Sometimes I get so caught up with pointing out the faults in video games that I forget how great some other games are. This week, I want to pay homage to two of my favorite games that steer away from the problem of sexualization.
One of my favorite franchises is the Assassin’s Creed series. It was first released in 2007, and follows Desmond Miles, a pretty cool guy with a line of prominent assassins in his family.
The first thing I love about these games is they are pretty darn interesting. You get to play in the Middle East, Italy and early America. The best part is getting to climb walls and kill people stealthily. I’m a klutzy girl, of course I want to feel like an assassin!
The women in this game are portrayed nicely. You aren’t forced to demean them with unnecessary violent or sexual acts, and the women that are involved in the story have essential roles.
There are several other Assassin’s Creed games, including Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation for Playstation Vita. It featured the first female protagonist of the series, Aveline de Grandpré — an African-French assassin in 18th-century New Orleans. She was even ranked as the sixth greatest heroine in the video game industry by Complex Magazine in 2013.
One of my new favorite games that I have been playing is Mass Effect 2, released in 2010. I’m not usually into games centered out of this world, but it’s drawn me in and made me fall in love. You play as Commander Shepard, and you can choose his or her sex. Of course I chose a woman. You design her to look however you want. It isn’t a game designer creating the ideal badass women you play as — you get your choice.
While I’m not too far into this game yet, I’ve noticed the large amount of women in the game. Several of Shepard’s teammates are ladies, including my favorites Miranda Lawson and Jack.
Miranda is one of the original teammates, and is often portrayed with a strong-willed personality. She’s not a pushover. Jack, however, was recruited from a prison ship. Before you meet her, all the characters assumed her to be a man for the acts she had committed. She’s bald and covered with tattoos, and has a horrific history of rape and violence.
The important thing about all of these women is they actually have complex personalities. So often, women are portrayed as busty ditzes. These women have histories and story lines that draw you in like a movie character, and keep your attention throughout the whole game. While their stories might be rich, complex and hard to hear, it shows that they’re real, and not just a thrown-in character.
Media so often portray what “ideal women” ought to be — beautiful, strong and willing while also obeying men. When there is a strong-willed woman, she gets labeled a “bitch.” They try to define a perfect woman, but there isn’t a definition for that — everyone is perfect in their own way. And that’s my corny message of the day.
I appreciate Mass Effect for giving us a more accurate portrayal of women. There are all kinds of people in the world, and we deserve to be depicted in all of our glories. We aren’t just boobs and a butt — we have brains, personalities, feelings, interests and goals.
Sophie Kruse is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. What games should she play next? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.