On Witchers, Actors and Tootsie

Sprite Stu


I’m sorry to say this post will contain very little original content; for one reason or another I’ve been struggling to gather enthusiasm for a good post. I’ll get better, pinky swear.

In the meantime, I have a touching — if strange — video to share. It’s quite an old video, apparently, but it’s only just coming up now on the websites I frequent. I don’t know why.

Basically, it’s a short (three minute) interview with Dustin Hoffman concerning the conception and production of Tootsie, one of his most famous roles:

Like I said, touching.

Obviously, issues of sexism and objectification are serious business even today, when we really should be past this sort of awfulness by now. But we aren’t, not yet, and I applaud the actor for his insight and indelible character.

I may not have written around this video, however, if I wasn’t already considering discussing the topic. Such sexism is a pretty big deal in Hollywood, Hoffman’s domain, and as repugnant as it is I’ll leave it to others.

My domain is gaming. Bear with me as I adjust this post’s perspective a little bit.

I have played a handful of videogames that treat women, sex, and any objectification in between with varying degrees of ineptitude, but none are more disquieting than the Witcher 2. I missed the first game but have a second-hand knowledge of its content as well as the books, and I’ve watched the campy TV series, which I might write about in more depth if I feel it pertains to the discussion.

After playing through the Witcher 2 I put the game away and haven’t touched it since then, and even now I can’t decide whether I really like the game or not. It could be both the most brilliant and most offensive game I’ve ever had on my shelf.

On the one hand the game promises true RPG features and delivers, with an engaging, nonlinear plot and a complex system for adventuring. On the other hand the story and world are harsh and pessimistic, the characters are barely likable, and of course, the game might promote misogyny and even misandry more than any other game I’ve ever played.

(By the way, apparently the Spellchecker doesn’t acknowledge “misandry” as a real word. A little dark comedy for you.)

I’m still replaying the excellent Dragon’s Dogma right now, and perhaps I’ll have a few words for that soon, but I intend to replay the Witcher 2 and re-experience its virtues and flaws. I’m fascinated by the game and I feel the need to take my wishy-washy opinion of it and cement it into something more clear. Do I like the game or not? How serious is the game’s female objectification, and if it is serious, should I like the game at all?

I’m still looking forward to the Witcher 3, so I should probably make up my mind before 2014.

Thanks for reading. Consider this a miniature rant where I try to provide a preview of my thoughts on this controversial game.

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