Friday, December 29, 2017

January: Ladies First!

Mine had maroon hair, but you bet she was brown.
It's time to admit something: in games with customizeable or selectable characters, I pretty much always go female. Even better if there's a nonwhite skin tone, but I'm getting ahead of myself. During January, I'm going to do my best to stick to the theme of ladies in gaming. I might have to stretch beyond the obvious requirement of having a female protagonist, but I'll do my best to make it relevant. I'll stay away from games with non-humans, and ship games won't count unless the pilot is obviously female. Puzzle games and other titles with no protagonist won't count.

My first title is going to be the remastered Uncharted 3, of which the head writer and director was Amy Hennig. These games have memorable action scenes, unparalleled voice acting that backs up great writing, and look and sound gorgeous. All of this is Naughty Dog's signature quality on the entire series, and Amy Hennig has a lot to do with that. According to Wikipedia, Hennig believes that the creative direction of a script holds more importance than the graphics of the game. The fact that the Uncharted games are also the best in terms of production value just goes to show that Naughty Dog is one of the most talented AAA studios out there. As to why it's the first title in my ladies-first month is that I'd already finished two of the three Uncharted trilogy games in December.

After that, I'm planning to complete Chronicles of Teddy (exploratory action adventure), Dreamfall Chapters (slow-paced adventure), Momodora (action adventure), and Gravity Rush (action). These titles all feature female protagonists, and January is a great month to go through them together!

Also, there are always the games I come back to when trophy or story progress just seems too much at a given moment. My friends and I still play Overwatch almost daily: I'll do my best to stick to female characters unless I'm playing Mystery Heroes mode, which randomly selects heroes for you. Luckily, The OW cast is pretty evenly split between male and female, and the majority of my playtime is as Zarya, the pink-haired gravity gun-wielding Russian bodybuilder. Star Wars Battlefront 2 is where I'll have to make the biggest concession to not playing female characters. The devs added female storm troopers, and your gender for spawning as Rebel or Imperial troops is random.

I am Mother Russia.
While I don't expect these games to address the issues of how female characters are often shallowly written, it's a theme I think worthy of pursuing that will be quite fun. I certainly do think that female presence in gaming is improving and becoming more significant, for what it's worth. Either way, I have a handful of great titles to get to. Wish me luck!

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