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Vox Day: My orc and troll fighting game won’t have any women in it, because that wouldn’t be historically accurate

If you want historically accurate male-on-male combat action, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association Board of Directors Simulator 3000: 2011 Edition is the way to go
If you want historically accurate male-on-male combat action, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association Board of Directors Simulator 3000: 2011 Edition is the way to go

So our old friend Vox Day is working on a video game. And he’s decided to make a bold and unprecedented choice in his design of the game: he’s not going to have any ladies in it.

But it turns out this choice has nothing to do with anything so pedestrian as misogyny. In fact, it was the only rational choice he could make. Let’s let him explain. He has such a way with words. (He’s apparently some sort of writer.)

I am a game designer. I am designing and producing a game that does not, and will not, have a single female character in it. This is not because I am misogynistic. This is not because I do not women to play the game. This is because putting women in the game makes no sense, violates the principle of the suspension of disbelief, and will not make the game any better as a game.

Well, that makes sense. I mean, the game is probably some game that has to have only male characters to be believable. You know, like Dance Party with the American Presidents or the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association Board of Directors Simulator 3000 or something like that.

I am the lead designer of First Sword, a combat management game. The game has orcs and men, elves and dwarves. It has goblins and trolls. But it has no women.

Uh, wait. It’s a combat game filled with orcs, goblins and trolls, but putting women in it would “violate …  the principle of the suspension of disbelief.”

Because the game is a gladiator game. Women cannot credibly fight as gladiators. We don’t put women in the game for the same reason we don’t put bunny rabbits or children in the game.

Well, why not? You put fucking orcs in it. Why not make a combat game with bunny rabbits?

Actually, someone already did that. It’s called Overgrowth. And it’s supposed to be pretty good.

Putting women in the game would be an act of brutal sadism, an act of barbarism even by pagan Roman standards. While the Romans did occasionally put female gladiators in the arena, they were there as a comedic act.

Really? This is a VIDEO GAME. You can do whatever you want with it. It is really harder to imagine a woman being able to fight a man than it is to imagine entire races of imaginary humanoid creatures?

We could, of course, throw out historical verisimilitude. But we’re not going to. Because we value that verisimilitude far more than we value the opinion of a few whiny women who don’t play the sort of games we make anyhow.

Historical verisimilitude? Historical verisimilitude?!

YOU’RE MAKING A GAME ABOUT ORCS AND TROLLS.

ORCS AND TROLLS DO NOT EXIST.

THEY HAVE NEVER EXISTED.

THERE IS NO HISTORY THAT INCLUDES ORCS AND TROLLS.

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Aaron Boyden
8 years ago

Maybe it’s trolls like internet trolls. What they’d be doing in a gladiatorial arena I don’t know; heckling? Making them fight seems like it would be an act of brutal sadism (though perhaps satisfying nonetheless). And as far as making the orcs credible, I’ve got nothing.

tinyorc
8 years ago

The game has orcs and men, elves and dwarves. It has goblins and trolls. But it has no women.

Ah yes. Because we wouldn’t want to repeat the mistakes of miserable flop that was Skyrim, the least fantasy game ever made.

Also, as a woman who has been playing female orc brawler characters in various RPG settings since I was fourteen years old… LOL.

tinyorc
8 years ago

Ugh, worst, not least!

dlouwe
dlouwe
8 years ago

I assume though, there will be female orcs, since orcs are historically good fighters regardless of gender.

tedthefed
tedthefed
8 years ago

You know what’s weird? In games where you can customize your character, there’s usually not any gender differences (great). But there’s apparently no social pressure against having RACE-based differences. They even call them that (“elf” is a race, apparently). Even without the egregious examples, like Elder Scrolls’ “black people’s special power is that they can run really fast and jump really high,” that’s still weird that no one blinks an eye about it.

Ally S
8 years ago

I am a game designer.

*spits out imaginary drink*

Also, “historical verisimilitude?” If that doesn’t smell like unbridled pretentiousness, I don’t know what does.

leftwingfox
8 years ago

He’s already living in a fantasy world where women never engaged in combat. Makes sense it’s full of orcs and trolls.

(Btw: Anyone else eager for the Elder Scrolls MMO?)

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

He should have written “I’m scared of women” and been done with it.

bodycrimes
8 years ago

At least his orcs and trolls aren’t sacking towns and raping the women folk in a nod towards fantasy versimilitude.

tinyorc
8 years ago

@leftwingfox Eager, but terrified it is going to consume my life.

leftwingfox
8 years ago

tedthefed: Good point. I tend to be a bit blind to it because those examples are so often completely different species, where distinct physical differences makes a more sense.

Hyena Girl
8 years ago

I’d really like to see his citations for “gladiatrix as comedy act” as the historical record disagrees with him (yeah, that’s a surprise). While female gladiators were rare the were definitely part of the Roman games. Oddly though I can’t seem to find any historical citations for dwarves, elves, orcs, or trolls in historical games… or even mention of orcs at all pre-Tolkien.

Steven Murray, S. (2003) Female Gladiators of the Ancient Roman World. Journal of Combative Sport. Retrieved 02/14 from http://www.ejmas.com/jcs/jcsart_murray_0703.htm

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
8 years ago

Also, as a woman who has been playing female orc brawler characters in various RPG settings since I was fourteen years old… LOL.

I love playing as orc women in the Elder Scrolls series. And for other RPGs, dwarf women. My go-to female dwarf name is Rioda. Orc woman name is Lukko. Yup, I have standard names picked out depending on what race I choose!

barrakuduh
8 years ago

Oh my god, Huckleberry’s comment:

I don’t know what all the complaining is about. The Grand Theft Auto series has plenty of women, and its one of the most successful franchises in video game history. You’ve won, darlin’. Now go home and play Candy Crush like you were going to anyway.

tinyorc
8 years ago

Chie Satonaka:

Orc woman name is Lukko. Yup, I have standard names picked out depending on what race I choose!

BOOM. I also have this. My standard orc lady name is Merka. For other races, I’m a fan of Ornagh, and Naoise is a handy gender neutral one.

I mean, wait, I’m a woman so I hate all games except Candy Crush.

talacaris
8 years ago

What are the speculations of the position of female orcs in orc society. I remember I read a web comic about a female orc warrior, but I can’t find it anymore..

Mandie
Mandie
8 years ago

Haha I’m sure I’ll be seeing loads of positive reviews for “First Sword,” which sounds completely unique and has so much to offer the world of PC gaming. I mean, orcs and fighting with swords? No women? It’s never been done! /sarcasm, so much sarcasm

Also how does he know orcs, dwarves, or elves even have gender, or that there are precisely two genders for those fantasy species? I mean, we don’t have to take Tolkien’s writing as gospel on those subjects and you really could make up whatever you want, so how does he know that the orcs and elves in his game are male at all?

(also hi I’m new to commenting, but I’ve been lurking on and off for years)

barrakuduh
8 years ago

GRAND
THEFT
AUTO.

…Welp, looks like we can all go home now. Grand Theft frickin’ Auto has women in it. The world of video games is no longer sexist.

leftwingfox
8 years ago

Actually, if you all don’t mind, I’d like to bounce a potentially contentious game issue in one of my designs off the feminist hivemind here. I’ve been putting on a long-running campaign path in Pathfinder for my friends (levels 1-15) with a mind towards submitting it to Paizo.

The adventure is focussed around a remote mining boom-town, which starts abandoned, but the players take a strong hand in developing. Since there’s something of a klondike sensibility to it, the issue of prostitution is one of those “historical facts” that I was trying to figure out how to integrate.

I ended up creating a plot issue where one of the prominent NPCs is a catfolk Madam of the local inn, who becomes very concerned and angry at the presence of some mercenaries. Later in the game, the players travel to the nearby city, where they incidentally discover her past as a gang member and sex worker in the slums outside the city, as well as the mercenary group’s ties to organized crime within the city. Territorial conflict caused her to attack one of the mercs, and flee for her life. By the time they return to the boom-town, the captain of the mercs, the same one who threatened her life, has been found apparently clawed to death during an intimate moment. The players are then tasked with solving the crime.

I was hoping to use this as a means of setting up a moral choice, based on players’ preconceptions of sex work, racism, sexism, and notions of self-defence, with the outcome of the investigation affecting the balance of power in town. (The correct answer after a thorough investigation being being that a supernatural third party has taken advantage of this conflict, and is the real killer.)

I can probably rewrite this to eliminate prostitution references, and make this simply about a former gang member vs. a mob capo, but I think that our perceptions of sex work do add a level of moral ambiguity to the plot.

So I’m curious as to what others think.

Z
Z
8 years ago

Just a note: “Race” used to be somewhat synonymous with “species” (as in “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”), hence the use in fantasy works. Using “species” apparently would sound too scientific for the “fantasy” flavor. As far as I can recall, Tolkien used only “people” (as in “Free Peoples” ), “folk” and “kin” (though I may be wrong), so like many other stupid conventions of the genre I’m going to blame it on D&D. 🙂

grumpycatisagirl
grumpycatisagirl
8 years ago

This is not because I do not women to play the game.

So Vox Day womens to play the game? How?

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
8 years ago

It’s also already been established that women and men play casual games (such as Candy Crush) in equal numbers.

serrana
serrana
8 years ago

Grumpycat, Box* Day is a writer. He’s to busy and important to worry about making sense.

*Typo, but I’m keeping it.

serrana
serrana
8 years ago

^too, not to. Ugh. I need more caffeine.

Angela Gibbons
8 years ago

I play World of Warcraft, and have many characters of the feminine gender, including orcs, trolls, elves, goblins, and dwarves.

[embed] http://www.acuityorg.com/wallstock/wallpaper-horde-females-by-gaarachan.jpg [/embed]

But we all know World of Warcraft was a huge flop, so pay it hardly counts as a true video game.

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