“I, the undersigned male gamer, being of sound mind and body, do not believe that my penis will fall off if a game encourages me to identify with a female character.”
I honestly am floored that they totally dropped the ball on this one, they finally fixed Lara to make her look like she was supposed to in the first place, and then “people don’t identify with female characters.”
Bull fucking shit. I mean sure set female protagonists are in short supply, but I’m positive that people weren’t all, “Portal sucks because Chell’s a girl! I’m sorry, but I hate Mirror’s Edge because I’m playing a girl! Oh…American McGee’s Alice is like totally unidentifiable.” Not to mention…dudes do play female characters when given a choice. Maybe not all dudes, but back when I played WoW? My guild was full of female toons, I was the only real girl there, the rest were played by men. And I’m not talking sexy night elves, I’m talking fucking gnomes.
Here’s all the blogging I’m going to do about the Lara Croft reboot because it actually makes me too angry to articulate a response
I have little knowledge of the gaming world. I have played Halo once, for twenty minutes the entire time running away from my foes/competitors/bad guys before I got stuck in a corner and my friend took the controller away from me.
However, I have spent hours of my life watching my brother and friends play any number of video games. Not that this makes me any kind of an authority, but I still feel like I can chime in here and say this is unbelievable. I am stunned. This move is absolutely, unequivocally an enormous step backwards in the gaming world, not to mention society as a whole. While there has been many a conflict over objectification of the physicality of female characters/avatars in video games, my (admittedly limited) experience with most video games and MMORPG - specifically World of Warcraft - has been that female characters, especially those that the player is playing as, are strong women with some sort of ass-kicking capability. If they weren’t, no one would choose to use them as an avatar. And why put the effort into designing a character no one wants to play as?
Of course, Lara Croft has always represented the female of the gaming world. Impossibly hot body, a hell of an attitude, and ass-kicking ability to make anyone sweat. And now they’ve revamped her because players didn’t identify with her. Ron Rosenberg, executive producer of the game had this to say - “She is strong and we love Lara Croft for that strength, but she was almost so strong that we were always one step away from her.”
Even if player’s didn’t identify with her (and the author of this article sure sounds like he did), how great does it feel to even be associated with a badass? Sidekicks traditionally are the mere mortal conduit between viewer/players and geniuses. Watson is Everyman to Sherlock’s intelligence - he asks the questions that the audience wants the answers to.
Gaming moves the “sidekickness” from watching a foil character interact with a hero directly into the players hands. Again, even if you don’t identify with the hero directly, your moves and your questions direct how she acts. You get answers when she asks a character a question. The game progresses because of the player’s choices. Whether you are playing as Lara, or as some dope along for the ride, the point of the game is not to protect a character you disassociate from.
“Revamping” a lead character so that it’s the player’s job to protect her is not only demeaning to women (which is addressed here quite passionately), it’s not why people play games. They’re an escape where players get to be a hero for however long they can devote to the game. They’re a medium where normal people get to raid tombs and fight looters. They’re what you do for hours after school instead of your homework. They are not some horrifying hybrid of gaming and Lifetime-meets-SciFi-meets-History-Channel TV, wherein the player is forced to partake in a storyline that features a supposedly superhuman hero reduced to a weak mortal that they have to protect. Again, Ron Rosenberg - “We want her to get damaged, and that is a huge part of how we present the character.” And another great line from executive producer. “She is literally turned into a cornered animal…it’s a huge step in her evolution.”
Apparently the only way a powerful third-wave female character to evolve is backwards.