Super Smash Sisters

In the first Super Smash Bros. game, released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, there was, out of twelve playable characters, just one woman: Samus Aran. 1)I’m excluding characters like Jigglypuff that are typically perceived as female but aren’t humanoid. That’s 8.3%. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, released in 2001 for the Nintendo GameCube, the total characters goes up to 25 (if we count Zelda and Sheik, who we’ll call male, as separate) and the women went up to 3 with the addition of Princess Peach and Princess Zelda. We’re up to 12% now!

Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii upped the playable characters to 39 (again, counting characters that can change mid-battle as separate) but only added one woman: Zero Suit Samus. Seeing as Zero Suit Samus and Samus Aran are exactly the same person, just with different gear, I choose not to count her as a “new” character. That brings the percentage down to a paltry 7.9%. Yikes.

Things are changing, though. Pardon me for throwing more math and numbers at you, but out of the eleven new characters that have so far been announced for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, seven are women. 2)This counts Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, Mii Fighter, and Robin, whose gender can be selected by the player. That right there is a whopping 63.6%. So, out of the 36 playable characters confirmed so far, and counting Zero Suit Samus and Power Suit Samus as separate characters because the game insists  we’re now at 30% of the game being women. 3)ZSS offers a lot of pros and cons. It’s good to see she can kick ass without her Power Suit but does her Zero Suit have to be so…form-fitting? Not a majority but it’s getting closer to the percentage of people in the real world that identify as women.

Okay, we’re done with numbers now. Here’s what all that means: they know. Masahiro Sakurai, Nintendo, Bandai Namco, everyone who’s working on this game knows. They know that making everything pink and gendered isn’t the cheat code to make games women want to play. Who knew! Continue reading Super Smash Sisters

Notes   [ + ]

1. I’m excluding characters like Jigglypuff that are typically perceived as female but aren’t humanoid.
2. This counts Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, Mii Fighter, and Robin, whose gender can be selected by the player.
3. ZSS offers a lot of pros and cons. It’s good to see she can kick ass without her Power Suit but does her Zero Suit have to be so…form-fitting?

Flappy Bird & Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Will Save Video Games

Special to Game Losers by Greg L. Mercer

CHAPTER I: IN WHICH THE INTERNET WAS A WEIRD KID GROWING UP

Much like video games, the Internet was a weird kid growing up.

A lot of people spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to help it gain legitimacy. The Internet was a goofy place, with entire databases of surreal animated videos, basement-dweller rants, and fan sites for obscure bands, movies or shows. Not to mention, the barrier for entry was a high monthly fee, on top of the $500-$1500 for a computer with a modem. Lots of houses had one to help with your homework and the household accounts, but not nearly every home, and not nearly to the point of usefulness we have today.

Then, in 2005 (we can argue on the exact year but that’s what it feels like to me), the Internet went from being Something About Half Your Friends Have into Something It Would Be Really Weird Not To Have. Mind you, this is only two years before the first iPhone release (which, itself, caused a similar shift re: smartphones around 2012-ish).

What happened? I like to think it was YouTube. Specifically, the Lonely Island “Lazy Sunday” Digital Short. I don’t mean to say all of the sudden people bought millions of computers to watch this video, but I think it cemented YouTube as “the place to watch videos, and no matter how many millions of people watch it, the site doesn’t go down.”

That was a massive turning point. The Internet was finally able to sustain mainstream attention, and it hasn’t stopped since. Ubiquity. It’s something people think of as a public utility, like phone lines and electricity and water. The Internet used to be Weird, and now it just Is.

How did the Internet get legitimacy? How did we get to a point where Internet access is something everyone is just assumed to have? What the fuck does any of this have to do with video games? I’m getting to that. Stay with me, I promise we’ll get there.

Continue reading Flappy Bird & Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Will Save Video Games