Feminism in Gaming: Jade Empire with Mod Knight!

Hey there, everyone! Mod Knight back with Feminism in Gaming! This time , I’m gonna dive into a game from my youth (that now that I look back on, has it’s ups and downs when it comes to feminism). The game I’m talking about today is Jade Empire, a game by BioWare released in 2007 for the Xbox.

Jade empire follows the story of a martial artist who is tasked with restoring a powerful guardian spirit of the world, the water dragon, in order to protect the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Along the way, the player can fight, talk, and romance their way through a rich cast of unique characters and fun, world building quests! The world of Jade Empire is certainly a vast and nuanced one, especially for it’s time!

Now, with so many characters, there’s a plethora of ways that we can see plenty of interesting representation. One notable feature of the game is that the characters are almost entirely Asian, which is appropriate for the setting. It’s nice to see that level of representation when so often characters from Asian countries and cultures end up getting white-washed.

Also! Not only does the game give us the option of playing as a female character, there are a several  female allies in the game, and each is an extremely interesting and well thought-out character! As well, we are given two options for homosexual romance in the game. However, I do have my issues with this, especially in the male romance with Sky, the only male romanceable character in the game. When the player first courts Sky, he is shown to be somewhat resistant to the idea, understandably needing time to think. This wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t so different from the female version of this romance.

When the two same sex relationships reach their resolution in game, instead of showing the complete scene as they would in the heterosexual versions, the game simply fades to black on the two characters, leaving it up to the player to infer what occurred. Of course, the very idea of having same sex romances at this point was pretty wild in gaming. However, looking back on it, the game treats them strangely, and simply has a difficult time providing satisfying scenes. Luckily, we know that BioWare has improved somewhat since then.

Speaking of romantic relationships, another folly of the game comes in the form of Henpecked Hou, a character whose entire identity is one big joke about how awful marriage is. In fact, the entire reason he stays with the player as a follower is because he finds it preferable to going back home to his wife, and he constantly reminds the player of his “dear wife, who has turned my life into a miserable cesspool devoid of humor and excitement. Bless her soul”, as he puts it.

While Jade Empire certainly has issues, it’s a game that attempted to touch on several serious topics, but may have gone a bit heavy or perhaps too lightly with them. In the end, it was a starting point for a lot of LGBT representation in gaming, and I, for one, am pretty grateful for that! While the problems with it pain me, I still find it to be a very fun and enjoyable game even years later!

Feminism in Gaming: Blizzard Games (with Mod Loser!)

Hey Nasties! This is Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me. And in this FIG, I’m going to discuss Blizzard’s history with feminism in their video games. It has been a bit of a wild ride, so without any more waiting, let’s get started.

Obviously, the farther back you go, the more problematic you find the situation.  The original Diablo games locked certain classes to a gender (which made no sense), and the various other games released with more boring, white, male protagonists. And let’s not forget WoW, hmm? These games exist, and while they were good at the time, it is important to recognize why they were problematic.

However, Blizzard’s more recent games have shown a drastic shift towards a more inclusive goal, which is significant for representation. The primary contender would be Overwatch. As much as I absolutely despise the loot system in Overwatch, it is incredibly positive towards POC’s and members of the LGBTQA+ community.

The obvious example would be Tracer being in a lesbian relationship (which was confirmed), but let’s dig deeper. For example, Symmetra is a successful person of color who also has been confirmed to have autism. Further yet, she is a support character. This means that in any given match, she is beneficial. They specifically empowered Symmetra while making her an icon to gamers of color as well as gamers who have autism to encourage them to play. But who else?

Sombra is Hispanic and incredibly proud of her heritage. At first, I thought Sombra was a stereotype, but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered why it was so bad for a Hispanic woman to be proud of her culture? If anything, I’m glad Sombra was added in for that reason. Further, still, we have Mei who was the star of the Chinese New Year event. There’s Hanzo, Genji, Lucio, Pharah, Ana, Reaper,  and this list goes on. Almost half of the entire roster includes people of color, which is so very important.

You may have watched Mod Knight’s video regarding representation in gaming and why it is important (if not you can watch it here), but I’d like to reiterate. The point of seeing someone you can identify with, someone who clearly shares the same culture or background or struggles that you share, makes the player feel so much more invested. It validates us as players, it makes us feel more comfortable and we deserve these feelings.

Thanks for reading my little rant, Nasties! I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you have a stellar day! Mod Loser, signing off.

Feminism in Gaming: Dishonored 2 with Mod Knight!

Hey there, everyone! Mod Knight here with feminism in gaming! Now, I’m going to be returning to one of my favorite games: Dishonored 2. I’ve already reviewed this game, as well as bringing it up in my Top 5: Action RPGs. However, I felt that this game warranted a better look at the feminist side of things! So, let’s jump right in.

The first thing that stands out about the game? A playable female protagonist! Not only is Emily an incredible, strong woman (and empress no less), she’s also a dynamic, well rounded character with a strong personality. One of the best changes in the game was the departure from the silent protagonist, instead letting us learn about the characters themselves as well as the world itself! Not only does Emily stand out for her personality and her dynamic opinions, but also she plays differently from her father. Both characters receive unique powers that change the experience of the game. It allows you to really feel that you’re playing a whole other character!

Now, Emily isn’t the only incredible female character in the game. We see powerful women all through the game. Even the main antagonist is female, which is actually really cool; often we see the “Fated battle between men” fight of good vs evil, but here, we give that sheer excitement to the women of the game!

Of course, not all of the amazing women in the game are fighters. We see major characters who are doctors, captains, bandits, witches and more! The game is filled with variety and a quite impressive array of representation. And speaking of representation I can’t possibly go without mentioning Megan Foster! One of the most prominent characters in the game, the one who takes you to your missions and your first companion through the game, not only is she a woman, a tough one at that. But, she’s also a person of color, and disabled, none of which hampers her ability to serve as an integral part of the story.

Overall, Dishonored 2 seems to have looked at what the people want and made efforts to provide it. With both a detailed world and a unique, diverse cast, Dishonored 2 stands tall in my opinion!

Feminism in Gaming: Final Fantasy 7 with Mod Loser!

Trigger Warning: Discussion of Sexual Assault appears in this article.

Hey Nasties, its once again Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me; I’m just going to jump right into it. Square Enix has a terrible history regarding female and LGBTQA+ representation. To put it bluntly, its been downright offensive in multiple games, and Final Fantasy 7 is no different. I’ll start with some of the obvious negatives. For example, to complete Cloud’s “Drag,” Costume, one mission involves winning a squat contest with a man who is very much a gay stereotype. 

You have to win his “Pretty wig,” after which he gets very upset and storms off. This implies that homosexual men are innately feminine, and he is painted in a comedic and honestly antagonistic light. The fact remains that forcing Cloud to “crossdress,” if you even care to gender clothing, supposedly paints him in a very demeaning and frivolous light; mocking the very idea of a man wearing feminine clothes.

Yet still, the dialogue options allow Cloud to come very close to engaging in sexual intercourse with the mob boss should you form the whole costume, after which Aerith and Tifa burst in, horrified, and demand to know what was happening. Another scene that once again paints gay man in a very antagonistic light is the hot tub scene, where Cloud is forced to sit in a hot tub with multiple gay men to get a “Rub down.”

The scene itself implies that Cloud was violated or sexually molested, and paints homosexual men not only in a “Bad,” light, but implies they also will rape or molest straight men when given the chance. These stereotypes are incredibly toxic to the LGBTQA+ Community and truthfully make me sick.

Aerith is clearly a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who exists only to give Cloud motivation to push forward, and dies for the very same reason. You may be saying “But only she can use white materia!” Yes, and other than that, what depth did she have? She was supposedly an ancient Cetra, but we only get that information when she’s not in the party. She’s supposedly incredibly powerful, but her “Power,” ends up being a Deus Ex Machina at the end to save the day.

As you can see, Final Fantasy 7 has a lot of negativity, but I can say one thing that was positive. When you go on the date, you can choose Barret. What do you know, you suddenly drop the “Haha, Gay!” jokes. While the experience is still a little silly, at the very least you got to have what was implied as a normal, non-sexualized or demonized homosexual experience.

Whew, the negative articles take a lot out of me! Thanks for tuning in, Nasties! This is Mod Loser, signing off!

Feminism in Gaming: Male vs Female Design with Mod Syrup!

Hey guys! Mod Syrup here with another article! Today I’m talking about female versus male design!

Over the years, video game character designs have made VERY slow progress to add diversity to character designs. Not only have many games lacked POC or people of the LBGT+ community, they have also put out  only one or two body types for male and female.

Males, especially protagonists and/or main characters, are normally a Superman type of build. Normally buff and normally super handsome and 90% of the time white. And if they are not that, they are normally chubby and an idiot (some are hot and an idiot).

Females are, 99% of the time, characterized as a hot model type female. Normally, they have form fitting and/or revealing clothing. And if they aren’t sexualized, they’re an old woman. Oh, and also normally white.

There are a lot of staples personality wise that are very reused as well. A girl is normally cold or a Mary-Sue. A male is either stupid, has a dark past, or is a Gary-Stu.

Nothing would be inherently wrong with these if they weren’t so overused. There are so many other shapes and types of people out there. Limiting it to one common personality or body type excludes so many other people.

We even have these in character creation games too. Despite giving the illusion of diversity, you still normally have the same body type.

I find Overwatch is a game finally breaking into diversity; but as seen previously on NWG, they still have a long way to go.

Society likes to white-wash and straight-wash everything. If we change it in our media, we can finally change it in our lives.

This has been Mod Syrup and I hope you enjoy what else comes from NWG!