Thursday, 9 January 2014

'Better than Bechdel'

Feel free to skip this, as it's nothing new if you've played the game already. For curiosity's sake I wanted to go over the proposed characteristics in this post and see how Long Live The Queen would hold up. So unless you're interested in that sort of thing, there's nothing to see here.

That said, how DO we score?

Gamers commonly refer to a female character in a way that highlights they are a female variant of a male character. If there is no named female character, these points are still lost.

I've never seen anyone refer to Elodie in such a way.

The most prominent Female Character in the game wasn’t important to the plot. The plot could have happened without them.

Elodie is the plot.

Prominent Female Characters in the game are primarily there as kidnap victims, general victims, prizes to be won or healers/ non combatants in combat games.

You could frame the story as one in which Elodie is a victim, since the bad ends involve her dying and you're trying not to let that happen, but you could say that about almost all video game protagonists. She's never kidnapped and she definitely does fight.

Charlotte falls into more of the traditional girly role, although she's less distressed than she seems to be in most people's first playthroughs. Several other female characters never have any of those traits at all.

Female Characters don’t feel like they might have believably picked out their own outfit. To clarify, skimpy outfits are still okay as long as it fits in a narrative context and seems easily justifiable. (Example: a woman going undercover as a prostitute would likely choose a revealing outfit of her own accord).

Women Wearing “Boob Sclupted Armour”. These points are lost in a non Armour game if women are wearing needlessly sexualised outfits without narrative purpose.

Anyone who wants to argue with me about the tutu has clearly not watched enough ballet.

There is the magical girl outfit, which is a little on the skimpy side (for those who haven't seen it - midriff-bare and very-short-skirt, with high stockings). I have honestly heard a lot more complaints about it from male players uncomfortable with seeing a young girl dressed like that than I have from female ones (I don't have a large pool of very young female playtesters to draw on; the only comment I have specifically heard from a young girl about that outfit was 'Pretty'.)

I don't think there's any real problem along these lines with the rest of the outfits?

A) Female is a never selectable playable character option.
B) Female is a secondary playable character option
C) Every playthrough requires you to play as a female character at some point, but the vast majority of the game you play as a male character.

Elodie's female, you don't have any other option.

Previous Bechdel test involving two important female characters talking to each other about something other than a man

I watched an LPer get slightly exasperated at the point where he was trying to voice four female characters having a conversation together at once (and it wasn't about men). While your playthrough might not get that particular scene, you can't avoid having women talking to each other.

A female playable lead is restricted to melee weapons if they take part in combat. If men take part in combat but women do not, these points are also lost.

Elodie has a range of options for attacking people: swords, staves, bows, and BLOWING YOU UP WITH FIRE.

No female character can be described using words that are antonyms to Pristine. (grizzled, battle scared, flawed, manipulative, evil ect). Basically this requires them to be a flawed character, without relying on stereotypical female flaws (Vulnerable, emotional ect).

There are manipulative and evil women. Not a lot of grizzled or scarred, though, other than by age and having had a lot of children (hi, Arisse).

Uses Gendered Identifiers prominently to denote Female Character(s)

In the context that this was meant, no.

A Female Protagonist is not prominently featured on the game box art (specifically the front cover).

Elodie is prominently featured.

In a game where you choose your protagonist gender, Male is the Default. Side note, you also loose these three points if you have no choice but to play the whole game male.

Again, she's your only character.

No Female character, portrayed as straight and Cisgender, enjoys a stereotypically Male pursuit or, if they do, it’s made into a big deal.

What exactly counts as a stereotypically male pursuit in a fantasy setting?

Well, Elodie can joust and fence if she chooses to and no-one in game thinks this is at all unusual. Several players have been upset by the idea of a young girl being challenged to a duel, though.

A Cisgender Woman does not at any point appear as an enemy/ villain . If they are an enemy or villain, it’s for reasons related to their gender or the actions of a man.

Depending on your playthrough you may or may not encounter them, but there are at least two major female villains/antagonists and their reasons are not about their gender or the actions of a man. (Not counting the Queen of Shanjia who only goes after you if you kill her husband.)

The most prominent female character’s story is highly dependent on that of the most prominent male character.

Elodie's poor dad is often considered by players to be the most useless video game father in existence - he does very little in many playthroughs except sigh and go along with whatever you say. The story is definitely about her, not him.

The game is a spin off from a series that features primarily Male protagonists.


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