Over the years of video gaming, I have never come across something so hostile than the ideal of women in video games. For nearly 40 years since graphics have improved and more games are developed, female characters are at times portrait as eye candy, someone that we love based on their looks, and the ideal of how women are when it comes to certain genres in video games; platforming, fighting, adventure, FPS. Yet, while their initial appearance didn't spark any outrage or controversy, things change as the years pass by. Those who grew up in the 80's or 90's era of gaming would soon adore the women they grew up even more, given time they look at them and study them further rather than good looks. Yet others still have a blind eye of how female characters are suppose to be rather than who they need to be.
A recent review of the third installment of Marvel's Ultimate Alliance have made a remark about the features of the Marvel superheroines represented in the game and how rare it is to have women like them in video games today. Yes, of course they are rare. The reviewer have literally describe how women look which is in nearly all video games, including when they first debut in games. With that one dumb short paragraph, unfortunately, the review feels meaningless, and it has cause a spark on comments and tweets out of anger and smite. But we're here to talk about how bad the review is and who has reviewed it, because I for one am not interested in giving this reviewer or site any props or clicks or views or whatever. Instead I wanna explain something that many of these people fail to realize what makes a character good. It's their personality and attributes in the video game they are in.
Let's give a couple examples as to what I mean and why these characters should be loved and cared for what or what they have done rather than how they looked. Princess Peach is by far the key definition of a damsel in distress. In nearly all of the Mario games she has been featured in, she has been depicted as a helpless princess waiting for the hero to come and rescue her from her captor. In a certain case you can put this like sleeping beauty. A princess captured, thou thankfully not asleep, waiting for a hero (Mario) to arrive while he must fend off a dragon (Bowser) and rescue her. Except over the year we see more from Princess Peach than a helpless woman she is shown to be. She's actually caring, willing to step forward and protect her kingdom from said trouble, and has been able to shown capabilities of standing up for her own. She even at one point decided to team up with Mario and Bowser, yes the one who always kidnaps her, to save Bowser's Castle and the Mushroom Kingdom from impending doom.
Another great example is Street Fighter's Chun-Li. For years we follow her and her adventure for revenge, justice, and peace. She demonstrates that women can be on equal grounds with men and has had a tragic backstory with her to follow up with her motives. She does display love and care, especially when she help adopt a girl who was used for creating a doomsday device that'll help power up M.Bison, and teach kids martial arts as well. And you know what's the ironic thing about this? This wasn't supposed to happen in the first place. A couple of developers felt that Chun-li was not necessary to be in the game in the first place. And when she did, they wanted to do less with her, less special attacks, half a health bar. It's only when a few people from Capcom have pushed her to be on par with all the characters in the game that soon made her as one of the most popular characters in the Capcom market, being someone that people want to cosplay as, paint portraits or collect figures, heck make a movie based off her story. Her good looks help, but it was because people care and so much effort has been put on her character's story and personality that help prevail.
Even characters such as Lara Croft or the women in Mortal Kombat has had some significant changes on appearance but yet displayed the same attitude as before, showing us something that we may have missed when they first arrive on the roster. It's amazing that over the years, great writing and storytelling as well as fleshed out personality brought us these wonderful characters.
Now there's nothing wrong with admiring the beauty of a female character, and sure having a sense of adult theme or attitude can help expand a character's value and be different. I even admit at times I do have love interest on a variety of characters, because of features or a certain item they have, but to say that being a sex symbol is the best part of character is just plain wrong. Play through the game, study up more on your favorite female character, read books, manga, comics, or blogs around the character. Know something about your favorite character and love ‘em for who they are.