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  • Great post! To be honest, I haven’t really given this idea much thought, but the more I think about it the more viable it is. While I tend to gravitate more toward FPS RPGs and MMORPGs, with a decent bit of FPS games in there, a lot of the same stereotypes and “strong female roles created for men” are definitely present.

    Of the games I’ve played recently, Saints Row The Third definitely falls into that category. And while CounterStrike: Global Offense is pretty straightforward in its goals, you only play males, and the players themselves often treat women inappropriately (either in the spray tags or chatting with female players).

    However, I think Half-Life 2 was a great divergence from that. Yes, Alyx Vance was a strong woman, but her expressions, dialogue, and actions were notably female. I think the recent Fallout games (3 and NV) have done a great job of moving from male-centric, if nothing else than the fact that you get a chance to choose your gender at the beginning, and you’re in charge of your actions and interactions. Nothing revolutionary, but at least a step in the right direction.

  • David Vincent Mruz

    I would argue Marle and Lucca from Chrono Trigger were pretty good female characters. Haven’t beaten it yet, so that could change. Definitely better than Double Dragon though.

    About the Bechdel test though. Is that really a good standard? In Devil May Cry 4, Trish and Lady get in an argument over business and don’t directly refer to Dante in their conversation (although he ends up mediating the dispute), though I would still consider the scene misogynistic.

    Also, does the Bechdel test prohibit two women from -ever- referring to a man in conversation or is it specifically “oh I want that man”. Female characters probably have all kinds of things they could talk about, but prohibiting them from ever acknowledging a man would seem kinda limiting.

    Just trying to get a better grasp of this concept.

    • From what I understand the test is something along the lines of, so long as two women have a conversation about something *other* than a man at some point the work ‘passes’. Clearly you can have a work of fiction that is sexist that ‘passes’ the test, and likewise it’s conceivable that another piece that would traditionally fail simply being a Type 1 error. That being said, I think it’s a pretty illuminating quick-and-dirty tool illuminating the disparity in gender portrayal in games and other fiction at large.

      • David Vincent Mruz

        Ok, good to know.