Zelda Dungeon Marathon 2019:

In an ongoing editorial at Kombo.com, Joey Davidson takes a look at the

role of female characters in videogames. This is the first part in what

is assumed to be several more additions until he has finished making is

point altogether. In this part, he delves in the Mario series and

having to save Princess Peach in the original Super Mario Bros. I have

taken his thoughts, combined with my own, and applied it to the Zelda

franchise. Take the jump inside and enjoy the ride.

marioandpeach.jpgIn the original piece, found here,

Princess Peach is described as an object of sexual desire. Thus, before

continuing further, I will quote his warning before moving on as it

will apply to the rest of my article here as well:

“I would like to slide this disclaimer out in front of you readers just

so that I can quell any early senses of anger before we proceed. I may

say some things here and there that place the female sex and gender

into a position that’s well below the politically correct norm. I want

you to know that while I may be using these viewpoints and positions in

order to further prove my argument, I know as a human being and a

member of society that women are equal to men. My

goal with this article is to dismantle the accepted image of females in

video games and educate those that may look at their typical portrayal

as normal and commonplace.”

In other words folks, especially females, don’t take his piece, nor mine, as actually applying to real life situations.

I

find his piece (so far, noting there is more parts to it yet to come)

to be quite telling as to how girls are portrayed in video games. Here

is an excerpt on his main point on what Princess Peach really is for

video gamers:

“SMB is all about rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser. You quest from

castle to castle in search of the fair maiden, and when you finally get

her, you get a kiss on the cheek.

So what’s wrong with this portrayal? Well, logically speaking, it

puts the female character in a position of weakness. It takes you, as a

male, to rescue her from a situation that she herself cannot escape

from. But the quest to see her, the quest to rescue her and, most

importantly, the earning of a kiss from her all put the female role in

video games at an extreme disadvantage.”

He goes on later to say that the reward of the kiss (as only seen in the rerelease, Super Mario All-Stars,

for the SNES) is in fact implying a sexualy fullfilling reward. The

point of the game being that you are trying to save the hapless

princess who in the end is going to reward you with a kiss. Obviously,

for most gamers, we don’t play Super Mario Bros. for the reward

of a kiss, but as the storyline would have it, that is exactly what

Mario is doing. He is saving the Princess so in the end, she can show

affection for his heroism. This theme is pretty common in many video

games, and certaintly in the cinema scene.

Back in 1986, or 1987 for some of us, The Legend of Zelda, originally subtitled The Hyrule Fantasy in Japan, hit store shelves. Its base storyline was eerily similar to Super Mario Bros. Zelda has been captured, and the male character, Link, must save her. Grant it, there is no version of the original Legend of Zelda that has Zelda saving Link, but it didn’t take long for this to be suggested.

zeldalinkaol.pngIn the very next iteration of the Zelda franchise, The Adventure of Link,

it ends with Link and Zelda embracing with the curtain shut just enough

to hide their faces. This leaves our minds to wonder about what is

really going on behind that curtain, and is an obviously

sexually-related suggestion that they are indeed kissing.

What this does is show Link being rewarded with a kiss, and

apparently the type of kiss that needs to be hidden from the viewers

eyes. This is making Zelda, and women, viewed as a object of sexual

desire. While the main point of any Zelda title may be to save

Hyrule, most of the time the motivation to save Hyrule stems from the

motivation of saving the beautiful Princess Zelda. Many theories and

speculation have spurred off the idea of Link and Zelda being together,

and most of this speculation is based off the suggested material within

the games themselves. Of course, this isn’t the only dasmel in distress

used in the series.

As recently as Twilight Princess,

we find ourselves saving three women. The classic Princess Zelda,

Princess Midna, and Ilia. While Midna plays a significant role in

helping Link save everyone, she is still playing second fiddle. The

story certainly revolves around her, but without the help of a male

character, Link, nothing gets saved. They need Link, and apparently,

they all need Link more then he needs them.

“You romp through the Mushroom Kingdom facing bottomless pits and giant

turtles in order to save her, and you’re implied to be rewarded with a

kiss. You are given a piece of her sexuality as a female for saving her

from her demise. It is right here that Nintendo forms the first moment

of females as sexual objects in the narratives of video games. Princess

Peach is the trophy and the kiss she’ll give you is the champagne at

the end of your journey, she is the coveted sexual prize, she

represents females in gaming.”

As Joey points out, Super Mario Bros. set the precedence for which future games would follow. The Legend of Zelda

clearly followed suit. This time around, it’s Zelda that represents

females in gaming. Coincidentally, “The Legend of Zelda” is used in

almost every title in the Zelda series. The game implies that

you would be playing as the female character, Zelda, when instead you

play as a male characters who saves Zelda. If you look through the Zelda

franchise, women in general seem to always be looking to be saved, with

very few if any truly independent women that can actually help

themselves.

metroid.jpgObviously, this sentiment breaks a little when you start to look at some of the other games out there. In particular, Metroid. When Metroid

was revealed to star the ultimate female, Samus Aran, fans were

shocked. She acted like a male. Saved the world like a male. Kicked ass

like a male. Except, Samus is a female. One of the original female

heroes in gaming, and clearly the one that paved the way for girls

starring in future games such as Tomb Raider and Perfect Dark,

Samus Aran showed that females are indeed equal to males. Of course,

this isn’t revealed ‘till the end of the game, and even today with a

bunch of new Metroid games and even the highly popular Super Smash Bros. Brawl featuring Zero Suit Samus as a character, many people outside the Metroid loop still think that Samus is indeed male. Nevertheless it seems games and franchises like Metroid and Tomb Raider are merely the exception, and not the rule.

When it comes to gaming, and Zelda

in particular, women are viewed as objects of sexual desire. Is it

right? Of course not, and maybe this is part of the cry for something

new and unique in Zelda. A new hero, perhaps? The option to play as Zelda, which has not been seen since Zelda’s Adventure

on the controversial CD-i? Or perhaps Link just not being enough, and

needing to switch to a female character at different parts of the game.

One thing is for sure, when it comes to Zelda, women are

certaintly portrayed as a step below men, and someday something may

need to be done about that. Until then, I will continue to save the

pricess and enjoy the spoils of my adventure. Princess Zelda, you’re

welcome to come to my room anytime.

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