1257 Liberation.

When it comes to social issues like the representation of women in video games the Teen cares not a lot. Very rarely does she express concern about how women are portrayed in anything. When she does it tends to be anger over skinny girls getting attention or praise, so it doesn’t come across as particularly altruistic. Her definition of dangerously thin, however, includes women that others might consider average, or normal. The long and short of all of that is she’s a poor data point to start from. She was not raised to be a deep thinker and it shows. That’s not a bad thing necessarily. I think her general lack of concern about the world outside herself is part of what allows her to cope. Not everyone needs to be socially aware, it’s just odd for me to interact with because I’m accustomed to it. I think, in her mind, life should be a nonstop party where everyone is happy all the time and the world is largely consequence free. The necessities come from some magical otherplace and will always appear when you’re in need. Of course this may all just be the mask she wears to help make her way through a world that has largely punished her for things she was not responsible for. She and I are not polar opposites, but at times the gape is very apparent and apparently vast.

I’ve played with the idea of trying to get her to play Mass Effect, but I’m pretty sure at this point that she wouldn’t stick with it. The only games I’ve seen her absolutely get completely into is Deadpool. I think this is because she is dangerously attracted to sociopaths. My reaction to this has been to try and use Deadpool as a gateway to other, more positive, influences. The other day I finally delved into storage and found as many Deadpool comics as I could. It’s nearly a complete run of the first 3 series up to abut issue 40 or so. With luck she’ll find another character she enjoys and I can work from there. Hopefully it won’t be the likes of Black Tom, or Kain Marko. Of course Kain has at least evolved into a less unsavory creature over time. So maybe that wouldn’t be the worst. It’s be really handy if she liked Nightcrawler though. I have a ton of Excalibur books.


There is nothing wrong with Cain :<

Also I kinda think bio ware is ridiculous with the romance. They should just make a freakin dating sim already and let games be games.

What’s wrong with it being both? I think they could up the dating sim even more and it would still be fun. BATTLE ROMANCE!

I would like it if they improved Shepard’s romantic dialogue though. Its a miss as often as it’s a hit, more or less so depending on your romantic path, and sometimes it just feels awkward.

“Its a miss as often as it’s a hit,… and sometimes it just feels awkward.”

Well, that pretty much sums up my romantic experiences in real life, so I think Bioware isn’t too far off the mark in my opinion.

You don’t really think about it but Mass Effect is kind of a rarity as far as gender equality in main protagonists in mainstream games. What notible games this year have a strong female lead or even the option to change your avatar’s gender? I can’t think of any but then again I’m not that well informed. I don’t think I even saw any gamesin E3 coverage besides maybe Destiny thatdidn’t have an athletic white guy as the hero. Hrrmmm???

In all honesty I don’t follow current gaming trends very carefully. If not for the flood of E3 tweets and stuff I’d have no idea what was going on. Based on that background noise I’m aware of only one game that has a female team in it, which is Splattoon. (I think.) And the Hyrule Heroes game apparently has a few female characters that can be team leaders. There might be a new Tomb Raider game, which apparently has a much better version of the female lead than in the original games. That’s the extent of my very vague knowledge.

Saints Row.

Doesn’t count. If you play even briefly, you run into prostitutes and strippers everywhere. Violence against women (well, everyone, really) and controlling women are common themes at least three of the games (I don’t remember if there’s any in four because most of what I remember from that was grinding until I could fly and then punching Zinyak in the face).

There are also male gimps, male strip clubs, and violence against men. I’m sorry you’re so focused on women you can’t see than things also happen to male characters.

I’m not saying any of it was right, but such things kind of negate the point of having a “strong female lead”. Admittedly, I’ve a bit of a problem with the whole setting to begin with, but that’s neither here nor there. Every one I remember from a set quest was female. Maybe I’m not remembering something specific, but I don’t remember any of the ones from quests being men. Are there male strippers and prostitutes? Yes. But I don’t recall any of them being the subjects of quests.

And yes, I did acknowledge the violence against men as well. Men are, last I checked, part of everyone.


while that is true, there is a fairly interesting spin on it. look at the cities, they’re in cities where crime is rampant to the point martial law has to be declared. Any form of legal work basically guarantees you’ll end up dead or critically injured in the city wide gang wars. for women in the game who lack connections (like a couple characters i’ll point out in a second), prostitution is the best option for these women as it’ll give them gang protection and the spin in the game is that the saint’s treat their girls right, vs the syndicate who was downright abusive to their girls. Messed up but the way it is in that universe.

I should also point out while there is a bit of human trafficking in the game, you also had strong female characters. There’s shaundi, who downright proves why she deserves the title of the boss’s lieutenant and pretty well filling the shoes of johnny gat after his death. There’s kinzie (my personal favorite character) who in my opinion is the ballsiest character in the game. I mean listen to how she talks to the boss, anyone else would be a corpse for disrespecting a sociopath who commands damn near an army of thugs and gang bangers. yet the boss follows her lead when it comes to tech and even let kinzie dominate him/her in bed. There’s also Aisha who pretty much was the only woman who could control johnny gat.

I can’t really claim viola as she was kind of a tag along in the game, but I digress, they may not be role models but saint’s row has strong female characters to offset the minimal amount of human trafficking content. so methinks you need to play the games again and pay attention to how many strong female characters there actually are in the game.

I’ll admit there’s a fair number of stronger women considering. I also admit the setting dictates the situation, and that they at least try to show the main group the game is about trying to be better about it. I’m not a fan of the setting because of that need, but I do understand it.

I’ve qualms about some of the story lines involving them. Aisha gets Fridged. Shaundi has to be rescued from an asshat ex.

Admittedly, I don’t remember anything of that nature for Kinzie, but I don’t really remember her much before four either.

I won’t say that Saints Row didn’t make improvements over time. I’m aware most of the things I have problems with happened in earlier games (both of the ones I mentioned are Two if I recall correctly). Considering that’s just one game after your only option was to play a guy, I suppose I shouldn’t hold it entirely against them. However, I consider Fridging a character to be pretty hard to overlook, so I’ll likely still gripe about it.

uhhhh, what are you talking about? Aisha faked her death in one and gets decapped by the ronin in 2. as for shaundi, for the love of god play 3, shaundi in 2 was basically stoner, shaundi in 3 is well just a different character (although she still gets captured, twice, by stag)

There is a trope called “Women in Refrigerators”, or Fridged Women for short. Aisha was killed to give an extra bit of motivation for Gat and, to a lesser extent, the main character. Whether it tied into the story or not (hint, it almost always does), it’s still a godawful trope.

Getting captured (and subsequently rescued by the main character) is also a common trope for women in video games. There’s whole games devoted to rescuing a kidnapped woman. Making her a stronger character only adds insult to injury to have it happen in Three.

I’ve seen games, though, that take the lazy way out. Writing dialogue for both genders is a lot of work, so some games have the dialogue be exactly the same whether you’re male or female, and all of the reactions of the other characters the same as well. It doesn’t create a particularly engaging experience.

Mm, Mass Effect arc. I’ll warn you, I am a die-hard Mass Effect fan. I may potentially rage a little bit at you – not that you’ll have done anything wrong, per se, just…you know. I won’t mean anything by it.

I predict Carol reluctantly playing the first (she’s already semi-reluctant, she knows the payoffs but still), avidly playing the second, addict-edly playing the third and then rage-quitting. I may be being overhopeful.

I see you, too, disliked their godawful ending for three.

Did anyone not?!

I didn’t dislike what was generally vocally complained about.

The only factor I disliked about the ending was the “pick option to change color” blatant nonchoice. There was no dialogue difference about the resulting consequences, or possible rationale for making that choice (even Deus Ex: HR had different voiceover dialogue for what button you pushed), just a color, and maybe one scene (the crash).

All the stuff about the starchild, reapers, etc? That I was fine with. Not the direction I might have gone, but it was fine.

…I still need to finish a playthrough with the revamped ending stuff…from what I’ve heard, they altered exactly the sort of stuff my personal issues were.

That was what I disliked myself, to be honest. The lack of choice in the original ending made me rage-quit after trying each of the three in succession. Well, not rage-quit. I’d finished. But rage…depart? Hmm.

Anyway, the revamped ending did sort that out, yes. Not in a completely satisfactory way, but yes. Although, if you expect to see anything about Leviathan, or about individual characters…you’re going to be disappointed.

You also get a Refusal option, which is nice. Shoot the Starchild in the head because he’s a dick, I dare ya.

They claim there were people who wrote them about how the ending perfectly matched what they wanted for their character. I have yet to meet one of these mythical people, and will continue to claim they’re mythical until it is otherwise proven.

I’m really enjoying this plot arc because this is almost exactly how I wound up obsessed with video games. My boyfriend was playing Mass Effect, I felt he was playing it wrong, controller got stolen, and I never looked back. I played games all my life, but Bioware hooked me hard. I think the romance helps a lot, but mostly because it gives me a personal investment in the story. I need to know why I’m shooting that person and why I should care, or the fun just doesn’t last for me. I always find it strange when people complain about the romance, since it’s easily avoidable.

I am perhaps a little too invested in the women and video games debates. >.>

I’m the same way with my investment in the women in video games issue.

I would say the teen is also, well, still a teen. As a teenager I wasn’t so invested in social issues either, I was more interested in surviving life at that point with some amount of dignity and figuring out who I was as a human being in the world. The interest in politics and other social issues came later on. And of course she’s gonna have the body type issues, not many teenagers are really that comfortable with their bodies. I wasn’t, even though I am naturally thin, and none of my friends were either. Video games that portray girls with a huge rack, a tiny waist, and a huge butt don’t help that, nor do those that portray women as stick figures. I will consent that video games that portray all the men with huge muscles and whatnot can’t help guys’ self esteem either, to be fair. I’m rambling now, but my main point here was that I know that some teens are interested in these debates as teenagers, but I wouldn’t write it off that she will never be interested in issues like this. A lot of teenagers just have other things on their minds at the time and once they get through all that and start to develop themselves into who they want to be they will get more into these things.

Also some people just aren’t into debating issues like this. I am. But that’s me.

” It’s be really handy if she liked Nightcrawler though. I have a ton of Excalibur books.”


Has she seen X-Men Evolution?

It’s Bishie Nightcrawler might be worth a shot (making an assumption she might like a pretty, teleporting, blue, fuzzy elf who has to hide from the world because it just doesn’t understand him, all while keeping a very upbeat, silly attitude.)

Have you considered Anne McCaffrey’s Planet Pirates trilogy (recommending audio books so she can do other things, like skimming or playing Deadpool). Not female, but with good writing and psychopaths… The Darth Bane trilogy, followed up with Darth Plagueis. Nothing like good old fashion Sith for whack jobs. It’s always interesting digging in deep to Dark Side. Tales of the Jedi, Dark Empire, and Star Wars Legacy comic book series would make my list. The ever classic Kotor (knights of the old republic) would let her go full on Dark Side and just be down right mean to digital peasants. Although the F2P single player aspects of Swotor would do as well.

In the web comic line may I humbly suggest darkencomic.com . Komiyan did a brilliant job with a group of Evil protagonists as both evil, relatable, and believable.

If she’s a smart phone or tablet junky Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition would not be a bad follow up if Darken gets her attention.

According to the Jimquisition, the game industry has this weird belief that if you make a game with a female protagionist, especially ones that’s not half naked/wearing skintight clothing or sporting huge knockers, it won’t sell well and they even tell game designers who do create female protagionists to change them to male ones due to this strange belief.

The video in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wnTunPrQJo

A lot of teenage girls are not worried about it at this point, in part because they haven’t had to fight yet based on their gender. There is a good chance this will change as she gets older. Nothing like having to defend your career choice simply because you are female to make you more aware of things.

I assume then that the red. Didn’t read your work?
It occurs to me that if she did, and read the rants* you post as well, she could mess with your head to no end.
For instance: watching the TV series dexter, and building a shrine to him.
She probably wouldn’t, I don’t think any sane person would go to those extremes to troll someone… But it’s what I’d do :P

On a side note, not sure if I’ve ever commented here- so will just say: love your comic.
Keep up the good work.

*( which are good rants. As much as I love the comic, the rants make a second reason to come here, and briefly feel a kinda of social interactionish feeling… :p)

“the rants make a second reason to come here, and briefly feel a kinda of social interactionish feeling… :p)”
Yay! I’m not alone!…..completely…..utterly…Oh, Gosh. Is anybody really out there, or are you all just clever algorithms?

Well, there are a lot of games with women inside who do pretty amazing things, play smart, and don’t dress scantily clad clothes. It’s just, that, since nowadays most common demographic portion of players are young males on his early to late teens (and curiously enough, the game industry thinks this mindset expands up to the late twenties…) that they cater to them. Obviously, via the easier way: fast, responsive and cinematic action, recognizable stereotipes and simplified, glorified proyections of the female or male self. Another reason is how developers see their games: they need to sell, too. Few are “in” for some artistic impulse or another reason. In the end, as products of enterntainment in a very competetive and “trend” guided industry ( which invest millions, and wants them back tenfolds of these in return), it’s not easy to break away from that. But there are examples, very fine examples of games. Just that, it’s not today’s “trend”. It’s like the cinema industry. Loads of bollocks, and then gems that shine in the muddy background. Sometimes you have to look.

“I think her general lack of concern about the world outside herself…in her mind, life should be a nonstop party where everyone is happy all the time and the world is largely consequence free. The necessities come from some magical otherplace and will always appear when you’re in need.”

That’s called ‘being a teenager.’ With any luck, she’ll grow out of it.

“She was not raised to be a deep thinker and it shows. That’s not a bad thing necessarily. I think her general lack of concern about the world outside herself is part of what allows her to cope. Not everyone needs to be socially aware..”

Call me narrow, “You’re narrow!” ah, thanks, but that really isn’t a good grounding for dealing with the adult world. Once she’s through with school, could she cope with anything more rewarding than, “Do you want fries with that?” Granted, she’s been through Hell in the past couple of years, and the fact that she’s not a complete screaming lunatic speaks worlds for her ability to cope.

I literally just read through your ENTIRE ARCHIVE in one day – I teach, and today was my first day without having to teach any classes in quite some time. I spent it in bed on my iPad with old “Simpsons” episodes in the background. In any case, I do have to chime in here to say how much I enjoy your work; it sucked me in for many, many hours today! ;)

I also have to send major props your way for how you seem to be so involved in The Teen’s life. I have had some bad experiences with men who seemingly can’t take on the responsibilities of parental/care-giver roles. I don’t think the majority of teenagers are “deep thinkers,” especially not (in keeping with Perfesser’s post) if they’ve been through the horrible things The Teen has lately. As an avowed feminist myself, I *do* wish more teenage girls cared more about the exploitation of women in the U.S. in general and in popular culture in general. However, at her age, I didn’t care much about that stuff either, and I HADN’T lost my family. She may grow into more insight, especially with your influence.

The suggestions everyone else have made in these comments have been great; I’m not much of a gamer myself (I’d have to ask my partner when it comes to good female representations in video games). However, in terms of literature, I’d suggest checking out Caitlin R. Kiernan. She generally writes in the SF genre and creates very strong, independent female characters. She’s recently branched out into the YA market with the novels “Blood Oranges” and “Red Delicious,” both of which contain werewolves and vampires! In terms of graphic novels, I know this is a dated recommendation, but what about Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman?” He writes better female characters than most other contemporary male writers I’ve read.

Thanks again for your hard work on this comic and I’ll be one of your regular readers from now on!

Best Wishes,

Reading the entire archive, and apparently some of the blog posts at least, is quite a feat. Kinda wish I had some kind of medal to give out. XD

Thanks for checking out my work. I also appreciate the suggestions. Hopefully I’ll be seeing you around the comments section from time to time.

@Jackie: Thanks so much! I teach English at the college level and have about 100 students per semester, which kind of involves being a speed-reader. Plus, when I enjoy something, like your comic, it’s easy for me to just dig into it and have fun reading! :)

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