July 22, 2013
Who Cares About Female Leads In Games? (Part 1)
We’ve passed the halfway mark in the 2013 year and we still have dozens upon dozens of games to prepare for. Many gamers have looked in awe at the merits of next gen consoles; 60fps, 1080p, much more capable particle effects and some of the most realistic visuals that we’ve ever seen in any one game that wasn’t showcasing CGI. Gamers across all platforms will rejoice as console benefits are traded off and we’re given the best front row seat to one of the most popular console cycles in gaming history.
Be that as it may, the question of relatable characters is still an ongoing issue for the vocal minority of gamers — both male and female.
I remember my first play through of Tomb Raider like it was two days ago as a part of the Steam Summer Sale.
I’ve never been a particular fan of Lara Croft or her universe, but I respect the franchise for its action packed roots and amazingly clever discovery. Undead zombies and resurrected samurai statues are only a few of the cohorts I’ve encountered in my experiences with the game. Visually, it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen, but aesthetically Tomb Raider is an open world sandbox game with emphasis on survival and gore.
A whole lot of gore.
So, the beginning sequences of the game show a young Lara roughly in her early twenties reading over quest notes for the expedition. Fast-forwarding through some bromance dialogue between Lara and a few friends and the real action begins; the boat Lara’s on mysteriously malfunctions and sinks. No proper details are given on the condition of the ship, but that hardly matters when you’re trying to escape a giant freighter with your life.
Lara washes up on a shore somewhere and it’s here that I really understand what Square Enix was going for in the game. She’s absolutely soaked in blood and scars just ten minutes in the game, but she hasn’t cried, crapped, or whined yet. Why is this? What magical land did this woman come from that she could survive all of that without shedding a tear?
I grew up around idiots for gamers. Most women are quick to call my friends sexist (they are), but what they lack is empathy. No one ever really thought about what it means to dive off of a cliff in fear of an arrow to the heart or to sit for hours in the cold and the still breathe of the night waiting for that perfect headshot.
Lara Croft isn’t a girl. She’s a God damned woman.
More to come in the next blog post!
Image Credit: Square Enix