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Gender equality in games: Pokemon wins

#1KrisAllenPosted 4/2/2013 6:08:29 PM
Remember when Lara Croft was just a pair of breasts with a gun? Anyone old enough to have handled a PlayStation controller without DualShock support does. The newest “Tomb Raider,” a reboot of the entire series and an origin story for its female adventurer, does an amazing job of making Lara more than a scantily clad Indiana Jones wannabe.

She laughs. She cries. She gets her ass kicked and dishes back the pain in spades. The folks at Crystal Dynamics gave their hero depth — “Tomb Raider” has been highly regardedamong the gaming press for furthering gender equality in video games. It’s a trend that’s been gaining traction, particularly as of late (and it’s about damn time).

“BioShock Infinite,” Irrational Games’ newest tale of a dystopian society gone wrong, features a deuteragonist named Elizabeth who saves the male player’s ass repeatedly throughout the game’s 12- to 16-hour duration. And rather than acting as the standard damsel in distress throughout Booker DeWitt’s adventure in the floating city of Columbia, Elizabeth is a key player in the plot, whose influence affects in-game events just as much as the player character. She’s on equal footing with every male character in the game, often becoming the driving force behind the events in “Infinite.”

But there’s a game studio that has both Irrational Games and Crystal Dynamics beat in the gender equality department, a firm that launches players into adventure with one simple question: Are you a boy or a girl?

That studio is The Pokémon Company.

Ever since “Pokémon Crystal” was released in Japan in 2000 — the game hit North America in 2001 — players have chosen between male and female avatars for their Pocket Monster adventures. The overall story and individual interactions the player has with non-playable characters following this decision aren’t altered by their choice of gender in the least. Boys and girls in the Pokémon World are treated the exact same regardless of circumstance.

The next step would be for The Pokémon Company and Nintendo to include a transgendered or gender neutral protagonist in future titles. Now that’d be progress that hasn’t been seen in mainstream gaming. But you’ve gotta hand it to those quirky Japanese game developers: They sure know the value of creating an inclusive experience. How else would the main series have sold nearly 134 million units by 2011?

The new Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider” and “BioShock Infinite’s” Elizabeth may have paved a positive path for gender roles on home consoles as of late, but let’s not forget the girls who laid the foundation on every one of Nintendo’s handheld platforms, from Kanto to Unova.

Source: http://dailyemerald.com/2013/04/01/gender-equality-in-games-pokemon-wins/

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"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law." - Obama.
#2LexifoxPosted 4/2/2013 6:10:53 PM
I remember when Lara Croft was a pair of pyramids with a gun.

That said without getting into the new Tomb Raider, Pokemon isn't exactly all that equal since they still marginalize the female protagonist in favor of the male.
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"Murder of the living is tragic, but murder of the idea is unforgivable." - Janus, speaker of the synod
#3NessEggmanPosted 4/2/2013 6:11:50 PM
Ew why does an apparently proactive article on gender equality use "transgender'd" -_-;

And while I am all for trans and queer characters in games, Pokemon hardly needs it. Your character avatar has no personality, and they don't even use gender pronouns to refer to you. So at the beginning of the game, you're essentially choosing your physical sex. Your character can still be any gender you desire, because it's completely up to your own imagination. It's purspoefully ambiguous.
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"Earth is a silly place. Half the world has no clean water. And the other half has so much, they poo in it."
#4Meta289Posted 4/2/2013 6:12:07 PM
And they completely skipped over how male and female Pokemon are no different from each other.
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Fact: Things are so much better when taken at face value.
#5LexifoxPosted 4/2/2013 6:12:30 PM
NessEggman posted...
Ew why does an apparently proactive article on gender equality use "transgender'd" -_-;


Farfetch'd?
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"Murder of the living is tragic, but murder of the idea is unforgivable." - Janus, speaker of the synod
#6R1nPosted 4/2/2013 6:12:42 PM
NessEggman posted...
Ew why does an apparently proactive article on gender equality use "transgender'd" -_-;

And while I am all for trans and queer characters in games, Pokemon hardly needs it. Your character avatar has no personality, and they don't even use gender pronouns to refer to you. So at the beginning of the game, you're essentially choosing your physical sex. Your character can still be any gender you desire, because it's completely up to your own imagination. It's purspoefully ambiguous.


I agree with this.
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Mega Man is my hero.
#7NessEggmanPosted 4/2/2013 6:13:09 PM
Lexifox posted...
Pokemon isn't exactly all that equal since they still marginalize the female protagonist in favor of the male.


In what ways?
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"Earth is a silly place. Half the world has no clean water. And the other half has so much, they poo in it."
#8LexifoxPosted 4/2/2013 6:13:58 PM
NessEggman posted...
Lexifox posted...
Pokemon isn't exactly all that equal since they still marginalize the female protagonist in favor of the male.


In what ways?


Red and Nate over Leaf/Green/Girl and Rosa?
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"Murder of the living is tragic, but murder of the idea is unforgivable." - Janus, speaker of the synod
#9NessEggmanPosted 4/2/2013 6:19:27 PM
Lexifox posted...
NessEggman posted...
Lexifox posted...
Pokemon isn't exactly all that equal since they still marginalize the female protagonist in favor of the male.


In what ways?


Red and Nate over Leaf/Green/Girl and Rosa?


... Oh, yeah, a total lapse on my part. I complained a lot about the whole no Leaf in HGSS thing back when it was new.

When is Nate favored over Rosa? I can't think of a circumstance.
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"Earth is a silly place. Half the world has no clean water. And the other half has so much, they poo in it."
#10LexifoxPosted 4/2/2013 6:22:53 PM
NessEggman posted...
Lexifox posted...
NessEggman posted...
Lexifox posted...
Pokemon isn't exactly all that equal since they still marginalize the female protagonist in favor of the male.


In what ways?


Red and Nate over Leaf/Green/Girl and Rosa?


... Oh, yeah, a total lapse on my part. I complained a lot about the whole no Leaf in HGSS thing back when it was new.

When is Nate favored over Rosa? I can't think of a circumstance.


Animated trailer that everyone was peeing themselves over. Nate is given the spotlight and Rosa eventually appears for two minutes in a DVD special or something.
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"Murder of the living is tragic, but murder of the idea is unforgivable." - Janus, speaker of the synod