Nintendo and Ubisoft: in which the pot calls the kettle black [MANY IMAGES]

Ubisoft’s colossal E3 “open mouth insert foot” blunder about it being tooooo haaaaard to develop female characters was useful in that it started a lot of great conversations about the lack  of playable female characters in video games. However, one irritating trend that I’ve seen is that there are other game studios who have rushed to proclaim “well OUR games have female characters”, only the female characters in question are nothing more than sexy collections of ladyparts, improbable and/or outright impossible costumes, and shitty sexist stereotypes.

And you know what? That’s bullshit. Yeah Ubisoft fucked up, but at least their fuck-up was one of omission, which is better than the committed, ongoing sexism required to produce a lot of the frankly awful female characters that the major games studios continue to churn out like this, or this, or this. (And those are all just things I saw this morning while catching up on a weekend away from tumblr!)

The company that irritated me the most with these tactics, however, was Nintendo, since not only did they populate their games with shitty characters but people actually praised them for it!

Of course, it helped Nintendo that this year’s E3 was pretty abysmal for women. Almost none of the AAA game studios showcased games with playable female characters, and as Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail snarked there were more severed heads than female Playstation presenters at E3.

So when Nintendo showcased their upcoming games that actually featured some female characters, notably Hyrule Warriors and the next iteration of Super Smash Brothers, many people heralded it as a breath of fresh air – just because at least one studio wasn’t stupidly pretending women didn’t exist. The dearth of women was so great that the inclusion of female characters, any female characters was seen as a good thing.

And in light of the glaring omission of female characters by other studios, it didn’t take Nintendo long at all to start tooting it’s own horn. Look at our upcoming games that are full of strong female characters! Which would be great if it were true. Unfortunately, the female characters in question are only “strong female characters” in the Hark! A Vagrant! sense:

I will never skip an opportunity to link to Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant!. NEVER.

So pull up a chair, kids, and let’s talk about why Nintendo fails at women in both of these titles that supposedly contain such “strong female characters”.

Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors looks to be an interesting game, truth be told. Based on the sort of epic combats that are characteristic of the Dynasty Warriors series, it has you fighting battles on a grand scale. Further, the cast of characters seems pretty well divided with half of the 12 “main” characters being female[1]:

LEFT TO RIGHT: Lana, Zelda, Midna
LEFT TO RIGHT: Agitha, Shia, Impa
LEFT TO RIGHT: Valga, Zant, Link
LEFT TO RIGHT: Argorok, Wizzro

(Not pictured with the male characters – the obligatory Ganondorf.)

Now there are some positive things here. It’s nice that Zelda is a playable character and actually doesn’t get back-benched for this title. Also, it is nice that female characters account for half of the main characters. However, there are some serious issues that come up when you start looking in more depth at the character design.

For example, the range of designs of the female characters is incredibly constricted, with all of the 6 main female characters being either “pretty”, “cute”, or “sexy”. But when you look at the not-female characters, the range is so much wider! You have a slim youth, mysterious warriors, an inhuman monster, a horrific shade, and… whatever the hell Ganondorf is.

So in the Zelda universe there are super-attractive male characters and monstrous male characters and some things in between, but there is literally no such thing as an unattractive female character. Because even in a universe where single characters can defeat entire armies, it is unbelievable that heroic women might also be unattractive?

Also, it’s important to note that there are some suuuuuper problematic character designs going on here. Most notably, Shia.

So she’s got gravity-defying nippleless sphere-boobs, improbable costuming, decorative armor plating that protects nothing while vital bits of anatomy are exposed, pointy metal objects stabbing her directly in the boob… Christ. It would be easier to find things they didn’t get wrong. What the hell happened to Nintendo’s reputation as a “family-friendly” game publisher?

But wait, it gets worse! Shia’s entire backstory is that she was once a guardian of the Triforce until she fell in love with Link and her jealousy of Zelda made her get all evil and stuff.

Right. Because the only motivation that ever exists for female characters is a man. And the reason she’s dressed like that is because she’s evil, and what better way to show that than to have her dress provocatively? Because, you know, sexy wimmenz = evil.

/headdesk

Depressingly. Zelda honestly isn’t much better than the trainwreck that is Shia. Sure, her design looks cool at first blush, but let’s look at it in a bit more detail:

I mean, it’s better than Shia’s design? But that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot. But I guess this is what “strong female characters” look like these days. Hyrule Warriors development producer had this to say about Zelda’s new design:

“Regarding the look of Zelda herself, she is a ruler. So we want to make sure she is seen as a strong character in that she needs to look like a ruler, she needs to feel like a ruler,” Hayashi said. “So, [she has] what you might consider a stronger look for the character.”

…yeah. She looks real empowered there, what with her armor that prioritized sexiness over actual protection of vital anatomy. One might even say regal.

But the worst, THE WORST part of this awful Zelda design? Her attack involves her loincloth levitating upward while she pulls glowy energy out of her ladybits to form weapons.

Hrm. Nope, not strong enough. Merida, help me out here.

Super Smash Brothers

Sadly, as awful as Highrule Warriors does with regard to its female characters, it still does better than the upcoming Smash Brothers. Here’s what the roster looks like, as of the most recent update I was able to find:

A lot of familiar faces there, as well as some new ones, like the WiiFit Trainer. The problem is, when you start breaking it down by gender, things get depressing pretty quickly: (Pokemon not included because I’m not prepared to argue about the gender of pokemon.)

Yeah. Way to go at including female characters, Nintendo. You’re clearly doing a bang-up job there.

Now, granted, the characters featured in Smash Brothers are all iconic characters from a wide variety of different series. But many of these series (Metal Gear, Sonic, Star Fox) have female characters that aren’t being featured. And sure, those characters aren’t the “iconic” characters of the series, but that in itself makes a pretty damning indictment of gender representation.

But wait! It gets worse! You see, Samus’ Zero Suit is once again a thing in the new Smash Brothers title, which. Ugh. Other M was pretty much the worst thing ever to happen to Samus, what with how it took away her armor and made her whinily subordinate to a bunch of dudes. Why does that shit have to become the dominant portrayal of her? WHY?

And yet here’s Nintendo, doubling down on the awful. The Zero Suit’s rocket boots, which were frankly one of the only things going for it, are now stripper rocket heels.

STRIPPER. ROCKET. HEELS.

And look! They made the suit even more vacuum-sealed than before, as witness by how bizarrely separated and defined Samus’ (awful, spherical) breasts are. Also, given the level of definition on her belly-button, that thing must be tight enough to cause problems breathing. Unless this is some kind of future tech thing. Space age polymers ftw!

The anatomy on the Samus model is also pretty fucking terrible, although that might not be immediately apparent from the above screencap so here’s another:

Holy bendy snake torso with bonus chest-TARDIS, Batman!

So thanks, Nintendo, for making me totally not at all regret that I haven’t owned any Nintendo platforms since the Game Boy Advance. And how about next time you try to claim that you’re “better” than another studio at including female characters in your games, look at the quality of those characters before you go trying to earn feminism cookies.


[1] According to what I was able to find online.

34 thoughts on “Nintendo and Ubisoft: in which the pot calls the kettle black [MANY IMAGES]

  1. While I disagree with some of your assessments on Hyrule Warriors… Midna falls into the “monster” category to me, and anyone think she is sexy is… going someplace weird with it. I don’t consider any of the male characters unattractive either, and are basically conventional anime pretty. Most of your points are solid, though.

    However, a word of warning is that the Smash Roster you have there seems… partially fake? There are a slew of characters on it that aren’t in Smash 4. Your best bet would be to check Smashbros.com or the Wikipedia article for Smash 4: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smash_4#Playable_characters

    I always do appreciate your point of view though and I’m glad I read this.🙂

    • Ah another addendum; this is the first appearance of Zero Suit Samus’ heels as “rocket boots”. In Other M, they were just arbitrary high heeled boots. So this is at best slightly better but still pretty wrong. The real big issue with ZSS is, naturally, how all her poses contort her body in unrealistic/impractical ways to show off the body…

    • On the topic of Midna: Monster or sexualized female, I am curious your opinion, thet113, of whether the more personified version of Midna in her non-imp form would affect the rating at all. (Though I do recognize that would not affect the fact Hyrule Warriors chose the imp version).

      And wundergeek, I love your stuff, especially on video games and especially on the rare occasion you take Nintendo to task (as a Nintendo fan, I feel I get a little lazy realizing some of the undertones, except for the… more obvious ones), but the fact that Pac man who was revealed isn’t on that list and that it has a lot of not revealed ones makes me think its fake. Looking over the currently revealed roaster (as well as a supposed leak that so far has gotten everything right) your point still stands… just not those specific numbers.

      Everything else: golden! Keep up the great work.
      PS. Working my way through mass effect as femshep based off your praise for the performance= great decision. Thanks for that!

      • It obviously doesn’t change my opinion on the Hyrule Warriors version. As for it… it is definitely a more sexualized design, and while I think that was meant to contrast with Zelda’s much more conservative appearance in Twilight Princess (as they are both princesses), I think it’s… hard to characterise this, I suppose. Since I’m a dude, I’m obviously taking an outsider viewpoint on it. I guess what I want to say is… I don’t think “human” Midna is tasteless, certainly not as much as Shia or even how impractical parts of Hyrule Warriors Zelda is. But I don’t think it’s my right at all to say it’s “ok”.

      • Well as a not-Nintendo owner, I’m not familiar enough with Zelda lore to be familiar with Midna’s other incarnations outside of Hyrule Warriors. I hadn’t realized until you and TheT got me to do some googling that she was much sexier in previous incarnations, which puts an interesting complexion on things. I was just assuming she was just another cutesy character.

    • Oh I wasn’t saying I thought Midna was sexy. For me she falls into the “cute” category along with Agitha. I was just saying that “pretty, sexy, or cute” is a VERY constrained range of character designs, which sucks.

      Re: the roster – grar. Thank you. This looks sliiiiiiightly better wrt female inclusion, but still pretty terrible.

      • Ah yeah I guess, but… like as a dude my frame of mind on this could be arguably skewed, but: do we want “ugly” characters? Of either gender? Like, even the “monsters” in Zelda aren’t usually that ugly, except for stuff like Moblins. But as far as major characters, evil and good alike are usually portrayed as attractive. Even the male characters are rarely portrayed as all that muscular, so your point about no muscular women… I mean, it’s reasonable, but just… for a Zelda fan, would be unexpected to occur?

        Also one other interesting note about the roster: Wii Fit Trainer, while female, also has a male variant (which is notable because a personal trainer is usually seen as a more feminine role, possibly? or maybe I’m wrong on this if so sorry!!), and additionally, the Animal Crossing Villager has (a couple) female variants.

        • With ugly characters, it’s really just never having the option that bothers me. Mostly I stick to the female stereotype and play “pretty” races (like I have an unhealthy love of elves, for real), but sometimes it’s nice to have the option to be something else. Back in my WoW days, I HATED that there was a male undead model with no jaw, but all of the female undead faces had no rot and looked like supermodels.

          As for the WiiFit trainer, I definitely think you’re on to something. I think personal training is a bit of a gendered profession.

  2. “So thanks, Nintendo, for making me totally not at all regret that I haven’t owned any Nintendo platforms since the Game Boy Advance.”

    So the only reason you would want to own a Nintendo console is if there were empowered female characters, regardless of the quality or type of games involved? Talk about a single issue voter.

    • Well if not wanting to play video games that treat me like crap makes me a single-issue voter, then yup.

      Seriously, how fucking entitled is it to demand that I pay my hard-earned money to play games that dehumanize me in order to be seen as a “real” gamer? Fuck that. I play games that don’t rub my face in awful sexism because awful sexism makes games NOT FUN FOR ME. Fun is kind of the whole point of games, after all.

      Some people have the luxury of not caring, because they don’t have a personal stake in the issue, and that is called privilege.

      • I guess one issue of it to me is intention. Nintendo has always tried to be “family friendly”, and that means, partially, appealing to the “broad family demographic”. Most… normal people aren’t going to object to a female character who is dressed “sufficiently” but impractically, nor object to an EVIL female character dressed insufficiently. Those are, mainstream wise, seen as traits of characters.

        Now, feel free to get into why that is completely not okay.

        But to include no female characters at all and also to almost explicitly state “we don’t want female players, they are not a significant player base and we have no reason to attempt to appeal to them…” is WAY, WAY A BIGGER ISSUE.

        Nintendo totally has problems, but they at least try. They try in the only way they know how to; they try to be only mildly offensive, because they DO want to appeal to the male gamers who want that. But they DO put in the extra effort to make these slightly problematic characters at least take closer to center stage than Ubisoft would care to do. A lot of women players, who may not have been gamers before, might be attracted to the game just because any female characters exist at all.

        And it’s important that we have ladies playing these games, so that they can eventually realize why the characters are problematic and hopefully one day it will mean something.

        Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to come off as attacky at all and I hope you understand my point of view! I am not trying to discredit yours in any way and I really do appreciate your writing! And I know I am writing from a male point of view but I am really trying my best to understand. Thanks again for taking the time to consider my viewpoint.

        • And I do get what you’re saying! The harshness of my comment was aimed at the “single-issue voter” comment. Sorry if it seemed like I was attacking people who like Nintendo, because that totally wasn’t my intention at all.

          I don’t want to seem like I’m judging people for their tastes, because I’m really not. It’s okay to like what you like. But at the same time, especially since having a daughter of my own, I’m not really able to take off the Feminism Goggles anymore and games with sexist character designs just aren’t fun for me because I’m not able to suspend the disbelief past a certain point.

          And sure, Nintendo is definitely a better publisher than, say, Rock Star. There are publishers out there putting out games like Max Payne and GTA and others that are way, way worse toward women! And I don’t play their games either.

  3. Anyone else have a problem with Lana’s not-battle-ready costume, especially since she’s not a Legend of Zelda character (like Shia) which makes it seems almost as if the developers felt they needed to invent characters in order to show off more skin? (Now I am imaging a Link with a tunic too small for his belly. hehe).

    Oh, and VERY recently Fi was revealed as a fighter. Fi… has her own problematic character traits, beyond the “overly helpfulness” she’s famous for. (Spirit of the Master Sword so kinda object-y, calling Link Master all the time, yeah…)

    • My main issue with Lana is that she’s showing an awwwwful lot of skin for a model with a face that looks that young. Like, not knowing the lore or the character’s background, just looking at the model – I’m not sure that she looks like an adult to me, which is creepy. I hate seeing sexualized children in video games. It’s creepy.

  4. Yeah, there are a lot of problems with these character designs. Personally though, I’m just happy that Zelda is playable for once. I’m not making excuses. I’m just happy.

    (That Zero suit Samus is horrendous though. No concept of anatomy!)

  5. Last I heard, the ratio of women to men in Smash Brothers 4 was 2:1 – I heard it specifically because someone was observing that this is also the ratio at which people will look at a crowd scene and report that the ratio is 1:1. There has been some additional characters revealed since then, so I don’t know if they’re keeping that ratio, but I suspect they are.

  6. Okay, after having a breather and ranting, I’ve decided to go ahead and post on this issue. It’s not the first time I’ve read one of your articles, or the first time they’ve left me a little miffed, but it is my first time commenting.

    Firstly, I have to say that your argument about Zelda being nearly as bad as Shia was a bit over-exaggerated in my opinion. You say she has side boob, yet I can’t see any bit of breast showing aside from her cleavage. And yes, she does have cleavage. I don’t see it as being “sexualized” though (am I spelling “sexualized” wrong? my pc is constantly red-lining it). Twilight’s Zelda had a little cleavage too, also covered by jewelry. The only difference between the two is that this Zelda seems shorter and a little heavier (also seems to explain the somewhat increased bust size.

    I’ll grant you some points, her breastplate is of course impractical. It is aesthetically cool, but wouldn’t do much to protect her in battle. Then again, the series hasn’t exactly had a focus on armored protection in battle in the first place (Link has 0 armor, Impa has very little). And then there is your statements on the forearm guards. Not exactly sure why these present an issue. Many characters have had the whole “forearm guards, no upper arms protection” bit before. Jin from Tekken comes to mind immediately, as does Taki from SC (who is sexualized, although this has nothing to do with her forearm guards) and Talim. Again, aesthetic choice that doesn’t seem to present an actual problem.

    As for her lack of pants, I’m not sure how to address that. From the gif you linked, it looks pretty obvious that she is wearing shorts. Not even short-shorts, just shorts. And your description of her Light Arrow as her “loincloth levitating upward while she pulls glowy energy out of her ladybits to form weapons” left me utterly confused, so imagine my surprise when I actually clicked the link to see what you were talking about. I had to laugh once I saw it, only to stop from crying. I know you admit that you are a “cranky” feminist writer, but this was just misleading as all hell and made it hard to take you seriously. Go watch a DBZ montage of going super saiyan, or see a Sonic transformation. It isn’t uncommon in these “magic energy states” for hair, clothing, and small pebbles to being acting like they were hit by a sudden gust. Furthermore, she does not AT ALL appear to be pulling “glowy energy from her ladybits”. This is literally reading something into a situation that was not present. My mind certainly wouldn’t have gone there without your suggestion, and still doesn’t unless I am squinting and attempting to think dirty. Even now, as I look at the gif, all I see is a badass display of magical power.

    And as far as her whole design goes, I perceived her as a “mage” type character in this game. A full suit of armor is unbecoming of any mage, so I don’t see the lack of armor as a design flaw itself.

    And I see I’m not the first to point it out, but that SSB4 tier list seems pretty obviously faked, something else that made it hard to take you seriously. Thus my rage when I DO take you seriously, because it makes you appear both ignorant AND opinionated in my eyes when I notice this(a combination very near the top of my “personality types I hate” list).

    Moving along…

    Wizzro is an “it” as far as I know. It used to be a ring, so I don’t quite think it can be assigned a sex, especially considering it’s ghostly form. So, that brings it down to 5 male main characters.

    I see you’ve separated the male main characters from the females in Hyrule Warriors. However, this does seem to present a problem in the way you have set up the list. There are 5 good females in the last, and one antagonistic female. 5 male villains, one male protagonist. It is a long established trope that the baddies will usually be the ones to look horrifying (some games break this mold, but since this a Zelda game it holds firm). In other words, there is more diversity among the villains than the protagonists. The protagonists all embody a humanoid, handsome appearance, while the villains have the sexy, the monstrous, and the ghostly. There are mostly male villains in Zelda, so I don’t think it’s fair to separate the main characters of Hyrule warriors by gender like this.

    Is the ONE female baddie sexualized? Yes she is. I won’t make any argument here, she just is. No way to say she isn’t, and I’m not inclined to. Why? Her appearance is far beyond “just for aesthetic” purposes, and is clearly made to show off more of her body. In our society, more skin == sexuality, so I’ll give that to you.

    Now, for my entirely unwanted and unsolicited opinion of your blog.

    Overall, I do think your blog does have potential, but I think there are a bunch of kinks to work out. It does seem to practice the “whiny” type of feminism I’ve come to despise, but that’s a given with many feminists blogs. The womenfighters blog illustrates what I have in mind as far as the direction the gaming industry needs to take. I have no problem with sexualized characters. However, the absence of ANY game where practical armor exists for women (looking at you, TES) is a problem. I don’t think picking on games that have an OBVIOUSLY stylized art direction is the way to go, however. People often say “If you don’t like it, why don’t you try to do better?!” And some people have gone and done exactly that, designing some excellent armors for games.

    Just… look at it this way. I like Saints Row 4. My character runs around covered only by a tight-ass, nude colored thong and high heels. And, he is just so fun to play. The whole thing is hilarious to me, to see this large muscled man in a thong drop kick someone out of their car. Ultimately, here lies my problem with blogs like yours. Instead of saying “We could use a game where this ISN’T a thing”, it seems you would argue “This shouldn’t exist at all.” It seems to go far below giving a valid criticism of the game. And knowing that you don’t even play Nintendo games sprinkles on an extra layer of butthurt, because this isn’t even a criticism from another fan. As it stands, you are on the “outside” of the club, offering advice to those IN said club about how the club should be run. Doesn’t mean your advice may not be good, but it does make us less likely to hear you out, especially when it is negative feedback. Basically, what should have been a bland pill tastes like shit when your delivery is like this.

    In the end, I guess you’re just trying to do what you think is right in pointing out what you see as an issue. As someone who genuinely believes in equality for all, I simply disagree with what the issues are. Sexualization isn’t the problem in my eyes, it’s that WOMEN are getting all of it. Of course, this is likely because the overwhelming number of people in the industry are heterosexual men. I personally am going into the industry to help rectify this problem, and I advise others with similar views to do the same. People of all genders should be equally sexualized. For every Shia style of dress, there should be a Kuja style (not actually concerned with numbers here, but I think my stance was clear enough).

    Hopefully, this doesn’t come off as hostile as I’m afraid it has sounded. Otherwise, this smiley face at the end will end up being all the damage control I can afford
    🙂

    – Damon

    • You obviously haven’t read enough of her blog to see that she’s fine with sexualization in games as long as it makes sense in context/ she has praised games that do have equal representation (the deprived class from dark souls comes to mind) while also deconstructing how showing more skin on men is different than showing more skin on women (for men, the designs are almost always empowering, for women, its almost always passive “come and get me”)

      But what I really want to sink my teeth into is this juicy bit “As it stands, you are on the “outside” of the club, offering advice to those IN said club about how the club should be run. Doesn’t mean your advice may not be good, but it does make us less likely to hear you out, especially when it is negative feedback. Basically, what should have been a bland pill tastes like shit when your delivery is like this. ”

      As you clearly are not a true fan of this blog, and thus are not IN the “club” as you called it, offering advice on how she should run her blog “her club”. Therefore, you should know that she would be less likely to hear you out, especially when your feedback is quite negative. Basically, what should have simply been you expressing a difference of opinion tastes like the fecal material coming out of an elephant when your delivery is like this.

      • Forgot to add this part, I am very curious what you were hoping to get out of this… criticism, lets call it? Did you honestly think that your comment was going to “save” this blog from covering things you don’t find important and only covering the things you agree with? I just can’t understand the rationality behind it, especially since it falls under the exact same criticisms you were giving this blog.

        • You might notice I describe myself as “butthurt” in the comment. Truthfully, I have no higher goal than simply voicing my opinion here. As a fan of these games, and someone who formerly identified as feminist, this blog rubbed me the wrong way (not for the first time, but enough that I decided to comment for once).

          And no, I’m not a fan of hers whatsoever. So yes, that does make her and her fans less likely to listen to negative criticism from me. That is how things work. So, I’m not exactly sure what makes you think I was not aware that my comment fell under this too. Give your opponent a little more credit. If you come assuming I’m a hypocrite, then… well. Me giving my opinion on her blog is NOT telling her how to run it. It is me saying “I don’t like your product, and here is why.” What she chooses to do with said information is up to her.

          She has many fans, so she is obviously doing something right. She’d be crazy to even THINK of changing the formula now. Still, doesn’t make my opinion obsolete. As someone who finds themselves on this blog somewhat infrequently, I’ve come to loathe reading her articles. And yet, I still go ahead, because I feel a need to know just what I’m loathing.

          And I don’t read this blog consistently whatsoever. I stumble across it while doing other stuff. If she didn’t take a stance I consistently disagree with, I wouldn’t have bothered commenting. In this case, she seems to have taken a very adamant stance against sexualization in any form (going so far as to label things that never had a semblance of sexuality as very risque actions). Now, if she has spoken positively about it in the past, good on her. Doesn’t change the fact that I’ve never seen her do it. Again, I’ve only stumbled across a fairly small selection of her articles, judging how long she’s been here.

          Now, as for this part… “Did you honestly think that your comment was going to “save” this blog from covering things you don’t find important and only covering the things you agree with?”

          No, I did not. That was never my goal in the first place. This is HER blog. She can do what the hell she wants here. She can voice her opinion on topics, and I can vocalize disagreement with her opinion.

          And you can’t say my comment falls under the EXACT same criticisms. I discussed everything from the SSB4 roster to Zelda’s Light Arrow attack. How exactly my comment is affected by those criticisms is beyond me.

          At the end of the day, it looks like your main criticism of my comments comes from some assumption that I am hypocritical. I never told her she COULDN’T offer her opinion on the subject, because I’m not a douchebag. I said that I am less likely to listen to her opinion, knowing that she doesn’t play ANY Nintendo game. For example, labeling Wizzro a “male”. It’s a spirit that used to be a ring. How in the hell do we determine that thing is male? Even the guides I’ve read refer to it as an “it”. When I see things like this, it at first seems intentionally misleading. But then the realization hits that she hasn’t played ANY of the games, and suddenly I realize that she just DOESN’T know what she’s talking about in that area.

          Now, if she has spoken about sexualization being an okay thing as long as it is equal, then I too have committed the same mistake she has in discussing something without knowing, and own up to it. Link me to some of that stuff, and I’ll relent. Frankly, I’d LOVE to see a popular feminist actually deal reasonably with this. Still, I have read previous articles of hers, and they have set a tone and expectations for what is to come. From someone who refuses to play Nintendo whatsoever, mistakes like this seem much more telling.

          I bear her no ill will, same as I bear you none. You might note that before I mentioned any aspect of her blog, I noted that my opinion was both unsolicited and undesired. I am perfectly aware of where my opinion stands and how it might be perceived.

        • Also, because I tend to type essays, we shouldn’t draw this out. If there is one thing I know about those who run blogs, they hate to see two people hogging the comment space with incessant replies. If you want to continue this, I guess I’d be okay with that. I just don’t want wunderwoman herself to come try breaking this chain. Or worse, delete comments. Not sure what sort of comment mod she is, but I’d rather play safe than sorry.

          So, if you simply think I’m a dickbag, then say so and we’ll tip our hats and walk away from each other, grumbling and calling each other names all the while. Otherwise, why not explain which of my points you perceive to be wrong? Other than the comment existing in the first place.

          • You are correct that I don’t really like to have lengthy off-topic conversations in the comments, just because it sucks the oxygen out of the conversation. I will, however, thank you both for keeping it civil – I was keeping an eye on things but didn’t have time to step in until now. So I’ll make a few points briefly and then ask that people not continue this particular branch of conversation further:

            1) Nick is correct – I’m a big fan of games that handy sex and sexiness in a manner that doesn’t objectify anyone. Unfortunately, that almost never happens in video games. Awesome, well-rounded characters who are women who are sexy and/or have sex? Sweet. Bring it on. Collections of sexy ladybits designed for maximum straight-male titillation? Ugh. Please god no.

            2) When talking comparitively about character design, everything here is my opinion. Granted, I state my opinions forcefully and have a rather strong love of hyperbole. But I certainly don’t expect anyone to agree with 100% of what I say here. My goal is to make people think about shitty underlying sexism that too often goes unexamined.

            3) Just because I spend time criticizing games doesn’t mean that I am “outside the club”. I also spend a lot of time making games. I’ve self published my own game, put out several free (if silly) games on the internet, and have 3 more game projects in serious development with plans to publish in the middle-near future, not to mention the bit of freelance game design and game writing I’ve done for Onyx Path/White Wolf. Yes they are TRPGs, but they’re still games. So I’m hardly someone on the “outside” of game making.

            (Okay, so when I said “briefly” I meant “briefly for me”.)

            • Ah, a reply is certainly something I didn’t expect.

              Thank you for clarifying your position a bit. Now I can respect your stance a bit more, even if I still disagree.

              And I didn’t mean that you were outside the “developer’s club”, but outside the “Zelda lovers” club. If only developers could criticize other developers we would be in a very sorry place indeed!

              Anyway, I’m glad that you’ve taken a second to reply back. Like a malicious spirit put to rest, I can forever leave this blog in peace.

              Have a good one.

              – Damon

            • I started writing my reply at 7, finished at 9 (I had something to eat in between) so I didn’t see your reply until after I posted, so feel free to delete it. Sorry about that.

              • No worries. It was an honest mistake. Just so you know, it wound up in the moderation queue instead of auto-posting due to the number of links as well as the length – those things tend to get comments flagged for possible spam. I think I’m going to leave it there rather than allowing it, even though there was good stuff in there, just because it’s continuing a conversation that I ultimately don’t see going anywhere. But thank you very much for your support.🙂

  7. Nice post.

    Regarding the Smash 4 roster, it’s interesting to note that the newcomer characters are split exactly 50/50 gender wise. I think this suggests Nintendo is actually making an effort improve the gender balance.

    (Also you have the villager and wii-fit trainer down as male and female respective, however it’s possible to play as both female-villager and male-wii-fit-trainer too.)

    • Its also true that the new Robin can be male or female. However, it is interesting which gender Nintendo decides to promote in promotional material. (You don’t exactly see female animal crosser on the cover art, nor male fit trainer in many promo pictures. We’ll see how new Robin is treated, though so far, from the video it was male Robin with, oh yeah I guess you can play as female Robin kinda crammed in the end.) Also, the interesting Lucina lasted longer than male Chrom but still got almost defeated by male captain Falcon and had to be saved by male Robin, (literally just got the Falcon sword/Captain Falcon reference). It is also interesting, because in another promo video, male Pit had to be saved by female Lady Palutena (which also had the HORRIBLE show off butt and boob shot in it).

      So basically everything is wibbly wobbly when it comes to positive/negative gender representation.
      Still, my sister is really excited for Lady Palutena, probably because she’s sailor moon like and she loves that show, so at least she’s happy.

  8. For me its another example of “if its not 100% ideological perfect better don’t bother”. I personally disagree with that point of view because it belittles the work of the developer team. However, I don’t either like the current Other M incarnation of Samus.

    Have you thought of developing games? With your sharp vision of what you want and what you don’t want in your fictional universes, probably you would make a good game designer.

    • If you read other things I’ve written on this blog, you’ll see that I play things all the time that I am also critical of. I *loved* The Last of Us, but that didn’t stop me from being critical of it. I play almost everything BioWare publishes, that but that doesn’t stop me from holding their feet to the fire over stupid character designs like Samara the Space Elf. Liking a thing, or even loving a thing, is not the same thing as criticizing a thing.

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