Imagine you are in a zombie apocalypse (It’s a very popular theme for a video game these days). Regardless of your gender, as a survivor, I can imagine your life would be in peril pretty often. In fact, I would say that given the circumstances, you might even be in distress.
Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency in her tweet referred to one of Dying Light’s characters, Jade, who (SPOILERS), rescues the main character James Amir in the first five minutes of the game. Do I not understand the point? Is it because I’m a white male? Maybe I am forever imprisoned to my feeble white male mind to never understand the enlightening wisdom of feminists like Sarkeesian. My point is that I don’t get where she is getting this perception. Chris Bechtloff at Reaxxion.com got pretty riled up over this and called upon Dying Light’s developer, Techland, to respond to Sarkeesian:
“…stop letting this sort of slander go unanswered. Something as simple as a tweet saying “What do you care? You don’t even like video games.” would have been all the burn needed. Is that too much to ask to defend this game you’ve poured yourself into, as well as your customers?”
Let’s say that Jade is dumb and frequently unaware of the dangers she faces. She’s constantly in need of rescue from James. Her survival is hopeless without the help of a man. He protects her, feeds her, and shelters her. She also throws a wink James’ way every now and then, commenting on how strong he is and how she could never survive this long without him. One redditor even offered to make a mod that would change the Dying Light storyline to make it more acceptable to feminists (complete satire, of course). That’s not what her character is at all, but bare with me.
She’s still a character despite her flaws. Even if Jade was what Sarkeesian makes her out to be, that would still be okay. It’s her flaws that make her a character. But we could never have that because it would offend someone. We have to be politically correct in our games. We can’t have black people subjected to racism, we can’t have anyone criticized for their religion, and we certainly can’t have any women in danger. Actually, that sounds a lot like Bioshock: Infinite.
Is that racist? Oh, you bet your hardback of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn it is! Would the people of Columbia (the city Bioshock: Infinite is set) persecute your religion? I believe they would. You even have Elizabeth who is the biggest “damsel in distress” of them all. She’s locked up high in a tower by a bad guy and guarded by a giant mechanical bird. She is constantly in need of rescue by your character, Booker (a man).
How is this acceptable? This game should have been banned from any existence, much less be allowed to be played on any popular gaming console! But that’s not right. Bioshock is a game, a great game. Elizabeth has flaws. The people of Columbia have flaws. Jade has flaws. James Avir has flaws. Zombies have flaws. That’s what makes these games great. There is struggle and distress. I hope that developers ignore this garbage and continue to make great games based on the vision they have for their loyal audience. You do you, Techland. It’s 2015.