I was thinking the other day about Chun Li in the Street Fighter games. She was really a rather breakthrough character, in that she was the first one (so far as I know) to be a hero rather than damsel. Moreover, she was not created as an inferior fighter to the males. Of the 8 original characters, she was the fastest fighter (hence the one I was the best at till I got to play Vega.)
Contrast this with video games in the early 80s. Any females would either be nonexistant or objects to be rescued–a trend that continued well after Chun Li in some cases. I never thought of women as lessers, as a child. I know some people have strong female role models in their real life, but I didn’t, and not everyone else did either. Sometimes stories are all you have to go by.
So how important do you think this is anyway? For all those kids who have no other strong woman in their world, how much difference do you think a video game character can make?
By the way, I think presenting women as sex objects (such as Dead or Alive 3 where there are more female fighters than males, and most of them expose their panties with every move) creates its own problems. How important is it that more female characters be presented as important for whoever they are, and whatever they do, rather than how hot they are?
Oh, and outside of fighting games, if you played as Princess Toadstool in Super Mario 2, her only useful trait was that her dress let her ‘hover’ in the air. Fantastic.
Koreaguy: Good points, but is promoting a female character whose only redeeming characteristic that she kicks ass the best kind of female role model? (Particularly when she has to be HOT and kick ass.)
Robinson: That’s kind of my point. If video games teach boys the only measure of worth is physical superiority, and then they realize in the real world women usually aren’t the combat equals of men, how has this helped them get any sort of positive impression of women?