VIDEO: Positive female characters in games (Part 1)

The first of many videos where Sofie will talk about the massive amount of female characters who prove that video games are some of the most progressive media around when it comes to showcasing lots of different amazing fictional women.

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Tag: Movie Dorkness: Positive female characters in games

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  • As a cross-player, I would welcome more games where you can play female/non-white characters for obvious reasons, the best ways you can get more big-name games featuring positive female/non-white characters is to convince big-name gaming publishers that there is a sizable market out there willing to pay for those games.

    • Sofie Liv

      Well, FF 6 considered best FF game by many hardcore fans.
      Portal is one of the very best selling games of the last decade. (And not only is she female, she’s also asian.)
      Bayonetta doesn’t lack any buyers either, it’s doing just fine.
      Latest Tomb raider has gotten a TON of praise from everywhere.

      There’s no lack of buyers, to me it actually seems like gamers don’t really care about the gender of the main character, they just want a funny inventive game play and overall good game.

      And while the big AA publishers don’t seem to know or care, the indie developers are going CRAZY with different female leads.
      I mean holy shit! no seriously, try and look at the indie scene in games and just look at how many and how many different women there are.

      Games are kind of the second most progressive medium I can think off when it comes to female representation, the most progressive one being manga/anime which probably has the most female leads and supporting characters out of any medium… It’s a lot.

      So well conclusion… If you think the world has no female leads or having a female lead make people loose interest… You are just looking the wrong direction.

  • Deneb T. Hall

    I’m guessing that a million people will suggest this one, but – Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series. I’m not a big gamer, but I did play Tomb Raider 2 quite a bit at one point, and she always struck me as a good balance between blank slate and relatable. When you played as her, you vanished into the character, but you were always aware of who she WAS, and she had a distinctive personality during the cut-scenes, what with that dry British sense of humor. (Not to mention that you got to visit her house during the training sequence, which I always thought was cool.)

    • Sofie Liv

      The reason why I havn’t brought her up is because she never really caught me personally actually.
      I did play a bit of tomb raider as a kid but it just never caught me and she never did.

      But I am glad you are that fond of her, I keep hearing extremely positive thing about her and her reboot from 2013, loads of people calling it an extreme improvement and her best appearance so well, that is on my need to play list to see if the stories are all true.

      Again, i’m glad you were able to find those things in her I just didn’t. That’s really great to hear.

      And well, when people do talk about female leads in video games, she is kind of the classic isn’t she? She’s even more famouse than Samus is.

      • Deneb T. Hall

        While I also haven’t played that game, I must say, what I’ve seen and heard of it so far doesn’t particularly appeal to me. It seems very dark, very grim, very grimy, and so, it seems, is its Lara. A lot of pressure has gotten put on Miss Croft over the years, I believe, because of her reputation as a sex symbol, and it seems to me that the developers may have gone too far in a certain direction in trying to reestablish her as a legitimate character again.

        The Lara I knew – and admittedly, I only ever played the one game, but still – was FUN. She may not have had a huge amount of depth, but who cared? She had awesome adventures bouncing around caves and temples and occasionally making you go ‘holy crap, a T-Rex’. From what I can tell from game reviews and stuff, this latest version of her does not really do any of that, and that strikes me as a terrible shame – because, like you said, she IS the classic female game character in many people’s eyes, and she got that way by being a sort of Indiana Jones for everyone, someone who you could have good old-fashioned adventure movie fun with regardless of who you were. If that’s been sacrificed for darkness and complexity, then it seems to me that the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater, as it were. Some things should remain uncomplicated.

        Sorry, that turned into a bit of a rant, but Lara really is one of the only ‘classic’ game characters I have any personal connection to, so I take this stuff seriously. Anyway, like I said, I haven’t played the new game, so maybe I’m completely wrong about it; who knows?

        • Sofie Liv

          You know, I wouldn’t worry to much about Lara right now.

          She has kind of archieved James Bond status in that sense that she has been through many phases and been many different places often in waves where the next wave seems to be a respond to the previous one.

          The previous wave was high on humour low on complex, the current wave in response is darker and more realistic, the next wave will come and make things more adventurous and light hearted.

          That’s just how it is with this ungoing series’s like this that is playing fast and loose with continuity anyhow, and yet the figure has and will prevail due to name recognision and simple diversity possibilities of the characters.
          The ability to make many different kinds of stories with the same character is also what will ensure that she wont just die or fall into obscurity, she’s fine, I wouldn’t worry about her at all.

          Just give it five or so years and then i’m sure there’ll come yet another game out embracing the more ridicoules ideas of this character taking more hints from Bayonetta than Prince of Persia, and so it goes on. She’ll be fine. Trust me 😉

          • Deneb T. Hall

            Eh, you’re probably right – bit difficult waiting it out until things turn around again, though. I had the same basic reaction to the recent Dark Knight movies: ‘Why? Why so unrelentingly gritty and raspy? Batman is not just about darkness! What about Tim Burton and Adam West; shall they be ignored?’, etc., etc. Fanboy rage is hard to tamp down.
            Games are a little bit different from other areas of culture, though, in that they are pretty firmly attached to the latest technology, and can leave you in the dust if you wait too long. I mean, I know Tomb Raider is a video game series first and foremost, but when I play games at all I’m a computer gamer, and that was my experience of the franchise – but, of course, that was several generations of computers ago. The old games have already left me behind; I’ve got to wait until my own technology catches up to the new ones, and by that time – well, who knows?

          • Sofie Liv

            Bleh, when it comes to Batman i’m afraid it’s part of a trend and Warner Brothers whom don’t understand what Superheroes are supposed to be about. (Yo warner brothers, the movie about a man whom can fly and lift buildings with his bare hands, the due that has a S on his chest… Is supposed to be fun and adventourus!)

            Lets hope that someone at some point actually bothers to take a glance at Marvel and realise what makes them so succesful right now is indeed the fun aspect and the adventure aspect.

            I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one though since Marvel has just kicked off their own phase 3 and Warner Brothers still havn’t taken notice at all…. idiots.

          • Deneb T. Hall

            The thing is, though, that both approaches have actually been successful in terms of box office, and while the MCU is certainly getting much more fan-love lately, it’s debatable as to which series, per movie, has actually made more money – and money is the only language movie producers speak. I mean, at the moment Marvel is at the head of the pack because they’ve been making movies like crazy, but there are sufficient Nolan die-hards out there that every film DC has put out lately has raked in the major moolah – so they go ‘hey, if we keep doing what we’re doing, but do MORE of it, more often, then we’d be neck and neck with Marvel!’ Impeccable money-man logic. Hence the upcoming Batman/Superman, which will be PACKED with every single character they could possibly fit in, and is likely going to be a jumbled mess that we’ll all see anyway. Ah, well.

            However, I do actually think that there might be hope on the horizon, because another recent moneymaker for DC has been the Adam West ‘Batman’ DVDs, which apparently are selling like hotcakes, as are the associated comics and merchandise. With a little luck, some producer might go ‘hey – this light and silly older stuff is making crazy money; maybe we should try going light and silly!’ And then we could get some nice, frothy four-color cinematic confections to wash all the grit out of our mouths. But, like you say, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

          • Deneb T. Hall

            Hey, if you’re not worn out on the subject of Tomb Raider yet, there are a couple of links I’d like to share:

            http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/12/19/gaming-made-me-tomb-raider/

            http://www.unwinnable.com/2012/06/14/it-made-me-want-to-drown-things-thoughts-on-my-beloved-tomb-raider/#.VVRuO15-_Hg

            They are both by a games critic named Cara Ellison, who perhaps you’ve heard of (although I hadn’t). The first involves her personal reactions to the Tomb Raider games, and what they mean to her; the second is regarding the more problematic aspects of the character as specifically applied to the latest game (although written before she’d played it).
            Personally, I found both articles to be quite interesting and enlightening, as they look at the character from a perspective that, I have to admit, I’d seldom even considered while playing the game myself. Please feel free to ignore them if you’ve read them before, but I thought I’d share them anyway.

  • CaptainCalvinCat

    Heyo.

    When you start covering TV-Shows, I’d recommend to have a look at Dr. Captain / Major / Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter (Stargate), Helen Magnus (Sanctuary), Seven of Nine (Star Trek Voyager), Ran Mouri (Detektiv Conan), Akane Tendo (Ranma 1/2), Amy Pond (Doctor Who).

    • Sofie Liv

      I am not counting on covering television at all.

      And if I did Anime would have its entire own section as it is its own massive marked and is probably the one marked with the very most female representation out of anywhere. Gotta make a line there and sepperate anime from wester animation, and animation from life action. Need to put up some borders here or it’s just to big.

      And if we were to go into Anime, I do have a whole lineup of my own personal favourite anime women you didn’t even mention… Winry, Luitenent Hawkeye, Kikyo, Homura Akemi, Nico Robin, Juvia (I find her bloody hillarious, love her.) Mikasa, ext ext ext.

      • CaptainCalvinCat

        Kikyo from Inuvasha? Oh yeah – she’s cool, although I’m more of a Sango and Kagome fan. One Piece is a show, that I didn’t really watch – I think two times tops and it’s not my kinda style. But – the idea is great. And you’re right, borders need to be made.

        In terms of Video Games, I’d say, that my favourite female hero is Lara Croft, followed by Alexandria Munroe from Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. After all, you had the opportunity of playing the main character as a woman.

  • Richard Eriksson Hjelm

    Suggestions

    Syberia
    Kate Walker

    Warhammer 40k Dawn of war
    Inquisitor Adrastia
    Governor Ellena Derosa

    Warhammer 40k space marine the game
    Second Lieutenant Miranda Nero

  • Arp

    For extra hipster points (in priority order):

    – The witch from Cauldron (1985). You play as an ugly old female Wiccan. How much more progressive can you get? Released one year before Metroid. Wikipedia link
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lYPyAzYE3I

    – Nina from Saboteur II: Avenging Angel (1987). Female ninja. Must infiltrate facility. You don’t have to kill anyone. Awesome music. Wikipedia link
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRs9ys2RLug

    – Major Locke from Game Over II (1987). In at least one version of the game, you have to rescue your damselled boyfriend. Wikipedia link
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6ZjWw35OOk“>

  • PotatoOni

    I’d like for you to cover Princess Garnet form Fina Fantasy IX. It could be interesting because she doesn’t know anything about the world outside of the palace but is still willing to leave her home in order to prevent a big disaster on her own. There’s also a bit of an inversion here because she is much more confident than these kinds of characters usually are.

    Rose of Charon Cassidy from Fallout: New Vegas would also be nice. Technically she’s pretty jaded but is not above cracking some jokes every now and then wich makes her feel more organic.