As kids, my brothers and I were given an hour a day to play games on the computer — or later, our Gameboys — and we used them up (and usually went overtime) on an array of seemingly egalitarian and semi-educational games: EA*Kids titles like Eagle Eye Mysteries and Peter Pan: A Story Painting Adventure; The Magic School Bus and Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego; Oregon Trail and (the far superior) Amazon Trail; Treasures Cove, Mountain, and Math Storm; and a series called Living Books that tested reading and spelling comprehension as you played.
Looking at the list, it’s clear that my parents’ substantial influence on our games of choice had something to do with it, but I never perceived anything sexist about my gaming experience — most of the games featured genderless/gender-ambiguous protagonists (the Trail games, the Treasure games, Carmen Sandiego, etc.) or let players choose between male and female equals, as with the brother and sister detective duo in Eagle Eye Mysteries. Gender was either a brief decision made at the beginning of a game that never contributed substantially to the outcome, or it was never a factor in the first place.
It’s not surprising to learn that my gaming upbringing was a fairly uncommon and insular one — we weren’t allowed a Playstation or Nintendo until after I lost interest, but I knew the most popular games among kids my age belonged to those mediums — but it is somewhat surprising to learn the pervasiveness (and weird repetitiveness) in gaming sexism that has existed ever since gaming became a thing people did. This video from Anita Sarkeesian — the first in what will be a series of videos examining sexist tropes in gaming — examines one such video-game meme: the damsel in distress.
The whole thing is great, but the sequence of clips at 10:40 showing princess/female characters being kidnapped in front of the male protagonists whose mission it will be to rescue them is especially mesmerizing; ditto the 12:03 clip showing one damsel after another pleading, “HELP!” (Lest anyone think the video is merely a reflection of backwards history, this cool dad’s Donkey Kong hack that lets his daughter save Mario as hero Pauline has caused an uproar among a “men’s rights gaming group called ‘Mr. Pac-Men.’”)
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It’s stupid that she disabled comments and ratings. Also as for games with stereotypical gender roles, I grew up on Sega, not Nintendo. A lot of the females were strong in games I played, maybe not the main protagonist most of the time, but they weren’t “push overs”. Alys from Phantasy Star IV was by far the best example of this, she was not only a mentor to the main character but took a death blow for him. That I have to say is still one of the saddest scenes from any video game I’ve ever played. (And hey the original Phantasy Star had a “Alis” as a protagonist, I always wondered if that was coincidence or not.)
Most of Sega’s games aren’t… I was giving you an example of a franchise that actually had strong female protagonists. Lots of games didn’t even have to do with sexism or concepts even remotely close to it, hell Sonic was about saving the fuzzy woodland creatures from Dr. Robotnic. Amy Rose was added to the series way later to try to appeal to a bigger fan base (though she wasn’t in need of rescue, she was just chasing Sonic..) The point I was trying to make is that this “sexism” only happens in certain games and isn’t as widespread as this video seems to make a point about. Also what’s the point of complaining about sexism in Video games anyhow, video game companies just care about what sells. It’s like sex in advertising, year after year it seems to be successful why would they change their recipe? Either way I play video games to have fun, pretty much everything I play (excluding online games) don’t seem to have any of the things she’s complaining about.
What’s the point? Are you serious? You have to be blind or stupid to not to see that many modern videogames are completely sexist in their representation of women as a damsel in distress, as the video points out. There is a point in showing how wrong it is for videogame developers to portray women in such a light, because we are not meek little creatures, incapable of defending ourselves, who need a man to rescue us. I guess a straight male is the expert on defining whether something is sexist, or *gasp* even homophobic, in popular media such as videogames.
The comments thing just shows where her heads at politically. Fox News and fundamental Christian vids don’t allow comments either. Bruiser these stereotypes are based on stories, she even acknowledges their historical context in mentioning Greek epics. You’d have to be blind or stupid to not acknowledge the MASSIVE OVERREPRESENTATION of militarily sound women in video games relative to human military history. Theres a lot more Lara Crofts than Boudicas and the gaming industry is about 5000 years younger than warfare. No matter all your hollering women were never driven to pick up swords (a extremely lauded aspect of contemporary global society, and one that very well could lead to majority female governance in the future) and thats why time and time again we see the female victim story because they actually were victimized constantly, same with children. Women aren’t flowers, but they aren’t furnaces either buddy, 5000 years of mostly female-less war attest to that.
So men relate to the paradigm of the plot device… and they sell well… to men (who have now had their sex exploited and capitalized on to move units). $160,000 to muse about the obvious on Youtube… if she wants more badass or less victimized female characters she should’ve either lobbied for all female combat battalions or a time machine to unfuck every rewarded male solidier who has ever liberated a country.
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