I Hadn’t Even Heard of It and Now I’m Lost (GamerGate) – an Intro

So, I was doing my usual morning read through of news sites and checking for other teaching jobs when I came across a link to an article from Think Progress.org about Felicia Day. Didn’t realize that was the name of the gal from The Guild. (Which I have watched). Then again, while I can find Patrick Stewart in pretty much any work (and, more recently Micheal Shanks), I’m not great with tracking actors to roles if they aren’t Patrick Stewart or Daniel Jackson.

Keep in mind, I also navigate by landmarks rather than street names – something that drives my wife and father nuts. My brain just doesn’t work that way.

Anyway, this was the first time I had ever heard the term GamerGate though it is something that I have been thinking about recently and did not know it. Now that I have a daughter, and my video games, I go back and consider the roles that many of the females play in some of the games that I play.

The most interesting conversation, however, came from my wife. She got me Hyrule Warriors for my birthday. We have been playing Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi games ever since we discovered them in college. They are simple enough games – run around and beat up 100’s of minions until the boss appears. Then, beat it up to. There’s a story to the games as well, but that’s largely ignored in favor of grabbing up our favorite character and slamming through hundreds of enemies as if they were soft cheese.

The character selection in Hyrule Warriors is limited compared to Dynasty Warriors/Warriors Orochi – kind of a given since one is based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms (didn’t know that until my friend pointed it out) and one is based on The Legend of Zelda  which, generally, has a fairly limited cast of non-background characters (in general – Link, Zelda, and Gannon/Gannondorf). Anyway, we were playing and we had finally gotten to the point in the story where Zelda was unlocked for play in the story mode and my wife grabbed her up (After accusing me of hogging Link. It wasn’t my fault that 1P always got him by default) and took her and her rapier out in to the field.

We played through the level with my wife slaughtering far more bobobkins and Moblins than I and my sword had. At the end of the level she says to me (the following conversation is relative to my memory. I apologize for inaccuracies) – “I didn’t know Zelda was such a badass.”

I reply, “Oh yeah. Ever since Ocarina of Time she’s been given some kind of major combat. She was Shiek (something my wife learned from Hyrule Warriors (spoiler alert: She’s also Shiek in Ocarina of Time)) who totally managed to hide out and fight during the 7 year war; she was Tetra in Wind Waker – a Pirate who resisted Ganondorf – even in Twilight Princess where Ganondorf took her over following the Twilight Conflict she was one of the most deadly boss fights. She’s been BA since the N64.”

“Oh. I thought she was like the Mario Princess and you always had to save her.”

“Not Zelda. Except maybe in Twilight Princess, and she fought against Ganondorf the whole time. And then blasted him in the face with the Light Arrows in the final boss fight while you fought on horseback. it was a team effort. And she was pissed.”

“Oh.”

I then went on to explain the Triforce and how it worked – Zelda couldn’t be weak if she had the Triforce of Wisdom; all of the Triforces respond only to those who have strong character and particularly to those who match it’s particular trait. You can’t be a weakling and wield a Triforce.

Which, as I read about GamerGate (which is a weird name anyway) and I had to go back and think – is this a real thing? And is it as poor and dramatic as the web seems to make it out to be.

The only conclusion I can come to, after examining my own gaming library and experiences with gaming, I have to say yes.

Ultimately, video games are about a narrative and an experience and, in both cases, females are, in general getting the soft spot.  While there are a few exceptions (I would argue that Zelda is one of them), I tend to agree with the controversy.

Starting Monday and each day next week (except Friday. Friday will be a book review as normal), I’m going to post a series of pieces, with some research even, on my opinions and findings in examining the GamerGate with some conclusions and arguments. I think this is a fascinating topic and one that needs to be examined and discussed. I hope you all enjoy it.

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