A great International Women’s Day & Month gift

I was one of those people who donated $$ for Anita Sarkeesian’s project about Tropes versus Women in video games. For those who have not heard of her, she was one of those women who have been bullied over the internet because she dared speak up about the objectification of women in video games. You can read more about Anita Sarkeesian here.

Yesterday, just in time for the International Women’s Day (March is actually International Women’s Month), she released the first episode of her series. The video is entitled Damsel in Distress: Part 1 – Tropes vs Women in Video Games.

While very basic, the video provided a rather interesting introduction to female video game characters whose roles had been diminished to damsels in distress over the decades. My gaming geek friends — many of whom are males — have discussed this and we do agree that the industry is still rather new and we’re stuck in the same clichés that older industries (like film) have also found themselves struggling with when they were starting out.

Anyway, here’s the first installment of the series:

Personally, I don’t think it’s just the representation of women that’s problematic. Even men complain about the stereotypes that they’re stuck with. I’m more concerned about the decline of innovation in video game content. The tropes she presented are actually just a few of the things that indicate that we’re stuck with rehashed themes and we definitely need new content.

But anyway, since it’s International Women’s Month, I’d like to give this to all of you strong, beautiful women out there. You are unique individuals that can never be encased by tropes.

Happy International Women’s Month!! =)

2 Comments

  1. lensman

    March 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Shigeru Miyamoto has a problem with women?!

    Well, seeing that he based one of his most iconic Mario enemies, “Boo”, on his business partner's wife (who was shy around people and blew up at her husband when she thought nobody was looking), I wouldn't be surprised. Thankfully, he seems to be getting better in this aspect (you can actually control Zelda in “Legend of Zelda: The Spirit Tracks”)

    Being a non-feminist, I was surprised to find myself nodding in agreement to plenty of Sarkeesian's points. Yeah, the Damsel In Distress trope horse has been beaten to death and it's about time for things to get a bit more original in the Video Game industry.

    Here's the thing though, and that is the main problem I have with the Tropes VS Women series: Tropes are tools and, likewise, can be used effectively or… not so effectively.

    Believe it or not, there is a way to make even the D.I.D. trope seem fresh, innovative and -gasp- not sexist. “Braid” (a game that proves games are art), provides a wonderful example on how this trope can be literally turned on its head, while the ending of “Super Meat Boy” manages to make it hilarious.

    Unfortunately, these are mainly Independent Games, where freshness and innovation are allowed to flourish. Big game developers like Nintendo, Konami, and Capcom are still going to use the D.I.D. trope unchanged for a simple reason: It still works, it still sells and they are not allowed to take risks with their formula… Something which says something sad about the state of the video game industry itself.

  2. skysenshi

    March 10, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    About Miyamoto, before seeing Sarkeesian's video, he never really struck me as a woman hater. He strikes me as someone who has aged and is settling for safer, marketable formula. When he was younger, he was a lot more willing to explore.

    As for the huge companies, this lack of creativity (in favor of marketable formula) is what's killing the morale of many developers who are video game enthusiasts and would love to work on fresh ideas. It's one of the reasons why many of my colleagues have quit. We're not a big studio, but we have big clients and publishers. Maybe only 1 out of 5 clients/publishers welcome fresh ideas.

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