Samus Aran, Badass Extraordinaire

timeline_thmSorry I’ve been gone a couple weeks folks. We’ve been doing the final push on renovating the basement, which means I’ve been doing all the heavy work (even after loss of T in my system, I’m still stronger than him). This has resulted in several days of soreness and pain and tiredness. Additionally, I’ve been wondering where next to go with my series on diversity in gaming, as well as looking at a potential project to do with it. However, Monday starts the summer semester, and I’m taking a class called “thinking the body” taught by the same professor as my activism class, so I may have to do a journal again for it. All of these combined have led me to decide that today I will do a post I’ve been promising since the start of this series, and we’ll see how it goes from there. Namely, I’m going to talk about Metroid and how Other M ruined Samus’ momentum as the most badass, respected woman in gaming.

But first, let me just say something pretty controversial here. Other M is bad, but it’s not THAT bad. It’s salvageable. A lot of the problems it faces aren’t the ones people are always bringing up, as those are merely symptoms of the underlying issue. That underlying issue is this: the fact that this is a single game rather than two, and that they put it near the end of the timeline. Continue reading

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Looks Are Everything… When It Comes to Girls in Games

Aya Brea, heroine of the Parasite Eve series of games, and today's case study.

Aya Brea, heroine of the Parasite Eve series of games, and today’s case study.

Last week, I started anew my series on diversity in gaming, particularly when it comes to well fleshed out female characters who are ruined in later installments. Today’s prime example is Aya Brea, the protagonist of the Parasite Eve trilogy. She’s also a fine example of something that the industry does horribly, horribly wrong when it comes to female protagonists in gaming. So let’s overdive right into it, shall we?

As always, spoiler alert up front, as this time I will be going into WAY more in-depth issues of end-game aspects of each of the three games. Anyway, the basic premise of these games is that the mitochondria within our cells aren’t just a mutually symbiotic organism that gives us our cellular energy in return for food, but are in fact parasites that use humans to build a world better to their own setting. Something happens to cause the mitochondria of a specific individual to awaken and begin rebelling against humanity, trying to take over the world. In case you’re wondering, this is all BEFORE the games, which are themselves a series of sequels to a Japanese book/movie by the same name. In the story of the book/movie, the girl who possesses the awakened mitochondria is taken over by them and tries to give birth to an ultimate being to destroy all of humanity, but eventually fails because the mitochondria from the father of the ultimate being rebel and destroy it. Got all that? Good, because it’s back story that comes up about halfway through the first game, and I’m trying to make this a bit less convoluted. Continue reading

My Tranifesto

Butterfly WomanIt’s been a couple weeks since I last wrote here, in large part because I’ve been too sick/in pain to do much. I’ve also started going back to school, and one of my classes this semester is a history and theory of activism class. This coming week, we’re doing readings over a number of famous and infamous manifestos of other groups. These include The Woman-Identified Woman (an early lesbian-feminist manifesto), the SCUM Manifesto (an extreme pro-female anti-male manifesto), and the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto. One of our ongoing assignments through the class is to have an “activism journal” where we discuss our learning from the class as well as our experiences with activism/volunteering over the course of the semester. So this week, I’m going to do my first post of such, a manifesto of my own (a tranifesto if you will, in honor of the late Matt Kailey). Continue reading

Sucker Punch to the Groin

From left to right: Babydoll, Blondie, Sweet Pea, Amber, and Rocket.

From left to right: Babydoll, Blondie, Sweet Pea, Amber, and Rocket.

Last week I discussed something a little less controversial to start us off. This week, I’m gonna dive right in and go for something much more controversial. Today, I’m gonna talk about a movie I love that is extremely divisive with people either loving it or hating it: 2011’s movie Sucker Punch. Spoilers will abound, but I’ll get into those later, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to stop reading and first go look it up if you can find it. Sadly, Netlfix does not have it, but Amazon Instant Video does for about $3. It’s also on YouTube, but likely also for a charge (some channels require that now for some reason). I say this because much like Starship Troopers, this movie often gets confused and criticized for being the very thing that it is itself criticizing. A basic summary of the movie involves the main character, Babydoll, being sent to a mental institution by her stepfather for his own sinister purposes, and throughout the course of the movie, she escapes from the horrors of the asylum by existing in a dream world, where the events of the asylum are seen through the lens of living in a brothel. Her attempts to escape take the form of a further level of dream world in which she and the other girls take the role of a squad of bad-ass super-soldiers in a variety of fantasy, sci-fi, and steampunk environments.

Before I get into major story spoiler territory, I want to talk a bit about overarching themes within the movie, as well as some of the criticism it has received. However, I do want to give credit where credit is due and say that Bob Chipman, a.k.a. Movie Bob, over at the Escapist has already said some of what I’ll be saying here, so go ahead and give his trio of videos on the topic a look. This is a guy and a professional movie critic who loved the movie, not for the titillation, skimpy outfits, and so on that draws a lot of the criticism from others, but instead for the symbolism from both the criticized stuff and other aspects of the movie. Continue reading