My Female Gaming Role Models: Samus Aran

Galactic Federations, Space Pirates, and Mother brains, Oh My!

If you haven’t played any of the Metroid Series, stop reading, fire up that emulator, and go!

Just kidding.

Seriously tho, you should.

I was actually introduced to the Metroid Series a few years ago by Ezrah (my fiance) with Metroid Prime for Gamecube. The mix of sci-fi with puzzles and a “fill in your map” (I absolutely love filling in maps… I could probably play an entire game just about filling maps).

Since I didn’t actually grow up with Samus Aran, I can’t tell you how she inspired me growing up. What I can tell you is how bad ass she is.

Let’s start with the very beginning. A very good place to start….

MetriodNintentoCase  The original box art for Metroid gave no indication as to the gender of the protagonist, or if it even had one. All the box art tells you is that you are purchasing a side scroller monster shooting game. The main character could be a robot. In fact, according to the manual….

MetroidManualpg7

Samus is introduced to us as a male cyborg space hunter. Progressing through the game, the player has absolutely no reason to believe otherwise. There are no specific gender markers that make you question Samus’ gender identity in anyway.

Once you get to the end however, you are given the big reveal…..

MetroidEnding

image cred: gameradar.com

Samus is a female! Above is one of three ending reveals depending on your progression of the game. Now, before we start thinking about the “sexiness” of the costumes, remember one thing: A character being seen as “sexy” does not, and should not, diminish his or her accomplishments. Having “multiple endings”, as multiple as you can get with a Nintendo game, is a business decision on re-playability. She was also the first of her time. Not only was her game the first of its kind, bringing two genres of  video games together in a unique way, she was the one of the first main female protagonist. What the developer’s did was marketing genius.

By showing off her abilities first, by the time you realize she is even female, you have already been through the whole Planet Zebes and saved it. There is no discrediting her capabilities or her motives by changing her gender. With a reveal at the end, you take away all stereotypes about females that could hinder one’s ability to relate to the character. Metroid probably would have not had the success it did, without this revolutionary idea. It may have been dismissed as another great Nintendo game if her gender was male, or may have been dismissed all together if her gender was revealed sooner throughout the plot.

Samus has a lot to be proud of. The Metroid series has sold 16.69 million copies over the years, and was blessed with the title of “the first playable human female character in a mainstream video game” by the Guinness World Records 2013: Gaming Edition.*  As a mascot of Nintendo, her games and her legacy will live on for years to come.

I fell in love with the Metroid series (trust me, there are some gaming series’ I don’t love.) Having played Castlevania, I had the same excitement of filling in the maps, and finding all the loot, while battling monsters and such. As a lot of other people, I loved morph ball. As the gender of a character isn’t really an issue for me, as far as being able to relate to them, Samus being a female was an added bonus, just as Lara Croft, being…well… Lara. As I’ve said before as well, Samus being considered a “sex symbol” (which was not there original intention) in no way takes away from her contributions as a space hunter. To say that sexualizing a female is a bad thing, is weird to me, as long as its not her primary function. (No, I haven’t had the pleasure of playing Lollipop Chainsaw…)

Did you play the original Nintendo Game? What was your reaction to the big gender reveal?

Have you recently been introduced to Samus? What do you think about her as a character, or the games?

Please make sure to check out other installments of My Female Gaming Role Models, and tell your friends!

/bow

Response to Anita Sarkeesian Damsels in Distress: Part 2/2- Tropes vs. Women in Video games

This man is extremely smart, and gets into some very interesting studies about women and gaming, including a study on women gamer’s perception of themselves. I will say there are some not so children friendly scenes and language, so I would classify this video as NSFW, but I’m also kind of a prude.😛

Video

My Female Gaming Role Models: Rinoa Heartilly

Rinoa Heartilly as drawn by Ezrah

Rinoa Heartilly as drawn by Ezrah

Now, before you’re completely turned off because *insert prejudice against Rinoa here*, just hear me out. I know a lot of people didn’t like Rinoa, or Final Fantasy VIII for that matter, but I will tell you exactly why I have no idea… why. Ever since the opening scene of Final Fantasy VIII, I was in love. I remember getting home from the store, running into my bedroom with my sister, turning it on, and just being in sheer awe. I don’t know how many times mom called us to dinner. We couldn’t stop watching. “Hold on mom I have to save it!” I think this was my childhood catchphrase when Playstation came into the picture.

As I played through the game, I related to Rinoa more and more. From the first time I saw her until the end of the game, she spoke to me. She was my video game counterpart. My soul mate, if you will. I don’t know if you’ve ever had that one character that could have been you. More than any other character you ever encountered? Maybe it’s Lara, Quistis, Celeste, or Princess Peach. Whoever it happens to be, you understand what I’m trying to say. If not, I will do my best to explain.

The Dance

When I think of Rinoa, I think of persistence, free spirit, optimism. Her introduction was perfect. Walking up to Squall, telling him he will like her, dragging him onto the dance floor, and in record time, teaching him how to dance (I kid). This was the part of her that she wanted people to see, confidence.

We meet her again in the town of Timber. She is the princess of the resistance against the Galbadian army, and you find out her goal at the dance was to get to the headmaster. She wanted to hire SeeD forces to help liberate Timber. In her naive optimistic view, all they needed were some mercenaries to follow out their plans, and the rest would fall into place.  Her narrow view of how the world works, and her passion to save it, are only the surface of her, and stem greatly from her military brat upbringing and rebellion against her father. In changing her last name, moving away, and offering no connection to the Galbadian Army until absolutely necessary, she shows her feelings for her father in a very realistic way. Having come from a military family myself, this drew me to her.

My father was, and still is, your typical retired military man. As a teenager, he would protect me from the dangers of the world the only way he really knew how, by not letting me in it. It wasn’t until college when I had moved out of the house, that I was truly able to become my own person and find out who I truly am. Looking back I realize now that he was only doing what every parent does the best they know how: Protect their child, however his tactics and methods were firmly rooted in his military upbringing. Even in the face of danger, her passion for her friends, what she believes is “right”, and her defiance against her father, fuel her to try and help them defeat the sorceress (how she doesn’t run into Quistis’ team is beyond me).

In her quest to help, she comes to a very scary realization. She is not as strong as she believes herself to be. When she was attacked alone, she didn’t have the confidence to handle what was being thrown at her. This may seem weak to some people, but I saw this as a very real side of anybody, and a lesson to be learned about people. She gave off a sense of confidence, because with others around her, she was confident. When left alone to her own devices, she didn’t have another person to be confident with, therefore, the confidence was not there. Many times in life, we are most ourselves when we are alone. The person we show to people is the outside layer that we would like to be, or how we would like to be seen. This being true of Rinoa, she seemed to believe this to be true of Squall as well.

Even when faced with a cold and unemotional Squall, knowing her own feelings for the world, she refuses to believe someone can be this person that he puts off. Squall has an amazing ability to keep people at a distance, and guard his emotions. Coming from an orphanage, this must have been common practice his whole life. The people he relied on as a child are no longer available to him as a young adult, and he sees this as a sign that everyone will eventually be left alone. Refusing to believe that is all Squall has to offer, Rinoa does her best to break through his barrier, finally succeeding when he realizes he may never hear her again. Things that he found annoying, he missed, and in true Squall style, decides that he, alone, can save her… maybe. 

Even though her absorption of sorceress powers was an accident, she embraces it with dignity, volunteering to be cast away in fear that Ultimecia may strike again. Knowing this will forever keep her alone, she looks to Squall, who initially accepts her decision, but then chooses to save her, vowing to forever be her Knight. In the end, as he is overwhelmed by the time compression, she is the one that finds him. She doesn’t think of a time period, or a place to return to. She thinks of him. As they have grown individually, and together, throughout their journey, as long as they have each other that is all that matters.

Rinoa, to me, has always been an inspiration to face your fears head on, but hope for the best outcome. There is always another side to the story, and things always will work out in the end. Be confident in yourself, no matter what, and do not be afraid to look for help if you need it. These are the things she has taught me. 

Whether you love her or hate her (or somewhere inbetween) let’s open the discussion! What did you think about Final Fantasy VII, or Rinoa specifically? Has she inspired you in any way? Good or bad? Who is your video game soul mate? Is there a character that has spoken to you?

 

/bow

 

It’s Alive!

Happy New year Everyone!

I want to start off by saying I am so sorry I’ve been away for so long. That thing called life has been keeping me extremely busy. I hope everybody had an amazing holiday season!

We had a very busy but amazing first Christmas with our little one. It was incredible for a couple reasons. A.) B’s first Christmas, always exciting, but more importantly B.) It was the first time my entire family had been together in one room since my parents were divorced 3-4 years ago. (I don’t count B’s birth since we weren’t all in the same room at the same time, and well, ya know, labor….) I realized how different we have all become, and distant, all occupied with our own lives, but it still seems like we do this every year. I have to give huge props to my dad for coming to my moms. I know it was a big struggle for him, but he did it. Whatever his intentions truly were, I like to think he came to be with his family, and the kid in me felt alive again. I think it is extremely important that parents stay parents together, whether they are together or not. PLus we got this cool picture.

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

 

These past few months have gone by incredibly fast. Once you think time can’t move any faster, next thing you know, it’s 2014 and you realize your little baby is walking and almost a whole year old. He just started taking more than 4 steps yesterday. So far, 6 months to a year has been the biggest spurt of growth in so little a time.

With so much going on, unfortunately I haven’t been on here much, or at all really. We are constantly learning and growing and I think I spend 90% of my day watching B in utter amazement that we made a human being. A walking, babbling, thinking, fully functioning person, who’s now growing molars. I don’t know if you’ve experienced molar growth in a while, if at all, but those suckers take FOREVER.

Anyway, I still need to work on conlusions, maybe that will be my obligatory resolution I don’t follow up with. \o/

 

How was everybody’s holiday in the blogosphere?

Obligatory Thankful Post

It’s that time of year where we all mull over how thankful we are, ya? I haven’t done this yet, but today is as good a day as any. I shall put it in list form, since I know so many people are so fond of lists. I’m looking at you, Gynji…..

1. My Fiance/Boyfriend/Best Friend/Soulmate: First off, I am so thankful to have found the absolute love of my life. Not only are we completely meant to be together, (seriously, ask anyone who knows us) there are so many paths we could have taken where we would’ve ended up living completely different lives. We have supported each other through good and bad. I do not know anybody who is a better partner, lover, father. Sure, we fight, but I look at it this way: I’m sure you remember that movie, Forest Gump, and that stupid quote, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” If you get the Russell’s it tells you, with a nice diagram actually. The only way you don’t know is if you accidentally look at it upside down or something… Anyway, I think of it more in terms of, once you’ve eaten all the good chocolate, you have to eat the bad chocolate. You know, like the weird nougaty maple or something ones. He’s my box of chocolate, and I don’t waste chocolate.

2. My Little Man/Son/Baby/Child: It’s still hard to believe we made a human. A functioning, thinking, laughing, completely silly, amazingly smart, human.  From the moment we found out we were pregnant, we were scared shit-less. What the hell are we going to do with a child? We can’t take care of ourselves! We suited ourselves up for our greatest adventure, and here we are. You are an amazing child, who has the whole world ahead of you and I couldn’t ask for anything more. An amazingly textbook pregnancy (ya know, besides the 70 lbs I gained…I like food…) a perfect beginning to our breast feeding relationship, (with amazing support from above mentioned) a perfectly healthy baby. I never thought I would feel so accomplished in life, and I am so thankful for you everyday. I see things differently now, and I cannot wait to experience all the adventure life has to offer with you.

3. My mom: Nothing brings mother and daughter together like having a baby. When we found out we were pregnant, my mother and I had a very rocky relationship. As the pregnancy continued, I started to realize all the things my mom must have suffered. Not just in the sacrifices she made, but just life. She was 21 when she had me. By the time she was my age she had 4 kids in a country not her own. To leave her family behind because she felt it was the best for us, is incredible courage and commitment. While, I don’t always agree with her, she is extremely supportive when it comes to B and how we are choosing to raise him. My kid, my choice, and I absolutely love that. Right now, our relationship is the best it’s ever been, and I hope that we always continue down this path. She has shown me to be strong, and to stand up for what I believe in, whether it’s good or bad. She has encouraged me  with her actions and words, and shown me the meaning of hard work and persistence. I think for the first time in my life, I understand her. She has taught me to be open minded, hard working, self sacrificing; she is my fixed point.

4. My dad: This is going to come as a shock to some because my relationship with my father hasn’t been the best lately, but that doesn’t mean I am not thankful for all he is, and all he tried to be. When you become an adult, you start to realize things about your parents that perhaps you didn’t see, or just plain didn’t know about them. My father is a very different person now, then the person he was. I will always remember my father trying his very best to teach us integrity and self pride. However, the biggest lesson I learned is something he never tried to teach. Be Happy. I know realize that my father was never truly happy after his days in the military. Retiring left a hole in him that he cannot fill. As much as he tried, and still tries, to find himself and his own happiness, I don’t know if he knows how. That in itself is very powerful, and I wish he could see himself through my eyes.

5. Jeff:  My mom’s husband. They were just married in August. Even though I have only known him a short time, he has taught me so much about life, and myself. He is an amazing person with a ginormous heart who is so selfless, I don’t have words to describe. All I can say, is I am so thankful to have him in my life. He has opened his home, and his life to us, without question. He renovated his entire house to accommodate our family from Korea. I haven’t seen my grandparents, and aunts since 1994. I’ve never met my uncles, and cousins until this year. Just in that one act alone, he has completely blown me away. He is a grandfather to B, an amazing step-father to us, and truly cares about each one of us as his own. I have never met someone like him, and I am thankful not only for being in my life, but for my mom. He makes her so happy, and I literally do not have words to describe how that has helped our relationship.

6. Extended Family: We have a big family. I have 3 sisters, Ez has 3 sisters and a brother, plus they all have kids. Holidays are definitely fun. Although we don’t all see each other as much as I like, (I will admit I am horrible at keeping in touch with people IRL.) Throughout it all I am thankful for all of them. Family is very important. I have learned no matter how crazy or weird you think your family is, someone’s got you beat. As much as we fight, and as different as we are, I am so glad that B has such a big family. It is comforting to know no matter what happens, or if something happens to Ez and I, he will be well taken care of, and will always have the support he may need.

7. My life: Life is such a precious thing that can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye. I have absolutely no regrets, because every decision I have made has brought me to this exact moment, which I would not change for anything. I am thankful I am able to put my family first. I am thankful for the experiences that have helped mold and shape who I am.

The rest are pretty self explanatory.

8. Nap Time

9. Gaming

10. The Internet

What are some things you are thankful for?

/bow

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