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Girls? In My Video Game? It’s More Common Than You Think.
c is for cat

I’m still battling off my Christmas Cold, so over the weekend I decided to do a Round Robin and play an hour or two or three of every game I’d been gifted over the last couple of years and not gotten a chance to play. I mean, really–some of them I got two years ago and have been on tour too often to even crack the plastic seal. Bad gamer.

And lo, in my Lost Weekend of Xbox and Golden Grahams, I did learn something! A universal truth about human life on Planet Earth, true across time and cultures, so important that a game is nigh unto unplayable without stating this truth in the intro. What did I learn, you ask?

Girls are the worst.

It was most noticeable in Sonic Generations and Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Girls were merely absent in what I played of Epic Mickey and gender is pretty egalitarian so far in Skyrim and Dungeon Siege III–though the Great Boobs of Fantasy Art are present in force. Portal 2 takes the Metroid route, though it’s full of inexplicable fat jokes. It doesn’t escape me that of all my weekend games, Sonic and Zelda are the ones aimed at kids. (And holy cats, playing a Sonic game again made me feel like I was smoking actual crack. I think I might have discovered the viral source for ADD–we played this game as kids and thus it began, spreading out from us like a contagion.) Who of all of us need to know how terrible girls are as soon as possible, so they don’t make the mistake of having anything to do with them.

In the FMV intro to Sonic Generations, everyone is having a picnic to tell Sonic how awesome he is, because he has Protagonist Superpowers and that’s what second-tier PCs do with their spare time, I guess. One of Sonic’s friends is a girl. We know this because she is pink and because unlike all the other sidekicks who have cool action names like Knuckles and Tails, her name is…Amy. (Though honestly, both I and my husband had always read Tails as a girl in the original game–smaller, with a graceful fluffy pair of tails, a vaguely sexually suggestive name and light orange–why not? You take what you can get as far as playable girls. But it’s long been explicit in subsequent titles that Tails is a boy. I mean, he isn’t pink, so OBVIOUSLY AMIRITE.)

Amy is in love with Sonic. Sometimes she tries to kiss him. When she attempts this at the picnic, Sonic shoves his hand in her face and holds her physically away from him with a look of disgust on his face. He turns toward Tails and puts an arm around him, all the while crushing Amy’s face with his paw.

And of course, Amy continues to be the worst as the game goes on. At one point Sonic brings her the Red Ring hidden on a level, to which she responds: “Tee hee! That’s not the kind of ring I was hoping for!” She is not playable in this game and Sonic repeatedly expresses his loathing and revulsion of her. Boys rule, girls drool! And they want to get married and stuff! They like pink! So weird and yucky, little kids, don’t talk to them! And hit them in the face if they try to kiss you!

Zelda cracked me up hardcore, because I, like many of you, I think, remember the Legend of Zelda animated TV show. In which, at the end of every adventure, Link tried to get Princess Zelda to kiss him and Zelda was so not into it. Not so this time! Girls are miserable harpies now, no one wants to kiss them! Ahahaha, ew.

Link has his revenge in Skyward Sword! Link wakes up on the morning of his coming of age ritual (AGAIN) and a letter from Zelda arrives (AGAIN) reminding him that he has to fly his big bird thing in the ritual today, and that he promised to meet her on the roof beforehand. Link makes this face like OH MY GOD YOU GUYS NOTHING IS WORSE THAN A PRINCESS WHO WANTS TO HANG OUT WITH YOU.

At which point he dicks around for awhile before going to the roof and meeting up with Zelda, who is naturally concerned because Link is a lazy shit who hasn’t practiced flying his giant bird even though he has a SUPER SPECIAL ONE and has known he’d have to do this bird flying ritual test for a long time. Zelda tells her father that Link is definitely going to die because he sucks at flying. This is a valid concern! Her father goes on this weird rant about Link’s SPECIAL BIRD ZOMG and how Zelda was so jealous when Link and the bird bonded! LOLZ. He clearly means that Zelda wanted to “bond” with Link, though I prefer to think Zelda was jealous because shitty lazy Link got an AWESOME RED GIANT BIRD and she was stuck with the magical psychic aviary equivalent of a Dodge Dart.

So Zelda fusses over Link LIKE A GIRL and then kicks him off the roof to sink or swim with his bird and clock some damn sky hours, goddammit, but the special fabulous bird doesn’t show to snatch him out of his fall. At which point Zelda scores fair cool points by zooming down to rescue Link in mid-air and cradles him in her arms while trying to make sure he’s ok post-nearly-plummeting-to-his-death.

And Link gives her the Sonic look like: FUCK GIRLS ARE SO GROSS AND WEIRD EW GOD SHE’S TOUCHING ME and immediately jumps up so she won’t infect him with her girl cooties.

Ok, so they’re not into girls. That’s ok, right? Progressive, maybe?

Thing is, I would love to see a gay protagonist in a game. It’s high time for a Samus-style switch where you’re actually a boy saving a prince at the end of the game. And especially with Sonic, I think it’s fairly clear that he and Tails are More Than Just Friends. It’s not even coded when the hero is physically shoving a girl away in order to cuddle a boy. Though in my happy world of gay video game heroes, being a gay hero would not give you license to be a towering dick to the half of humanity you’re not interested in fucking–and that half would not be reduced to a stereotype and flung at the hero at high speeds so that he could show his awesomeness by crushing her. (Or him.) Wild dreamer, me.

But of course neither Link nor Sonic is canonically gay, and I think the programmers would be horrified at the suggestion. So given that they are mostly marketing these games to young boys and men and the Default Corporate Consumer is usually straight, why do these avatars hate girls so much? Why does Link no longer even want to tolerate the presence of the chick it is The Legend of?

Well, it is because girls are the worst. Their view is supported by Amy and Zelda being all up on the heroes’ junk and babbling about rings like disgusting, stupid girls do because they can’t kick ass or be awesome like a boy can.

This all came together for me because after my eyeballs and meds could not take Sonic’s fever pitch anymore, I watched Patrice O’Neal’s last comedy special on Netflix. And wow, it’s just nothing but “women are terrible, lolz” from start to finish. With such hits as “men don’t want anything but sex from relationships, but women don’t even like sex!” and “why can’t I harass women in the workplace? I’m a hunter/predator/caveman, it’s natural! PS You can harass me any time, ladies, as long as you’re not an uggo or a fatty because that is gross.” and my favorite Chris Rock cover: “allow me to demonstrate the act of physical intimidation I like to perform in lieu of hitting a woman, which I wouldn’t do because I am a Nice Guy.”

In this case, the act was “mushing,” which is grabbing a woman’s face and shoving her. And the audience laughed and women cheered when he asked who had had this done to her. At which point O’Neal breaks into a long set about how all men everywhere fantasize about killing their wives and girlfriends specifically because women are so awful killing them is an act of self defense, and asks people in the audience for their plans on how to murder their spouses.


And all through that stand-up act was the message: there is no point to a woman except to have sex with her. She is useless unless she is actually having sex right now, willing to have sex in the very near future, or caring for the results of sex. No man would ever want to talk to or engage with a woman unless she is going to have sex with him very soon, and even then she should be careful to not talk or do anything to displease her man or else he might shove her or KILL her, but in the end, he’s still such a Nice Guy, and she is a Bitch.

So Sonic was mushing Amy. Fantastic. And since Sonic doesn’t want to have sex with Amy, either because he has a boyfriend or because he just isn’t interested, she has no purpose and can be mushed with impunity. I’m especially glad that this information is being imparted to young gamers, who are obviously all boys so there’s no need to even pretend like a magical supersonic hedgehog could be a girl and accomplish the same retina-searing feats of ring-collecting. Hey kids, girls are unnecessary and gross and whether you’re hetero or super into your best slender orange hedgehog buddy but conflicted about what that means for your identity, you should feel totally free to ignore, belittle, and assault them for showing the smallest affection or interest toward you. Now run out and play!

The sheer screaming balls-out hatred of women and displays of female affection shown in these games baffle me. I thought men were supposed to want sex from women? That’s what Patrice told me! But even worse is the straw-cartoon-man set up by showing any female NPC or PC as marriage-obsessed, pink, weak, and irritating. See? THEY TOTES DESERVE IT.

When I was a kid, I remember being so happy that I could play the Princess in Mario Bros 2–and she wasn’t really lesser than the other PCs–sure, she didn’t have much upper vegetable-hauling body strength, but she could fly. And she wasn’t shown as punishably useless or constantly throwing herself at Mario, even if she was pink. If I get into how Princess Peach is currently portrayed this post will never end, but the point is I was a little girl gamer. I am an adult female gamer. And when I see this regressive, ugly gender war crap laid out in the very latest games, I don’t understand how the world of late 80s gaming could have let me be a Princess who could fight, a girl who could wear the Metroid suit with no one the wiser, could let me believe Tails was like me, when the kid games of 2012 make damn sure that their audience knows being a girl is a sad, regrettable, even villainous thing, and if a male is even vaguely irritated with one, he should treat her as a low-level enemy and stomp on her face.

Grumble, grumble, as the Moblins say.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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a few minutes with google

Kim Swift made Narbacular Drop (which became Portal): https://www.digipen.edu/fileadmin/website_data/gallery/game_websites/NarbacularDrop/

Jane McGonigal does ARGs: http://janemcgonigal.com/play-me/

Emily Short does interactive fiction: http://emshort.wordpress.com/my-work/

Sophie Houlden is a indie game dev. I think Linear RPG is particularly insightful and awesome: http://www.sophiehoulden.com/games/

Erin Robinson does adventure games: http://livelyivy.com/?page_id=122

Edited at 2012-01-20 01:16 am (UTC)

Re: a few minutes with google

Deirdra Kiai worked at Telltale and HotHead, and also makes her own experimental videogames ('The game that takes place on a cruise ship' challenges 'The girl who...' for longest acronym ever): http://www.deirdrakiai.com/

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