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Women’s Depiction In Video Games

While reviewing my previous blogs in preparation for the upcoming blog audit and paper, I realized that my blogs have centered on women’s depiction in the media; I examined movies, television, and music in some degree, however I neglected to examine of the areas of media that I enjoy most, videogames. I recently bought the new God of War: Ascension for the Playstation 3 and was particularly struck by how it depicted its female characters. In short summary the God of War videogames chronicle the story of a Spartan warrior, Kratos, as he fights his way through a version of Ancient Greece populated by the Classical Greek gods, mythological monsters, and heroes; the games usually revolve Kratos having to defeat and kill several of the aforementioned entities. The previous games in the series have been hyper-violent and fairly sexist; specifically in six games there have been about a dozen named female characters that have appeared and only three of them have been depicted in a positive light. These three are barely depicted before their accidental deaths at the hands of Kratos. The others have either been semi-monstrous beings that the player inevitably kills, or objects of sexualization used in “sex mini-games” depicted off-screen. God of War Ascension features three female characters as the antagonists and as fitting the series, they have nearly no dialogue or personalization. While these characters are not depicted as overly-sexualized as previous characters, they could just as easily be replaced with non-speaking monsters and the story would not have been any different in any meaningful way. While the God of War games are rated mature and theoretically only adults should be playing them, however from experience I know that children play these games quite frequently and I worry what impressions they will form about how women are to be viewed and treated. Similarly the amount of violence in the game is worrying, as in this game much more than the others the violence initially made me cringe; this was surprising to me as I have been playing violent games and watching violent movies since I was in grade school. When I play this game I am able to enjoy it with a grain of salt by not taking it seriously; however I feel as though much of the game’s audience does not view it in this light, especially children.

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