Tropes vs. Women's first episode goes live

The first episode of Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Series has gone live. In it, Sarkeesian takes on the Damsel in Distress cliche throughout classic games: tracing its roots from arcade titles, to its strong presence in Nintendo's Mario and Zelda franchises, to its resurgence in HD remakes.

Sarkeesian's Kickstarter for the project concluded in June 2012 after raising almost $160,000--more than 25 times her initial goal. The project is finally coming to fruition despite rancor from some corners of the gaming community.


  • Boonehams - March 11, 2013 6:55 a.m.

    I can't wait to see if she covers Metroid: Other M. Even people that I know who don't self-identify as "feminist" thought the game's tone towards gender was problematic. One point I would've made, and maybe she makes it in a later video, is that the "Damsel in Distress" trope persists because some game developers don't like taking risks. The trope was implemented for Donkey Kong because of the influences it used--nothing can really be done about that. Then they came out with Mario Bros. (no "Super") without a damsel in distress and it didn't do as well. Then Super Mario Bros. has a damsel in distress and BAM--gangbusters. I'm not saying the games were successful BECAUSE of the damsel in distress, but game developers can sometimes be scared to go outside of the norm and venture into unknown territory. It's best to just repeat what's been successful before and be safe.
  • Rub3z - March 9, 2013 9:27 p.m.

    So... wait... is the famous (infamous?) Anita Sarkeesian lady-person that some gamers have gotten all up in arms about on her views towards games and the game industry with regard to its marginalization of women? I genuinely enjoyed the entire video, and she made some great, interesting points. She's not even ugly either... she doesn't seem at all like some stereotypical, ugly-faced blowhard feminist that I've seen some people paint her as. I mean, she seems like a level-headed, reasonable, straightforward, nice person. No wonder gamers and people on the Internet have such nasty things to say about her, then. God forbid a woman on the internet have something thoughtful to provide for discussion. I'm sure I could make a sound bet that if this video and other videos like it had the voiceovers replaced with those of a man, and had a man stand in her place, then everyone would jump on board and be agreeable with the topic presented. Or just type the words "faggot" and "gay" on the comments... Yeah, what the hell was I thinking, there's hardly any reasonable people on the internet at all.
  • LordZarlon - March 9, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    I see no problem with what Anita said. She's a woman. She wants strong female protagonists. I'm a man. I want strong male protagonists. I enjoy many games that have the damsel in distress trope and frankly I have no problem with it. It also enjoy games with strong female protagonists. The Metroid series is my favorite and Super Metroid is my favorite game of all time. It never hurts to get a different point of view.
  • lovebump - March 8, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    this was pretty much damn you miyamoto it's all your fault you misogynistic pig... blah, blah. i played many of the games that were featured on this video growing up and let me tell you that " oh this makes woman look weak" was the last thing that was running through my mind while playing those games.
  • FemJesse - March 8, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    I'm sick of hearing so called feminists spouting inequality as if it's law. If you really want to advocate equality you should advocate female gun ownership and CCW, and women's right to kill those who would attack her or her family. I guarantee you would see a decrease in people acting on the tendencies you complain about. Though you must admit, if Peach had a piece on her, Super Mario Bros. would have been a very different (and short) story. ;) This is a very western view on women's rights and women all around the world have it much worse than "Video games make us look weak, weh weh.."
  • ultimatepunchrod - March 8, 2013 5:52 a.m.

    I enjoyed the video. I like hearing about game history, even if I already knew a lot of what was presented here (from Gamesradar no less). It was kind of disheartening to see that comments and ratings were disabled for the video. Good job game community.
  • michael-j-alexander - March 8, 2013 5:26 a.m.

    I'm impressed. While I don't agree with everything she's saying, the response here is pretty level headed and civil. You guys should try Kotaku.
  • 8bitBaby - March 7, 2013 8:23 p.m.

    quite a bit of miyamoto blaming in there. heh. i do find it a little odd that they would choose to run a 30 min show on YT in this day and age. i don't mind, but it's a little weird when it could have made a stronger impact if it were in smaller more digestible chunks. the thing about those old games you have to keep in mind is they were created by older japanese game devs, and japan has a long running history of misogyny and sexism against women. I'm not excusing it, just saying paying attention to their culture and history helps put things into perspective, even if it is warped.
  • Sinosaur - March 7, 2013 10:26 p.m.

    I have to agree, most shows on YouTube tend toward 10 minute episodes, sometimes pressing 15 minutes, but 10 appears to have been located as a sweet spot. And there is definitely some need to talk about the subject, but having one person talking to you four 30 minutes straight (with some visual aids) makes it drag a bit.
  • GOD - March 7, 2013 8:20 p.m.

    She had some valid points, but at some parts it felt like she was about to call Miyamoto a misogynist. Yes Princess Peach keeps getting used as the damsel in distress in all the core Mario games, but that's because that's the only way you can have a core Mario game! Mario games are not built on complex stories, and so to go along with the straightforward platforming they have a very basic story. If Princess Peach didn't drive the story then there would be no story because Mario really has no characterization. As for Zelda, I was kind of bugged how she didn't want to admit when Zelda took an active role. Like at the end of Twilight Princess (the game where you also are accompanied by another princess who takes an active role the whole way through) you are relegated to the guy who steers the horse while Zelda shoots light arrows at Ganondorf. Not to mention that in Skyward Sword you are led to believe that you have to save Zelda but instead find out that she has been on her own adventure to seal away the evil the entire time you've been looking for her. So anyways, when are we going to start the campaign to have women sign up for the draft as well and be equals to men?.... We wouldn't want them to feel dis-empowered just because the US doesn't think it needs them as soldiers. Of course I jest but on the other side of the coin you don't see women calling for the draft that excludes them to be removed either.
  • Sinosaur - March 7, 2013 10:34 p.m.

    The draft is an outdated system that only still exists because it would take too much effort to get rid of it (and idiots would shout about how you're 'weakening the military.') We've been at war for over a decade and we haven't bothered to use the draft once, because the moment someone tries, public opinion would completely squash them. So, instead we get to have a system where half the population is expected to send in a pointless form to be filed away for nobody to ever actually use. Failure to sign up for the draft is breaking the law, but the law also says you can't punish anyone for not doing it. The point is: we have an entirely volunteer military, so whether or not women also have to file a pointless card doesn't mean jack squat.
  • GOD - March 7, 2013 11:51 p.m.

    I'm well aware of how unlikely it would be for the draft to ever actually be used again, but my point was that it's just as much a symbol of men being shown as the protectors of women who won't be sent to fight as the damsel in distress trope. Her argument was not only about the use of the trope, but even how games like Sonic CD were being re-released and exposing new people to the the trope from older media. Every guy knows that he's supposed to sign up for the draft at 18 and every women either knows that they are exempt because of their gender or don't even know it exists. If you go to the draft website the first thing it asks is your gender and if you click female it immediately redirects you. The system is pointless but it's just as much a symbol as Pauline in Donkey Kong.
  • Sinosaur - March 8, 2013 5:27 a.m.

    I don't disagree, sexism isn't just a straight forward thing that provides negative consequences. There are things that are expected of men that give advantage to women, because everyone has their predefined roles. They're still frequently based in some sort of negative preconception, like that men are the only ones who can handle fighting. One half hour video can't really cover everything, though, this one apparently didn't even finish the subject of damsels in distress. It's goal is to try to start helping people think critically about things, not necessarily to condemn every use of the trope so much as how frequently it's used. At least, that's what I think, I could be completely wrong about the creator's intentions.
  • somerandomchap - March 7, 2013 7:34 p.m.

    Why is this being posted on a game site?
  • BladedFalcon - March 7, 2013 8:09 p.m.

    ...Because it revolves entirely about tropes used in videogames, thus it's related to videogames. Same reason why every time a senator or a political person opens their mouth regarding videoames, every gaming site posts about it.
  • somerandomchap - March 7, 2013 9:53 p.m.

    Yeah but politicians and such can sway public opinion. This is just crap.
  • CrashmanX - March 7, 2013 10:29 p.m.

    I.... what. This doesn't have to do with politics.
  • BladedFalcon - March 7, 2013 10:35 p.m.

    ...Riiiiight, because what politicians say is never crap. *rolls eyes* Also, you just made it clear that you only have an issue because YOU personally don't like it. That's a pretty weak basis to judge what and what doesn't fit for a site.
  • ultimatepunchrod - March 8, 2013 5:54 a.m.

  • Sinosaur - March 7, 2013 6:21 p.m.

    It would be nice if it was a little punchier. With the delivery given, and the length of the video, it felt like it could have worked just as well as a written article. Heck, I swear I've seen articles nearly exactly like this on GR.

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