August Player 2 Virginia Roby examines The Last of Us’ Ellie as a damsel in distress, and discovers she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The damsel in distress plot is one of the oldest and longest running in video game history. The player takes control of a male avatar and goes on a journey to save a princess, saving the kingdom along the way. It’s a story that reduces women to objects—prizes for the male hero and trophies for the player. It has been decades since we first stepped into the shoes of Mario or Link in order to save Princess Peach or Princess Zelda, and all the countless games that followed of rescuing damsels have led us to one place: The Last of Us.

On the surface, The Last of Us seems familiar, especially on the heels of Telltale’s The Walking Dead and Bioshock Infinite, both games that feature a father-daughter spin on the damsel concept, rather than a romantic one. We play (for the most part) as Joel, a bitter, jaded old man who survived the apocalypse, and outlived his daughter. Then we meet Ellie, a fourteen-year-old girl who is immune to the infection that destroyed human civilization as we know it. Joel has to get Ellie across the country to the last science lab in North America capable of studying her immunity, and hopefully, using it to make a cure.

We protect Ellie for the same reasons that we rescue Zelda—saving the girl means saving the world. But over the year that they spend together, and the hundreds of miles traveled, Joel and the player both come to love Ellie. We want to protect her because in the absolutely hellish craphole that the world becomes after the Cordyceps infection, Ellie still has hope. She is hope, in both a metaphorical and literal sense.

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August Player 2 Virginia Roby examines The Last of Us’ Ellie as a damsel in distress, and discovers she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The damsel in distress plot is one of the oldest and longest running in video game history. The player takes control of a male avatar and goes on a journey to save a princess, saving the kingdom along the way. It’s a story that reduces women to objects—prizes for the male hero and trophies for the player. It has been decades since we first stepped into the shoes of Mario or Link in order to save Princess Peach or Princess Zelda, and all the countless games that followed of rescuing damsels have led us to one place: The Last of Us.

On the surface, The Last of Us seems familiar, especially on the heels of Telltale’s The Walking Dead and Bioshock Infinite, both games that feature a father-daughter spin on the damsel concept, rather than a romantic one. We play (for the most part) as Joel, a bitter, jaded old man who survived the apocalypse, and outlived his daughter. Then we meet Ellie, a fourteen-year-old girl who is immune to the infection that destroyed human civilization as we know it. Joel has to get Ellie across the country to the last science lab in North America capable of studying her immunity, and hopefully, using it to make a cure.

We protect Ellie for the same reasons that we rescue Zelda—saving the girl means saving the world. But over the year that they spend together, and the hundreds of miles traveled, Joel and the player both come to love Ellie. We want to protect her because in the absolutely hellish craphole that the world becomes after the Cordyceps infection, Ellie still has hope. She is hope, in both a metaphorical and literal sense.

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pinebark:

hey so i run this site called forest ambassador

it posts three games a week that are free, short, and easy to get into

(it’s videogames for people who don’t like videogames)

the games i post are about stuff like: false police confessions, feeding ducks, urban zoning policy, being a pregnant mermaid, shaving your legs, capitalism, hugging cats

(things games aren’t usually about)

they’re also often by marginalized authors

oh, and you can browse all 150+ games i’ve posted so far by mood, too

it would mean a lot to me if you would reblog this post and check out the site!

oh, and one last thing: the site is currently my only steady source of income. so if you like the kind of things i’m doing with it and can afford to, consider subscribing, which gets you a monthly ezine called woodland secrets (you can learn more about that here)

thx!

~merritt

pinebark:

hey so i run this site called forest ambassador
it posts three games a week that are free, short, and easy to get into
(it’s videogames for people who don’t like videogames)
the games i post are about stuff like: false police confessions, feeding ducks, urban zoning policy, being a pregnant mermaid, shaving your legs, capitalism, hugging cats
(things games aren’t usually about)
they’re also often by marginalized authors
oh, and you can browse all 150+ games i’ve posted so far by mood, too
it would mean a lot to me if you would reblog this post and check out the site!
oh, and one last thing: the site is currently my only steady source of income. so if you like the kind of things i’m doing with it and can afford to, consider subscribing, which gets you a monthly ezine called woodland secrets (you can learn more about that here)
thx!
~merritt

pinebark:

hey so i run this site called forest ambassador

it posts three games a week that are free, short, and easy to get into

(it’s videogames for people who don’t like videogames)

the games i post are about stuff like: false police confessions, feeding ducks, urban zoning policy, being a pregnant mermaid, shaving your legs, capitalism, hugging cats

(things games aren’t usually about)

they’re also often by marginalized authors

oh, and you can browse all 150+ games i’ve posted so far by mood, too

it would mean a lot to me if you would reblog this post and check out the site!

oh, and one last thing: the site is currently my only steady source of income. so if you like the kind of things i’m doing with it and can afford to, consider subscribing, which gets you a monthly ezine called woodland secrets (you can learn more about that here)

thx!

~merritt

Believe it or don’t, I let Jeremy Voss (jervo) write a piece about his playing as a woman for July’s Videodame Player 2. Find out why.

In the summer of 2013, I started becoming aware of a movement to boycott the as-yet unreleased Grand Theft Auto V specifically because you couldn’t choose to play as a female character. In particular, there was a Jezebel article that articulated this rather loudly, but I also recall talking about it with an acquaintance on Twitter. We were talking about both GTA V and Saints Row 3, and my friend refused to even consider playing GTA V:  “I only need one open world gangland sim in my life, and GTA won’t rate for me unless it adds a female PC.”

At the time, I found this line of reasoning profoundly pretentious, ridiculous, and ultimately misguided. For one thing, I found it preposterous that people were getting outraged over something that had never been promised or even hinted at in the first place. For another, the idea that you would actively choose to not play what by all appearances looked like the greatest game ever made solely because you couldn’t choose to play as a woman—in a franchise that has historically gone out of its way to treat women as horribly as they can be treated—seemed ludicrous. (Indeed, as of this writing, there are only two games in all of Rockstar’s catalog where you can choose to be a female character: the original Grand Theft Auto and Table Tennis.)

Of course, this hullabaloo took place long before the game had even come out. Once I finally got my hands on GTA V, I found a host of reasons to be offended that had nothing to do with the treatment of women, even as the game’s treatment of women was somehow even worse than I’d anticipated.

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Believe it or don’t, I let Jeremy Voss (jervo) write a piece about his playing as a woman for July’s Videodame Player 2. Find out why.

In the summer of 2013, I started becoming aware of a movement to boycott the as-yet unreleased Grand Theft Auto V specifically because you couldn’t choose to play as a female character. In particular, there was a Jezebel article that articulated this rather loudly, but I also recall talking about it with an acquaintance on Twitter. We were talking about both GTA V and Saints Row 3, and my friend refused to even consider playing GTA V:  “I only need one open world gangland sim in my life, and GTA won’t rate for me unless it adds a female PC.”

At the time, I found this line of reasoning profoundly pretentious, ridiculous, and ultimately misguided. For one thing, I found it preposterous that people were getting outraged over something that had never been promised or even hinted at in the first place. For another, the idea that you would actively choose to not play what by all appearances looked like the greatest game ever made solely because you couldn’t choose to play as a woman—in a franchise that has historically gone out of its way to treat women as horribly as they can be treated—seemed ludicrous. (Indeed, as of this writing, there are only two games in all of Rockstar’s catalog where you can choose to be a female character: the original Grand Theft Auto and Table Tennis.)

Of course, this hullabaloo took place long before the game had even come out. Once I finally got my hands on GTA V, I found a host of reasons to be offended that had nothing to do with the treatment of women, even as the game’s treatment of women was somehow even worse than I’d anticipated.

Read More

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