Super Smash Brothers Brawl, playing while female, and Kirby.

I’ve been losing at Smash Bros. ever since the N64, when my brothers first discovered that they could team up on me, beat me to a pulp, and not get in trouble with mom as long as they didn’t gloat too loudly.

I started doing better when I decided that Kirby “counted” as female, for the purposes of the girls-only-get-to-play-as-girls rule (when I was perhaps 14 years old). I’ve even beaten my brothers a few times now that I’ve abandoned that rule (now that I am 19). But there’s still a part of me that looks at the Brawl character lineup, and gives a big, sad sigh, wishing that it wasn’t so hard for a girl to play a girl.

Here’s the full line-up for Brawl:

Bowser – male

Captain Falcon – male

Diddy Kong – male

Donkey Kong – male

Falco – male

Fox – male

Canondorf – male

Ice Climbers – half male, half female (though only the male is playable; the female just follows)

Ike – male

Jigglypuff – ???

King Dedede – male

Kirby – ???

Link – male

Lucario – ???

Lucas – male

Luigi – male

Mario – male

Marth – male

Meta Knight – male

Mr. Game & Watch – male

Ness – male

Olimar – male

Peach – female

Pikachu – ???

Pit – male

Pokemon Trainer – male

R.O.B. – ???

Samus – female

Snake – male

Sonic – male

Toon Link – male

Wario – male

Wolf – male

Yoshi – ???

Zelda – female

So. Of the thirty-five playable characters, we have…three females, twenty-six males, and six “???.” The majority, as surely was expected, is male. But also: there are twice as many gender-neutral characters as there are female characters! That just feels…wrong.

But let’s take a look at the “???” characters– there are three categories: pokemon (which can be either sex), robots (which have no sex), and Kirby. But even though we can’t tell the sex of the characters, they give us some clues.

Jigglypuff – It’s a cute little pink blob that sings lullabies with a distinctly feminine voice. Even though Jigglypuffs come in both sexes, I have little doubt that people will assume it’s female.

Kirby – It’s a cute little pink blob that…swallows people to make them into hats? It doesn’t have the feminine face, “hair,” or voice of Jigglypuff, and the wikipedia page uses male pronouns, so the rest of the world assumes male, but I’m going to table this one for now and stick with “???”

Lucario – Lucario is one of those newfangled pokemon that wasn’t around when I was growing up (kids these days!) so I had to look it up:

It has a somewhat feminint figure...

It has a somewhat feminine figure...

...but somehow it still reads as male to me.

...but somehow it still reads as male to me.

This is a little arbitrary, since the websites I’ve checked have mostly been using gender-neutral pronouns, but given the conversations I’ve had with people while playing, Lucario tends to get read as male.

Pikachu -Pikachus can come in any gender, but the Pikachu that starred in all those pokemon shows, games, books, and movies was male and I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t assume that this Pikachu is the same as Ash’s. So, this one’s male.

R.O.B. – It’s a robot, which means it’s the definition of “it.” But it’s name is Rob, and everyone uses male pronouns for it, so this one’s male as well.

Yoshi – Yoshis can come in either gender, and this one lays eggs, which is a pretty darn female thing to do, and yet in other games it’s paired with Birdo (a hot pink monstrosity) the way Mario and Peach and Luigi and Daisy are paired, implying that Yoshi is, in fact, male. The internet backs me up on this one as well, so male it is.

Which brings us now to the same thirty-five characters, of which thirty are male, four are female, and one is Kirby.

Those four female characters simply cannot compete with the range and variety offered by the thirty males (since you play as the male ice climbers). Zelda, Peach, Samus, and Jigglypuff. These are my options. When I started on the N64 it was just Samus and Jigglypuff. And I’m not very good– I need an awesome character to stay afloat. So is it any surprise that I want to claim Kirby as well?


39 Responses to Super Smash Brothers Brawl, playing while female, and Kirby.

  1. dollyann says:

    Aye, I’ve noticed the same thing with a lot of video games (and it typicaly gets worse, in my opinion, when you divert from Nintendo). I think game producers include female characters not to be progressive but just to keep those mysterious “women” gamers from whining and keeping the male, hetero players aroused when not battling. I remember Soul Calibur 2 had a fair selection of female players, but all of them (particularly Ivy and Tari, I forget her name) were designed to be super busty and exposed.

    And you make such a good point about “androgynous” characters like Yoshi and Pikachu. When they aren’t given obvious cues as to whether they’re male or female, we assume they’re male because that’s the norm. It kind of goes back to Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex.’ We are the ‘other,’ the ‘different,’ the ‘abstract.’ It’s frustrating, to say the least.

    On a lighter note, my fav characters from SSB Melee include Ganondorf, Link, Zelda (cuz she can transform into F*ing awesome Sheik), and Captain Falcon. I guess I’m less “feminine” for it *rolls eyes*, but I love knocking people off the board with the super powerful Ganon/Falcon punch. I also used to like Samus, but then I heard she has this “transform into a smexy spandex chic” move in Brawl, which me no likee.

    I applaud your ability to handle Kirby. I always miscount how many “puffs” I have left and then fall off stage, lol.

  2. eloriane says:

    I’ve always had a love of video games but I also have trouble enjoying games that insult my humanity. I guess I’m “sensitive” but I refuse to believe it’s too much to ask. Which means that yeah, I play a lot of Nintendo games.

    The most recent Paper Mario was actually downright good, actually– only one playable female (against three playable males) but she was the best of the four. My brothers chose to play “the girl” because she actually had abilities that were useful in a wide range of situations. I wish more game developers would realize that all they have to do is give a slightly (not over-the-top) feminine appearance and some decent abilities (with no consideration to how “ladylike” they are!) and guys will play them.

    But yeah, back to SSBB– Samus is definitely all about the boob-hugging spandex and flowy blonde hair when she’s out of her suit, which is ew. But I actually struggle to play anyone but Kirby because I can never figure out how to time the jumps right, and I keep falling! Plus Kirby’s down-B move can just slaughter CPUs. It’s like they forget that I can hurt them from above. Awesome.

    I’m impressed you can manage as Ganondorf– he has the most pathetic jumps of them all! My elder younger brother would agree with you on Falcon, though– that’s his favourite, when I’ve taken Kirby. Younger younger brother uses Zelda (rarely Sheik, don’t know why) or Pit.

    One of the first video games I ever played by myself was Kirby: Crystal Shards on the N64, so maybe that’s why I’ve always felt more comfortable with him– I learned a long time ago exactly how many puffs I can have.

  3. Colleen says:

    You’re only 19? I’m just gonna go check myself into the old folks’ home, now…

    But the dollyann is right that Nintendo tends to have more female characters than other systems, and, almost as important, tends not to be very invested in portraying their male characters as super-masculine manly pixel-men. So this pathetic imbalance is about the best on the market right now.

    I looooofff me some Kirby, though I think it is supposed to be a male bubble-gum wad. (Wikipedia says he’s referred to as male in the animated series that apparently exists and I don’t want to know more about.) I recently went back and beat Crystal Shards in a fit of nostalgia, because our SNES is irretrievably broken and I can never again play original Kirby. But the first video game I played was original Super Mario Brothers on original NES, which means I’m old enough to remember Super Mario Brothers 2, in which Princess Toadstool—apparently now called “Peach,” but I’m too old ‘n’ ornery to change what I call her now—was critical to beating the game. She ran really slowly and couldn’t jump for crap, BUT she could use her skirt as a parachute and float for short distances to cover gaps that the other players couldn’t jump. Personally, as a kid I thought that was freakin’ awesome—not only was there a girl you could play as, but you needed her. Actually, the same is true of Dixie Kong—there were stretches of game you couldn’t get through without her ponytail-rotor that allowed her to fly.

    So, yeah, there are very few female characters and the attribute they’re given are just stereotypes, and that’s very disappointing. But the fact that they’re critical to gameplay is, to me, pretty cool. Not that that means Nintendo should get a free pass on gender issues, of course.

  4. eloriane says:

    I’ve, uh…never seen an SNES in person. My first Mario game was Paper Mario. I know all the old catchphrases– “Sorry, Mario, but the princess is in another castle!”– but Peach has always been Peach for me, and she’s usually been playable for at least part of the game.

    Actually, you hit on something very important about the way that Nintendo doesn’t care if the male characters are super-manly– it makes the environment a lot more welcoming to female players, since so much of “manliness” is about being un-feminine. So even if female characters are underrepresented, the space still feels female-friendly, especially since a lot of the plot elements are things like collecting rainbow-colored stars. The games don’t reject the idea that a girl might want to play.

    And yeah, it’s completely awesome when the female characters are necessary because they can do something nobody else can. In a lot of games I hear a lot of whining about how X NPC was useless and annoying (but with a lot more misogynist cussing) and it’s another, more subtle way to make women feel unwanted in a game world, by making them more accessories than necessary plot-moving characters.

  5. anneliese says:

    I actually think about this a lot when I play Melee/Brawl, so it’s great to see other people discussing it. This is true for all video games, really, but it struck me most while playing Super Smash Bros: if I want to use a girl character I have *two* options that aren’t weak and useless (Zelda/Sheik and Samus). Even then, Sheik and Samus are fairly androgynous. My little brothers would play as both when they thought the characters were male, and I’ve never seen them play as Zelda or Peach.

    What this teaches to little kids like my brothers (who probably consume video games more than any other media) is that girls are simply //not as good as boys//. Seriously, it shits me that the most of the female characters in Brawl are so piss-weak and boring no one in their right mind would choose to play as them. The other (male) characters all have something to define and distinguish them from the crowd – a special feature no one else has that gives them a gameplay advantage. The female characters are defined by their femaleness, it’s the singular novelty that would draw players to them ( a phenomenon that’s repeated endlessly in movies, TV, comics and other media ). It’s an insulting token effort. Once the games my brothers play have female characters they’ll actually choose to use, I’ll know the video game industry’s trying to treat women as something other than tokens of inclusiveness or eye-candy.

  6. eloriane says:

    In a word: YES.

    When the female characters are few in number and never as good as the males, that sends a message. And when everything in the world is sending that exact same message, we get something like this, where a guy starts complaining that middle-aged men are discriminated against in TV, because “If there are a hundred people in a room, ninety-four men and six women, women are clearly underrepresented. But the ninety-four men are all panicking because there were only two women last time. It’s a conspiracy! There can’t possibly be six women who are good at their jobs.”

    Nintendo usually does a better job of not sending quite this message– by having a variety of female characters who have unique, helpful skills which are sometimes the only possible solution to a problem– but this tendency did not translate to Brawl at all. Disappointing, and deeply problematic.

  7. […] characters to pick from, but they’re 90% male, and, as astute commenter Anneliese pointed out here, The other (male) characters all have something to define and distinguish them from the crowd – a […]

  8. Colleen says:

    I’ve, uh…never seen an SNES in person.
    OK, I’ll just be over here have an early mid-life crisis if anyone needs me. (Now I miss my SNES so hard. Thanks to this discussion, the odds that I’m going to use my sudden influx of cash to run out and by a Wii just increased like a million percent. My nostalgia buttons, let me show you them!)

    But this discussion is a big part of why I’m a Nintendo girl for life. A variety of (useful) female characters, male characters who aren’t hyper-masculine to an exclusionary extent, goals that aren’t about asserting your dominance over other people… much, much friendlier to pretty much every segment of the population that isn’t teenage boys hopped up on testosterone and rage. This, I think, is why Wii is so popular — it’s not going to as popular as, say, Halo 3 among the hardcore gamers, but hardcore gamers are a tiny percent of the population, and almost everyone has the potential to be at least a casual gamer, and Nintendo is tapping that huge, underserved market. No, the company’s not perfect, but it’s way more progressive on gender representation than most other manufacturers, and hopefully the Wii’s success will send a message to other game designers that, y’know, women and little kids and parents and grandparents want to play games, too, and they’ll give you money if you give them something even marginally inclusive. And when it comes to stuff like this, market forces are infinitely more likely than social mores to drive change.

  9. dollyann says:

    Colleen, I had an SNES when I was a kid (I’m just as old as Eloriane), so don’t check yourself in to the old folks’ home yet. 🙂

    And speaking of SNES, I ALWAYS play as Peach on Super Mario Bros. 2. Her levitating technique was way more useful, in my opinion, than Luigi’s wiggle jump or Mario’s balanced attributes. I would occasionally play Toad for the cuteness factor, but I beat that game because of Princess Toadstool. (Eloriane, you totally need to get your hands on a copy of the SNES Super Mario Bros–if only so you can say that you’ve seen Toad pop out of Bowser’s potato sack and say, “Our princess is in another castle.”)

    And speaking of Paper Mario, eloriane have you played the one for Game Cube, like the 1000 Doors or something like that. I played that one and the N64 one you’re talking about, but I think the Game Cube one has more girl characters. There’s 3, if my memory serves me correctly: a Goomba and two ghost-like characters. Fair warning though… you get these weird scenes where a CPU is interested in Peach taking showers and the penultimate villain is female. Still, an awesome game.

  10. eloriane says:

    Then maybe my family was just slow to figure out the whole video game thing…

    Oh, I’ve played all the Paper Mario games. The second one, where Peach kept taking showers while the sentient computer watched…yeah, that was pretty gross. But they had a good number of female sidekicks. The third one, Super Paper Mario, eliminated the showers but also eliminated system of sidekicks, but also let you play as Peach, who was far superior to any of the others! And the awesome villain who looked like a jester may have been officially male, but I did his voice*, so I made it female. (It started as a mistake, and then I decided it was too cool to change. I mean, our two favourite characters were both female! When does that ever happen?)

    Gameplay-wise it wasn’t the best though…a lot of repetitive platforming, and at one point you have to run in a hamster wheel for six minutes. No joke. We taped down the A button and left to get a snack. But the Paper Mario series is still my favourite by a lot.

    *When we started playing games together my younger brothers couldn’t read very well, so I read all the dialogue etc out loud. Now we can all read so we divvy up the characters and do ridiculous voice acting. It makes the cutscenes a lot of fun!

  11. dollyann says:

    “We taped down the A button and left to get a snack.”

    ROFL 😀

  12. Colleen says:

    Colleen, I had an SNES when I was a kid (I’m just as old as Eloriane), so don’t check yourself in to the old folks’ home yet.

    It still wigs me out that I’m already getting to the “Kids these days!” point, but it’s good to know that it’s all them crazy teenagers are so… not up on stuff that really isn’t relevant to them or important in any way.

    Although… you guys do know that SNES isn’t the original system, right? There was an NES before that? That I also owned and played like crazy and holy mother of bog I’m ancient? The system looked like this and original Mario looked like this. Also, I would like to note, back in the ’80s no one had yet developed your fancypants “save game” technology, so watching that video I realized that I still knew where every secret brick in the first three worlds was because I’d played them so many times.

  13. eloriane says:

    Colleen, I’m sorry, and please don’t hate me for this, but…I wasn’t born yet when the NES came out. I was born in 1989…which means I wasn’t born yet for a number of culturally important events, such as men landing on the moon and the fall of the Berlin wall. It does bizarre things to my sense of history– the Cold War seems exactly as distant and irrelevant as the Civil War. It makes reading old sci fi really confusing, because a lot of times you’re expected to infer things based on Russian-sounding last names, but I never do.

    To be fair about the NES, though, technology moves really fast. My cousins had never seen an N64 until they came to visit us in Canada and my brothers and I were replaying some old games for nostalgia’s sake. They’re young, but not that young. It’s just that after a system is replaced it tends to drop off the face of the earth relatively quickly. My newest cousin– only a year old– will probably never see a Gamecube.

  14. Colleen says:

    I’m not that old! I’m 24, I don’t remember the Berlin Wall coming down, though I was 5 so I guess it’s possible I saw news footage, and my parents were only 10 when we landed on the moon.

    Actually, I wasn’t quite born yet when NES came out either, but technology moved slower back then. We had a hand-me-down NES from when I was 8 or so ’til like 10, the an SNES, but by the time N64 came out two years later, my brother, the primary gamer in the house, got my parents to switch to Playstation, at which point I pretty much stopped gaming. I only ever played N64 at friends’ houses until recently, when my boyfriend revived his old one and I finally experienced the joy of being able to play Donkey Kong for more than 20 minutes at a stretch without someone else demanding their turn. Oooohh, Donkey Kong, I have not yet completed you…

    Excuse me, I have some… very important work to do. Yeah, that’s it. Work.

  15. Colleen says:

    BTW, I’m sorry for totally hijacking your thread with my random reminiscences, but I didn’t realize how much I’d enjoyed gaming once upon a time and how much I’d come to miss it. I’m totally getting a Wii now, and if you’re ever in Boston you should come play. I’ll introduce you to 8-bit Princess Toadstool. 😉

    Come to think of it, if you’re ever in Boston, you should go to the JFK library, which is cool in its own right, and see the chunk of the Berlin wall they have on display there. I never thought I was missing anything only having seen it in pictures, but somehow the reality of it was really affecting.

  16. eloriane says:

    I’ll be near Boston in November!
    I’m going to be pretty much everywhere in November and December, since I’m going on a road trip, but I’m not sure I’ll have a lot of time in any one place. We’re doing this.

    Actually, it looks like we go right past Boston (A pity– I was born there!) so I’ll have to stop by JFK another time.

    As as for your supposed thread-hjacking, no worries. This is a thread about women gaming, and that’s exactly what you’re talking about.

    Funny, though– I didn’t make it past the switch away from Nintendo in my family, either. We have the Wii (which is great) and I have a DS (possibly greater) but most of my brothers’ attention and money go towards the Xbox 360, which I’ve never played. I played some Xbox games very, very badly– mostly to cheer up elder younger brother when the computers were too hard for him to fight– but the transition lost me. I wonder if it’s a women-in-games thing or a just-us thing.

  17. dollyann says:

    I never had an NES (though I’ve seen and played on one), but I did have the original GameBoy. That thing was basically a cement block, and I remember like a gift from God when I got it. One time though I left it at a hotel and my family drove back 3 hours to get it. Imagine driving 3 hours today for that, especially compared to the DS!

    eloriane’s right. Technology moves so fast, and Nintendo’s out to make money. They update consoles like crazy, though I don’t know how they’re going to do better than the Wii.

  18. Colleen says:

    Ah, yes, the visiting-colleges tour. I aggressively weeded out schools before I went so we only visited… 5, I think? Anyway, basically none compared to everyone else I knew. I’m just lazy. Have fun! And remember to pick someplace where you feel at home. I think we tend to underestimate the importance of community when we’re looking at schools, but you’re going to live there for four years, so you have to like the atmosphere. It makes the biggest single difference to your college experience, way more than the academics.

    If you somehow do make it to Boston, look me up and I’ll take you out for coffee in the North End or something. It’s a great city.

    The reason I bailed on Playstation is that there just weren’t any games that were woman-friendly — they were mostly super violent, had no women characters, and were all about asserting your dominance and proving your manhood. FPS, in particular, do nothing for me. And most games aren’t conducive to exploratory gameplay, which I think Nintendo does well. Kirby and Donkey Kong, in particular, reward careful exploration of levels with tools that can be extremely helpful in progressing further. So many games for other platforms are so objective-based, it’s just “complete this mission as fast as possible (no matter how sloppily) and we’ll give you another.” I don’t have much chance of beating games anyway, so since I’m not in it for the satisfaction of taking out the final boss, I want to be able to have fun on whatever level I’m on, whether I win or not. Nintendo lets me do that, but Playstation, XBox and others really don’t.

    OMG, dollyann, you had a GameBoy? My 9-year-old self is totally jealous of you!

  19. eloriane says:

    It’s actually not a finding-colleges tour– I already go to university– it’s a visiting-chapters-of-my-fraternity tour. I’m in a co-ed fraternity, which I found because it has a huge overlap with the gaming group on campus. One of my brothers (also female) and I are on leave this semester so we’re visiting all the chapters.

    I guess I just can’t get enough of being a woman in male institutions.

    I bailed on the Xbox for the same reason you bailed on the PlayStation, Colleen– I basically play games because it’s like having an interactive movie, and all the Xbox games told the same boring story. (AND my hands were too small to use the controllers. This is a major design flaw, Xbox people!) I have a slight moral objection to wanton murder but also, it’s kind of boring. I’ll put up with it in some games, like Twilight Princess, where you have to kill random monsters just to get places, but only if the payoff is really, really worth it (like in Twilight Princess.)

    I have a decent compromise with my brothers, where they’ll handle the controls while I have a guide open so I can still get my “interactive movie” experience without learning to look and walk in different directions (that’s how I “played” Mass Effect) but Nintendo makes games that I can actually play, by myself. I’m actually better at some of them than my brothers– like Zack and Wiki or Phantom Hourglass.

    As for how they’re going to top the Wii, Dolly Ann– maybe with this.

  20. Colleen says:

    That sounds like a really cool trip! Much better than the finding colleges one.

    Yeah, it’s not that I really object to shooting people — I’m as inured to violence as the next disaffected youth — and I’m willing to do it as part of the game, but if it’s the whole game I find it completely boring. You have to like violence for violence’s sake for a lot of these, and I don’t. It doesn’t make me queasy or anything, it’s just boring.

    And I have the too-small hands problem too. I can’t work the joystick(s) and the eleventy million buttons and the trigger and the lever-buttons on the top all at once, so I can’t do any combo moves, so all I can ever do is walk, jump, blast away. Over and over. And over. Not very exciting. The simpler the controller the more likely I am to be happy.

  21. eloriane says:

    If you do get a Wii, you might check out Zack and Wiki. I got pretty angry at it on the blog for the awful Captain Rose character but it’s still a really fun game. Controls are super-simple– just point and click, basically. It reminds me a lot of the CD-ROMs I used to play– Pajama Sam, Spy Fox, that sort of thing (by Humongous Entertainment, why do I still remember that?). Puzzle-solving in the context of an adventure, and the way you figure things our is by exploring and poking everything that is pokable.

  22. Colleen says:

    I just played like 3 hours of Mario Kart and I think my thumbs are gonna fall off. By the way, Peach/Princess Toadstool is awesome in that. She’s so light that all her vehicles have a higher top speed (as long as you’re willing to compromise a little on acceleration).

    Zack and Wiki looks like tons of goofy fun. I’ll definitely check that out.

  23. eloriane says:

    I always play as Peach in Mario Kart, for just that reason! And it’s like she was made of me– my aim (which has always been bad) is particularly terrible with the Wii controllers, so I can’t compromise on acceleration as much, but Peach has a +2 acceleration bonus on the Wii!

    My poor cart tends to have a lot in common with a pinball– bouncing from wall to wall. But I’m a lucky person so I tend to get a Bullet Bill at just the right moment to win 🙂 Drives me brothers crazy– they can actually drive, and yet I beat them.

  24. Colleen says:

    Peach + Mach Bike = Me kicking ass. That thing handles like a dream, and I’ve already won several times by cutting the final corner closer than my opponent to pass them on the inside.

    I tend to have the overcorrection problem too, but that’s why I like the bike. When I start to swing way out, it’s easier to pull it back on track. Do you have a steering wheel? I tend to screw up more with the nunchuck.

    Also, I never, ever hit the brakes, so the poor acceleration is usually only a problem at the very beginning and then once or twice more if I get hit by a shell or can’t avoid a banana peel or something.

  25. meerkat says:

    I skimmed the comments here and didn’t see any mention of this, but forgive me if it’s been said. Or if it turns out to be inaccurate, because I don’t really play the Ice Climbers. But I have read that you can put the girl Ice Climber in the lead by selecting a particular color on the character select screen, at least in the GameCube version.

  26. eloriane says:


    I believe you may be right! I don’t think I or my playing partners ever really play the Ice Climbers so I haven’t seen it done, but it sounds right; I think someone mentioned it to me IRL after this post came out. So we have 29.5 male playable characters, 4.5 female playable characters, and kirby!

    Actually, someone also mentioned to me that Zelda (or was it Peach?) was a lot more impressive as a character than I realized. It seems that even when used well she can be extremely powerful. The friend in question said she was his favorite to play because she had such impressive abilities. I was pleased to be proven wrong– at least in this case, her notable attribute wasn’t just her pretty dress.

  27. Eng says:

    Definitely give the Nintendo developers some credit for trying to put in female characters where there really aren’t very many – I mean, Zelda isn’t even a playable character in any of the Zelda games I can think of. She was just so awesome that they decided to add her in Smash.

    And yes, Zelda is ridiculously, amazingly awesome.

    Also: “Stay afloat” with Kirby? Hehe.

  28. Dolly says:

    Eng, I’m a huge Nintendo fan, but I don’t feel Nintendo deserves a special gold star for an attempt at including more female characters when there aren’t many to begin with… because whose fault is that? They have the creativity, resources, and (I would argue) audience to create more games with female characters, but they choose to focus on male protagonists/antagonists like most gaming companies. I mean, when they came out with Brawl for the Wii they added one new female character–Zero Suit Samus, who (if you’re a woman), is really a bit of a let-down considering all they did was take the original Samus and put her in a skin-tight suit. They weakened Peach and overtly feminized her in the new game too.

    So, I don’t feel obliged really to give Nintendo “credit.” Yeah, maybe compared to Sony or Microsoft that make more effort toward appealing to women gamers, but not much.

    @eloriane & Crowfoot — you guys ever heard of the game the Mighty Jill Off? I was wondering what you two thought about it.

    • Crowfoot says:

      sadly, I don’t play enough games to have heard of it (or played it). I’ve been staying out of the gaming threads because while I really got into games back when I was too sick to work, I’m so rusty now I end up not playing games at all. With my limited time off I’ve ended up reading feminist blogs instead! I may be addicted to the internet 😐

      the Mighty Jill Off sounds like a reference to “jack off.” it sounds a little worrying lol.

      re: credit to Nintendo for being less sexist than Sony or Microsoft. I can certainly relate to your reaction, Eng. The bar is actually set so low that I have to keep reminding myself that it should’ve been higher to begin with (concerning a whole host of things, games, movies, etc). With the low-set bar being the norm, and the actual patterns of the norm thus becoming invisible, we need to keep shifting our awareness back, if that makes sense. And I really do include myself in this- I keep finding myself happy with crumbs or not-too-sexist rather than not-sexist-at-all, and I’ve been a passionate feminist for decades. This is exactly how normalization works, alas. So I’ll find myself thinking “not so bad!” then do a feminist double-take. That double-take being Dolly’s good point: no brownies for crumbs.

      Of course, I’ve not read the whole post and comments in this thread but don’t want to delete this and try and write it again later so hopefully what I’ve said is not woefully off-topic or already repeated heh.

  29. Dolly says:

    lol, it’s plays like an old NES game. It’s free and downloadable online (I’ll link it if I can find it, or I could just send you the saved folder on my comp). Basically, it’s about a black cloaked lesbian desperate to please her lover the queen… but the queen is a bit of a sadist, so she throws her down into the pit of her castle. The whole game’s about the servant trying to maneuver her way up the dungeon back to the throne room. A little S&Mish depending on your tastes, but I was curious to see what your twos’ perspective was on this game story. 🙂

    • Crowfoot says:

      ah! well, um.. I’m not so much into the “little S&Mish” so that part might be distracting lol

      points for having a lesbian main character maybe? (tho it almost sounds like it’s for sexually titillating reasons, which might lose points unless the game was created by lesbians). heh maybe I’m reading too much into the “little S&Mish” part. Be that as it may, the socialist in me would be horrified at the servant trying to get back into the monarchy’s good books :-p I’d want to give her a little red flag.

  30. Dolly says:

    lol, the game itself doesn’t seem to focus on that too much–just a lot of spike and fire dodging. 🙂 Here’s the link for downloading:

    The game is created by “Auntie Pixelante.” More info on her at Though I totally understand your wariness… too often lesbian “entertainment” seems more designed for hetero guys than actual lesbians.

    Here’s a vid of the game, if you decide not to downlaod it (it does take up space on the comp):

    • Crowfoot says:

      re lesbian “entertainment”: yeah exactly!

      the game itself looks cute and fun to play 🙂 so old school! heeh. I do see what you mean by the “little S&Mish” during the animation in the beginning heh.

      I really do need to make time for gaming *sigh*

  31. […] and “how to draw lucario.” But, uh, enjoy my vaguely restrained rant about Super Smash Bros? Unfortunately, it does not feature “super smash brothers having sex,” so you’re […]

  32. yinyang says:

    Followed your link here from the recent post about search phrases. 🙂

    At my house we have an NES, an N64, a Gamecube, a Gameboy Color, a Gameboy Advance, a Nintendo DS, a Playstation 2 (recent purchase of my sister’s, and she only has the game Sing Star), and a Sega Genesis with CD attachment (in storage). I’ve played a lot of Nintendo in my day – especially Ocarina of Time – although I’ve done almost no gaming in the last four years.

    Anyway, now that I’ve established my gamer cred… 😉

    I never noticed before that Super Smash Brothers has such a small selection of female characters. I guess I was too busy figuring out Link’s moves to notice. My sister can usually give me a run for my money when she plays Zelda, though, but that might have something to do with the fact that she’s figured out how to play well despite the sticky A buttons.

  33. yinyang says:

    Oh, look! Built-in emotes!

  34. eloriane says:

    It’s the sort of thing that I never used to notice, but that is constantly leaping out at me these days.

    And my friends tell me that Zelda is awesome when you learn to play her, but I am not good enough for that yet! Hence… Kirby.

  35. meerkat says:

    “Actually, someone also mentioned to me that Zelda (or was it Peach?) was a lot more impressive as a character than I realized.”

    Well, my friend always kicked my butt with Shiek on the GameCube and Samus on the N64. And when I went to a tournament one time, there were some VERY formidable Peaches in the team battles.

  36. meerkat says:

    BTW a Lucario in the Pokemon game has a 12.5% chance of being randomly generated as female (according to, so, like Pikachu and Jigglypuff, they come in both genders, although females are rare-ish in this case. The ones I have seen in the anime sound male.

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