Relationships and Video Games And Women in Both

Today’s post has a more roundabout path to relationships, because it’s going to be a lot more about the game I am playing right now than relationships, at least in the beginning. I’ll get to the point, bear with me.

Remember Me is a new (ish) game released by Capcom for PS3, Xbox and PC (the last via STEAM). It came out in June and, despite being a Capcom game, I heard absolutely nothing about it until another friend pointed it out to me. GameSpot gives it 7 out of 10, and I’m actually offended by those reviews, for reasons I will get to. Spoiler alerts for some of the game, by the way…

The game is set in 2084, wherein the currency is memory and people have been trussed up with devices that allow others to “tap in to” (or exploit) their memories. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the Matrix, except everyone knows it’s happening and the memory alteration is causing a lot of people to become vicious menaces to society. The star character is Nillin, a woman who has lost all of her memories but used to be a total badass and gradually remembers that badassery as the story progresses.
Now, I am only about 1/3 of the way through the game. It has a play style very similar to Uncharted, with lots of jumping and solving weird little puzzles (except so far, the biggest puzzle is how to defeat certain enemies). Unlike Uncharted, the fighting is almost 100% martial with a few gadgets on Nillin’s arm to make fighting robots easier.

Nillin herself is like if you crossed Kate Beckett from Castle with Chloe Frazer from Uncharted(including the gorgeous accent)–except that she has yet to express any interest in the hoards of male characters who seem determined to woo her, direct her, or just generally degrade her image by calling her all kinds of disturbing things while you fight them. On the other hand, Remember Me has several female villains, including one Madame who dresses like a NeoVictorian supervillain in a postmodern era, carries a walking stick and says soothing things like “Worship me!” “I am your goddess!” “I’m so glad you came back to me!” and so on… Aside from having a clear goddess complex, the character obviously has bisexual tendencies (she says these things to everyone) and really wants Nillin back–of course, Nillin’s not big on captivity.

In general, the game itself is beautiful. Nillin wears an interesting costume that is mostly jeans with some cyborg boots and an arm graft, but aside from insanely tight pockets across the butt, it’s way less high fantasy/sci-fi than your usual awkward clothing. And for the record, the male characters all wear either creepy coats or skin tight getup a la Avengers.

Which brings me to the real point of this review, and the reason I’m frustrated with Gamespot (and Capcom). I never heard about this game, and it got consistently bad reviews, because it stars a female character in her own right. Even the super villains (so far) are a married couple, and the wife is the CEO. He just fiddles with gadgets like a kept man. Gee, that sounds like a recipe for some role reversal. So why aren’t we hearing about this game? By contrast, Uncharted 2 scored 9.5. The play style is extremely similar, and frankly Remember Me is more challenging because if you lose health you actually die. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Uncharted. But Remember Me is also more seamless and virtually bug-free so far. The combos take a little getting used to, but they are customizable and totally fun to play around with. So why the low reviews? Why do the reviewers complain about the restrictive environment in one game when they had no complaints about it in the other game? Uncharted doesn’t let you wander around, get lost, go anywhere they don’t want you to go. And both games are relatively short (although I think I have more play time on Remember Me)…

The Guardian had a fabulous write-up recently on women in video games. The Mary Sue also had an article on selling to women. My theory is that our game companies (except maybe Square with Lightning in the latest Final Fantasy games) have failed to recognize that women want the same things men want–we want cool games, we want strong characters with some kind of guiding strengths and compass, and we want them to have similar body parts to our own. We want to be excited to let our daughters play video games.

For the record, Aubri usually doesn’t like watching me play the more gritty games–they aren’t colorful enough for her. But the sound track and voice acting for this one are compelling enough to keep her attention in my lap.

Now, on the actual relationship part of this… I really have to portion out my gaming time because Jamie hates it when I spend hours playing video games. If Aubri will play with me, though, it really helps. Maybe this is part of the reason fewer women play hardcore games–their spouse expects them to be taking care of everything at home instead of playing games. Thoughts?

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4 thoughts on “Relationships and Video Games And Women in Both

  1. fae713 says:

    I think part of the problem isn’t necessarily that there’s the expectation that women do more of the housework so much as the fact that it’s still not societally acceptable for them to play much if at all. I would say that there are a lot more female gamers than game reviews would indicate but they just don’t talk about it. That and they are expected to “grow out of it” when they get a family because games are for young people with no responsibilities. Unless you’re a man playing the sports games or Halo. Then it’s okay.

    On the other hand, you’ve got me intrigued in playing Remember Me now. I like me some puzzle games more than shoot-em-ups. I may have to look into actually trying it out. Once I finish my Zelda games that is.

    • kseibert says:

      This is part martial battle, part puzzle and keeping track of where you are going… Also, I’m thinking there may be a big surprise twist in the plot soon, but I have yet to actually finish the game…

  2. sirrka says:

    I’m not a big video gamer, I prefer table-top games, so take this with a grain of salt, but do you know what the percentage of women is in the video gaming/dev/marketing area? Maybe the game industry markets to men more because there are few to no women in the industry itself. dunno. i do know that when “feminist frequency” tweeted the fact that there were no games at all being released this year that had a female protagonist, that she got viciously, verbally attacked by gamers. it was pretty ugly. Male gamers don’t seem to want to share. “This is MY wet-dream environment and I don’t want any realism injected into it.” As to your last statement, someone has to keep the place clean…:) Maybe some/most women are more connected to reality, or have an ethic that says, “I can play after…. Not all of us are like Clara in The Guild. (Although she is my fave)….Just my meanderings, take it or leave it…

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