Blizzard To Make ‘Overwatch’ Character Less Ludicrously Sexy. | Gradient
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Blizzard to Make ‘Overwatch’ Character Less Ludicrously Sexy.

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For as long as there have been video games, there have been video game depictions of ladies doing hyper-sexualized things. Happily, that tradition has started to taper a bit—Nintendo recently gave a bikini’d female character from the western version of The Xenoblade Chronicles a more practical outfit, and Capcom gave the women of Street Fighter V less suggestive poses—but it’s not altogether gone. Overwatch is only in its beta stage at the moment, but one of the first-person shooter’s signature characters is Tracer. She is, as a poster on one of the game’s message boards calls her:

…the star of the show. She’s a great hero. When we look at the way she’s portrayed in promotional media, lore, and art in game we know a few things about her: She’s fast. She’s silly. She’s kind. She’s a good friend. Her body seems to be comprised of about 95% spunk.”

That description was written by a poster known as “Fipps,” who went on to note that while all Tracer’s character traits were great, her victory pose—in which she thrusts her spandexed butt at the viewer—seemed awfully out of whack.

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Now, for much of video game history, this is business as usual. You wouldn’t put a lady in your video game without giving her butt a starring role. Would you ask the sun to stop shining? But as Fipps points, the times they are a’changing.

“What about this pose has anything to do with the character you’re building in [Tracer]? It’s not fun, its not silly, it has nothing to do with being a fast elite killer. It just reduces [Tracer] to another bland female sex symbol …This isn’t a character who is in part defined by flaunting her sexuality. This pose says to the player base, oh we’ve got all these cool diverse characters, but at any moment we are willing to reduce them to sex symbols to help boost our investment game.”

If you’ve ever been on the Internet, you can be forgiven for assuming this post would lead to a dumpster fire of commenters complaining about their “first amendment rights” or some such. And, yes, there was some of that. But believe it or not, Blizzard’s own Jeff Kaplan responded and admitted that they’d made a mistake, writing: “We’ll replace the pose. We want *everyone* to feel strong and heroic in our community. The last thing we want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable, under-appreciated or misrepresented.”

So, yes, this is a story about how an Internet comment about women in a video game resulted in a civil conversation that led to a positive development in the depiction of women in popular culture. Magic, as we have seen a few times lately, is real.

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Jason Russell”

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Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “ Aharon Rabinowitz”

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Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 040

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United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?

New Pod Flow: Scribble & Jam, “Artist Matthew Perryman Jones”

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Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.

If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.

To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.

Subscribe on iTunes.

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Next Steps After the Presidential Election”

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Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 039

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Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.

This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “Illo

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Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy.  During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 038

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This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.

Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

New Pod Flow: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Podcast: Doctor Strange

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We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.

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