A Cruel World

The Walking Dead the Video Game by Telltale Games is a video game based on the television show and comic The Walking Dead. The video game is not a normal game because the game is released episodically. There are three seasons each with five episodes; each episode lasts from two hours to four hours of gameplay.

One of the main characters that reoccurs throughout the series is Clementine. Clementine is a young girl who Lee takes under his wing when the zombie apocalypse starts in the first season. When the gamer first meets Clem, she an innocent and naïve girl. She does not know how to fight or survive in this harsh world. Lee trains her and tells her how to survive. Clem looks up to Lee and closely watches his actions in the first season. The two grow extremely close and he treats her like a daughter. Unfortunately, events spiral out of control and Clem is forced to kill Lee or let him turn into a walker. The turn of events breaks Clem out of the naïve bubble she was in and forces her to realize that she lives in a harsh world.

In the second season, the gamer plays as Clementine. In this season, she is more mature than the previous season. She is smarter and less naïve about the world around her. She has lost many people in the first season and she knows what loss is like. Therefore, she is hesitant to trust people and knows how to survive without anyone taking care of her. Clem meets new people during this season all of who are questionable and the player must make tough decisions to trust, kill, or spare people. A man that Clem thought died in the first season, comes back and it is the player’s choice if they want to trust or kill him. There are many outcomes at the end of the fifth episode of the season but everyone gets a similar ending with Clem caring for a toddler.

In the third season (which is still ongoing), Clem is finally a teenager. She is the most mature in this season because not only does she have to worry about herself but she has a child with her. This makes her mature faster and she is willing to do anything to protect him. She has become a ruthless killer who spares no one that she does not deem worthy. The player does not have full control of her like season 2 but can influence her actions and decisions. Clem has become a lone wolf and realizes that she does not need to travel with people to survive. Yet, in this season she ends up relying on strangers to get her out of tough situations. She learns to slowly trust these new people.

During these three seasons, Clementine’s character has grown. She has seen what the world has offer and learned from her mistakes. She has grown from a scared, native girl to a tough, harden teenager. No longer did she hide behind Lee, she can fight her own battles and protect the people who are close to her. She will never forget the people who helped her in life it is thanks to them she is alive. Clem continues to be a symbol for a strong, independent, female video game character and that is why I chose to talk about her in my last blog post.

 

A New Dawn

Aloy (A-loy) from Horizon Zero Dawn is a female character that lives in a post-apocalyptic universe. This game was released in February 28th to the general public. During the game, the gamer only plays Aloy. It is a role playing game (RPG) with action and adventure.

Aloy lives in a place called Mother’s Heart and she is an outcast within the Nora tribe. An outcast is a person without a mother. The Nora tribes lives within a matriarch society where women are leaders. As an outcast, she is treated poorly and people don’t want to associate with her. Rost takes her under his wing and trains her to hunt and fight.

To be accepted in society she was to win the Proving. The Proving is contest that if she wins, will help her gain knowledge about her mother and she will no longer be treated as an outcast. Unfortunately, events spiral out of control and Rost ends up sacrificing his life in order to protect Aloy. He asks her to keep living and never give up.

As events in the game unfold, Aloy goes on a long journey across Horizon. She learns about the metal creatures that inhabit Horizon and how they are connected to her origins. It is a self-discovery journey where she finds who her mother is and where she came from.

“Aloy is curious, determined and intent on uncovering the mysteries of her world” (horizonzerodawn.wiki.com/Aloy). She is not sexualized for the male gamer. She goes on a self-discovering journey by herself (some characters helped her but no major ones). Within the game, there is no emphasis on a romance. She goes on the journey for herself and no one is getting in her way.

I choose Aloy to talk about because the game recently came out. This a AAA gaming developer backed by Sony with a lead female character. Many games that have female characters are usually not the main character or the player choose to be female. Forcing the gamer to play as a woman is different than choosing to be a woman.

 

Keelah Se’lai- By the Homeworld I Hope to See One Day

Since the release of Mass Effect Andromeda, I will talk about the Tali’Zorah nar Rayya in the Mass Effect trilogy. In Mass Effect, Tali can be recruited early in the game. Tali is a Quarian or an alien race in the series. She is a young girl on her pilgrimage when she meets Commander Shepard (the main character). Tali is a Quarian mechanic and specializes in tech abilities and support. Tali appears in all three games and can be a squad mate in them as well.

Tali can be romanced only if you are a male Commander Shepard from the second game on. Depending on the actions of Commander Shepard, Tali will easily talk to Shepard about her journey and her past. In the first game, Tali will talk about Quarians and gives more information about her species. Tali gives Shepard crucial information on the main mission and helps them find more information about the Geth and Reapers (the antagonist). In the second game, you can finally start romancing Tali and build a romantic relationship with her. The player gets to know her more if they complete her loyalty mission and side with Tali. By completing her loyalty mission in the end of the game she will survive the suicide mission that Shepard goes on. In the third game, there is a mission where you must choose between the Geth or Quarians. If you choose the Geth, Tali will commit suicide. The player must choose between one or the other race and only in a rare circumstance the player can choose one and still save the other. If Tali survives past this part of the game, she will become a full time squad mate for the rest of the game.

Women in video games sometimes have only one dimension and side to them. Throughout the trilogy, the gamer is shown different sides of Tali. She is an extremely smart mechanic and knows her way around a ship and engine. Shepard and other crew members are impressed with her knowledge about technology. When Commander Shepard asks for help the first time, Tali is not willing to help because she has a mission of her own. She puts her mission before Shepard’s because she knows that her mission is more important at the time. Later on, in Mass Effect 2, she joins Shepard after she completes her mission. In Mass Effect 3 (if she still alive) Tali is promoted to Admiral. She blames herself if she cannot complete her mission, which millions of lives are riding on. She is unsure of her position and confused about everything around her. Shepard could help her and reassure her that everything will turn out fine in the end and that they trust Tali.

Throughout the games, Tali grows from a little girl just going on her pilgrimage to becoming an Admiral on her ship. She goes through regret, loss, trust, and love through the trilogy. Tali might not be the most known character in Mass Effect, but she has been a major role in all three games. Without Tali, Commander Shepard would have never found out information about the Geth in the first game.

Emily the First

The next woman I will talk about is Emily Kaldwin from the series Dishonored. I want to discuss Emily because Dishonored 2 came out this past November. Emily is the daughter of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. Emily is a ten-year-old girl when Corvo firsts meets her. During the events of the first game she matures and begins to see that the world around her is a cruel place. Emily trains with Corvo from the first to the second game. She learns to fight and protect herself in case of an emergency especially during the events of Dishonored 2.

In the fist Dishonored game, the player does not play as her but she is an important character. The gamer plays as Corvo Attano who must rescue Emily after she gets kidnapped in the beginning. Emily is very dear to Corvo and it is revealed in the game that she is his daughter. Since Emily looks up to Corvo, his actions shape Emily’s personality. There are two main ways to influence Emily: either go in and kill everyone you come across (high chaos) or try to avoid killing people as much as you can (low chaos). If Corvo kills everyone in his path (video below), Emily starts to draw dark and disturbing images when you interact with her during the game. In the end, she will rule the Isles with an iron fist and Corvo at her side protecting from the chaos around them. In the low chaos ending, Emily will become the empress with Corvo at her side helping her rule fairly. She is known as Emily the Wise and her ruling will bring the death of the Rat Plague to an end.

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Emily Kaldwin taken by Emily Angeline

In Dishonored 2 you can choose to play as Corvo Attano or Emily. Fifteen years have passed since the first game and the second. She is not the little girl you once knew and she can take care of herself in a fight. She has matured and became the empress with Corvo’s help. She has taken her role seriously and rules with a firm but just hand. Events spiral out of control and the player, either Corvo or Emily embark on a journey to Karnaca to “take back what’s yours”. If the player chooses Emily, Corvo will be frozen and vise versa. Just like the previous game, high and low chaos endings exist. In the low chaos ending, Emily is known by many tiles such as Emily the Just or Emily the Clever. She rules fairly with Crovo still at her side for many years. In the high chaos ending, Emily is known as Emily the Butcher because she kills anyone that stands in her way. She evens leaves her father frozen at her side as she takes over the Isles.

Emily’s character is shaped by the actions of the player. Therefore, she does not have a set “canon” personality. By having the player choose Emily’s actions and personality, it gives the gamer power and control. Dishonored is not the only game that makes player’s choice important but it is one game that has serious consequences of the player’s actions.

Endure. Survive.

Ellie is a character from the The Last of Us. This is her story.

A Shard of Ice

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Yennefer (taken by Emily Angeline)

I choose to talk about Yennefer because she is not a side character that can be easily pushed to the side. Her relationship with other characters makes her a complicated character. The books and the video games create a unique story for her. Her story is not a love story about a man but a story of her own.

The Witcher is a series of novels that are written by Andrezej Sapkowski and were turned into video games. The video games follow the events that happened in the novels. A major character in the book and games is Yennefer of Vengerberg.

She is a sorceress from Vengerberg. Sorceress are beautiful women who have gone through physical changes to alter their appearance. Yennefer was originally a hunchback due to the physical abuse from her father when she was a child but magic altered her appearance. She can’t bear children due to the magical alterations on their bodies. She only wears black and white and smells like lilac and gooseberries. She wears her obsidian star necklace and has deep violet eyes.

Yennefer has a complicated relationship with Geralt. Throughout the books, they often fought with each because Yennefer pushes away the people she cares about. Many fans label her as a bitch or heartless. The reason why she is cold is because she has been hurt countless times before. Their destines are bound to each other after Geralt makes a wish to a genie. Therefore, Geralt and Yennefer will be linked to each other no matter what. They try to fight their density countless times but realize that sometimes you can’t fight destiny. Geralt and Yennefer love each other but events in the books prevent them from ever forming a healthy loving relationship.

Yennefer always longed for a child but could never have one. When Ciri came into her life, she became a mother figure to her and trained her in sorcery. The two became extremely close in the books and Yennefer would do anything to protect Ciri. Ciri is a link that ties Yennefer and Geralt together. Geralt trained Ciri as a young girl and so did Yennefer. They both came to see Ciri as their daughter. Their relationship is explored though the books and the games.

Yennefer does not appear in The Witcher or The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings video games. She is mentioned in the previous games though. In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, she appears early and plays a major role in the game. She helps Geralt track down Ciri and helps fight alongside Geralt in major battles in the game. As the player, you can choose to pursue a romantic relationship with Yennefer.

In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, one of the side quests Yennefer asks you to do is to find a djinn that will break the spell that ties Geralt and Yenneefer’s destinies together. Once the spell is broken, Yennefer will ask Geralt if he has any feelings still. You can choose to either say that the magic is gone or that the magic is still there. If you choose to be in a relationship with her you can peruse other paths that involve Yennefer.