The first of, perhaps, many 'Women are like Nintendo' 'Men are like Blizzard' best selling how to guides.
The old saw groans 'When men compete, they behave aggressively and obnoxiously, but are respected for it, when women try to compete like men, they are derided for it': and the cutoff drops into the bin.
From my perspective, and I think it's one men often share, amongst ourselves, in secret, or perhaps, extremely publicly, since I'm about to quote someone else; "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned", or more generally "women scorned", or to queen's-side castle "Womens' scorn". The view of the gender outsider, and, admittedly, there's only one of us, is that women subject each other to torture on a constant basis that is far in excess of what men could or would tolerate.
I made a comment elsewhere, that contains some information.
My mother, who is a strong and good women, when she isn't trying to burrow into my skull and micromanage my brain activity, falls, I believe in a minority category of women. Women who understand male competition, and fall into it naturally, but do not understand or tolerate female competition, but because they do not, also, reject their gender identity, this discomfort is extremely upsetting. My father is the same way, only on the opposite tact. He finds male competition idiotic, but identifies with an expectation that he must participate in it despite his discomfort. I make this point for 2 reasons. One, that I recognize that the male and female differentitation I'm about to make is actually a differentiation in stress reaction which is not gender synonymous, but is merely represented in a preponderance in one gender over the other, and two, that simply being wired to respond a particular way does not mean that you are incapable of behaving another, or even wanting to behave another way. There are more things going on in the brain than can be simply stated as 'activity' or 'inactivity', and all those processes rise and fall together with states of arousal. Personality has a volume knob, but it's not always the same tone.
There is a basic behavior women and men both have, which are meant to evoke opposite reactions depending on their audience. When a newcomer to a situation or social unit appears, they must be challenged, both to determine whether they are foreign, and if there will be a reshuffling of social order. Among men, that reshuffling, in its natural state is usually physical, not necessarily violent, but involves someone needing to yeild. In a civilized context, that is usually impractical, and furthermore, undesireable--since once you get involved in that kind of situation, it's possible for it to escalate easily. Also, while there is a strong urge to achieve dominance, men do not respect someone who must be dominant all the time. What men appreciate is someone who is strong in the sense of self-control. Fight or flight is a give away that someone is afraid--a man who quietly subjects himself to whatever challenge the group offers up is showing that they are stronger than if they 'talk back' or start a fight. Especially if it's an unwinnable one. Through the de-filtered process of internet gaming, you often see this probing go on at length, with stronger individuals laughing off what are first inane, and then gradually more aggressive and suggestive, and ultimately extremely disturbing attempts to produce a reaction of some kind. As long as the reaction is even in tone and shows an instantaneous emotional alzheimer's--where you are starting fresh with every new line of text, unperterbed, you will be showing strength. For some bullies this is a trigger to get more abusive an angry, but that mentality is omnipresent in humanity, and you don't plan on it. You simply plan for it. In general, if you are behaving the right way, other men in a situation will help buffer you from the challenge, whereas, if you are showing weakness with a reaction, they will join in, either to stifle you, or drive you away. This goes to a key feature of male brain activity. When men are at 'rest', their brain activity is lower than when they are under stress. By attempting to apply stress, the group is looking for the signs of activity which might indicate they're having an effect. Whether stressed or not, the man has to act as though he is still at a lower activity level to pass inspection, and show, essentially a tolerance for stress. Because stress is tied to, for instance, competitive ambition, or anticipation of a fight, showing a lack of it, as a man, is an indication that you are not planning to disrupt the group.
The same basic behavior for women, plays out far differently. From what I can tell, when a woman is challenged by the group, she has to prove that she is strong with action, not inaction--and specifically, because women have a more differentiated control of their emotions, and a higher tolerance for pain, emotional or otherwise, this action is generally aggressive reciprocal emotional abuse. To truly understand what abuse means, in this context, however, you have to keep in mind the rules of social engagement. You cannot directly attack someone, because then you are simply being crass and aggressive--which shows that you're an idiot. No one of intelligence would come right out and abuse someone else to their face if they wanted to get something out of them (so goes the basic assumption of politics), however, to develop leverage in a situation, you must show that you can determine where someone else is weak, and how you are strong, in comparison. So, the emotional abuse, in this case, is, like nancy drew, to determine what about the other person is sensitive, and then tease out more information without directly attacking the person. So, for example, someone who wears hooker makeup might be sensitive about it, and an appropriate response would be to call out something about how men thing women who dress like whores aren't worth talking to. This is a contrived example--women are usually better at this, so that the observed trait and the barb sunk into womanflesh are far more telling than something obvious. The reasons for this are similar to the male situation, just reversed. When at 'rest' women have far higher brain activity than they do when stressed. For comparison's sake, if a man's at-rest state is 1, then a woman's at-rest state is 2, but while a man's stressed state is 1.5, the woman's is 1. So, to determine if a woman is stressed, and therefore a likely threat, the expected behavior is the opposite as the case of men. Women must prove they are unstressed by having presence of mind enough to strike back without breaking the rules and social conventions which control the situation--to insinuate themselves in a group by showing they can operate politically within it, rather than showing their willingness to be subject to it.
These differences come into play when men and women attempt to form a close pair bonding. Often, when growing closer, the woman's urge is to confront the man, and visa versa. However, the response is unexpected, and for that reason, we have slightly different wiring when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex. A woman might take a dig at a man and expect the man to respond with wit and charm--to show that he is not stressed by her rejection. However, men are stressed by rejection--which ironically makes us wittier and more charmy (rhymes with). A man get angry with a woman, and expects her to show an unstressed response of staying calm. However, women are stressed by men acting angry and aggressive, which, ironically, makes them calmer and quieter. This works well initially, but as the man and woman become more comfortable with each other, the man's anger no longer stresses the woman, and the man no longer fears rejection, and they revert to nonstressed reactions, which puzzle both. The man finds it genuinely irritating that the woman seems to be displaying aggression when he challenges her with anger, and the woman is puzzled at the seeming weakness and passivity when she challenges her man with criticism. Is he withdrawing? Is she dissatisfied? Ultimately, couples seem to settle on form of bond where one gender's interpretation holds sway. Meaning, the man is kept continually stressed with rejection, criticism, and stimulation, while the woman is mollified as much as possible, by someone who is constantly harried and thinking ahead to what they must do to keep her in that state, or, the man is on a hair trigger of throwing minor temper tantrums and making things unpleasant, so that the woman is stressed into receding and meakness in order to avoid triggering him. Ideally, in a healthy relationship, couples switch off, so that each gets a rest period and a period of stimulation. Similarly to leaving the seat up, the effort seems to go in favor of the woman, since men have to impose their standard on the relationship, whereas, the natural unstressed state leaves the woman more stimulated. Genuine external stress, such as poverty, or family, complicates this.
When playing a game, stress has been a key feature only occasionally. Sports are another subject, since a 'friendly' game is different than a competitive one, and the subject of sportsmanship has always existed to balance the male aggressive urge which drives performance, but disrupts the social structure of any kind of league. In the case of board games, stress, if it came, had to be from an outside source. For instance, when playing chess, only caring about the outcome can drive you to be genuinely stressed. You see women tend to play something like Mah Jong or bridge for points in a friendly setting, whereas men tend to play something like poker for actual money, often with people they don't entirely like. The games, themselves, are thinking games, and the people who play them set themselves up to play them at their best (drinking aside). Arcade and console games, by contrast, tend to have an immediacy and reaction component to them, which cause stress, especially if there's any thinking to be done, and this is a turn off to the typical female brain.
Nintendo is a company that grew up in this era of the stress-reaction to games, and their company zeitgeist is linked to stressing their audience. In the case of the Wii, it's almost ludicrously obvious in the sense that they have introduced physical stress and exhaustion which is completely atypical of gaming--and, in fact, a point of design which has been overcome only with long practice. Players invest time in games so that they are not exhausted by them, but can continue to play until sated or bored. There is continuity in this approach too, since 'Track and Field' was available even on the original NES, and was nothing more than a haruspex for carpal tunnel syndrome. Every time nintendo releases one of their flagship products or consoles, there is some aspect to the design which twists the knife in the gut of their fanbase. Instead of mario jumping on goombas, it's luigi vacuum cleaning a haunted house. Instead of a controller we're familiar with, it's a 3 pronged marital aid. Instead of sitting down to play some games online with friends, we're joining random games with complete strangers that might be CPU players for all we know, because there is no chat functionality. Are you used to a single screen and buttons? How about two screens and a stylus? Happy with using a controller and not having it affect your view of the screen? How about attaching the screen to the controller, or, better yet, have the position of the controller affect input? What are your feelings on photographing pokemon? Yet, no amount of these torments can silence the anguished cries of joy from the fans of the company. The nintendo customer has no safety word.
Blizzard is a company that grew up in an era directly after the concept of 'console' had sunk in, and the home computer had begun to proliferate. For these products, games which were aggressively obnoxious were not on the menu--for one thing, abusing a 2000 dollar piece of equipment like an arcade cabinet was madness, and for another, getting the goddamned thing to work at all was already hard enough, having a game that was hard to get running, and then difficult to play seems exceptionally unfair. Beyond even these considerations, the presence in the home spoke of a greater personal stake in the content and behavior of leisure pasttimes. You were not venturing out into a harsh wilderness and saying thank you, gratefully, for whatever muskrat was caught in the trap set by your roll of quarters, this was your barn, and goddamnit, if you wanted to raise chickens, that's what you were gonna raise, because you built that coop, and you'll be goddamned if some man from county is going to come down and tell you that you gotta eat horseflesh this winter. Rascal and Dancer had been with you since you were a kid, and you weren't about to shoot members of the family. They'd have their oats--or, if we had to, they'd eat eggs, but they had their harnesses stamped 'conscientious glue factory objector'. Blizzard games (still talking about blizzard) were about, first, what blizzard employees wanted to play (rather than what nintendo wanted to make), and, gradually, about what their fans wanted. Blizzard possesses complex instrumentation able to determine within the nearest expectation, the desires, in cubic ennui of their target audience. Their (also sophisticated) design machinery then manufactures the desired experience with modular slots where further desires will be attached, until the fans look at the thing and honestly can't think of anything to complain about. However, the Blizzard fan will complain anyway--and vigorously, until they cry tears of red red blood.
In terms of success rate, we can see that catering to the people who do not like to be challenged and stressed, and catering to the people who *do* like it, are equally lucrative, only one incurs a tremendous amount of suffering for a certain type of creative mind, which, nevertheless, may drive an urge to excel, and the other incurs less of one.
Since gaming, during my formative years was an industry in which femininity controlled the relationship, it was not enticing to women--it was a rival. Now that there are industry voices with an essentially masculine approach to abuse the gamer population, women are gaming as much, if not more than men.
Video games, as a whole, are a form of self abuse, since if we really wanted to relax, we'd pick something much more passive, like reading or watching a movie.
And yes, company culture is transsexual. I'm not sure why that is, but it's interesting. Some would say spicy.
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