– UPDATE 2017 –
Hello dear reader, I know that this blog post sometimes get linked in discussions about MTG cards and some of the problematic art that may appear in the game. Sometimes, linked also in discussions about Wizards way of handling and answering to the community. In the past years I’ve always found it fun to see my written text used in this discussion, until I actually took the time to read it again.
Now I mostly feel silly, ashamed and also very surprised about the person I was only a few years back. Much has happened since then of course, when it comes to discussing issues and problematic trends in game design.
And I just want you to know that my opinion on these topics have changed drastically, not becuase I’m a great defender of justice, not because I got brainwashed, but because I’ve taken the time to learn, listen and realize that me and my opinions are not set in stone, rather they are set in a formable clay. And I will happily reform that clay and add to it by learning and creating a greater understanding of the world around me.
Now, I will not remove or change the original text, it stands as a reminder to myself that I in fact changed alot the last few years, and I’m very proud of that evolution.
To end with a quick thought, Wizard clearly did the right thing to apoligize for the art itself and to not use it in future printings of the card. If a big part of their community feels affected and troubled by the card art, it’s a problem. MTG is a game that in itself should welcome all players and groups, and this kind of card just did not fit into that. It created a situation online and at events that became very non-welcoming to the games non-male demographic. I will leave it that for now, and clarify in the comments if you have any questions.
We can all learn. We can all change.
I just did not imagine that I would do so without actually realizing that I did.
I’m sitting here with a feeling of: what just happened? I’ve been following discussions on Twitter that has been going on for the last few hours. The discussions concern a new card from Avacyn Restored; Triumph of Ferocity.
Can you guess why this card has been wildly discussed? I think you can, but it may not be as clear as you think. As it seems, it’s about 50/50 in what people see in this picture. I for one actually liked this artwork, it shows the struggle between Garruk and Liliana, he’s about to smack her down and she is just about to throw a spell in his face. I bet many of you see that as well, but some of you will see something completely different. Something that I understand can be disturbing; and that is that the whole scene taking place symbolizes rape.
Taking a step back, yes it’s a struggle between a man and woman. Had this been two men fighting, I doubt we would be having this discussion right now. Maybe we would have, but I doubt it. I respect the fact that some people see this in the artwork, and I understand where it comes from. But I almost feel as if this issue or idea has been taken a bit… far.
Why do you see “rape” when you look at this image?
Is it because we see a female in a weaker position towards a male? Is it because of the position of the bodies, and again the fact that the male character has a more aggressive/overhead stance over her? That’s what I’m guessing and yes I see that too, but where is the part that says rape? Why is he forced to be judged as someone that is about to rape a woman?
Turn the two roles around, let’s imagine Liliana (the woman) pushing Garruk down towards a rock. Now he is the spell caster, what would you think of the art? Just a quick thought would be: “Sweet! She is kicking ass!” instead of right now; “Why is he forcing her down like that?!”
It annoys me greatly that a struggle between a male character and a female character where the man is winning apparently is not accepted as artwork.
But, I understand, once again, where you’re coming from with these thoughts. I respect that fact, but I also hope that you can respect that I disagree. Artworks in a game will “always” at one time or another, create these emotions. And that is what this card was created for, emotion of what is taking place. I think that this one card may have captured it better than any card in Avacyn Restored. Not only do we realize it, a lot of you feel it so strongly that you turn it into a problem.
I’ll gladly get some comments on this, cause I’m writing straight out of my head. I probably didn’t follow up on all my thoughts or explained them well enough. If so, comment, discuss and I will be back with a follow up.
Until next time Nurglings, take care.