Earlier this year, I passed on buying Watch Dogs, a game I had been tentatively excited about for over a year. There were a lot of reasons for this, but one specific plot point clinched it: Aiden Pearce was yet another man motivated by villains killing a woman (or in this case, a girl) he cared about. Arthur Gies' review in Polygon confirmed my growing worries, writing that "female characters in Watch Dogs are victims, to be kidnapped or murdered in the interest of plot or character motivation, and are almost all overtly sexualized."

The general concept (originally identified in comics) of female characters being killed in order to motivate a male hero is known as "women in refrigerators," and it's one of many similar narrative devices discussed by one of the internet's most harassed women, Anita Sarkeesian. Since announcing a gaming-specific version of her "Tropes vs. Women" series on Kickstarter in 2012, she's been the subject of constant vitriol and a level of conspiracy theorizing that most people reserve for assassinations and lizard people. Earlier this week, she temporarily left home in response to a particularly specific death threat. Sarkeesian's individual examples are fair game for debate, but the overall feeling seems to be that by identifying tropes like the dead girlfriend or damsel in distress at all, she's trying to destroy what makes video games enjoyable. Here, from our comments section, is a concise distillation: "Why is it video games need to be politically and societally correct? The whole point of video games is to escape reality and have fun."

If that's the goal, games like Watch Dogs are failing horribly.