Nasty Discussion: LGBT Representation vs Fanservice with Mod Knight!

Hey everyone! Mod Knight back with another Nasty Discussion! This time I’ll be taking on a topic that may seem a bit odd. Now, I’m very pro-LGBT representation in gaming! I myself am, in fact, gay; and it always makes me happy to find characters to whom I can relate as a result! However, sometimes the representation we end up getting is…well…to put it simply, it isn’t really representation, it’s fanservice. Fanservice in which two people of the same gender are put into a romantic or sexual situation for the pleasure of the player, usually geared toward heterosexual players, or as a simple way of trying to appear progressive.

More often than not, the fan service in these games tends to derive from female characters; generally with two women put into (often forced) awkward or sexually suggestive situations. Usually in such cases, they are quickly put off by the act or simply don’t take it seriously, thus allowing the (again) straight male viewer to feel more comfortable enjoying the action.

Now, I’d like to make one thing clear: I don’t hate fanservice as a whole. In the proper doses, and when done with the proper respect, it’s an enjoyable addition to games! Problems tend to arise, however, from the fact that almost all fanservice is universally female, as well as it becoming the major focus of certain characters in an otherwise fully serious story.

So, I’d like to look at two different examples of this sort of thing:

One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of an example of same-sex characters being used as fanservice is the Hyperdimension Neptunia Franchise. For those who are unfamiliar with the games, they are FILLED with fanservice. From the main character’s outfits to their movements, much of the game is centered around the male gaze. And there are numerous instances of the female cast members flirting, teasing and even kissing one another for…seemingly little reason aside from the fact that it’s something for the player to enjoy! These kinds of moments cant really be counted as representation because they often mean little outside of the moment they happen in.

Now then. An example of more positive representation can be found in Dragon Age: Inquisition. In which, there are several companions whom you can romance as a person of the same sex or sometimes exclusively as such! Now, these romance paths contain sexual and suggestive content as well. However, they go beyond that; even if the relationship never becomes truly romantic in some cases, there’s still mentions of the fact that these characters do acknowledge their sexualities. As well as emotional reactions and build up to such scenes! Not only that, but they’re meant to stimulate your emotions, not just your body.

So, overall, this is something I’ve felt strongly about. And I’m very glad I’ve had the chance to express it! While sexuality, fanservice, and enjoyment are all well and good, the proper respect needs to be shown to not only the characters themselves, but also the groups represented by them! After all, brushing aside the major implications on a character and their life regarding romance and sex can be rather disrespectful to those who live with it daily.

Thank you for reading! This has been Mod Knight!

Nasty Discussion: Anticipated July Releases with Mod Aria!

Hello All Nasties! Mod Aria is back again to discuss anticipated video game releases! We’re fully entrenched in the dry season, and every online video game outlet is marking down a lot of the games that already released this year. However, I still think that there are some new games coming out that are certainly worth your time. Let’s check them out!

Game Number 1: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age.

Starting out this list actually not a new game, but a remaster. That would be Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. This remaster is a complete graphical update for the version of FFXII that only released in Japan called that had the International Zodiac Job System. It has also been given a trophy system.

Personally, I did not enjoy Final Fantasy XII, but the reason why I am anticipating it is that it might actually help me change my tone about the game. I found the battle system tedious and did not enjoy the majority of the characters, but I am always willing to give it another shot. I have not even heard of the Zodiac Job System, so I’m interested to see how that will change the game. The job system that was in the western version of the game was something I already enjoyed, but again, I’m always willig to try something new.

Mostly, I’m doing this for Balthier. Take me away, sexy sky pirate.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age releases worldwide on July 11th, 2017

Game Number 2: Collar x Malice

Being the otome game fan that I am, I had to include the big release for the summer. Aksys Games is localizing the mystery otome game Collar x Malice for PS Vita this month. And I am incredibly excited for this game.

The game is centered around a girl named Ichika (who is namable). She is a police officer who finds herself attacked one day, and she has a strange collar placed around her neck that is filled with poison. She then meets a group of former cops that are part of a covert organisation set to investigate a slew of violent crimes that have been labeled “The X Day Incident”. Ichika teams up with them, and is able to pursue romantic relationships with five potential suitors.

I had heard about Collar x Malice before Aksys had announced the game’s localization, so I was incredibly thrilled to see it getting an official translation. It is a game that is heavy with plot and sleuthing, so this game has the potential to be fun for anyone who enjoys a good cop mystery. Aksys has stated that the game’s theme is much darker than previous released otome games, so I’m suspecting some poignant endings and gruesome cases to solve. The art is also done by Mai Hanamura, who some otome fans might know from her work on the Amnesia series.  

While there has been no official release announced, it is rumored that Collar x Malice will release on July 28th, 2017 in North America.

Game Number 3: Splatoon 2

The last game on this list is the next big title from Nintendo, their sequel to the popular paint shooter Splatoon. Splatoon is not only a fun game,  but I find it so satisfying to watch the spread of the different colors around buildings and walls as you play. It’s strangely relaxing despite being competitive.

Splatoon 2’s story will likely continue off of the prologue series that Nintendo released about the popular sister squids, Marie and Callie. Though nothing has been officially confirmed yet. As for new features, there as been new weapons for every category (standard, sub and special) added to the game. Jetpacks, too. As for modes to play, Turf War and Hero mode are returning, and there will be some new modes to play as well. Salmon Run is an example of one, which is a team mode that lets you kill massive groups of enemies.

The gameplay is still primarily online, which is both fun and disappointing. I personally think that Splatoon had the potential to be a really fun couch multiplayer game, but the game just does not have a split screen feature. The game does have many online options (like a tournament mode), amiibo support and free DLC, however. So I can’t stay too mad about it.

Splatoon 2 releases worldwide for Nintendo Switch July 21st, 2017.

That’s all the games on my list for July! Did I get your favorite game this month? Or did I miss yours? Let me know in the comments what games you’re excited for so we can hype together. Happy Gaming!


Thanks for reading this and supporting NWG. Until next time!

–Mod Aria/Sam

Nasty Discussion: Life is Strange: Before the Storm Impressions with Mod Zan!

Hi guys, gals and non-binary pals! It’s Mod Zan, here with an article for your reading pleasure. This time around, I’m going to be talking about my opinion on the announcement of Life is Strange: Before the Storm.  I have many, many reasons and even more mixed feelings on this announcement that I’m looking forward to addressing in the paragraphs below!

If you watched our E3 mashup and read my review of Life is Strange, then you’ll know not only that I played Life is Strange with gusto, but also that I did not mention Before the Storm as my most anticipated game. One of the main reasons for this is because I know that what I and many fans of Life is Strange wanted from the studio was a sequel to try and mend our shattered hearts after the unending suffering that we endured in the final two episodes of the game. I still feel this way even after seeing the announcement trailer because I feel that we deserve a lot more closure than either of the endings to the original game gave us as players.

On that note, Chloe is clearly a fan favorite. I’m no exception to this, but I wonder how the game is going to handle the absence of the Rewind effect, which was integral to the first game when we were playing through as Max. I enjoy the idea of making irreversible decisions, as I do with most role-playing games, and I feel that this might be a good addition to Before the Storm. However, I wonder how the game is going to make sure that this doesn’t leave a gaping hole in gameplay for the players. My hope is that with such a heavy focus on irreversible decisions, the game will have multiple endings that encourage you to replay them.

That being said, I am unsure as to whether or not multiple endings will be possible because the prequel and the somewhat linear nature of the second game limits how many options there are for the story to end. I almost wonder if the game would have been better suited as DLC for Life is Strange, but it is likely too early to make a full judgement. I do predict that the focus will heavily be on Chloe and Rachel’s relationship with one another, with Rachel Amber being the main influencer of the events in Chloe’s life.

I am excited to finally see Rachel Amber in life, as a character that we can fall in love with the same way that we did with Max and Chloe. It will be good to be able to make our own judgments of her character instead of listening to others describe her posthumously. I’m also (as always) a huge fan of games with female protagonists, and since Chloe is already canonically LGBT+, I have high hopes for more women-loving-women content in this game.

On the topic of representation, I do hope that this game will do better with it. There was minimal LGBT+ representation and decent representation for white women; Life is Strange had a lot to be desired in racial representation and cultural appropriation. Ideally, the studio will have included more NPC’s that are POC, and added some major characters in positive roles that are a part of marginalized communities. Even though I was here for the villains in the original game being straight, white, highly privileged men, the rest of the cast also reflected that in ways that didn’t improve the game. We need more characters of color in the cast of all games, and Before the Storm is no exception.

Additionally, I hope that this game puts a little more power back into the hands of the main characters (and by extension, the players). One of the worst things about Life is Strange was the illusion of immeasurable power. Even though that may have been part of the point of the game, it isn’t easy to accept that there is nothing you can do to lessen the pain of an unnecessarily traumatic ending.

One of my main concerns for this game is that it will fall back into the patterns that I disliked in the original game. Granted, I’m not going to pretend that I expect this game to be rainbows and sunshine because we already know what happens to both Chloe and Rachel. However, I feel that there’s a healthy balance in games between sad and happy moments, and I’m hoping that the moments we get to see between Chloe and Rachel will make up for the inevitable tragedy that the end will bring.

Overall, I’m hesitantly excited about the announcement of this game. I hope that it will give some much-needed depth to Chloe and even more so to Rachel Amber, who deserved a lot more than what she got from the developers. I’m ready for the expansion of the universe, and hoping for a little more explanation of said universe as well as its inhabitants.

Though I am disappointed that it’s a prequel, I’m also intrigued as to how the knowledge of the future will affect my way of playing through the game. I think it has a lot of potential, but I don’t want to get my hopes up for fear that it will disappoint me the way that the first game did despite my love for it and its characters.

Thanks for reading this, and if you have expectations, predictions, hopes, or gripes with this game let me know in the comments below! See you next time!