Special Gaming blog by our In House Hotty nerd Laura “Boobies” Thomas
I’ve been hearing lots of buzz lately about screen shots from the latest Gears of War 3 trailers and decided I definitely needed to take a look. Not so much for the game play, but the characters. Turns out one of the characters duking it out on the front lines is none other than communications officer Anya Stroud. This has caused a lot of buzz around the game, and not many of the reactions I agree with. It seems a lot of people don’t like the idea, not because gamers are thinking things like ‘girls are lame’ or ‘girls are weak’, but non-gamers are saying it will be detrimental in the fight against violence against women.
I’ve played Gears of War. It’s one of the few shooters I’ve truly enjoyed. I haven’t had the chance to play GoW2, but like I said, I did enjoy the first one. It’s violent. I mean, the gun has a chainsaw on it. And you know what, as a woman I think, “That is awesome.” The big concern here is the violence and how that might affect the female characters. How showing violence against women in the video game will make those playing the game think that violence against women is ok in the real world. I wholly disagree with that assumption. We haven’t even played the game yet, and people assume they know what will happen. They assume Anya and any other women will get brutally killed. And if that happens? Well, you’ve seen many other male characters get the same treatment, why should the women be any different?
That is to say, if they die like the men do. Going out like a champ and taking down as many Locusts in a blaze of glory. Or, you know, something as equally cool. Now, I could see a problem if the game pulls a cut scene with some ‘women in refrigerators’ tactic with Anya. With her romantic connections to Marcus, I can sadly see this happening. “What is ‘women in refrigerators?’” you may ask. It’s a plot moving tactic that women have frowned upon for a long time that’s pretty popular in comics. It comes from an issue of Green Lantern where Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend was killed and stuffed in a refrigerator by villain Major Force. This served no purpose but to move the plot along. The same happened in Alan Moore’s classic Batman issue The Killing Joke, where Barbara Gordon was shot, paralyzing her from the waist down. She’s been in a wheelchair ever since. If this is the type of thing that happens to Anya in GoW3, I will be upset. She’s a strong woman and should fight with the men as an equal, not used as a plot device.
Another aspect of this that critics aren’t mentioning but gamers are is that women gamers like playing women characters. It’s not a deal breaker, but if I have the chance of playing a female character I’m all for it. I’ll pick her over the male character any day. Why? Because a female character is more relatable for me; it helps with the fantasy. Having that option means I’m more likely to check out the game, which for the people putting out those games, it means more revenue. Game companies are realizing that women like gaming too, and if they don’t appeal to that market, it’s a large demographic they’re missing out on.
So yes, is there a chance that GoW3 is going to show completely senseless violence towards a female character? Possibly. Do I think that’s going to be the case? Probably not. The violence will hopefully be on par with what the men face because it’s fair. The game’s writer has told the media a few times now that he sees men and women as equals and thinks women should be treated as such. That means that yes; some female characters are going to get hit with a chainsaw gun. It’s better than showing them as weaklings.