Ms. Male Character – Tropes vs. Women – Reaction

Anita Sarkeesian has released another video in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series, Ms. Male Character, and I take back every horrible thing I’ve ever said about her. Well, almost everything.

The video focused on a specific character design that game developers use to portray femininity to the player. Unlike her last videos, she touched upon games from the 80s and up through modern times, such as Disney’s “Where’s my Water?” and  Rovio’s “Angry Birds” giving this presentation a more relevant message, since this trope is still widely used in gaming today. The most obvious and main example would be Ms. Pac-Man who’s sole existence is a female counterpart to PacMan.

How do know she’s female? “Put a bow on it!”

While the actual character of Ms. Pac-man is somewhat outdated, all the points made in this video can be summarized using this one example. Ms. Pac-Man was created as a sequel of sorts to the original Pac-Man arcade game. *Interesting note: Pac-man was created to appeal to the female gamer, watch the video and find out why* To distinguish her as “female” (because clearly calling her Ms. Pac-Man is not enough) she was designed with stereotypical feminine features, pink bow, long eyelashes, and a mole. This also brings up the point, which Anita executed very well, that the creation of a “female” Pac-Man automatically defaults Pac-Man as male.

These are excellent points that still continue in gaming today. Anita touches upon how “Angry Birds” was, for the most part, genderless, until introducing female versions of characters in their Valentines episodes in “Angry Birds Seasons.” Sporting the pink bow, longer eyelashes, and makeup, these female counterparts are distinctly different, the audience defaults the original characters into the “male” category. It’s not enough to present them with female names, or voices.

 Is the answer to create female characters that look like their male equivalents, or not introduce them at all?

Changing Discs

As per our usual routine, B decided to take a nap.

Usually when B decides to take a nap, I get excited. That is at least one hour of uninterrupted game play! This is when I sit in my chair, latch on my baby, and get ready for Titan spamming. Since I started thinking hardcore about my Rinoa post for My Female Gaming Role Models, I thought, I’m just going to play VIII again. We’re talking put my PS disc in my PS3.

So here I am, sitting in my chair. Check. Baby latched on. Check. Alright here we go.

About half way through nap time, I get a dreadful thought, as the parade for the sorceress comes to a close.

I’m going to have to change discs.

Wait.. What?

I’m trying to make the battle draw on, (heehee get it. DRAW. ok i’m done), but eventually Edea slings her silver tongued insult at me and the ice is flying.

I save my game. Slowly.

That oh so familiar screen comes onto the television. “Please insert Disk 2”. I look down at B, still all snuggly and asleep, and then at my playstation, on the other side of the room.

I’ll just move him a little, and then…. He begins to stir, and settles back into a less convenient position.

Titan it is…..

History of Frustration – are games getting easier?

History of Frustration – are games getting easier?.

 

If you have been struggling with this question as I have, this man has a very insightful article on the subject. As it is the weekend, and I do not have much time, please enjoy this article instead!

 

Do you agree or disagree?

 

/bow

Image

The Last of Us

Ellie and Joel

 

I know this is late. The rage has probably come and gone, but I wanted to take a minute to write about the epicness that is “The Last of Us.” I will try not to include any story relevant spoilers, however proceed with caution, because sometimes I can’t help but squee over something amazing..

If you have not picked up a copy of this game, please stop reading this, head to your local game store, and do so. If you do not have a PS3, I am truly sad and hope that this will convince you to buy/borrow/steal a Playstation 3 and also this game. (Working Gaming Mom does NOT condone any illegal action of actually stealing a PS3.. you get my point.)

I will start off by saying, if you haven’t cried at a video game in a while, grab your tissues/toilet paper/closest article of clothing, before you start. Trust me, you’re going to need it. This game will rip out your heart, stomp on it furiously, reinsert it into your chest, then rinse and repeat. If your looking for a good zombie game, you’ve found one. If you’re looking for a case study into human behavior in extreme conditions that will test your emotions, you’ve also found one. I don’t believe I have been so emotionally invested in a set of characters since Aerith died. (MMOs not included).

Story:

Unlike some zombie games, this game focuses on the aftermath of an apocalypse, 20 years after. Cities are now Quarantines Zones, where you can fulfill your daily ration cards, if you have enough. Rations are the new money, and pissing off someone of authority is probably not in the best interest of your survival. It’s definitely not going to get you any food. Joel has been working as best he can to make it, and through a beginning host of events gets stuck with Ellie, a 14 year old orphan. A resistance group called the Fireflies (don’t forget to try and find all their little badges) has asked you to accompany Ellie to bring her to her destination. As far as plot goes, that is all I’m going to say. What I will tell you is that you will be sucked into this journey with them. Rooting for them. Laughing with them. Crying with them. And if you don’t come out knowing and caring for them, well then, you just have no soul.

The infected in this particular zombie epicness is an interesting twist to the traditional man made virus, or straight up rose from the dead disease and completely terrifying if you like science.  these particular infected are a parasite. A fungal parasite that exists called Cordyceps which have over 400 different identified species (key word there). If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading about them, please do. They are terrifying. In the game, a strand has mutated to be able to control humans and are passed through contact and also spores in the air of heavily infected areas. I felt that this take on the zombie epidemic was genius, since there is nothing scarier than something that could potentially happen (mutations and all that).

However, the infected served as more of a backdrop to the real issues that surface throughout the game. Sure, it’s a zombie game, and yes there are zombies (or infected  if you want to get technical.. I see you fanpeople) but the real focus is on the humanity, or lack there of amongst the cast and even the background. Humans are the most terrifying creatures on the planet, and yeah while you’re running from zombies the last thing you want to have to think about is if this person up ahead actually needs help, or is just luring you into a position to take all your shit. (Think The Book of Eli a.k.a. we made a Fallout movie). The sad truth however is that when it comes down to it, you do. Because everybody is going to be in survival panic mode and do what they believe is the best for them. The human interactions in this game have such a sophisticated thinking behind them. It really makes you more wary about other humans rather then the potential of Cordyceps evolving for mankind.

Characters:

All the characters that appear in this game are amazing in their own right. I’m not going to get too much into each one, since there is a lot of actual plot that is involved with them, but I loved them all. Even Tess, although at the time.. well.. let’s just move on. Each character has something to bring to the table, whether it be an “oh my gods” hand over mouth moment, or just a passerby. I found myself wondering more and more about their back story, how they got to where they are, and what happened to them after. I wanted to go into the two protagonists, but honestly I don’t know what to say. Watching Ellie and Joel grow together, laughing with them, crying with them, yelling at one or the other through my tv; there are so many emotions I feel for these characters, and their development is amazing. i think this is one of those times where you just have to play it. I can’t even find words.. perhaps I’m not articulate enough… damnit I should read more books.

Gameplay:

“The Last of Us” is considered a third person shooter. You have various weapons such as my favorite, the bow and arrow, or a typical variety of guns. The two coolest things for me were the ability to craft your own items and shivs. Oh and duct tape.. lots of duct tape. If you’re good enough you could probably go through the whole game killing people with shivs, that’s if you can keep them in your inventory. The crafting system was really neat to me and added a lot to the survival element. I’m pretty sure if I was in that situation MacGuyvering items out of left over cans and nails would definitely increase your chances. The enemies had enough variety to keep it interesting, from runners to clickers to just plain humans.  With three difficulties, unlockable items and costumes, and multiplayer, the replay value is pretty high if you’re into that sort of thing.

Thus concludes my review of the Last of Us…. I should also work on my conclusion skills…

 

Have you played it? What were your thoughts? Did you feel for the characters?

 

/bow

 

 

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