So, Borderlands 2 is going have a character with a special beginner-friendly skill tree, which will grant various difficulty skirting perks (such as the ability to kill stuff without actually hitting it). The idea is that this will let players new to the game have some co-op fun with veteran players.
Sounds like a good idea to me — unfortunately in an interview with Eurogamer, Borderlands 2 designer John Hemingway went and referred to it as “the girlfriend skill tree”. Internet outrage ensued, which is…weird, because this past generation the gaming industry was all about the girlfriend mode.
Up until recently legendary Nintendo game-making pixie Shigeru Miyamoto would frequently talk about his “Wife-o-meter”. Basically, if he wanted to gauge whether a new casual game was casual enough he’d give it to his wife to play. Developers like Zynga and PopCap would constantly brag about the percent of their players were women. These boasts were never phrased in a “we made a really good game that just so happened to attract a large number of women” sort of way — it was always “we targeted women with our accessible, non-threatening games and succeeded. Hooray for a plan well-executed!”
But now girlfriend modes are apparently taboo. Good. Women gamers shouldn’t have to be carefully courted or tricked into playing games. They shouldn’t be rallied behind, railed against or masturbated over. Women gamers are just gamers that happen to smell good.
By the way ladies, since you aren’t using it anyways, is it okay if I borrow Borderlands 2’s girlfriend mode and rename it “rugged dudes who nonetheless suck at shooters” mode?