Game Time

Chloe Renaud, Staff Reporter

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Female Role Models In Video Games

Historically, female characters in video games were most commonly designed to be unrealistic sex symbols. Despite their overly sexualized nature, this does not mean that other video games with more modestly dressed characters do not sell as well. Still, female characters usually have no substance nor practicality. An example is Chun-Li from Street Fighter who wears a dress when many of her moves involve kicking. Additionally, one of the producers had wanted to make her health bar shorter because “… women are not as strong…”. Despite that bump in the road, many developers and designers, such as Eric Barone, aka ConcernedApe from Stardew Valley, have noticed this flaw and are striving to become more inclusive by “changing the landscape”. There are many games that have more positive role models for young and older women alike, a few of which are featured in this column.

A fantastic example of this newfound equality in female characters started back in 1999. April Ryan from The Longest Journey is a good female role model because she helps to keep the balance between two perilously balanced worlds. April Ryan is practical because she wasn’t sexualized with her body, nor with her clothing. The clothing she wore was very typical for that of a teen in the ‘90s, such as crop tops and baggy jeans, and her body was average for a teenager. She wasn’t given enormous breasts nor was she given thin strings to cover herself with. She was made to be self-reliant and strong.

Once again, a butt-kicking, witty woman takes center stage alongside her brother in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Evie Frye was the first playable female protagonist in the Assassin’s Creed series when the game made its debut in 2015. As the first female protagonist, Evie Frye lives up to her title, as she was dressed and proportioned much like most other women in London at the time such as wearing petticoats, where the game takes place. She does, however, stand out amongst the crowd though because she uses her intelligence and her stealth to help take the city of London back from “The Templars,” a historically Catholic military group that reigns over the city.

Stardew Valley is not commonly known to many, possibly because of its indie gaming style. One of the characters in the game is Penny. Penny is a great example of the adversity many real people go through, but she remains positive about her situation. Her mother is an alcoholic who lives with her in a two-room trailer. Despite the many commonly used tropes for women, the developer opted for a more bookish and modest look. It seems that many people do, in fact, enjoy the change of pace that Stardew Valley brings and the breaking of the barriers that hold many back. 

As seen previously, Stardew Valley is known for their fresh perspective, and that is clear in the creation of the character Maru. Maru breaks free from all well known tropes women are forced into, such as being, “in the kitchen”, or being, “less than,” men. Maru is a tom-boyish character who is interested in engineering and some sciences, which are commonly male-dominated fields. Clearly, the developers chose not to make Maru traditionally feminine like other characters in the game. 

Video games can teach us many lessons, and tell us stories of varying lengths, but one thing that should be universal across the board is how women are portrayed as people and act as people rather than unrealistic or shallow sex symbols. 

New Games Coming Out This Year

Do you enjoy gaming, but are getting sick and tired of the same old and overused synopsis? Well, you’re in luck! There is an extensive list of games that are set apart from the rest. Whether they are sequels, prequels, or standalone games, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking for an immersive RPG (Role-Playing Game), you might want to try “Way To The Woods,” where you can help two deer survive and find their home again. This game is available on multiple platforms such as Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC, or Nintendo Switch. If you are looking for an RPG but wanted it to be a more gorey, look no farther than, “System Shock 2”. You are a world renowned hacker, and a  greedy man hires you. Unfortunately, the hack goes wrong. You find yourself in a coma, and you wake some three months later to find that the human race has been taken over by zombies. If this game has peaked your interest, you’ll be able to play it on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. 

If you’re into blood and guts but want something more vampiric, then, “Vampire: The Masquerade, Bloodlines 2,” is the perfect game for you. You are a regular human, living in Seattle, when you are killed and turned into a vampire. You are able to choose one “discipline” or upgradeable power, and work your way up the ladder of vampiric hierarchy. If this game intrigues you, it is available on Playstation 4, PC, and Xbox One. 

If you want a beautiful storyline that would touch your heart, “Tales Of Arise”, will do just that. You play as two characters: Shionne from Rena, and Alphen from Dahna. Rena is superior to Dahna technology wise, and they use that to take advantage of the people. Shionne and Alphen end up having to travel together, despite their many differences, and face trials that will test them.“Tales Of Arise” is available on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.