|Like are we going to miss women|
pretending to eat consoles?
There's only one way to decide which overlooked female characters are good examples that discourage the rampant misogyny in videogame culture and provide decent role models for the up and coming generation of ggg....g....gggggamers.
SEXY GIRL ON GIRL CAT FIGHT!
JK, we will do the deciding for you. Allie and Tobi. We are the experts. We have lab coats and also degrees in psychology and game design (no really).
Bayonetta vs Lara Croft
|'I will...how do the Americans put it? Oh, yes. 'Bust a cap in yo ass!'|
Bayonetta is great, Lara Croft is lame.
Yeah, so the Tomb Raider series has some pretty good games, but in spite of what naive girls such as myself might have assumed back in the day, both Lara and Bayonetta were designed around the philosophy of YAY, TITS AND BUMS YOU GUYS. Seriously, you can look that shit up on interviews... I mean, if it isn’t already obvious. But for me here’s the key issue on which they diverge: Bayonetta is the girliest fucking game i’ve ever seen in my life.
Like ok, there are some generalisations in here which may or may not be poisonous, but the first time I saw that game, heard the oppressively j-pop soundtrack and saw this flirty witch turning into panthers and birds, shooting ornate enemies with fetish heels, explosions jewels and sparkles and candy and butterflies all over the place. My first thought was ‘HOLY SHIT, SOMEONE MADE A GAME ABOUT EVERYTHING MY SISTER LOVES.’ She isn’t pandering to any man, not even you. Most guys keep reminding me that ‘They don’t even find her all that attractive!’ Well done asshole, do you want a medal? Bayonetta is just an unruly explosion of humorous sexuality and baffling catholicism themed violence, an uncompromising female counterpart to the flirtatious and outrageous Dante from the Devil May Cry series.
Lara is just a cheap Indiana Jones knock-off with big tits.
Ivy vs Taki
Ivy on the other hand clearly felt like badass who you did not want to mess with. Her outfits range from dominatrix suits to victorian-era military uniforms. Both of these help cement her status of an intimidating character that can whoop your ass. In contrast of her more sexualised outfits, the series also made a point of it to make Ivy a celibate character. Another layer that made her more interesting was her unconventional transformer-sword that not only doubled for a whip, but somehow also was sentient. Then there's the fact that Ivy is the daughter of one of the series' recurring main villains.
However the thing that I hold the most against the character is that Taki simply retired and ended up getting replaced with a near-identical younger version. Had they kept her in, maybe she could have gained an interesting angle as an ageing ninja lady. However the developers figured she regular boring kunoichi was the extent of what she had to offer.
Tyris Flare vs Elder scrolls 1 cover chick
|'What has happened?'|
Tyris Flare is a cool character because she’s just Ax Battler, another panty clad barbarian, but for people who feel like playing as a girl, maybe because they are a girl, or maybe because your friend already picked the dwarf and Ax is kind of rubbish. If everyone else in your game art is wearing armour or robes, and then there’s one nasty looking token female who looks like she’s come underdressed to an orgy, maybe you should just pop down to Bognor’s Battlewear Bazaar and get something that prevents sword wounds a little better than your toned little arse cheeks.
Faith vs Madison Paige
|'You go, girl!'|
On the flip-side of that coin, we have Madison. She was designed to be a single white lady whose hobbies consist out of being pointless eye candy, stripping at gunpoint, being too nosey and having mental issues. Typical woman, amirite? When we look at the overall accomplishments she made in Heavy Rain, she managed to bed a guy who clearly had much more important things to do. The developers of Heavy Rain probably noticed how she was pretty worthless and tried to slap an insomnia and delusion-subplot onto her. As a bonus, the insomnia meant they could show her in her nightwear. Too bad all of this was pointless too.
Sakura Vs Mai
|'Shame on you! Always flirting!'|
Sakura is an ‘innocent schoolgirl’ stereotype who has the same moveset as ryu and ken, so she fights by dealing heavy punches and the classic ‘hadouken’ energy blast. She is motivated by a male role model, but doesn’t rely on him, she has her own desire to be a really awesome fighter. I guess she’s an obvious ‘subverted stereotype’ but to me it just kind of works. She looks scary and ambitious but without having a generic ‘tsundere’ tough girl personality and none of her lady parts are just busting out of her clothes.
The Boss vs Yuna
Then we have The Boss, also known as The Joy. The Boss is a soldier, an instructor, a World War 2 veteran, the leader of an elite squad and the mentor of Naked Snake, whose shadow is cast over the entire Metal Gear series. Her sacrificial role comes from choosing to be the fall-guy for a covert-mission gone haywire during the cold war. She would take the blame so her country would not be incriminated. What you can't help but notice is that the boss is quite a lot older than most of the ladies on our list, but what really makes The Boss stand out is that she is actually the role model of Naked Snake. I can't really think of many other instances where a male game character aspires to be like a female character and has nothing but admiration for her. She's a proud, highly capable soldier, bursting with loyalty and patriotism and was willing to give her life for what she believes in.
Yorda vs Zelda
|'I'm so stupid...'|
In Ico, you are an inexperienced young boy armed with whatever long sword-like object you can find, and you’re trying to drag a reluctant moe girl out of a castle where only she has the magic power to open doors, and also she needs help with jumping and climbing and walking and stuff.
I thought it was a really beautiful touch in OoT, where if you get hit by a boulder or knifed by a skeleton, you head Zelda wince sympathetically, like she’s really concerned about you. In Ico, Yorda really couldn’t give less of a shit what you are up to, she doesn’t seem to even want to leave her castley prison, maybe that’s why she keeps ‘falling over’ all the time. I guess it’s kind of cool if that’s part of the story, but you never actually do get to find out what Yorda is thinking, probably because it’s nothing. Thinking gives you wrinkles. Yorda is the worst.
So, I think that's enough. We got our slightly confusing point across, right? Misogeny can't really be measured in cup size. In fact, the more we muse over it, the more Tobi and I reach the conclusion that... maybe the only trick to good female role models is simply better quality writing and character design? To have design choices made for a reason other than 'well, that's kind of what women are like'. Or even a simple idea that isn't rooted in a kind of mild fear or pubescent intrigue about the female sex? And furthermore, the problem isn't so much any singular bad character design, it's more that a stereotype exists when there's an oversaturation of a certain pattern of features - like all women being damsels or wearing bikinis instead of body armour. There shouldn't be any ban on princesses or pink or delicate love interests, they just need to be balanced out with a better range of ideas - ones that say 'women are all sorts of people.'
Of course, the same rules can really be applied to any stereotype. We don't need to write an article about black characters in games though, because there are like 5.