I enjoy having unpopular opinions

There’s this weird thing that happens where something I wrote a year ago (or two, or three) doesn’t get much attention at the time that I write it, but then someone on Reddit (or Twitter, but usually Reddit) finds it and posts a link and all of a sudden I get a flurry of views and nasty comments about GOD HOW WRONG AND AWFUL I AM.

This has actually happened a few times with my post about the ways in which The Last of Us could have been better, which is especially amusing given that I wrote that post after writing my post about the reasons why I loved The Last of Us to little bitty pieces. But apparently, expressing criticism of a thing completely invalidates any other statements you might make about the thing and I should have known that. Because saying “here’s how thing thing I love could have been even better” is the same as saying “here is a thing that should be destroyed with fire and if you like it you should feel bad because you are bad.”

And I thought that if people are determined to misread me writing about a thing that I actually really, really liked, well shit. Why don’t I at least give these guys some decent ammunition?

So with that in mind…

Unpopular opinion the first: Violence is boring

VIOLENCE IS BORING.

And games where the system or mechanics exist only to create violence? Those games are boring as shit. Hell, I’ll go even further and say that any piece of media centered on violence and/or murder and nothing else is just really, really dull.

For example – this weekend, at the insistence of a friend, I watched John Wick, which is basically 20 minutes of Keanu Reeves being sad about his dead wife (always with the dead wives[1]…) and then like 1 hour of Keanu Reeves just straight-up murdering like a jillion guys, interspersed with people speaking subtitled Russian. Except it was even more boring than how I made it sound, because he didn’t even go on a murderfest because of his wife, it was because someone killed his dog and stole his car – which for some reason inspired this total murderpalooza that happened while Keanu Reeves displayed absolutely no facial expressions. ACTING! And Christ it was So. Goddamn. Boring. It wasn’t shocking or edgy or any of that. It was just the dullest fucking thing I’ve watched in at least a year.

Increasingly – how I feel about John Wick is how I also feel about games.

I’m not saying because I think violence in games is evil and it should go away forever! I was part of the first generation of people to grow up playing video games with explicitly graphic violence beyond just a few red pixels[2] – so it’s certainly something I’m used to seeing.  Plus I’m addicted to Final Fantasy and BioWare games, which means I’ve played a lot of games that feature violence. But unless a game brings some significant not-violence gameplay to the table along with the “murder a ton of [bandits / orcs / demons / robots / aliens / zombies / whatevers]”, I’m just plain not interested.

Call of Duty? Counter-Strike? Hell, even any of the Hitman games? Yeah I have less than zero interest in ever playing them. BioWare at least brings relationships, romance, sex, diplomacy, and alliance-building to its games, and advancing the game means you have to take breaks from murdering all the things in order to deal with the talky bits – which are just as important as the murdery bits. And even despite my deep-seated love of BioWare games, I’m finding the gameplay of Cities: Skylines more engaging and compelling than Dragon Age: Inquisition right now[3].

The same goes for tabletop games. If the rules support only killing things and maybe taking their stuff? I’m just not interested. So things like Warhammer? War Machine? Yawn. No thanks. And even D&D I find I’m increasingly bored with. There’s very little room for innovation in tabletop murder/violence-simulators these days. The design stuff that excites me are the people working on different ways of telling stories that aren’t centered on violence.

But wait, there’s more!

Now that I’ve said I don’t like violence in games, that’s pretty much the same as admitting that I’m not a real gamer, right? However, I’m still concerned that these might not be grounds enough for you to dismiss me, here are some additional opinions that I hold that you can use to completely discount anything I have to say from now on.

I am bad at being a gamer (in the spirit of #badatfandom)

We❤ Katamari is a better game than anything made by Ubisoft

For that matter, so is Bejeweled Blitz.

So is Angry Birds.

Hell, so is Triple Triad.

I hate every Final Fantasy before 7.

I didn’t finish FF6 because I didn’t care what happened to any of the characters.

Final Fantasy X-2 is a fucking masterpiece and I will cut anyone who says it’s not.

Payne forever and always.

I would rather play Chocobo Hot and Cold for three hours than play a tabletop minis game.

I would rather do laundry than play Warhammer.

I would rather clean my bathroom than play StarCraft.

I hate playing D&D and wouldn’t be sad if I never played it again.

That said, point buy all the way. Random stat rolling is for chumps.

Larry Elmore’s art is okay, I guess, but it’s really not my cup of tea.

Despite having written for Vampire, I’ve never played a tabletop WoD game and I don’t really mind that.

Steampunk is not a genre, it’s an aesthetic, and a baffling one at that.

No BioShock isn’t some deeply philosophical journey. It’s just Ayn Rand plus bazookas.

I enjoy things inspired by Cthulu far, far more than I enjoy anything that actually adheres to the mythos. For that matter, I don’t ever intend to read any Lovecraft.

I only buy one or two roleplaying games per year, and I’ve only ever backed two KickStarters.

I think origin stories are tedious and boring.

I would kill Ashley every time. In a heart beat. EVERY TIME. Don’t like Kaidan? Don’t care. At least he’s not some xenophobic asshole.

I romanced Kaidan.

Peter Molyneux’s games aren’t that great.

The last decent fighting game was Soul Calibur 2. Everything after that is dead to me.

I’ve never played a Zelda game.

Kirby is more interesting than Link.

I only played 3 hours of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. I found it tedious and boring.

I played 10 hours of Skyrim. I found it tedious and boring also.

I played in a Vampire LARP for 12 years and I still think that the system is complete fucking gibberish.

The “dumbed down” gameplay of Civ 5 (before the expansions) was better than any of the Civ games that came before it.

Xenogears/Xenosaga are terrible terrible games and I would rather do just about anything than play them.

The exploration in Dragon Age: Inquisition is way, way more fun than the combat.

Describing something as “gritty”, “dark”, or “grim” is the perfect way to get me to never ever play it

[1] Jesus. It’s enough to make me say that any movie where a wife/mother dies in the first 20 minutes is automatically a bad movie. That shit is so overused it’s just plain BAD WRITING.

[2] I remember specifically promising my mother to never become an axe murderer if she would let me buy Mortal Kombat.

[3] Though to be fair, that’s probably because DA:I is hands down the worst PC port I’ve ever played. The UX is SO SO BAD.

66 thoughts on “I enjoy having unpopular opinions

  1. -“I hate every Final Fantasy before 7.”
    Eh, all the FFs are different and no one likes them all. Not gonna hold it against…..wait…..

    -“I didn’t finish FF6 because I didn’t care what happened to any of the characters.”

    Okay, now them’s fighting words. You, madam, have no heart.

    -“Final Fantasy X-2 is a fucking masterpiece and I will cut anyone who says it’s not.

    -Payne forever and always.”

    Acceptable, but we will be discussing your lack of heart when next we meet.

  2. ROFL! After your last post, I can see how you’d like to vent some steam. As always, it is brilliantly funny, you are a master of trolling. I must confess I agree with some of the things you say, and some I don’t even get the reference (what’s a point buy?). Does… does it mean I’m not a real gamer? Oh dear. Great choice of picture at the end, btw, I like it especially since it’s by an artist of my country, and he even has the same name as my grandfather (it’s a common surname in France).

  3. One more for the road:
    -“I would kill Ashley every time. In a heart beat. EVERY TIME. Don’t like Kaidan? Don’t care. At least he’s not some xenophobic asshole.”

    Really? You preferred Commander Milquetoast? Ashley’s annoying but at least she has an arc over the games. Dang.

    Kaidan only won me back during the ME3 Citadel scene and spoke to my Canadian pride:
    “We have beef, we have bacon, we have beer. The foods of my people”
    Preach on, Commander Milquetoast, preach on.

    • Eh, I was HUGELY turned off to Kaidan because of his weird conversation about “mixed signals” because I was actually interacting with him without being a jackass, plus accidentally picked a single flirtatious option once.

    • No no, Commander Milquetoast is BroShep. No one could EVER be as boring as Mark Meer’s voice acting. ;p My husband got twenty hours into ME1 as BroShep and restarted as FemShep because he just couldn’t handle the voice acting (or lack thereof).

  4. Can I add another one to your list? “Realism is boring.” The reason military FPS leave me absolutely indifferent (yes, even Spec Ops: The Line) has nothing to do objecting to violence, or to ‘Murica jingoism (though not being from the US I’m also totally indifferent to that), I just find the pretense of realism these games are being marketed on to be 100% boring, a complete yawner. Look, there is already a world out there full of wars and soldiers and bullets. Give me dragons! Give me robots and laser katanas at least!

    • Call of Duty with friends and silly guns is fun. Apart from that, give me Nintendo games. Old Nintendo games. With swords and hookshots and hammers.

  5. Glad I’m not the only one who finds Dragon Age: Inquisition (PC) to be a slog.

    I especially get irritated by the “synchronized stowing of the weapons” that occurs every time combat ends, because it’s always a 10 second+ delay:

    *Combat ends*

    (pause)

    “Ok guys, you can put your weapons away now.”

    (pause)

    “Really guys. Combat’s over.”

    (pause)

    *Simultaneous “KA-CHUNK” noise as everyone stows their weapons in unison*

    “Geesh. Took you long enough…”

  6. Steampunk really doesn’t have the cohesiveness to be a genre. There ARE some things that could be a genre labeled Steampunk (most obvious: Cyberpunk-esque revolt against Victorian cultural mores as an analogue to the concerns and issues of the modern day) but it’s not exclusively or even primarily applied to those, though I love things that DO actually do that. (Dishonored and Windforge using a fantasy version of the Victorian reliance on whaling and whale oil as an analogue to modern concerns with ecology and petroleum dependence is nice)

    • *sigh*

      This is why I felt that comment was not really taking the “unpopular” opinion. I’ve been trying to argue that steampunk is a genre for years, and getting very little traction. It’s moderately accepted in fiction, but definitely not in gaming. Pretty much everybody thinks of it as a flavor, sub-genre, or aesthetic.

      I can’t really blame anyone for thinking this when the term is constantly weakened by misuse and rarely defended by people like me. But that’s why I think Wundergeek grabbed the low-hanging popular fruit on that one.

      • Dude, I have friends who are way, WAY into steampunk, so trust me when I say that I’m familiar with what I’m talking about. The only unifying element I’ve ever experienced is an aesthetic that glorifies the Victorian upper-middle and upper classes, erasing the fact that the Victorians were imperialistic assholes who did terrible things in the name of capitalism and colonialism.

        That said, everything I said was specifically called out as an opinion, not as 100% gospel. Me having an opinion about steampunk doesn’t invalidate yours.

        And I will take exception to the idea that I’m grabbing “the low-hanging popular fruit”. Part of the point of this post is that I don’t get to have an opinion about ANYTHING without someone calling me a stupid bitch for having that opinion. It doesn’t fucking matter what I say, because someone will accuse me of not knowing what I’m talking about, or being a fat ugly bitch, or even of grabbing after low-hanging fruit.😐

        • I get the last part, and I understand that you’re more ranting than discussing in this post. But I seriously have to fight everyone on this point, INCLUDING steampunks. There are a very small number of us who are trying not only to build a genre out of steampunk but also to reject the very things you are complaining about and make that genre more multicultural and inclusive.

          Your original punch may have been directed at those other people, but it also hit me. I’m not going to stop you from swinging, but I am going to say “Ow.”

          • Okay, so I’ve been pondering over this and here’s the thing. I’m not sure that either one of us is wrong.

            The fact that you and others are doing work to get steampunk to a place where it is both a genre AND non-exploitative? That’s great! I’m not sure that popular perception is there yet, though. Certainly I wasn’t aware of that fact, and I have many friends who are HARDCORE steampunk aficionados.

            Then again, my fiction is pretty much 100% fantasy, and I know people who dismiss fantasy as a genre because it erases PoC and non-European culture, and often glorifies problematic ideas. I know that I want to get into publishing more of my fiction precisely because I want to work to change what fantasy as a genre stands for, and I know that I have friends writing fantasy who feel the same way about wanting fantasy to be inclusive and non-exploitative. But the thing is, we’re DEFINITELY not there yet. Not by a longshot.

            Steampunk is honestly not my thing, but I get that you are passionate about it and that’s cool. I was phrasing my opinion in a way that was deliberately confrontational, because I was fucking annoyed about people telling me that I wasn’t allowed to have even non-confrontational, non-controversial POSITIVE opinions about stuff. As someone who is decidedly NOT into steampunk, my gripe about “aesthetic not genre” should be given about the same weight as people who rag on Taylor Swift or who say that rap is just noise.

            That’s the opinion part of what I said, and I am very much American in that I operate under the assumption that opinions are something meant to be ignored if you don’t agree with them. However, the part about my experience of steampunk being things that are deeply problematic? That’s my actual lived experience talking, and it’s not fair to get angry with me for talking about my lived experience.

            I applaud you for wanting to take back a thing you love and make it not harmful, and I can respect that my deliberately confrontational language was off-putting. But instead of getting angry at me for pointing out things that are quite common in steampunk that are very problematic, maybe consider acknowledging that that is a thing, and it is a thing that you and others are working very hard to make go away.

            I love fantasy, but I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a deeply fucked up genre – just look at the success of Game of RapeMurderFantasy! (Oh man, before people jump all over me, I read the first five books, okay?)

            • I certainly apologize for the initial grumpy snark. And I think my second response was unclear – I wasn’t actually trying to disagree about the existence of problematic steampunk elements. I was still responding to the initial point about “aesthetic, not genre.” I agree about all the problems you mentioned (and also the ones about fantasy), and I certainly write about them myself all the time.

              So yeah, I think we were talking past each other a bit.

              To end on a positive note, here are some recommended readings related to this discussion (for anyone who might not be familiar with them):
              For non-traditional fantasy, including broader views of gender and sexuality – Lynn Flewelling
              For an initial look at the anti-imperialist side of steampunk – Diana Pho of beyondvictoriana.com

        • … Wait, people ignore that about the Victorian era? I love the Victorian era because it was horrible and corrupt in ways that have uncomfortable parallels to modern life, and I tend to prefer stuff (games, webcomics, whatever) that highlights that rather than diminishing or ignoring it. Modern works like Unhallowed Metropolis, Etherscope, or Dishonored and period-contemporary fiction like that of Dickens and other social commenters tend to be what most interest me.

          • It turns out that steampunk enthusiasts, much like gamers (and just about any other fandom), do indeed disagree among themselves about whether their hobby should address important issues or be nothing but mindless fun. I absolutely agree with you that the important issues are actually what make it interesting, as my many blog posts/developer notes will attest.

      • Eh, I mostly like Xenogears, although what it wanted to be was better than what it actually was. Xenosaga I’ll agree with you on.

        • It wasn’t until I dusted off Xenogears for a second playthru years later that I realized that it wasn’t really an RPG so much as it was an experiment in using an RPG engine to make a visual novel. But yeah, Xenosaga was terrible.

      • I’ve played Xenogears 3 or 4 times, and enjoyed it every time. Until I hit the ending. The ending almost invalidates everything that made the game at all interesting. I’m not even complaining about the majority of disc 2. Just the final dungeon and ending cutscenes.

        Xenosaga … well, I’ve tried to get through Episode 1 on about 6 different occasions (One of them started a week ago!), and rarely make it beyond the Cathedral Ship. It just seems like it would be a good game if it moved a little quicker, and if it wasn’t so damn easy to miss stuff. I hear Episode 2 is worse though.

        Full Disclosure: I loved Devil May Cry 2, so my taste in games is objectively bad.

  7. I’m with you on the whole “violence is boring” thing. I’m increasingly finding the games I replay the most are the ones in which the mechanics aren’t demanding I kill things every few seconds in order to continue. Since I started up my Steam account in late December, the game I have the most game hours registered in? “Banished”, which is a “build-a-village” game. No killing things required. Then there’s The Sims 3, which I have lots of hours played in, and where I’m essentially not required to kill things for points (I’ve never been one of those players who enjoys torturing my Sims). Plus, of course, I can play those sorts of games and not really have to put my brain into high gear – they’re the mental equivalent of chewing gum.

    If I’m after a straight murder hobo game, I’ll go back to Angband – you beat up monsters, you take their treasure, you sell it in town, lather, rinse, repeat. And eventually you get surrounded by a pack of nasties and get deaded. Again. And you have to start over and try to remember the mental reflexes which got you through the first few levels. Again.

    The Final Fantasy games at least give me plot (usually in large lumps) and vaguely interesting characters to deal with in between killing things. I’m finding the earlier ones (I have 1 and 2 on PSP; 3, 4, 7 and 8 on PC; 7 through X-2 and 12 on the PS2; and 13 on the Xbox) at least tend to concentrate more on plot than pretty graphics.

    Oh, there’s my really unpopular opinion: high pixel density graphics have ruined games. Everyone’s too busy waving their “look at the size of our rendering engine” willy to be bothered with things like actually creating a decent storyline or interesting characters. Exhibit one: the number of indistinguishable white male heroes being stuck into things so the designers can spend more time rendering every leaf on the tree, or every hair on their head, or each individual piece of designer stubble. Oh, and by “indistinguishable”, I mean not only are their character models practically interchangeable, so are their stories!

    Exhibit two: the number of sexbot female characters created, because gods forbid the designers neglect a single pixel in their attempt to render feminine pulchritude in the most hyper-realistic way possible. Never mind the characters no longer resemble human females with things like spines, internal organs, or tits which have weight, and are thus capable of repelling at least half the potential audience – nope, gotta feed the fantasies of the fanbois. Again, not only are the character models largely interchangeable, so too are the stories behind these characters. It’s like the writers only got paid to go on a random walk through TV Tropes, rather than actually spending time creating something interesting.

  8. I mostly wanted to salute you for writing game rules without having played the game. Most of my brief freelance game writing career involved doing that. (It wasn’t brief because of that. Really.)

    Also, I don’t know half of what you’re referring to. I feel kinda like a fake geek boy, as I sit here wearing my Forks High School Spartans T-shirt.

    • Thing is, I’d played YEARS of the LARP version, so it’s not like the system was totally alien to me – there is an awful lot of similarity, at least in terms of character building and points and whatnot.

  9. Feeling like a fake feel girl now. LOL

    Murder & violence are pretty boring and I don’t recognize most of the games you mentioned.

    Bejeweled Blitz rocks. Fantastic game. Have you played the mining version? *goes back into my hole*

    I think agree with you on the major points. I don’t know/never heard of many of the games/movies mentioned so I can only guess based on your description I’d agree.

    • There are too many games out there for everyone to have experienced the same stuff. I expect if you did a similar list, I wouldn’t know a lot of the stuff on yours either.

  10. i disagree with some of your opinions, but don’t feel the urge to insult you.

    what is wrong with me…?😦

  11. I don’t think violence has to be boring, but it certainly can be. Like, I’ll doze off during some big action sequence in a film, but if you give me a game where I’m leaping around, dodging, parrying, exploiting openings… that can be pretty damn fun. A simple beat ’em up can be great, too. One of my favorite activities is still playing Streets of Rage 2 with my brother, even after twenty-odd years

    One thing that appeals to me about original D&D is how much less focus there is on combat. It’s so much more about evading monsters and creative problem solving. When you do fight, it’s dirty, which makes it more interesting

    Also, you made an embarrassing error in your post. Point buy and random stat rolling should be reversed :p

    • Maybe it’s just me, but after reading a ton of stories about people’s original D&D / AD&D playgroups I kind of feel like the “creative problem solving” often took second place to games of “guess the DM’s intent,” “get on the DM’s good side,” and “exploit the poorly-written rules as much as possible.”

      • Maybe in a poorly run game. I’ll readily concede that the old rules didn’t adequately explain fair refereesmanship (that should be a real word), so there may’ve been a number of those. It should play out more like Portal or ilomilo than Resident Evil

        • “Refereeing” is the word you’re looking for, I think. >_>b I also applaud your taste in puzzle games.

          I think the “crunch” of the game didn’t really lend itself to fairness, since it was kind of arbitrary and hard to remember in its entirety unless you were very experienced and/or intrinsically motivated. This created inequality between newbs, DMs, and “rules lawyers,” which I feel was the root of a lot of the conflict, not just a lack of suggestions on how to run the game.

          … considering that inequality causes massive conflict everywhere else besides D&D. The asymmetry between different factions as they’re updated (or not), and between players and Games Workshop, seems like one of the major reasons why the online Warhammer 40,000 community is utterly toxic.

    • Haha yeah no. I’m super good at rolling the BARE MINIMUM stat block that doesn’t get a mulligan while everyone else is all – oh hey look! After racial bonuses I have three 18s! Tra lala lala!

      • Weird, I’ve always had the exact opposite problem. We used the “organic method”, which always resulted in stats I felt were too high. I’d often have two or three scores at 16 or more, no penalties, and the sum of my modifiers would be 6 or more. I plan to switch to 3d6 in order in the future, though I might have a couple minimum requirements just to get a good spread

    • I tend to prefer point buy or similar, because I’m heavily into roleplay and playing character concepts, and it’s easier to make the stats fit the character with pointbuy. If you’re low on ideas, random roll (especially straight-across, rather than allocating/swapping) can sometimes provide inspiration, though.

      • That’s sorta why I prefer random rolling. I wouldn’t say I’m short on ideas so much as I don’t have one specific character I want to create beforehand. I’ll usually have a few different concepts in mind and the dice help me to pick and develop one, maybe taking it in directions I might not’ve considered. I used to collect lots of tables to generate a background, too. A big source of the fun was taking all these disparate elements and trying to pull them all together into some cohesive whole

        Gotta love how much faster it is, too. I always spend way too much time on point buy and I’m never satisfied with the results. It just doesn’t feel like a real person to me. Plus, sometimes you get people who bitch that you’re not optimizing properly, but if you do that then the characters just look weird and sterile. I took a lot of shit in a d20 Modern game for picking a few odd numbers and had to justify them as feat prerequisites

  12. Congratulations, now everyone is going to share their opinions about games with you \o/

    I personally spend more time painting minis and fanficcing my personal character than actually “playing” Warmachine. I am also apparently ruining 40k, because I’m a girl and I got into it for the anime-styled Tau models.

  13. Soul Calibur 2, yes! I’ve never heard anybody say this but this is exactly what I think as well. I guess maybe the sequels could at least be equals, but the character designs became ever more childish (and that wasn’t just me growing old). Yuck. Soul Calibur 2 was the best.

  14. But Wundergeek, Angry Birds is nothing BUT violence and breaking things!😛

    I did a Vampire LARP at a con once. While the ‘experienced’ players were holding vampire council in the main room, I went off, did shots and made bad vampire jokes with another first timer who didn’t know she had been given an “important” story character. Apparently we ruined everything.

  15. If you’ve got the time/ feel like it, I’d be interested in hearing your reasons you find Kirby more interesting than Link. (Personally a fan of both for different reasons.)

    Though speaking of being bad at fandom…

    ~I like Navi from Ocarina of Time unironically and got her opinion on every monster I could. Same with Fi.

    ~The controls in the original DS version of The World Ends with You were enjoyable and the iPad remake ruins what was once unique.

    ~A Link to the Past is a decent Zelda game, not a masterpiece.

    ~Double Dash was the best Mario Kart game.

    And my gravest sin:
    ~Super Smash Bros should be played with all items on and time mode should be mixed in with stock when in a large group. Also, coin battles are amazing.

    • Link is just your bog standard rescue-the-princess type hero, whereas Kirby is really interesting because he is a male character in a game that is coded REALLY FEMININE. Everything is fluffy and adorable, and yet the games are super popular – which is an anomaly in gaming. Most super adorable, girly-looking games are dismissed as worthless. Yet Kirby became a mega hit.

      So basically I find Link boring because he’s completely typical of the genre. He doesn’t represent anything unique. Whereas Kirby is an interesting bundle of gender contradictions.

      • I think (think) something similar happened With Zelda Ocarina of time’s Shiek in the original edition. The character model has since changed to make Shiek overtly feminine but in the original some thouroughl looking would say Sheik is male, which gives an interesting Zelda – Shiek gender swap that (arguably) Nintemdo have been quote unquote trying to make up for ever since.
        (Please tell me if I say something stupid ever. It’s one of the few ways I can learn that kind of thing🙂 )

      • Due to different tastes in games, I doubt this will cause you to jump at the chance of playing a Zelda game, but there are two with main quests that don’t involve saving a princess.
        Link’s Awakening (Game Boy/Game Boy color) has you finding musical intruments to wake a magical whale which
        [Do I need spoiler tags for a game this old]

        DESTROYS THE ENTIRE WORLD YOU’VE GROWN TO LOVE ;(

        [/Spoiler]

        Majora’s Mask (N64) is about rewinding in game time to stop the moon from destroying the world. (I did cheat a little here: the first dungeon does have you save a Duku Shrub princess… by… um… stuffingherinabottle……yeah….)

        • Majoras mask is also about death and loss, and grief, and it has one of the better-executed, deeper thinking plotlines Ive seen in a while. Twilight Princess’s Zelda was self-sacrificing, although TP was essentially “save Ilia and Hyrule in the process”.

          Spirit Tracks is a little different in that Zelda is the driving force of the plot, and it was nice having her as a companion: she is the most interesting/least annoying. She is guilty of conforming to a young girl stereotype, however, in things such as the terrible, awful fear of rats. :L.

      • As for Kirby, he’s been my favorite Nintendo since I was a kid. Nowadays the games are a little too easy for me, but still fun.
        If I were to give a feminist critique of Kirby, there would defiantly be some issues.
        Almost all of Kirby’s friends are male. Here are the few exceptions.
        Chuchu: Exclusive to one game (Kirby’s Dreamland 2). The only girl of Kirby’s animal friends (An octopus with a pink bow), Chuchu manages to fail the Bechdel test without speaking a word due to her obvious romantic interest in Kirby being her biggest trait in many of the ways she modifies his copy abilities. The only female character you can control, and only when she’s riding on Kirby’s head.

        From Kirby 64, Quest for the Crystal Shards
        Ribbon: A fairy that crashes on Pop Star to ask Kirby to save her home world.
        Pros: Epic escape scene from her home world. Also helps Kirby fight the TRUE final boss.
        Cons:… by carrying him while he does the shooting. Also, in game all she does is collect the crystal shards when you find them.

        Adeleine: A painter. She starts out as a possessed boss, then after you beat her she’ll show up in some levels and paint a power up or a hint to finding the crystal shards.

        And the worst offender of them all
        Female Gooey: (Kirby Dreamland 2). A rare miniboss drop that heals you when you collect her. Combines all the problems of Using-females-as-literal-items with Female-because-she-has-a-bow

        Also, your blog post has gotten me thinking, technically, you can beat most kirby games through pure violence if you ignore the side objectives. Food for thought.

  16. /weeps for lack of love for Zelda fandom. /Is huge Zelda fan. At least thinks you should play Ocarina Of Time, on account of it being a big chunk of 3D gaming history. Is fan of site and author anyway.

    • I actually don’t think Ocarina is the best type of game to spring on new people. I love Ocarina, but I’ve seen a lot of people start and never finish it. Nostalgia has a way of glossing over its frustrations. It also has… the wonderful water temple.

      Honestly, I think the best Legend of Zelda game for people who’ve never played Legend of Zelda is the new Link Between Worlds: you have almost every item you need to beat the game available to you at all times, which allows you simply enjoy exploring. There’s lots of “play it your way” optional items/sidequests (Sad fact: almost beat the entire game without getting the Pegasus boots. The fact that was even possible still surprises me) that aren’t needed to complete the game, but you can choose to do. Other nice features are how short it is (as in the dungeons are all small, but well put together. Some Zelda dungeon in Ocarina drag on a little past their welcome), as well as the ability to choose to upgrade the items you like best. Oh, and the multiple solutions for some puzzle (for example, cracked floors, I didn’t have a hammer with me, so I tried a bomb and it worked). You get the fun of Zelda with less of the frustration fans are used to.

      Also, while I am guilty of playing games “because people say its a video game classic,” that’s usually not the best way to get someone to play a game. There are some videogames out there that have defined what we play today but are still a slog to get through (I’m looking at you, Ultima series).

      • I played (tried to play) OoT’s Master Quest and I’ll agree with you. It’s on my list of things to finish, though. I started on the more recent games – Phantom Hourglass, Twilight Princess – and TP in particular feels like a good starter, though it’s quite long, although the Telma character model is a little scary :L
        I haven’t played ALBW because I don’t really want to invest in the 3DS just for the one game, but otherwise I’m going to agree with everything there🙂

  17. @ Wundergeek:

    I’m sorry. I will continue to support your blog, but I just cannot condone “point buy,” in good conscious. If you can enjoy the random roll, how can you not enjoy dealing with the randomness life serves up?

    Like I said, still enjoy (and will continue to support) the blog.

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