Super Princess Peach as a feminist statement or something

November 7, 2005 at 4:14 am Leave a comment

There’s a bit of a rucus brewing over on the new games journalism board about wether mario brothers is sexist. After all, Princess Peach spends most of her time humming Milli Vanilli tunes in the confines of some Lizard’s dungeon unless it’s all some weird dream Mario has on a lunch break i.e. SM2. But my point was, the nintendo aka famicom was an inherently un-ideological machine. Revolutions often come from the middle class and the nintendo didn’t have the resources to make depth of characterization an easy reality. It was after all limited to depicting people as low res cartoons, and while it was a step up from the Atari of old (wow Americans made video game machines? jesus… when did that happen oh wait…) the constraints put on the original makers made concerns such as feminism and environmentalism to require creative means to implement. You could really try to make a beautiful game on the nintendo or restage the Tianmen Square Massacre too. But games were more about pixelated fun then making your characters well rounded and even now that hours of dialogue can be punched onto a dvd in seconds we still get… women in leather pants with guns… which is better?
    But what do you say when the game machine isn’t just middle class, but is down right arty reinventing the way you play games-esque like the nintendo ds? Super Princess Peach is hardly going to make new games feminists happy. Ms. Peach is still as dainty as it comes, you control her emotions making her cry, sing and fly, angry, and finally heal herself. It’s not a bad set list and certianly makes the game more compelling than SM was. She’s also got a little slide maneuver, can walk on water, and has a submarine in there somewhere. Ms. Peach might be dainty, but she certianly fullfills a man’s shoes in this game. SP is probably the best platformer Nintendo has put out in sometime. It’s level reminds of SM3, but Peach’s additional abilities, say the sliding and the emotions give the game a different pace. While Mario seemed to be rushing, Peach is built around the concept of ruminating on each level. You spend a lot of time exploring… looking for Toads who you release at which point Ms. Peach storyboard princess gasps in glee. Boss fights are a joy with toggling between abilites being essential to moving on. It’s a hard fight (especially against the centipede boss), but their not to challenging. The game is paced perfectly, remakes Super Mario World perfectly at times, what can I say. I like her.
    On the note of women in video games, I think the best option is for women to defy “stereotypes” and get involved. Being an activist or complaing on web boards is fine, and I can understand people being upset about how people of their designation are depicited. I’ve seen some weird depcitions of westeners in Korea for instance I don’t exactly like, but what changes things isn’t just protesting it’s making something better. The games industry is still trying for that holy grail: a good “girl” game. Millions are there for the first crew to catch the imagination of women the world over. Maybe Princess Peach could get driven off the boards by a better version of women?

technorati tags: games

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