Monday, March 12, 2012

To the Future - Mass Effect leading the way

Thought this article had a very nice point, that I've been trying to put words on myself while playing it. It's short so go ahead and read it, but the summary of it is: the gender of your main character - Shepard - has little to no effect on the actual story and gameplay. There's a general limitation on who you can romance, which is quite realistic since not every person of every gender will throw themselves at you. Other than that your gender is basically never mentioned. In a future where people run around with biotic and tech implants left and right, complex AI's bordering on independent life, and fibers you can weave into your skin to make you sturdier, there's no reason why the gender of your soldiers would matter at all, rather you would want the right minds at the right places. Shepard has the mind of someone who gets shit done at any cost, and who can inspire people to do their best, and so she's a commander.

One can argue about the average boob size or the greatly uncommon and revealing dress of a certain news anchor and the frequency of female "dancers" but absence of male, but these are details. There are many things one can complain about in a game, but then again, there's a lot more one can complain about in reality. All I ever wanted out of games, as a female gamer and as a human being who believe we must abandon prejudice to grow as a species, was to see these minds in female bodies, because I know that they exist in real life already. There are women out there who make real commander Shepards, and while they still suffer from the limitations of their biology, there is no reason why that wouldn't be fixed in the future - why that wouldn't be one of the great things about the future. A world where what you are born as put even fewer limitations on what you can become.

Something that someone showed me recently made me think along these lines: If art and culture are to guide us into the future, if we are to learn morals and values and ascend through the works of Shakespear and Jane Austen, then that should be true of all creative accomplishments. Artwork, movies, and now in modern times, games. So here's to BioWare guiding us into the future, by showing us a possible future where it doesn't matter if you're black or white, girl or boy, a saint or a ruthless bastard. All that matters is that you get shit done, stand up for yourself and what is important to you, and are prepared to sacrifice everything if it comes to that.


Riklurt said...

"Art is a lie that brings us nearer to the truth." - Pablo Picasso

Kristin said...

Sometimes I wonder if I'm blind, or possibly content, towards gender bias against me. I can't say I've felt mistreated because of my gender in any way since middle school.

When I played Mass Effect I didn't reflect upon the equality between (human) men and women at all. It just seems so... natural (unlike the complete absence of Turian women).

But this makes me wonder if I am just playing along and accepting the role society wants me to play without questioning it?

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