent redesign, I’d say she’s even tame by the “slut” movement standards. Ignore where she’s come from and look at what she is today. Why would you NOT want her as a symbol of an empowered video game character?

tl;dr? Dear feminists, STFU about video games, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. <3, a female gamer

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

Navmesh Generation in the Skyrim CK…

So I’ve been working on a Lair to add to Hearthfire’s Lakeview Manor and it’s ALMOST done. I started up the CK today with only the need to Navmesh it (Navigation meshing tells the NPCs where they can walk, it appears as transparent red triangles on the level’s floor).

Well, I tell the CK to automatically generate the navmesh map based around objects in the level … and THIS is what happens when I ask the CK to generate the Navmeshing for me!

It has apparently been declared that NPCs are only allowed to walk in front of the fireplace and behind the smelter. Sorry husband Vilkas, sorry Lydia. That’s all you get xD

I guess I get to do the rest manually…but not until I’m ready to settle in to a longish night of polishing this baby for the Workshop :)

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment