Perhaps gaming needs a female lead whom starts out strong and ends up weak. Or one whom gets oppressed by men and get's chastised and called a bitch for 'trying' to be strong.
Or a lead role as a white man who oppresses legions of blacks, browns, and yellows.
Or a white man who is chastised for the color of his skin.
Or any character, who doesn't have to win or upgrade or level or learn pedestrian lessons, every time they face a boss, who happens to be much stronger, more intelligent, and sexier.
Maybe we need characters that can lose. Or characters whom try to sexy and can't. Or try not to be, but are anyway. Or women who are strong, sexy, and smart, oppressing weaker characters, for their own good.
Or characters who fuck their way to the top. The list goes on.
Perhaps idealistic characters build gamer's confidence, appear to their nature, and show them grinding in life will get results. But, perhaps building a weak character, would help gamers build actual character.
Occasionally in life, there are times when someone is a 'Bayonetta.' She has something other's don't, which gives her power. And hence, empowerment.
Sometimes idealism carries the day.
I do worry about this generation of kids just glued to their videogames. There has been less Pogs on the streets and many curb drains are clean free of pucks.
I'm in the minority that didn't like the direction OoT took the series. I don't think the solution is a "mature" complex plot, voice acting, high def, or more realism. I'll outline what I want to happen to Zelda:
1) Story: Stories are for the first page of instruction manuals. Games don't need a story. They're not required in any way. Whoever started the notion that they were really damaged many games out there with shit shit stories. Super Mario Sunshine comes to mind as the prime example. Turn the game on, select new game, BOOM! You're walking around. The minimal story that would be necessary to carry the game can be done interactively. No cut scenes are needed.
2) Space: It seems that 3D games have this idea that the bigger the world, the better. 1000 square km per area? Great! Innovative! No. Many locations, fine. One big Hyrule Field? Why? It's just empty space. The technical limitations on the early games seemed to work in the series favour. Towns can have 4 houses. They can be close together. It can take 30 seconds to walk from one side to another of the town. I know, it's not realistic. It's ok. It's a game. I don't have to spend 10 minutes to find some lady in the red house who has a letter I need. I can do it in 20 seconds. Core gameplay shouldn't be such filler.
3) Tools: More tools is not always better. More sword attacks is not always better. If the hookshot leaves, and we're given a new tool, it will be okay. Fishing rods and bows and arrows can also go if replaced with something new. The seasons rod in Oracle of Seasons is a great example of a tool specific to one game that made the game play really fun. Evolving Zelda 2's spell system would be great. I'm worried about the validity of this point because I haven't played the Spirit Tracks or Twilight Princess and don't know how they've done.
edit: 4) Sword fighting: You know what I loved? Fighting knights in Zelda 2. It was so simple. All you had to do was look if the knight was going to attack high or low and block until you saw a chance to strike. Simple, but it was difficult to do. There was no chance you took any damage by chance, it was always by your own mistake in timing, or coordination. That was great.
(I also editted out a petty jab in the first paragraph)
It's always nice to have an ugly friend that makes you look better by comparison.
I missed alot of the marketing, but I still found myself making sheepish excuses when expressing excitment for the game (Purely for combat! The sex stuff is ironic!) to my female gamer friends.
When I got the game, I actually played through the first few hours alongside one such female friend. We both expected to laugh at the crass sexual exploitation, but what I didn't expect was for my friend to start talking about Bayonetta with a real sense of reverence. It wasn't that she's "interesting" or has depth as a character or anything high-brow, but because she's just really freaking GIRLY. And she kicks ass.
I'd go as far as to say that Bayonetta is a "girly" game (in the best possible way) and I've endured a decent amount of teasing from some (now deleted) guys on my friend's list for playing a "woman's game."
But think back for a second to other female gaming protagonists: Lara Croft is basically the hot tom-boy sexpot stereotype, and her femininity provides a nice bit of foreground to the scenery by way of her ass, but that's about it. She plays pretty much identically to a male action hero, only she has curves. Bayonetta, on the other hand, turns into a Butterfly, has an arsenal consisting of obscene amounts of fluorescent purple, blows kisses to break barriers etc. etc. Even the guns on her heels; that would be VERY hard to pull off in a manly fashion, and they're pretty integral to the fighting mechanic.
That said, yes, there's also the hair thing (and the lollipop thing, and the stripper pole thing) and I don't want to discount the potentially exploitative use of sexuality. It's still there, perhaps ironically, perhaps not. But whereas it may have been put purely in service of attracting male eyeballs in the marketing, it's put in the very useful service of kicking ass within the actual game. The femininity/sexuality is core to the entire set of mechanics, and it's all done beautifully.
Which is the point really; If you have any love at all for third person action games it would be a huge shame to miss out on this one because of what might be an erroneous preconception.
I cry a lone, manly tear at even the thought of that possibility. =)
Want to nominate comments? Send to tips any insightful or funny comments you read from other commenters. (Read: NOT YOURSELF). Be sure to include the post's URL, the commenter's page, the actual comment and your commenter page.
Here's a handy guide to commenting. Read it, learn it, live it, love it.