Watching a game review on TV stirs up some feelings about the political climate of games when it comes to sensitive subjects.
So this morning I had the glorious opportunity to watch the Swedish public service morning broadcast, something I haven’t had the means to to a lot until lately. A sudden lack of working TV-box had played it’s part in this, but now we have a magnificent new means to see what used to be sent over the airwaves, this time with a harddrive for recording real time as well. But I digress.
At was during this viewing upon which I managed to turn on my television only a few moments before they weekly game review. From a long forgotten cache of knowledge in the back of my mind I remembered the reviewer as a well renowned man in his field of work, having a background in some Swedish gaming magazine. Much to my delight he set out to review a game which I have been loosely following although not bought as it was a PS3 exclusive and my wallet and bank account have fiercely prevented me from buying on as well as food. Nevertheless, only a day or two had gone by from when I showed my partner a trailer of Fat Princess to which she seemed to glee as much as myself over the concept.
“It’s good but…”
The reviewer quickly booted up the game for everyone to show and joined a single player game and the camera shifted over to a full screen view of the game. The brightly coloured graphics showed well even on an old an battered TV as mine and the reviewer praised it for the cartoony look and yet stylish look. He then set out to explain the basics of this game, a team based capture-the-flag with fantasy classes, and soon after he had picked up a warrior with a sword. He then ran out through the gate and killed a passing enemy who which then promptly exploded into a bloody cacophony and littered the ground with a blood stain that could match the French revolution.
Fat Princess is a bloody game and not a game for kids. The developers themselves has said so many times, but for some reason an appropriate age wasn’t mentioned, a bit to my surprise. The reviewer merely grinned gleefully and told us how fun he thought it was with all the blood.
He then went on to explain the game mechanics lightly and why he thought it was a great game. He lavished praise on a lot of things and drew several parallels to other games which he thought Fat Princess had outdone in some cases. He said it probably would have deserved a 4, maybe 5 out of 5 if it hadn’t been for one thing.
I Can Haz Cheesecake?
I of course were wondering what this flaw could be that would drag down the gameplay. Nothing I had heard of hard said anything particular about the game not being fun and enjoyable, but perhaps this man had some insight I had yet to purvey I thought. Alas, such were not the case.
The paper-thin story of Fat Princess is that one day two princesses went into the woods and found an enchanted cake (of humongous proportions I might add) which they both ate with great delight. This cake in turn made them very fat, thus the naming of the title, and then they were both kidnapped by the other faction. The goal is to storm the enemy castle, free the princess and carry her over to your castle. The enemy can make this harder by feeding her cake which will make her bigger and harder to carry.
This did not sit right at all with the reviewer. He kept going on how this would impose on young minds how obesity wasn’t good and how ridiculous it was with a king trying to ban sugary goodness. The fact that the princess had to be carried across the battlefield was in itself very appalling to him as he thought it degraded the role of women. In the end he used to to justify the score of 2 our of 5.
Political Correctness Isn’t Always Right
I find it rather aggravating that a game, especially a good game as this obviously was, can be so tarnished by the personal nitpicks of a reviewer like this. One could argue that nitpicking is what reviewing is all about, to find the flaws and lift them out for all to see. The same thing is true about the opposite though, and in the end I stand by the belief that these should be weighed against each other when it comes to determining the quality of a game, movie or whatever the subject in review is. This is especially true if said review features a numerical score of the review.
Fat Princess has had a lot of talk in the blogosphere and other places of the internet due to the featuring of an obese royalty. Intriguing enough I don’t believe this would have happened if the kidnapped in question had been of the male gender instead of that of a girl. But nevertheless, headlines has been made about it on the internet. I can’t shake the feeling though that a lot of the people who complains about these sort of things aren’t subjected to them at all. There seems to be mostly concern about how this game pictures women, but the women I’ve heard talking about it haven’t expressed any objections against the content. Usually it is quite the opposite, probably because they get the satire.
See games for what they are
Fat Princess isn’t supposed to be a proposed utopia for all men in the future. It’s suppose to be a silly little game with cute and bloody graphics as well as good team game play. It’s not supposed to be used as a way to raise orphan children with, but for grown ups and adolescents to sit down with and have fun at.
If all games were to be judged based on small episodes, art or titles and how neurotic soccer-moms views what’s appropriate then most of today’s greater games would probably not be deemed worthy of even putting on a disc, optical nor magnetic. Don’t worry though, the kids could then sit down and watch a really good movie instead.