Prinzessin Sadja – Prädikat wertvoller Charakter

Nachdem ich in letzter Zeit eher da drüben am DigitAlly Blog gebloggt habe, ist es doch wieder höchste Zeit für ein Charakterportrait hier. 🙂

[Kleinere Spoiler für Das schwarze Auge: Satinavs Ketten und Memoria]

Die Spiele “Das Schwarze Auge: Satinavs Ketten” und “Das Schwarze Auge: Memoria”

Auf Steam sind mir im Sale die beiden Point and Click Adventures im Rollenspiel-Universum Das schwarze Auge untergekommen. Nachdem ich das “deutsche Gegenstück zu Dungeons & Dragons” seit Jahren liebe und leider seit Drakensang nichts mehr davon gespielt habe, hab ich zugegriffen – obwohl ich ein bisschen skeptisch war, wie sich die RPG-Welt als Point and Click Adventure machen würde. Meine Skepsis war unbegründet, denn insbesonders der zweite Teil gehört zu den besten Adventures, die ich jemals gespielt habe. Großes Lob an Entwickler Daedalic!

Obwohl das hier kein Review des Spiels an sich werden soll, muss ich anmerken dass ich viele der Mechaniken des Spiels als sehr kreativ und unterhaltsam empfunden habe. Vor allem die Interaktionen mit den anderen Charakteren und die Zaubersprüche sorgen für Abwechslung. Es gibt immer wieder Dinge, die man zum Spaß tun kann, die einem einen amüsanten Kommentar oder ein Achievement einbringen. Zum Beispiel sollte man die unterschiedlichen Antworten auf die Frage “Do you like riddles” gleich am Anfang des Spiels ausprobieren.

Die Rätsel würde ich großteils als gelungen bezeichnen, auch wenns mir manchmal zu blöd geworden ist und ich gecheatet hab. Das mach ich in Adventures hin und wieder – aber diesmal tatsächlich öfter, weil ich wissen wollte wie die Geschichte weitergeht!

Continue reading Prinzessin Sadja – Prädikat wertvoller Charakter

FTW, eine Frau! Endlich weibliche Repräsentation in Anno.

Vor etwas über einem Jahr musste ich mich in “WTF, eine Frau?” über Anno 2070 aufregen, weil sämtliche Bürgerklassen durch Männer repräsentiert waren.

Nun hab ich Anno 2205 durchgespielt – TL;DR: Super Spiel, leider zu kurz, seltsam aufgesetzte Kampfmissionen – und siehe da, es geht doch! Sogar mit unterschiedlichen Ethnien.

Hier die BürgerInnen aus der gemäßigten Zone:

Anno 2205 Avatare in der gemäßigten Zone

In der Arktis:

Anno 2205 Avatare in der Arktis

Und hier noch die Mondmänner, die einzige Zone die auch anno 2205 noch ein Boys Club bleibt – worüber ich aber großzügig hinwegsehen kann. 😉

Anno 2205 Avatare am Mond

Natürlich glaube ich nicht, dass es an meinem Post über Anno 2070 liegt, dass es jetzt weibliche Repräsentantinnen gibt … aber es bestätigt mich trotzdem darin, dass man Missstände aufzeigen soll. 🙂

Ihhhhhhh, eine radioaktive Mauuuuuus — Geschlechterstereotype in Fallout Shelter

Es muss wohl erst ein atomarer Krieg ausbrechen, dass ich wieder blogge! 😉

Ich bin seit Teil 1 großer Fan der Fallout-Reihe und hab sie eigentlich als sehr ausgeglichen in Erinnerung, was Geschlechterrollen betrifft. Momentan spiele ich am Handy Fallout Shelter, ein grundsätzlich nettes kleines Game, in dem man den Fallout-typischen Bunker ausbauen managen, und verteidigen muss.

Screenshot aus Fallout Shelter

Das Spiel ist ein Appetithäppchen für das angekündigte Fallout 4. Und es ist zwar ein kleiner Zeitfresser (die Vault Dwellers sind sehr needy!) aber es ist ohne Micro Payments gut spielbar. Es macht erstmal süchtig, aber wahrscheinlich wirds auch bald fad.

Und vor allem macht es mich auch sauer.

Continue reading Ihhhhhhh, eine radioaktive Mauuuuuus — Geschlechterstereotype in Fallout Shelter

WTF, eine Frau!?

Ich habe das Bloggen etwas (ok, sehr) vernachlässigt. Aber gespielt hab ich seit dem letzten Post doch: z.B. Divinity: Original Sin, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Anno 2070 und Tropico 5.

Alles großartige Spiele, aus verschiedenen Gründen. Aber ich will natürlich die Darstellung der Gender etwas näher beleuchten und dabei geht es überhaupt nicht um Äußerlichkeiten. Sexismus in Spielen ist wirklich so viel mehr als unrealistisch schmale Taillen und DD-Körbchen. Continue reading WTF, eine Frau!?

Big, Bad… Boobs!

Yes, this is a shameless attempt to catch your attention! Did it work?

[Spoiler warning for the entire Mass Effect and Dragon Age series]

[Trigger warning for mentions of rape and mutilation.]

Recently, I’ve seen more and more people discuss oversexualization of female characters in games in articles, on Twitter, and real life. And it’s not just us girl gamers who are annoyed, but also the guys who are tired of being treated like teenage boys. And, as Brenna Hillier (whose Twitter is @draqul and you should insta-follow her) put it so nicely in an article on vg24/7:

“The industry’s reliance on over-sexualised, impossible female design is somewhat insulting to those who’ve grown past the point of getting erections from passing bra stores.”

I also remember that the Liara collectible for ME3 was subjected to breast size reduction surgery before going into production. Unfortunately for Liara, this means that she won’t ever become a leader of Asari society (regardless of any ME3-related galactic travel problems), because Asari leaders are recognizeable by their enormous melon-sized breasts (says deviantartist Epantiras in her funny-as-hell parody cartoon “Mess Perfect”).

In general, this discussion is a step in the right direction, I hope it will gain momentum and find its way into the brains of the game developers! [Yes I’m an optimist. I couldn’t bear blogging about gender & games if I weren’t.] I could go on about this and try to retrieve all the other links on character designs, armors and whatnot. (There are AWESOME blogs about this springing up like mushrooms after the rain.) But right now, I have something more insidious and immensely literal in mind: Big, bad, boobs.

Continue reading Big, Bad… Boobs!

The (Rise and) Rape of Lara Croft

[Trigger Warning: Rape, sexual violence]

[Spoiler Alert for Mass Effect 2; only hinting at spoilers for Tomb Raider]

 Is it too late to chime in on the “Tomb Raider rape controversy”?  I’ll readily admit that I haven’t played a single minute of any game in the series, but as a feminist gamer interested in gender roles, of course I’ve followed Lara’s story from a distance. I’ve watched a good amount of gameplay videos of the reboot (until the cremation of ********, not to spoil anything vital) and read a fair share of articles and blog posts and interviews and whatnot about it. But anyway … it is never too late to talk about rape and rape culture. I agree with many commenters that the “suggested rape attempt scene” has been a publicity stunt. I think that, apart from that scene, Lara has to endure pain and violent acts that IMO are over the top. Also: The constant moaning and groaning, COME ON! You’d NEVER subject a male character to all this! As explained by the game’s executive producer Ron Rosenberg, this all happens for a very specific reason:

“When people play Lara, they don’t really project themselves into the character. They’re more like ‘I want to protect her.’ There’s this sort of dynamic of ‘I’m going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'”

(That would also never happen to a male character.) I also agree with Mary Hamilton in her Guardian article that

the use of rape “is a lazy shorthand that allows a writer to paint a bad guy as particularly bad, and a woman as particularly vulnerable (the genders are rarely reversed), without dealing with the consequences or meaning of such an act for any of the parties involved.”

There are just so many aspects of this affair that make me so angry I don’t even care whether it’s actually a good game. Let’s assume games are an art form and we want to discuss all sorts of topics from our daily lives in this medium. So let’s face it: rape, sexual assault and molestation are part of the daily lives of countless women and girls on this planet. And I do think that we have got to try to deal with this topic in video games. If it’s supposed to be a mature medium for grown-ups, we gotta figure out how.

Continue reading The (Rise and) Rape of Lara Croft

Saving Pirate Patty

Over a year ago, I finally finished Risen and started writing this blog post. Soooo much has happened since then, and I’ve neglected this blog. But hey, I’m back. 🙂

While the game has a lot of rare strong suits, like the continuous, interactive world with beautiful day & night cycles and some clever level design choices, it also has a few annoying aspects. I won’t go into details about most of them; let me just say that the quest log was particularly frustrating because I picked up the game again after several months and the log didn’t help at all. But overall, I liked the game a lot. Risen stands in the tradition of the German cult RPG series Gothic and was developed by the same studio, Piranha Bytes, after the rights to the series were temporarily unavailable due to legal problems with the publisher JoWood. It is very similar to the Gothic games, but not frustrating as hell. 😉

The people on the island of Faranga have daily routines and roam their camps and go to the tavern, go to sleep and back to their workplaces in the morning. That part was quite well done – but, it was also very revealing of the society depicted in the game. I am often confronted with the argument of “historical realism” when discussing gender issues in games but I won’t accept that for a fantasy setting. If you make up undead creatures, magic spells and whatnot, there is no claiming realism to justify why women aren’t treated or represented equally in a game. ( The “representation” vs. “treatment” is an important point, because I wouldn’t mind if the treatment of women in the game served the plot and could be protested against or changed, but it usually can’t be.) There are lots of unnamed NPCs in Risen, bearing markers like “Townswoman” or “Farmer”, etc. There seem to be roughly equal numbers of men and women, but none of the women work in the fields, smithies or in any other craft. Neither are there female guards, warriors, mages or bandits. The women also never go to the tavern. Ever. C’mon!?

Of course, there’s a brothel in the island’s only town. (My fingers are itching to write a whole post about courtesans/prostitutes in games.) The brothel is the only place outside their house in which women actually do work; and I really dislike the message that sends. The more important NPCs, like merchants and quest givers, all have names. That’s why it sticks out that there are very few female ones, and their portrayals are rife with clichés. A few examples:

Rachel – the wife of the bandits’ leader, Don Esteban. You will mostly see her work in her fancy open-air kitchen in the bandit camp. She does play a role in your getting to speak to the Don, but overall, she’s the camp’s cook, and that’s that.
Kayleigh – a rather annoying woman who wants a pearl necklace in exchange for a stolen ring that you need to bring back to his owner.
Sonya, Olga, Lilly, Gwen, Anika – prostitutes, some of which you can actually have sex with. You can save Gwen from physical abuse by a guy called Erikson. You can distract a guard called Marek by paying for Anika’s services.
Jasmin – a hunter and merchant, lives in a remote cottage, protected by a tame wolf and her partner Hendrik
Tilda – a mother of three sons who is worried about them and sends you on a quest to see if they are okay
Patty – the only female skill trainer in the entire game. Guess for what skills? Acrobatics, a largely useless skill that you can also get temporarily by wearing a ring. And lockpicking, okay, that’s useful. 😉

But there’s more to Patty. She is the only woman in the entire game that has more than a negligible role. Patty is the daughter of a famous pirate, and owns the tavern in Harbor City. You will be sent on a quest to retrieve some documents for her then enable her to leave the town through the secret tunnel. In a later chapter you will help her find her father’s treasure and spring her from the cell where the infamous Pirate Romanov locks her up. Here’s what she looks like – yes, it’s your typical cropped, cleavage-exposing nothing with hot pants and overknees. SIgh.

Pirate Patty, wearing hotpants and a kind of vest that bares her belly and much of her cleavage
Pirate Patty

For the longest time, the quests involving her didn’t portray her as a woman who could hold her own in a fight, but at least she had a background and some really good lines. Here’s a short video captured from the later part of the game, where you rescue her and she then helps you, until after the final bossfight.

Patty is an interesting character because for quite some time, I had no idea that she would turn out to be a companion rather than eye candy; and strong woman who was cheeky and flirtatious without appearing easy or needy of the hero.

Since I started writing this post, Risen 2 was published, but I haven’t yet played it. So I might soon continue telling Patty’s story from my feminist gamer’s perspective. As of now, I am quite hopeful – but it wouldn’t be the first time that a strong female character was twisted into a mere shadow of her former self in a sequel. Yes, I’m looking at you Isabela.

Gender Swaps Revisited (Links)

Here are some links in addition to those in my original post on gender swaps:

Hope you enjoy!