Introducing Gaming’s Bechdel Test

Over the course of July, I finally decided to put forth my idea for adapting the Bechdel Test to games. I’ve tossed it around privately for awhile, and I’m hoping community feedback will help shape it into something useful. Now that it’s out in the world, it might be worth talking a little more about it here. First, the videos: one lays out the theory, while the other attempts to apply it to games.

One thing I knew going into this project was that I wanted The Path to pass. It would fail the traditional Bechdel Test based on the lack of dialogue, but if there were ever a game about women’s stories, The Path was it. So the question became how to account for representation in a medium where dialogue isn’t inherent. Likewise, was it necessarily a bad thing when there was only one woman on screen? In the case of something like Metroid, the woman was the only character on screen. It doesn’t make sense to dismiss games based on criteria nonessential to the medium. (more…)

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Games of the Year for 2013

It took us awhile to settle on a Game of the Year schedule at Push to Smart. I wanted to crash the gate on New Year’s Eve, Jaylee wanted to wait until January like critics of other mediums (think of all the lists that missed Beyonce, he wisely noted). And so now I can finally present my favorites games of 2013.

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Gaming Women’s History Month

It’s officially March–a time when people drink a lot, pretend to care about basketball, and endure corporations’ obnoxious attempts to gamify their goals for the new fiscal year. More importantly, it’s Women’s History Month!  The month already has one high-profile, woman-starring game poised to hit the market, while another just exceeded its funding goals on Kickstarter. In their honor, I will hit the pause button on the all-dude games I’ve been playing in 2013–namely DmC: Devil May Cry and Assassin’s Creed III–and focus on games starring female protagonists. Some of these games are old favorites I want to revisit, others I will be playing for the first time. Below is my planned list of games to conquer (or at least give a good go):

  • Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory, 2007)
  • Parasite Eve (Squaresoft, 1998)
  • Primal (SCE Studio Cambridge, 2003)
  • Gravity Rush (SCE Japan Studio, 2012)
  • Silent Hill 3 (Konami, 2003)
  • Space Channel 5: Part 2 (United Game Artists, 2003)
  • Final Fantasy XIII (Square Enix, 2010)
  • Timely price-drop permitting: Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics, 2013)

I realize this list is neither long nor particularly diverse (I played a lot of Squaresoft games as a kid ok?). This is partly due to time and budget constraints, but it’s also nine in the morning and my brain is only sort of awake. Regardless of how alert I may or may not be, I’m always looking for new game suggestions either via twitter or in the comments. Otherwise, wish me luck!