Watery tarts distributing hammers and sickles

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

1 Comment

  1. Gilly
    September 29, 2017 @ 3:57 pm

    The removal of agency that comes with the transition from video game to lets play does go a long way to scuppering the “Rayne as female power fantasy” reading I’ve been going with for the previous two entries.

    Slight tangent here, but this series actually gave me a minor revelation about a subject that’s been confusing me. There are plenty of female character designs (Ivy from the Soul Caliber series comes to mind) that were sexualised to such a degree that I can’t understand how someone wouldn’t cringe at it or for that matter why they ended up in the game in the first place. So I was rather confused when I found that a not insignificant number of women cosplay as them. I honestly didn’t know what they saw in these characters.

    But that’s sort of the point you made here. If you are a woman playing these characters in a video game, then these characters can still function as a power fantasy. In spite of the character designs being built for the male gaze, the very nature of video games pushes these characters into being power fantasies.


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