Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why I Wanted To Play The Tomb Raider Reboot - And Now Why I May Not

Tomb Raider (the new game which was designed to remake Laura Croft with her origin story) is coming out soon.  I had wanted to try it out.  The reason:   this game looked like it had an interesting story.  That’s right.   I thought the idea of being stranded and alone on an island, trying to survive, and learning to fight and hunt would make an awesome game.  I’m not interested in the Tomb Raider franchise, nor have I played any of the games (except for some of Tomb Raider 2 on PC that I forget if I enjoyed or not).   I didn’t care this was a  Tomb Raider game, and could care less that is was remake, even less about the character, and even more less if the character was a man or a woman.
So, why should the gender matter at the end of that sentence?  Because of this:   ( People said Laura has become a victim.  I know all about the victim trap for female character development, but I didn’t think it was relevant here, because it was someone who has to survive on an island by themselves, wouldn’t they experience all kinds of hardships?  I think it’s because people will think Laura Croft didn’t chose to be an archeologist action-adventurer and she was forced into it.  In the first trailer, she’s already on her way to her first adventure.  She was going to be one anyway.  This just happens to be her first adventure; it doesn’t appear it will change her character (though I hope I’m wrong in terms of telling a good story), only develop her adventuring, climbing, and gun shooting skills.
However, the article says that video game players identify with a man, but want to protect a woman avatar.  This apparently makes males root for her more if they ‘save’ her.  This was so insanely stupid.  I played Uncharted 1 & 2 and Hydrophobia recently, (male and female leads) and guess what?  I found myself more into the game with the female lead because of how immersive the game was!  I enjoyed Uncharted’s story and characters + character development more, but Hydrophobia made me feel like I was actually there.   The gender was not an issue for me.
Later, this article ( stated that the executive producer said, “they try to rape her.”  And people saw this implied from the first person that attacks her in the trailer. 
In the game, I’m sure you will have to fight 800 people before the game is done (all male, because god forbid you kill any females or people will think you are committing violence against women).  In real life, if you were a woman, and fighting against 800 people one at a time, I’m pretty sure a high percentage of them will try to rape you.  However, games are a fantasy.  We don’t need to worry about falling off a cliff into a massive vortex or getting eaten by dinosaurs in real life, but some woman do have to worry about being raped in the real world.  So, why would you put this realistic thing in the game to begin with when people play games to escape and have fun?
I could easily dismiss the victim angle until I actually play the game, but after the implied rape and the designer talking about it as if they wanted all this from the beginning, I’m now less interested to pick up the game.  Could it be because now I will think of Laura as a woman instead of my avatar into the video game world? I feel that using rape as any selling point or from putting it in their as normal will cause people not to check it out, or they will find it out in the game unexpectantly, feel uncomfortable,  and return it to the store.  I hope that Crystal Dynamics (having stated there is no rape subtext) are having a woman review as a game tester to double-check the game;  looking for instances of rape (no matter how unintentional)  and removing them.  I'm still going to play the game eventually, I just hope I'm not clouded by this when I do.

Read this article for a different picture of the game:;postID=7089648919791698761

Monday, June 18, 2012

TV Trope - The Villianess Woman Always Reforms

I was checking out the Mortal Kombat Animated Series, when one episodes had a female assassin for Shao-Kan get close to Jax so they could kidnap him.  She eventually turns good (for unknown reasons, but I'll just say, because the script forced her to).

One thing I noticed early on when I was growing up, was the number of female characters that were, for whatever reason, evil, then decided to turn good (and god help you if you were a male character who was evil and became good; you will always die [the only time this didn't happen was when Vegeta from Dragonball and Xanatos from Gargoyles turned good, but they still remained morally ambiguous characters; males only died if they went 'true' good], but that's another post entirely)

The biggest example I have for this is The Incredibles.  In this film, Mirage is clearly working for the villain, but then decides to help the main heroes.  This woman killed other superheroes, and then turns good because Syndrome was willing to gamble that Mr. Incredible wouldn't kill her.  This happens again at the end of Voltron; the main female villain (and not even the main villain, like almost all the examples I will use) suddenly decides to become good because of something that happened to her heart or...I really don't remember or even care.

In Vampire Hunter D, the lone female not only ends up surviving, but also does the right thing in helping D.  In Digimon, the one villain to turn good is Gatomon, a female Digimon.  Episodes later, it's reveled that she was tortured and brainwashed to be the evil character that she is because woman can't possibly be evil on their own (let's see, main evil female Digimon in Season 1 are..., oh wait, all of them were male).  Also, if you watched G.I. Joe:  The Movie, the Baroness (the only female villain) was actually brainwashed into doing all those evil, evil things.

These are just examples from my memory at the moment, but it happened a lot in my 80's and 90's cartoons, enough that it was the first Trope that I remember realizing existed.  For some reason, the media believes that woman can never truly be evil, and they can always be forgiven, but, yeah, screw the males, they were born evil, and their punishment for being indecisive is death.

Does anyone have any examples from their Saturday morning cartoons growing up where they noticed this?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Feeling For Characters In A Video Game (Uncharted)

Usually when playing a video game, it's hard to really care about the characters.  I don't even remember when I really felt anything toward a character's death, or a male and female protagonists love for each other.  It wasn't until I played Uncharted 2 that I realized I wanted the characters to do something that wasn't go and shoot people.

In Uncharted:  Drake's Fortune, we are immediately introduced to Elena, a TV news reporter with her own show.  At first, I'm thinking she's going to be the annoying news reporter that no one will care about, but the main character (Drake) will for some reason, and at one point have to save her for doing something stupid.  I was completely wrong in my assumption.

The characters of Drake and Elena actually helped each other throughout the story.  You never had to protect Elena, she would be fighting with her gun and actually kill some people for you; she could handle herself.  You are the one that gets captured first, and it's Elena that breaks you out because she is smart enough to know how to save you, and she actually serves a purpose in the plot at various points.  Eventually she does get captured, but that's more for the story to get you alone and by yourself.  Plus the way she talked and acted made you actually care about her character (at one point I thought she might betray Drake for some reason when she wanted to say behind and 'film' while people were hunting for them, but this was necessary for another plot point for her to find.).

I recently played through Uncharted a 2nd time awhile back, and found myself enjoying the characters more this time around, and Elena more than I thought.  After beating the game on Hard, I wanted to try out Uncharted 2:  Among Thieves.

You immediately start out with 2 new characters helping you, and a new love interest (Chloe).  "Wait," I thought, "was Elena gone forever?  Was she just a Bond woman with only one appearance."  After I played through the game a bit, it dawned on me that this was the case, and I was actually pissed that they had created this cool character and then taken them away (but it helped that Chloe was played by Claudia Black).  I realized a video game hadn't actually made me angry that way in...well, forever.  I guess I wanted a continuing storyline and for the characters to end up happily ever after.

Eventually, you run into Elena in the middle of the war zone.  Who cared that it was complete coincidence, she was back and introduced a fun dynamic to the game the way she interacted with Drake and his new love interest.  You could tell the characters acted differently toward each other from this point on, and Drake slightly changed since meeting her this game (he stands up for her to his current girl, indicating he might still have feelings for her).  Their interactions are also pretty amusing.  Also, Uncharted 2 seemed to have 3 times as much interactions between the characters while you played the game because they were always following you around saying something their characters would normally say to make you feel as if you were traveling with 3 dimensional characters. 

So, I'm going to play Uncharted 2, figure out how to harness the power of the sun to awaken some giant status thing, but in the back of my mind I'll be hoping Drake leaves Chloe and gets back with Elena.