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The Role of Female Characters in Video Games

Kombo Writes: "I would like to slide this disclaimer out in front of you readers just so that I can quell any early senses of anger before we proceed. I may say some things here and there that place the female sex and gender into a position that's well below the politically correct norm. I want you to know that while I may be using these viewpoints and positions in order to further prove my argument, I know as a human being and a member of society that women are equal to men. My goal with this article is to dismantle the accepted image of females in video games and educate those that may look at their typical portrayal as normal and commonplace.

So, on we go... "

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Myst3487d ago

I actually found this article quite interesting and enjoyable and to a point I guess I found it enjoyable, because I went into it thinking "They really should have more female lead roles in games or ones in which you can choose to play one." Examples of this being Metal Gear Online, Resident Evil 5, or even folklore, as well as Monster Hunter and MMOs.

Being able to change the sex of the character is usually something that is often appealing to me. Whether the fighting stances or even styles are similar or admiring the model work that the creators have done for the characters (Not to be intended in an overtly sexual way mind you). Simply being, I liked how they designed Kratos, just as much as I like how they designed Chun-li or Elena in Street Fighter.

Aside from my tangent paragraph above, more stories should be done where it's not primarily rescue this girl or save that princess (Although I believe fat princess is exempt from this maybe?) More games should be done similar to the older Final Fantasy titles (1-8 if you wish) an intriguing story that sucks you in, where it's not always as simple as rescuing someone (in the case of Final Fantasy VIII) but has something more deeper and enriching than that. THAT would be a game worth playing and which I can safely say is probably why I'm waiting for Final Fantasy XIII and Versus, especially versus where the bad person seems to be the girl (I don't know yet so if anyone can point me in the right direction I'd be grateful :))

Xander-RKoS3487d ago

While this is an interesting read...it's kinda stepping back into very early territory while ignoring more current games. Sure, in Mario games Peach is still captured but another in the case of Galaxy, a strong female character takes the role of "the mentor". The princess has also moved away from traditional female stereotypes by become a regular in the Mario sports series, along with other females.

The Zelda series has also moved away from the standard "princess in distress". In fact, the Zelda franchises has not implied that women are weak sexual objects, but objects of power. While the reasons behind Bower's kidnapping of Peach remains slightly ambiguous, other than non-violent usurpation of the throne, Ganon's reasons have always been clear. The maiden were a source of power. While I'm sure someone can draw out something sexually oppressing from that, I kinda think it's empowering to show that women generally have much more spiritual prowess then men. Zelda herself of course from the 3-D zelda games has been associated with wisdom, and has taken a more active role as the strong heroine. While disguising herself as Shiek (a man) may indicate that only by becoming a man would she be strong (see criticism on Mulan on wikipedia), her other incarnations from Wind Waker (the pirate leader Tetra is one of the strongest female characters I can think of), and Twilight Princess (a strong leader who sacrifices herself, a more caring role and not as forceful as earlier incarnations) definitely show that women are not so misrepresented.

Samus Aran of course goes without saying. She was pretty much the first strong female character. There are plenty of others as well, especially non-Nintendo. Alyx from Half-life 2, Faith from Mirror's Edge, Jade from beyond good and evil, the list could go on.

The only problem I have with this article is that it looks way too indepth at one of the earliest games. In a game like Mario, the plot could not be fully flushed out as modern games and thus it had to rely on a simple archtype of stories in order to give the player a better sense of purpose. I don't think it was a statement towards women in general. It also probably had to do with marketing with video games pretty much being 100% male dominated back then. I mean, Samus Aran was a shocker when people found out she was female because everyone playing it thought she was a guy. In that era, do you think gamers would have bought a game where the girl saves the guy?

Canary3486d ago

Can't get past the disclaimer.

"I know as a human being and a member of society that women are equal to men."

A human being? Really? 'Cause, physically, men and women are not equal. As a member of society? I can't think of a single social social organization in the history of humankind where men and women have been equal.

Hell, the closest we have to real equality is legally, and even then... not quite. Moral grounds? Yep. Men and women are equal--in the abstract.

This disclaimer (apology) makes it sound like the start of some meat-headed PC drivel.

Keowrath3486d ago

I personally thought the article was utter crap... The writer needs to move out of the 80's for a start. As has been mentioned above. There are now many strong females in gaming. Nariko from heavenly sword, Faith from Mirrors edge, a whole slew of characters from fighting games Chun-li, Mai Shiranui etc etc, most recently Sheva from RE5. All, incredibly strong women be it in mind or body.

As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing wrong with the damsel in distress plot line. I've recently been playing the original Never winter nights where although the main quest is to save the city from plague there is a female paladin (Aribeth) who has turned to the dark side and is in need of "rescuing" make no mistake, if you go easy on her as shes "only a woman" she'll kick your ass! She's still a damsel in distress but one who is also able to hold her own.

This article may have had a point back when SMB originally came out but in todays gaming, female characters are just as strong as their male counterparts.