Wednesday, January 11, 2006

On Which I Get All Critical


I've been spending quite a bit of time with Dragon Quest VIII...it takes me back to the first Lunar on the Sega CD. As said previously, it's great: a big, expansive, time sucker, but now I have to sweat the small stuff.

*SPOILER ALERT*
Last night Jessica went all evil. So I progressed through the story, putting all exploration on hold, just to get her back. I was surprised to find myself actually upset by the fact that I was left to leading around three male characters (with one who is annoyingly enough an archetype of the "Lady's Man")--my token female green and gone. The thing is this--when intially playing DQVIII I was pissed that Jessica's breasts had to visibly bounce when she would cast magic. They're huge. Nothing new, I know, in videogames, but still, ugh, my eyes. Then came her costume changes: A cute little dancer's outfit, with more skin, but less bounce. A bunny outfit--fishnets, the puffy tail. (Which makes me interested to learn more about Playboy in Japan.) Costume changes are fun but what about the Hero? Why don't I get to see a little bunny tail on Yangus enormous end when I equip it on him? What about some skin on Angelo who is covered from shoulders to heels?

Granted, I'm not done with the game. A costume change for any of the male characters might come my way, and if it does, I'll be happy.

The thing about Jessica is this: despite the objectification, she rocks. Definately a strong female character that could make Lara Croft weep. It's too bad that the only other main woman character in the game is a NPC who is cursed to be a horse (ha, the feminist symbolism in that, the princess as a woman who is a "beast of burden.") But at least she's a great character with lots of...development, regardless of gender. I know that the writers for this game counted on the player being upset that she was gone for awhile because she's such a great character. I wonder if they knew as well that it would make female gamers frustrated over losing their most identifiable player. The one with the ponytails, larges breasts and "Sex Appeal" as a leveling-up skill.

This all leads me to another thing: If the player is supposed to indentify with the main character of the game, how come we don't get to choose the gender? This way, Jessica's character design wouldn't have bothered me so much. And related to that, why are there so few RPGs where the main character is a woman? ( Which is why I love Xenosaga so.)

Jessica and her "va-va-voom". Lifted from www.rpgland.com.

1 comment:

Carey Martell said...

This is a great article. I always thought she was also a pretty strong female character, which is unusual for the DQ series. But that is a positive direction they are taking things!

Anyway I noticed you are a fan of fantasy and RPG videogames, so thought maybe you'd be interested in RPG Fanatics Gamer Community. Maybe you'd like to contribute some of your own writing there. Also I'd really appreciate if maybe you could put a link to the site in your sidebar? Thanks!