Other M-nivesaries

<sotto voce> Sure has been a while. Be warned that the following post jumps around all over the place like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.</sotto voce>

Well here we are on the anniversary of the day that everything changed. Hard to believe that it's been nine years already. Almost a full decade since America went stone cold cuckoo.

This post was going to be about that bugfuck crazee Koran burning cult, but then I realized that that guy was so nutso-whoohoo-ooga-booga-boo that even the Pammycakes thinks it's a dumb idea. Anyways, d00d's totally chickened out.

So the whole thing got me to thinking about anniversaries. Tomorrow this blog will be one year and one week old - meaning I'm late in acknowledging my own blog's birthday.

What was I doing Sept. 5, 2010 instead of some Cookie 4 Me self-congratulatory wanking? I could have lorded my big scoop over teh Mendacious one and acted like an arrogant jerk in the face of his gracious acknowledgement of my pot-smoking bear following skillz. A full week after the fact...

What could I have possibly been doing that was more important than patting myself on the back?

I was playing Metroid. Actually, on the fifth I was finishing the story mode of Metroid: Other M.

How is it? Well, I'd give it about an 80% - same as Metacritic. Why am I talking about it? Well, I'm actually using it as a launching pad for a discussion about gender - mostly with respect to this review (also the video version which is basically the same - but with Morgan Webb's voice).


When, the spoilers aren't immediately ahead - but they'll be following and I felt that I ought to give fair warning.

Maybe it's that, as a guy - I just don't get it. That's the whole thing about privilege - you don't realize you're wallowing in it because it's just a part of who you are. But SRSLY - WTF. I mean, it's not like these reviewers are reviewing their first ever video game. It's not like they raised Abbie Heppe in some sort of cultural vaccuum before letting her at Metroid. It's not like G4 didn't nominate a game where offing prostitutes rewards the player with cash and health for Game of the Year.

So let's get to the point - G4 didn't like Other M because apparently Samus Aran is a whiny crybaby. ORLY? Wot game were they playing? Because I don't think it was Metroid.

Firstly, and this is their own first big sticking point - in all Metroid games Samus gains powers as the game progresses, meaning that she needs to not have them at the beginning. In Other M, she starts off with all of them, but opts to not use them. Presumably in order to keep the guys in the Galactic Federation squad she's hooked up with happy. You know, this seems a helluva lot more "Gender Issues Progressive" than the usual approach of having her stripped of her powers by some outside force. Here she chooses not to bust out the Plasma or Ice Beam or Missiles or whatever. It's something Samus decides to do on her own.

But wait - the only reason she's doing it is to make some guy happy. Except of course - that "some guy" happens to be the commanding officer of a military squad. I guess expecting Samus to co-operate with anyone - despite the fact that she has done so throughout the series of games - is too much of a stretch. I guess that having your main character decide to voluntarily limit her behaviour when working with representatives of the military is some variety of bad writing.

Of course that "some guy" also happens to be Samus' surrogate father figure - and the lady has some serious daddy issues. Clearly writing a female main character with daddy issues is some sort of sexist insult to women everywhere. I mean it's not like she's Starkiller or Kratos or Solid Snake or Fox McCloud. SRSLY G4, if you have a problem with Samus having "daddy issues", then your problem isn't with Other M - it's with action entertainment in general. Wait - there's also the Prince from Katamari, so it's not limited to just folks who kill the ever loving crap outta people (although the Prince does kill a lot of people). And it's not like she has daddy issues because her father would only lavish her with material gifts instead of actual approval - it's because she was violently orphaned as a child. SRSLY, Space Pirates killed her parents and she's gotten revenge on them in every Metroid game including completely destroying a couple of planets in oprder to do it - and NOW you have a problem with her "daddy issues"? W. T. F.

Okay, any of you still with me? Especially those of you of the BOOBIES gender? Here's the part where I show off either how smart I are, or how unthinkably out of touch I am.

So the difference between Samus and those other icons of unresolved issues with their fathers is that Samus recognizes it. In one of the cutscenes she acknowledges the difficulties she has with Adam and how they are related to her daddy issues. And herein, I think, is the part that makes Metroid: Other M one of those post-feminist whatchamacallits. That there are differences between men and women, including things like women generally being in touch with their own motivations outside of immediate gratification (although that's not to say that women aren't into immediate gratification as well - as your mom has shown me on oh so many occassions).

One of the criticisms about Samus Aran being some sort of feminist symbol is that it didn't matter whether a man or woman was inside the Powersuit - that her gender was nothing more than a gimmick. Maybe so, but that's the feminist argument - that gender shouldn't make a difference.

But of course, gender does make a difference. Gender is part of our identity - and self-identification is one of those important things that we're all supposed to respect now. And maybe I'm totally off-base here, but isn't that what Other M has actually accomplished? A totally kick-ass action hero that has feminine qualities other than on her chest.

Then again, maybe the problem isn't that she's at least marginally emotionally self-aware, it's with how she acknowledges it - the use of the words "Confession Time". Well here's a newsflash for Abbie Heppe and Morgan Webb and all the other Samus h8rs - there's at least one very manly man that uses the phrase Confession Time with some regularity. And if you doubt my manliness - well just ask your mom.

Confession Time - the reason I'm partial to this phrase is probably related to some sexual fantasy I have involving your mom and a confessional.


Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

Why only 80%? It is hands down the best looking game available on the Wii - pretty addictive and fun to play (unless you are unable to adapt to any new gameplay mechanics and can only function as Samus if you move via analog stick). Well:

1. Game's too short. I finished the campaign in about 8 hours, I expect that folks more attuned to modern action game cues could have done it in much less time.
2. The weird over the shoulder pixel hunts. BS. Totally. Breaks the flow of the game to get you to do... something. Usually at the end of a long action filled sequence of no save points - meaning progress you have already made is now dependent on finding something with no real clues as to what or why.
3. Some weird story/continuity things. Anthony Hicks appears to vary in height between about 6'6" to 10'6". The game takes place on board the Bottle Ship - a city-sized space ship - with a geothermal reactor. WTF? After you get Space Jump/Screw Attack - you discover - not invisible walls, but glass ceilings. Ones that even Samus Aran can't break through. I guess the game is anti-feminist after all.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

So, were you listening to Metric while playing Metroid? Were you playing on your portable game system, riding the Metro playing Metroid while listening to Metric?

Wheels within wheels, man...

Substance McGravitas said...

I like comic books.

Substance McGravitas said...

Games not art after all, say angry gamers

Mendacious D said...

Good review, or great setup for a "your mom" joke, even by DKW's standards?

Why choose?

gender shouldn't make a difference.

It is worth mentioning that if you beat Metroid II in less than some prescribed time, you got to see Samus in her unmentionables. Not the most feminist of easter eggs, if you ask me.

(...I just happen to know this)

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

Games not art after all, say angry gamers.

Funny, my take on it is that Abbie Heppe's view is the juvenile and empty perspective. Her issue is with the attempt at fleshing out Samus' backstory - with assigning motives to the character. Her preference in terms of Metroid storylines is "Samus is super kickass and kicks super ass and if you want any more depth than that thanyou are going to get your ass kicked".

Anyways, I hanve now completed the post-game and unlocked Hard Mode. Hard Mode is a fucking joke. It's basically unbeatable. All those folks complaining about how easy the game was, especially in light of the fact that it's a Team Ninja (Gaiden) game, well Hard Mode is the answer.

P.S. Sept. 10?!?!? WTF! I have got to figure out this schedule post thing.