Vidjagame Apocalypse- Walk Like a Zombie

This week’s episode of Vidjagame Apocalypse is hungry for brains. We talk about zombies, the things hurting the games industry and we delve into the forums.

Question of the Week

Do you think it would affect your enjoyment of a game if the “damsel in distress” character is anything other than an attractive woman? What instances can you think of where you rescue an unattractive character or a male character who you had an actual emotional attachment to? Stopping bad guys from killing strangers isn’t enough.

 

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42 thoughts on “Vidjagame Apocalypse- Walk Like a Zombie

  1. Yusss! I have some material to run to tomorrow! As for the question, hell no. I think spelunky had it right by letting you change who you saved. I’d love to play a reversed legend of zelda or at least give me a pug to save dammit!

  2. Thats a hard one tbh, but the first one that pops into my mind is Otacon from Metal Gear Solid. I know that on the surface the relationship between Snake and Otacon is certainly ” friends with benefits” e.g. cuddling softly in bed : P But I think the way Otacon is written (especially in the first game) you feel like (I felt like) you just need to look after him, like hes a good guy caught up in a horrible place. I know for my first playthrough of MGS I saved Otacon over Meryl. To me Meryl was kinda generic, albeit cliche. Anyway the Otacon end is totally worth it at the end when it comes to that awkward snowmobile ride!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqM2bV7xXyA

  3. I hope we get to hear how the government had turned us into midless zombies, from the mouths of Grim and Brett, especially how government sponsored milk has comletely rotted our brains,so we need to eat the brains of other people.

  4. This might actually be part of the “bestest bros” category, but…when Adol Christin in YS is sent to Darm Tower to find and rescue a big guy named Dogi, only to have himself rescued from a prison by Dogi, who happens to be proficient at punching walls down with his bare hands. They become fast friends and get into all manner of shenanigans over the course of the next 5-6 games.

  5. You all are awsome for playing Mr. Bones music during the second segment! Does he count as a zombie by the way?

  6. As a parent, I often get choked up in games that involve the death or kidnapping of a child.

    I don’t own a PS3, but I was heavily interested in “Heavy Rain” because of its opening sequences. I did find the “JASON!” bit in the mall annoying, but it’s probably not too far-removed from how someone might actually react in real life to the same situation.

    While not a video game, the opening scene where Winona is giving birth to Jim Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek movie while George (the father) *SPOILER* dies a horrible death defending them still gives me goosebumps. Once you have children and assuming you’re a good parent, things like this tend to stand out

    In short, I don’t think a different “damsel” would affect my play experience, especially if the storyline and writing were superb enough to connect me to the character I’m trying to rescue. I could have given two you know what’s about Sylvia, the “damsel” featured in Kung Fu for the NES…assuming that you could call that eight-bit mess of a woman beautiful.

  7. I think the best example of a play on the damsel in distress trope is Spelunky where you can set it to random. This means you can end with a dude dressed up as woman or a dog instead of a woman that needs saving. In that game they make you want to save the person because doing so gives you an extra life and you really need that in Spelunky because the game is BALLS HARD!

  8. Dang it, for some reason I got really let down when it was revealed special guest star from GamesRadar was Hank the Tank Gilbert. I was really hoping for some Hollander Cooper or Tom Magrino.

  9. Being gay the damsel doesn’t do much for me. Attractiveness in general isn’t much of a motivator apart from the inborn human attraction to attractiveness. I care about characters. I couldn’t care less about saving the people in Dead Rising but I want the side-characters in Dead Island and The Walking Dead to live and will fight to keep them alive. It’s not the hot characters I remember. I always remember Ellie from Dead Space 2 because of what a badass she is.

  10. The mission from Uncharted 3 where you have to save Sully from Marlowe on the barge. The relationship between Sully and Drake had been built over two games prior, so when he was in danger, my motives to save him wasn’t purely because I had to, or his sex appeal. Sure, I’d love his mustache to rub up and down my hard, tanned body and tickle my barely wiped asshole, but the reason why I wanted Sully to be safe was his array of jokes, his shared love for treasure hunting and his general cigar-smokin’ badassedness.

  11. I care about the character as a whole in any media. My enjoyment of a game (or any medium for that matter) is based more on how I feel about the entirety of a character not just their appearance. Sometimes how they look is an intrical design desicion for their character (like the aspects of Elizabeth and Clementine mentioned on the show) but other times it’s much less important (if at all). The Mass Effect series covers the gambit pretty well I feel because it contains everything from attractive women (of different kinds), to alien women, to alien dudes, to robots (including completely foreign looking ones) and I cared about almost all of them (excluding a couple humans who should be the most relatable).

    As for Elizabeth though, I think Dan Bull put it best because she takes care of you more than vice versa:

    And I’m telling ya, Elizabeth isn’t a damsel in distress
    She’s the damn best wingman to ever don a dress
    To be honest, we’ve loads of things
    In common, we both can bring an opening
    We’re probably closer twins
    Than Robert and Rosalind
    I throw my grapple and aim
    To blow the back of your brain out
    And contemplate on why we play those irrational games
    My main foe is Zachary Hale Comstock
    The day his reign begun, a fundamental bomb dropped
    Columbia’s on lockdown
    Every day they’re destroying somebody, so what now?
    Send for Daisy Fitzroy
    The rich get fatter, while the slums are getting hungrier
    It’s a matter of time before they pull the rug from under you
    We’ll make your money disappear from you like a conjurer
    And overthrow the fundies that are plundering Columbia

    And the songbird sings…
    (It’s Infinite)

    So, I know this is absurd and sounds bananas
    But have you observed the way they worship founding fathers?
    That’s why the Vox Populi have hurtled out the darkness
    Emerged, about to start to turn around and clout this heartlessness
    If this disc is flying, you’ll be dying like you’re Hyacinth
    Hirelings or higher things
    Vox Populi’s guys or Jeremiah Fink’s
    If they pile in on me, then they’re receive undying violence
    I’ll lynch the pious kings with the silent wire strings
    From the tiny violins that won’t be crying when they’re lying singed
    Ignite the tinder, set the sky alight in flights of cinders
    And let freedom ring inside your cries like the singer
    That’s like trying to hide your violent injuries, as if they’re minor things, by keeping just a tiny thimble on your finger
    One hand holds Vigors
    The other pulls triggers
    I’m a multi-tasking action man with a glass full of malt liquor
    Salt licker
    Rapture’s contraptions are fantastic
    But don’t exist yet, so that is how we pack Plasmids
    No need to hack gadgets
    The manner in which I battle a Handyman is akin to black magic
    My life’s a play where every act’s tragic

    And I’m telling ya, Elizabeth isn’t a damsel in distress / She’s the damn best wingman to ever don a dress

  12. In terms of damsel in distresses the damsel in question has to have some redeeming quality else its not going to work and physical beauty is just the easiest way to do this rather than having to develop deep and meaningful characters. So damsel in distresses are just a result of somewhat (not always) lazy design. That being said I don’t think that DiD’s are that great a motivation for games.

  13. I actually formed an emotional bond to Jackie Ma from Sleeping Dogs. He and the main character, Wei Shen, were childhood friends, who were at the time, “bout dat life”. Wei meets him in prison after Jackie gets caught in a drug bust, and they both reminisce and reconnect, before both being released. Throughout the game, you see that Jackie looks up to you, and becomes a exceptionally loyal friend, all the while having no idea that you are actually an undercover cop. There is a section near the climax of the game *SPOILER*…. where Big Smile Lee, a member of a rival gang, kidnaps Jackie and buries him alive on an island miles away from Hong Kong. That sets up a mission where you have to go and save your friend from a horrible death of suffocation. It was pretty fucking scary, and was effective because the writers did a very good job of setting up that emotional connection between Wei and Jackie, who was an overall nice and funny guy to be around. The subsequent events that occur between the two, *without spoiling* even further showcase how close you and Jackie became throughout the course of the game.

  14. No. In Telltale’s Walking Dead, the “damsel in distress” is a young girl. Many people had it as their game of 2012.

    While Tomb Raider does have a damsel in distress near the end *SPOILARZ*, the fact that you’re playing as a woman changes that dynamic.

    Likewise, while Jason Brody does save some female friends and helps the island’s native people, I would hardly call Far Cry 3 a “damsel in distress” game.

    Is it an overused trope? Yes. But are there games where it is not present? Yes.

    1. And now, after listening to the episode, I feel like an idiot because all but my Far Cry 3 example was used to illustrate their point. Balls.

  15. Not done with the cast yet though I am sure the rest is awesome. However as a heavy music aficionado I am APPALLED that It wasn’t mentioned that Mike Patton of Faith No More/Mr Bungle fame and a million other awesome bands does the voices of the infected in the Left4Dead series. Also responsible for the voice of the darkness as well as the anger sphere from Portal. Dude is one of the most unique and versatile vocalists around.

    I am not really appalled as all of his stuff is decidedly underground with the exception of Faith No More but regardless, more people should be aware of him.

  16. Absolutely does not have to be a girl, it merely has to be someone I care or am invested enough in emotionally to want to save. It can be a very young girl (Emily from Dishonored), a brother or family member (Far Cry 3, Assassin’s Creed II – although that doesn’t work out well), or it can even be f**king Batman (Batman Arkham City, the Catwoman sections). I just have to want to save them.

    In other words, not goddamned Princess Peach.

  17. The only thing worse than not being catered to is being catered to, not all straight men want the exact same thing either, games can barely motivate me to care about the beautiful damsels in distress, I imagine they’d fail equally as well with someone fat or ugly, in fact they’d probably be more endearing by sheer virtue of being different.

    I think maybe the question is just a bit overspecific, outside of comic relief there’s barely any unattractive characters period.

  18. Through the magical process sometimes known as “Good Writing” just about anything can be put in place of the damsel in distress role, even if it was a morbidly obese butch lesbian triceratops.

    It isn’t tried very often because like all animals, we naturally respond to children and whatever we deem attractive. That’s just biology.

    1. And when it comes to “unattractive” characters that I’ve been emotionally attached to, the best example that comes to mind is Midna from Twilight Princess. Over the course of the game she developed from a somewhat abrasive imp that makes fun of Link to what felt like a legitimate companion. When the game ended and she had to leave, I legitimately felt sad.

      I guess Otacon would fit this question as well, but he wasn’t really in that much distress after the halfway point of Metal Gear Solid. But then again, it’s hard not to love Snake’s husband with the amount of Metal Gear I’ve played.

      tl;dr – Midna had great character development and Otacon is Otacon

  19. Dirtpunk.

    A new genre of fiction set in a gritty dystopian society where artificial limbs are grown in gardens.

  20. Hank, I’m sorry, but you’re fucking wrong about Renegade Ops. It’s a top-down shooter with a driving dynamic, and it’s fucking awesome. I love you, but come on, don’t just write something off without playing it.

  21. As a sixteen year-old young man, I love nothing more than rescuing digital women and trying to find good angles for viewing up their skirts or down their shirts.

    But I respect it when writers can make a character that you actually WANT to save instead of HAVE to save. Jenny from The Darkness, Roman from GTA IV, and all the survivors in The Walking Dead are some of my favorite.

  22. When Henry said Stubbs was the only other game to use the Halo engine, I was about to say, “What about that Brute Force game?”. But after some quick research I found that to be just incorrect. Remember Brute Force? Man, what a pillar of mediocrity…

    Here’s my opinion on the question of the week:
    Whatever the goal may be in a game, it needs to feel rewarding to the main character and player alike. It’s the “what’s in it for me?” mentality that many unlikely heroes possess. While I do have some friends who are self-proclaimed “chubby chasers”, that’s not me. Whether the audience is young, old, male or female, the most agreeable endgame prize is going to be a twenty-something slim and attractive woman. Not that I wouldn’t want to see this trope contested more in media, but I just feel like a fat damsel would only appear in jest. A taut young thang is just widely desirable and this issue is far from videogame specific.

  23. I know this sounds artificial, but I feel that the connection to a female is all in her personality and how she is presented. In Mass Effect 2, I chose Tali as my love interest. Yes, Miranda was the hot one and the one I think the designers wanted you to choose, but Tali was easier for my Shepard to fall for. In response to the saving macho style males (spoilers) but don’t we all remember the joy when you unexpectedly save Capt. Price in COD: MW2. He is as macho as they come, and yet, I never felt his image was tarnished by needing to be saved. Yes, he instantly grabs a gun and starts taking out guys in a macho way, but I felt a true emotional moment by realizing he was alive and back at my side.

  24. Of course it would affect my enjoyment along with everyone else’s. As a society we like watching beautiful people in our entertainment. We see ugly and normal people everyday, there’s a reason we pay money for these kind of things. In games most of the time we are the protagonist. We want to be the hero and save the girl and of course we’d prefer to save someone who is beautiful.

    tl;dr: We prefer to save a beautiful person rather than an ugly one.

  25. The ugly damsel in distress that I cared more about than any other “pretty” character in a game was Dogmeat from Fallout 3. I specifically started the game going to find Dogmeat and he accompanied me on every mission over hundreds of hours of gameplay. I’m not ashamed to say that I loved that pooch. Since he could die, I often found myself rescuing him or reloading a past save when he did die (sometimes losing hours of gameplay).

    As far as pretty girls in games, well, sex sells. Booth babes anyone?

  26. Great show guys. Much more upbeat and entertaining than the last, which seemed to have a cloud of cynicism that was a bit of a bummer to listen to.

    Anyways keep up the good work 🙂

  27. I guess my only example would be the walking dead game by tell tale i didn’t find Clementine attractive and she was a damsel that needed saving. Also i felt a strong bond like father to daughter.

  28. The reason it’s always men saves women is because of how ingrained it is in our human nature. For thousands of years men fought for and protected women and up until recently it has been seen as wrong to protect women when they are not in any real danger like in games or movies and is viewed as sexist and making women appear weak.

    But it’s just a mechanic to play on our natural instinct to protect women. And these women aren’t hideous because they want you to care about them and they know in real life you probably wouldn’t want some fat, smelly beast of a female, they need someone that plays on your instinct.

    But i don’t think having females as a damsel is wrong at all, if a women was getting beaten by a guy in real life, no matter what, that guy is going to get the shit beaten out of him by anyone that sees him in order to protect the women but it if the roles were reversed no one is going to step in and protect the guy. Its just how society is, and people can bitch and complain about damsels in games but until it is applied to the real world i don’t see it changing any time soon.

  29. Good writing and narrative can succeed at making you care about any character, but attractive characters often succeed at getting players to care about them more quickly than unattractive ones, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with developers utilizing that. It would’ve taken me longer to warm up to Elizabeth if she looked like Rosie O’Donnell, just like it would’ve taken most women longer to warm up to John Marston if he looked like Danny DeVito. I’ve never really gotten the shame more mainstream gamers seem to have in general with admitting they like looking at attractive people. Hollywood has been taking advantage of this for decades, and games should be allowed to as well. If, for instance, a woman were to tell me she wouldn’t have enjoyed Titanic as much if Leonardo Dicaprio looked like a troll, I wouldn’t begrudge her or be offended at all. Being attracted more to certain people than others based on how they look is simply part of being a human being.

  30. In order for a video game to be a fun experience it needs to provide you with some kind of reward. That reward is Often just a cut scene with some spiffy music, because videogames are a visual medium. It makes sense that the person you’re rescuing is going to be pretty to look at, because that’s all you’re going to get out of a friggin video game.

    A talented and smart developer would give you an emotional connection to the characters So that when you actually do rescue them you get a powerful emotional release. I would like to see this done in more clever ways. I would happily you rescue an old fat bald man if it were Someone’s grandfather. I would rescue a middle aged white man if it were a scientist integral to saving the world. If I were a character in a post-apocalyptic hellworld, I would probably gratefully spend time saving my pet dog

  31. When I play, no one gets left behind. I replayed all three Mass Effect games just to save Legion (you can guess how that ended).
    So, I think the mind of the player has some part to play here. I allow myself to get attached to characters easily. It somehow enhances the experience for me. That being said, I am always surprised at what characters I get attached too. Robots, aliens, and zombies, it doesn’t matter. If I decide I like them then I can’t stand to let them die.
    I would also like to mention Leonardo Da Vinci from the Assassin’s Creed games. He was a lovely, lovely man and if I could have I would have bought him that little artist’s manikin in the Venice market stall he seemed to like so much.

  32. Funny how they never mention Capcom and the way they rip off their customers with DLC for their games. Maybe it’s because at least one of their team works for Capcom? could be.

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