Feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian has good things to say about a bunch of games in the third part of her analysis of the rampant use of "damsels in distress" in video games. She spends a lot of this one checking in on how indie games and modders handle things.
Oh, but before that praise, she first gives Super Princess Peach a proper skewering—well-deserved for a game about a woman who saves a man with the use of superpowers based on her PMS-y mood swings.
On to happier things...
While Sarkeesian notes that a witheringly long list of indie games are actually also trading on helpless-female stereotypes, she finds a batch, including Aquaria, Fez, Braid, Where Is My Heart, and Sword & Sworcery that either avoid it or do something new with it.
She's also got a lot of nice things to say about the non-indie Beyond Good & Evil. But the parts of her analysis this time that I found the most interesting were 1) her guarded enthusiasm for gender-flipping mods of Mario and Zelda that make their female characters the stars and 2) her look at how indie games, in seeking a retro vibe, are dragging some of the gender clichés of old into widely-praised new games.
Have a look at the video above. There's some interesting stuff in there.
Now, stepping back, folks, I know that Sarkeesian's videos tend to result in strong reaction for and, loudly, against. Let's keep it civil please and focused on this video.
Anticipating some of the responses these video posts usually get, yes, it's lamentable albeit somewhat understandable that Sarkeesian doesn't address public criticism directly, that she closes comments on her videos—so, yeah, it can feel like she's lecturing and not listening.
And, yes, we have not given prominent exposure on Kotaku to her critics, some of whom just attack her outright and invite being ignored but others who do find exceptions or flaws in her argument. The latter is something we intend to get to on the site.
Bottom line: I believe games and gamers can withstand some scrutiny about an aspect of gaming. She's not saying all of these games aren't fun, and I think we'd all agree that no game, aside from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, is perfect.
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