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Gender Diversity / Politics in games (was Tropes Vs. Women)


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5 hours ago, Sprite Machine said:

Could a kidnapped princess scenario be used without it being a trope? Not really, but it could be used to subvert a trope, turn it on its head and use it in an unexpected or clever way. I can't think of any examples where that's happened.

I think Braid is a good example where the kidnapped princess trope is subverted. 

Spoiler

My memory is a bit hazy on the details but I think it turns out that you are the bad guy, and the princess is in another castle because she's running away from you.

 

And there's all kinds of stuff about nuclear bombs going off, but I barely understood it all back then, never mind now that I'm a gin soaked old man.

 

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2 hours ago, matt0 said:

 

Come on everyone. If there was ever any doubt NEGs intentions in this thread you should all know what he's up to at this point.

 

Yeah, I thought so when I saw it was he who originally posted the Super Girl image I responded to. He's trolling like a champ.

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10 minutes ago, MechE said:

I think Braid is a good example where the kidnapped princess trope is subverted. 

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My memory is a bit hazy on the details but I think it turns out that you are the bad guy, and the princess is in another castle because she's running away from you.

 

And there's all kinds of stuff about nuclear bombs going off, but I barely understood it all back then, never mind now that I'm a gin soaked old man.

 

 

Heck, 3D Ant Attack got it right back in the early 80s.

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28 minutes ago, MechE said:

I think Braid is a good example where the kidnapped princess trope is subverted. 

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My memory is a bit hazy on the details but I think it turns out that you are the bad guy, and the princess is in another castle because she's running away from you.

 

And there's all kinds of stuff about nuclear bombs going off, but I barely understood it all back then, never mind now that I'm a gin soaked old man.

 

 

The Princess was allegory to the first Atomic Bomb and the real life event of the making/discovering how to. You CAN save the princess in that game....but she might scream and blow up. /spoilers to 10 year old game. The text books near the end are the exact same as those said by the scientists in real life. Tim is one of the scientists.

 

One of my fav games, Braid. As is now Witness, by the same guy.

 

Spoiler

 

 

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1 hour ago, geekette said:

Exactly. It is a perpetual quest to recover the stolen thing. The object that is taken by Bowser, except that is Peach, and she is supposed to be a person. Her role in most of the Mario games could be substituted with a diamond ring, or a literal trophy. Except that she can also drive a cart and bounce around at times, so she has some generic qualities, but her entire exclusive characteristics are regressive - which would give them such huge scope to invert the trope and have her do something unexpected.

 

I'm a big fan of the Nintendo universe generally, and this should be easy to fix. How about Bowser kidnaps peach and puts her in his dungeon, and we get to play her breaking out and defeating all his critters, for example? She must have the ability to prepare for being kidnapped by now!

 

I'd always prefer it if Bowser stole something and gave you the option to play as peach to get it back. Mario 2 style  (was in Mario 2?)

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I've been thinking a lot about Zelda lately and how you could make it more inclusive but I really struggle to see a far and away best solution.

 

Make Link a woman

This wouldn't affect the game design at all. My only concern is that it might seem weird after SO MANY games, I don't think there is any other movie/book where after a huge series spanning decades that they have changed the sex of the main protagonist? That said, I rarely remember any moments in Zelda games where Link's gender plays a key part or is even mentioned? I really wish Link was never gendered to begin with, I think that would have worked since he's not quite human and his masculinity is never really highlighted. If Link was really made out to be a woman it would seem a bit forced since they never really go out of their way to explain link being a man. Could feel more like a marketing move rather than creative? Could this ever work?

 

Make Zelda the main character and have her doing combat

This could work but I wouldn't want her to be a badass from the get go, like Link she would have to train and power up. Question is, what do you do with Link? Do you even need a Link in a Zelda game? To me Zelda games are about being an adventurer, if Zelda can take on that role I don't know why you'd even need Link? Would it be too much of a reverse cliche if you were rescuing Link? 

 

Something else?

I think there are more creative ideas to make Zelda more inclusive that could help bring new ideas to the series. My favorite would be to have Link/Zelda at opposite ends of the world where you can control either at any time and the main objective is to meet together. Zelda could still start in Ganon's castle and has to work her way out of it by herself. Both have combat skills but both in unique ways.

 

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Given the internet meltdown when they moved towards an objectively gorgeous art style for Wind Waker instead of the realistic, mature, Zelda appropriate to the tone of the games, I can't even begin to imagine the number of toys that would come flying out of prams if they announced that Link was going to be a woman.

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it would make zero difference if Link were male or female so that would be the way to change it rather than changing the formula to have new protagonist.

 

And if people complain, fuck them, they were wrong about windwaker artstyle and they would be wrong about this. If all you have to complain about is what genitals your protagonist has in some made up videogame then you are doing ok

 

The gender of the protagonist has zero interest for me but then I was brought uop in a time when the protagonist in games was an 8x8 sprite and was usually a spaceship or a robber or a shopper (psycho shopper mastertronic vic20 for the win).

 

ANd yes its nice to look at members of opposite sex but it is all a bit grubby in teh hyper sexualised videogame representations sometimes (I'm looking at you DOA, bayonetta etc etc etc) - in my day it was sam fox strip poker or the poster that came with Barbarian and even then I thought it was all a bit page3/porny nonsense.

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The main problem is that Breath of the Wild is a love story (spoilers). They could of course have written it differently, especially with the whole Link failing thing, but there was just about enough plot sprinkled into BotW (sub-quests) where playing as Link paid off, in my view. Maybe next time.

 

Edit: Zelda herself was certainly done better in all 4 previous games though in my view. Skyward, Twilight, Wind Waker and even OOT. Her strengths are quite different this time around. There was also no excuse not to have her (semi) traditional bow role at the end of the game.

 

3 hours ago, smac said:

 

Yeah, I thought so when I saw it was he who originally posted the Super Girl image I responded to. He's trolling like a champ.

 

Or you could realize I google'd for 5mins yesterday, that's what came up when I searched Power Girl Breast Window since I could remember it coming from a comic, text looked slightly dodgy to me too so I noted as such when posting. The real one is just as rubbish as far as reasoning goes, don't you agree? You know, 80% of the picture that was correct part?

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5 hours ago, geekette said:

Exactly, wouldn't it be fun to have Peach rip off that twee pink princess dress and have some practical kick-ass clothes underneath to be the protagonist in an adventure? I had a look for alternative Peach costumes and the best I could find was this:

static1.squarespace.com_.jpg

Or maybe this, if she had a proper top on:

EsDa0w4.jpg

 

But she really is a terrible character. I read that Miyamoto explained why she repeatedly plays with her kidnapper:

 

 

Those pictures are objectively hideous. Peach is a trope not a character, intentionally. Miyamoto more or less hates story in a Mario games, and made sure there was basically bugger all after some was slipped in to Galaxy.

 

Peach is just a shorthand for a fairy tale story. Those are all sexist. Nintendo does view the narrative in Mario important enough to take the lead in using it for anything other than shorthand. They've went much further fleshing out various incarnations of Zelda.

 

Besides, ditzy blondes definitely exist. I've met some. Don't they deserve an avatar too?

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2 hours ago, Capwn said:

I've been thinking a lot about Zelda lately and how you could make it more inclusive but I really struggle to see a far and away best solution.

 

Make Link a woman

This wouldn't affect the game design at all. My only concern is that it might seem weird after SO MANY games, I don't think there is any other movie/book where after a huge series spanning decades that they have changed the sex of the main protagonist? That said, I rarely remember any moments in Zelda games where Link's gender plays a key part or is even mentioned? I really wish Link was never gendered to begin with, I think that would have worked since he's not quite human and his masculinity is never really highlighted. If Link was really made out to be a woman it would seem a bit forced since they never really go out of their way to explain link being a man. Could feel more like a marketing move rather than creative? Could this ever work?

 

Make Zelda the main character and have her doing combat

This could work but I wouldn't want her to be a badass from the get go, like Link she would have to train and power up. Question is, what do you do with Link? Do you even need a Link in a Zelda game? To me Zelda games are about being an adventurer, if Zelda can take on that role I don't know why you'd even need Link? Would it be too much of a reverse cliche if you were rescuing Link? 

 

Something else?

I think there are more creative ideas to make Zelda more inclusive that could help bring new ideas to the series. My favorite would be to have Link/Zelda at opposite ends of the world where you can control either at any time and the main objective is to meet together. Zelda could still start in Ganon's castle and has to work her way out of it by herself. Both have combat skills but both in unique ways.

 

Granted, I've not really finished a Zelda since Twilight Princess, but hasn't Zelda had a bit more about her than just a princess to rescue?  i.e. Sheik.   Man she was cool.  And that was a cool reveal. 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, geekette said:

Yes, the fairytales written by men hundreds of years ago are sexist. Modern fairytales are not. You don't have to reference the old fashioned sexist way of doing things - that is a choice by the designers of a game, with no rationale behind it.

 

Peach is not a modern creation. Most people are move familiar with the old fashioned ones. Nintendo does not care about the story of Mario games. 

 

There are indeed a wide variety of women. Nintendo have more than one franchise. Their latest female character is the squid girl from Splatoon. Thjng for blondes, though. For a Japanese company - and as far as I can see Japan really, really does not give a fuck about feminism - Nintendo aren't really that bad.

 

Anyway this misses the point. NEG may not be trolling, by when it's this easy to induce a page long rant...

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5 hours ago, MechE said:

I think Braid is a good example where the kidnapped princess trope is subverted. 

  Hide contents

My memory is a bit hazy on the details but I think it turns out that you are the bad guy, and the princess is in another castle because she's running away from you.

 

And there's all kinds of stuff about nuclear bombs going off, but I barely understood it all back then, never mind now that I'm a gin soaked old man.

 

Yeah, that one occurred to me, but it's a subversion that isn't apparent until the end of the game and likely to be missed by a lot of the audience.

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9 minutes ago, kensei said:

 

Peach is not a modern creation. Most people are move familiar with the old fashioned ones. Nintendo does not care about the story of Mario games. 

 

There are indeed a wide variety of women. Nintendo have more than one franchise. Their latest female character is the squid girl from Splatoon. Thjng for blondes, though. For a Japanese company - and as far as I can see Japan really, really does not give a fuck about feminism - Nintendo aren't really that bad.

 

Anyway this misses the point. NEG may not be trolling, by when it's this easy to induce a page long rant...

 

Yup. Basically, it's a gradual process, give it 50 years, if not a hundred.

 

The old fairytales will still exist, Mario alongside them, Peach will probably still get kidnapped, but newer fairytales will also be ingrained into public consciousness, new developers making great new things inspired by newer stuff, not 1980's Japanese gaming. There'll be new tropes to get fussed over that replaced the old ones.

 

Everything will be okay.

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34 minutes ago, kensei said:

 

Peach is not a modern creation. Most people are move familiar with the old fashioned ones. Nintendo does not care about the story of Mario games. 

 

There are indeed a wide variety of women. Nintendo have more than one franchise. Their latest female character is the squid girl from Splatoon. Thjng for blondes, though. For a Japanese company - and as far as I can see Japan really, really does not give a fuck about feminism - Nintendo aren't really that bad.

 

Anyway this misses the point. NEG may not be trolling, by when it's this easy to induce a page long rant...

What the shitting christ. 

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3 hours ago, kensei said:

Peach is not a modern creation. Most people are move familiar with the old fashioned ones. Nintendo does not care about the story of Mario games. 

 

Compared to fairy tales written hundreds of years, Mario is modern! Nintendo are perfectly capable of making a stellar Mario game where the trigger for Mario's adventure is something other than rescuing Peach, but they choose not to do so and people continue to defend that decision with "But that's how all Mario games have worked" and "Nintendo don't care about story". 

 

That's all perfectly fine, but a developer not caring about story does not make them immune from criticism. Those who choose to defend questionable design choices need to understand this fact, and not continue baying on about censorship and forcing developers to change their minds.

 

The prime example of criticism and a developer choosing to make changes is Derek Yu and Splelunky.

Quote

It was tougher to bring up the criticism that Spelunky's use of a "damsel" as a form of loot/weaponry was objectifying, and therefore, misogynistic. Derek answered the question in a way that really surprised me. He didn't deny, or even try to defend himself and his game from the accusation. Instead, he explained how those accusations influenced changes made in the XBLA version of the game, and how player feedback can contribute to a developer refining their work without compromising their original vision

https://www.destructoid.com/spelunky-s-derek-yu-responds-to-misogyny-accusations-235902.phtml

 

The rest of the commentary is crap though as the writer notes that he never thought that Splelunky was misogynist, talking about Splelunky's use of the damsel in distress as a parody of old Hollywood films and wondering whether people were capable of understanding it as such or "does it fall on deaf ears amid the din of legitimately sexist portrayals of women that make up the majority of the industry?"

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7 hours ago, K said:

Given the internet meltdown when they moved towards an objectively gorgeous art style for Wind Waker instead of the realistic, mature, Zelda appropriate to the tone of the games, I can't even begin to imagine the number of toys that would come flying out of prams if they announced that Link was going to be a woman.

 

People seemed to embrace 'Linkle', I daresay it'd be accepted. The audience of 15 years ago is a different one now, I reckon. 

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14 minutes ago, dave7g said:

Imagine being outraged over Spelunky. This thread makes me very sad sometimes.

 

Or you know, you could just have been disappointed, or increasingly annoyed every time a game did this lazy thing. Outrage is often just a useful attention grabber. 

 

Derek responded to the crit with intelligence, patience, and understanding.

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Or maybe, Spelunky is a fun 5 - 10 minute waste of time. Maybe nobody has really ever went into Spelunky with any interest in some sort of  mindblowing narrative. The game, to me. Has been simply 'surivive random situations, have fun'.

 

Anyone getting offended by Spelunky should seriously spend more time away from tumblr.

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Yeah, sure; there's more narrative in Dune or whatever. Maybe meaning only matters for some if it's at the level of Shakespeare. But when the boring old damsel in distress thing rears its dated head from time to time - be it on Cartoon Network or an ABC schoolbook - people rolling their eyes is fine by me. 

 

You should be flogged to death for suggesting that Spelunky is a 10 minute distraction, obviously.  

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It's a 100 hour epic. I'll box your ears, you knave.

 

If you haven't tried some of his earlier work, you ought to play (the free) Eternal Daughter - I was fortunate to be a part of the Klik community in the old days that has spawned so many successes (Andrew Sum and Scott Cawthon are good examples) back when it was first released - it knocked my socks off and is still really good. My recommendation is unrelated to the fact it has a female lead, but it made me chuckle given the context. 

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