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Posted by D_W

@verysexypotato: I don't think loving Skullgirls undermines your argument at all. I love it too! Though I was at first put off by the character designs. While most of them fit the "sexy bad ass" formula there's a least a lot of variation. At least no character the same body and facial structure with different hair and eyes like from some games/comics/animations. Then you have characters like Peacock, Painwheel, Double, and Marie. Not to forget all those other in-universe characters who either appear in the backgrounds or exist in the greater story but haven't appear in game yet, like Illium(sp). It's ridiculous but it's not pretending it isn't.

Also that link about athletes is fascinating. It's interesting how the NP Comic version of Samus conforms to what you were mentioning.

Edited by verysexypotato

@d_w: I love some of the designs in SG for the same reason. And as much as those characters are a ridiculous kind of sexy, I think it works in the cartoony context of that world. I had to write that incredibly lengthy post because theyre basically turning samus into a busty skullgirl when the self-serious tone of the metroid universe doesn't really lend itself to that design. I love ridiculous sexy designs, but samus was so unique because she didnt necessarily have to fit that type of sexy. Its just really dissapointing and surprising to me.

People often mistake "attractive" for "big boobs and tiny waist." I think plenty of those athletes are incredibly attractive.

And I havent read that comic! I've got to get on that.

Posted by D_W

@verysexypotato: to quote a friend's song "Sexy is your mind." That is, it's all subjective. But more importantly it shouldn't be the sole driving focus on every character of a particular gender. I think anyone doing serious character design (in this case both physical and personality) should really read through the Song of Fire and Ice books (aka Game of Thrones, but the books.) Those characters are so varied and well realized. Outside of a few minor characters, there are no cartoonishly evil (etc maybe Ramsey Snow, but that's a bit spoiler-y) or sexy for sexy's sake. They're just human being humans for better or worse.

Posted by verysexypotato

I forgot to compliment the artist. These songs are so sweet! Totally not what I initially expected. Wonderful work, Maddy!

Posted by Hailinel

I'm not terribly sure what Maddy means by 'no one has done this before' - there is plenty of headcannon game music albums out there and as crazy focused as that is it's still true. For one, The Megas are a tribute act for Mega Man who have recorded albumsn for MM1 and MM2 (I believe they are doing one for 3) and they are heavy deep dives into the robot masters using their themes to tell a story through songs. Very similar concept as they take some pretty crazy liberties. Personally I love it though - so if you've not checked them out I can't reccomend The Megas more.

Yeah. Not to take anything away from her work, but there are countless examples of fan works in all sorts of media that are based around the creator's own preferred interpretation of characters and worlds that they enjoy. So to say that no one has done this before is kind of odd.

@d_w said:

@hailinel:

You're over complicating this. My statements were my subjective idea of what Samus was to me growing up and how that differs from how she is now portrayed. It's not about the narrative, her deeper personality, or how "practical" the zero suit outfit would be. It's about the specific character designs and characterization displayed in those designs.

The purple haired Nintendo Power comic version of Samus is unique to video game protagonists. She doesn't appear that way in the end of Super Metroid. No, that depiction is much like her current iteration and is equally unfortunate. So I guess the issue I have isn't with the Zero Suit design specifically but more with the official version of Samus. The official version of Samus is just another conventionally beautiful bad ass lady in an ocean (or more aptly, a universe) of conventionally beautiful bad ass ladies. There's nothing wrong with a character who is not only strong and cunning but also beautiful and sexy, conventional or otherwise, regardless of gender. The problem is that is the standard candle for female protagonists in video games. Name 100 female protagonists from popular franchises that don't fit that mold. Name one.

To me growing up, Samus was that one because of the interpretation of her that I was most familiar with. The NP comic version of Samus is what was used in the official guide books and, obviously, the short comic series that was included with the official Nintendo-based magazine. I spent more time looking at those books, barely able to read all that well (as I was about 8 to 10 at the time), then looking at the bikini clad version from the end of the games. I can't tell you sort of dialogue that comic had or whether it was any better/worse than the official narratives. But I can tell you that it formed my view of the character. She was like Ripley from Aliens. She was the Breinne of Tarth of my childhood. [Note I found scans online and am reading through it now. Despite hokey dialogue she's portrayed to be strong but relatable so far.]

It doesn't matter that's not what the creators ever had in mind with the character. It's not about them. And right now I don't really care what they do with the character. I could go other places to find characters like the way I interpret Samus. Or I could even make my own game with a character like that. I don't care about Metroid anymore and haven't since they decide to take the Samus in a direction that is counter to how I thought of her. It saddens and frustrates me, but all I can do is move on and hope to one day use what I thought this character to be to make a character who is actually like that.

Also I was going to apologize to @patrickklepek for going off topic, but it seems this discussion is in line with the topic of the podcast.

I don't believe that I'm overcomplicating anything. This is just a subject that I've put a lot of thought into because it's something that I find meaningful. I'm glad that we can have this dialogue without arguing because it's evident that it's something we both have strong feelings about, but lean in starkly different directions. I had a chance to talk to Abbie Heppe (who authored a particularly scathing review of Other M and Samus's portrayal in it) at PAX Prime in 2011 and just voiced to her what I'm voicing in here (more or less). That I find the Samus that Nintendo has portrayed a strong character, that I appreciate the human side of her, that she has weaknesses and makes the occasional error. There are bits of her that I see in myself, though obviously in sharply different contexts, and though Heppe and others don't agree with that view, I just wished to be able to voice it without being shouted down by (what was at the time) a very vocal internet regarding the subject. I wasn't intending to change Heppe's mind; I just wanted to be able to share that with her as the opportunity presented itself at a panel. She was appreciative of that view (though not in agreement,obviously). It also helped that I was actually polite about it and not one of the psychotic lunatics that had wished rape on her in the year following her review.

The NP comic interpretation of Samus is an oddity to me. You mentioned that she's like Ripley in some ways, and I recall reading somewhere that the author/artist drew inspiration for her appearance directly from Aliens. Which is a nice touch. I just don't find the Samus of the comic to be a strong influence on my view of her. I was twelve or thirteen when the comic was published in the magazine, but while it was interesting, it didn't draw my attention in the way that the comics based on A Link to the Past or Super Mario World that also ran in the magazine did.

@theht said:

There wasn't a great deal of story in the early games, but enough for you to learn quite a bit about Samus. A lot of this gets away from the purely design focused discussion though. In any case, from the first three games we can understand Samus to be hard-working, capable, reputable, not cold-hearted nor sentimental, smart, independant, and with some sense of duty. A woman of few words who got the job done.

You didn't need to see what she looked like under her armor to understand that, you didn't need to see if she was a man or woman. You saw the power suit and saw how she carried herself. We knew that she wasn't just a power suit and that underneath it all Samus was a person (who happened to be female), but the armor's design was good at reinforcing those qualities. It looked powerful, weathered, and adaptable. We might have wanted to know more about her thoughts or her backstory, but sometimes that desire is much better off being left unsatiated.

There's nothing wrong with a little bit of mystery around a character. You might not get great deal of insight into why a character is the way she is because of it, but in this case there's enough all the same for her to not just be a blank slate. There's a certain allure to that mystique anyways, and the hypotheticals can be exciting to mull over. Unfortunately that mystique also meant someone could come along and fuck it all up.

Anyways, deciding to show her out of the armor isn't the problem, they've been doing that since Metroid 1. Deciding to take her out of the armor for extended stretches wouldn't have been entirely objectionable either. But choosing to depict her as constantly wearing what's essentially her underwear for al time spent out of her power suit, the underwear itself highlighting particular parts of her body, was a poor design choice.

They took a character whose appearance conveyed her strength and tenacity and reduced it to one of mere titillation. I'm not an apologist for the old games, ending them with images of Samus in underwear was silly there too (but as references to Alien aren't as bad). And don't think that the female form is incapable of conveying strength or tenacity.

But instead of trying they just did this:

Yes, ass and boobs, great. It's a boring design decision that shifts the focus from a powerful and mysterious husk and the strong woman inside, to a girl in the tightest fucking suit they could make, twisting and stretching and crawling around. That it's becoming a prominent way to depict Samus is disappointing.

There's a scene in Other M where they just stuck a harness and other random belts on the zero suit, wrapped right around her breasts just in case you didn't notice she had boobs. All the while of course everyone around her is wearing regular clothes. It's just so silly and gratuitous.

As I said, a character can still have an interesting personality and such in spite of their design being the opposite. Samus was still the same bad-ass I remembered even when I first saw her wearing the zero suit in Brawl, just sexed up and looking ridiculous. But that's because of what I alreay knew about Samus. The zero suit conveyed none of that. Other M apparently fucked all that up anyways, but that's another discussion altogether.

It's a shame because her being a woman was the one quality that was the least important, and that made it real easy for my young mind to understand that anyone could be strong. But with the zero suit it's like that's the one aspect of Samus they wanted to convey. They took a character that had built up some degree of dignity and stripped it away by placing the emphasis on her body, as if those qualities before don't matter when she's not wearing her armor.

Hell, that image of Samus on the interview here is way better. But I guess that's from the days when Metroid designs were still inspired by Alien. Unfortunate.

The early games did convey a lot about Samus with a little, though they also come from an era when a strong narrative presence in games (or at least, action games) was less important and not necessarily expected outside of the manual. And I'll also agree that there's nothing wrong with a little bit of mystery to a character. But there's also something to be said for pulling the veil back on that mystery and giving the character opportunity to show more depth. (I'd also argue against your point about Samus not being sentimental, as she obviously demonstrates she is at the end of Metroid II by explicitly going against her extermination order.)

And though some might have preferred that Samus's portrayal remained the same style as had been used up through Super Metroid, I was never really in agreement with that assessment. I had, for the longest time, wanted to see Metroid games that brought us more of the character inside the suit, rather than the largely silent protagonist that she is in Metroids 1-3. The direction that Fusion, Zero Mission, and Other M took was always the direction that I wanted the series to take. I don't think I'm alone in that. Though obviously, not everyone that grew up with the Samus of the earlier games would agree, as the canon concept of who Samus is contradicts the headcanon that existed in a lot of minds.

As for the scene in Other M you reference, I think it's important to note that she wasn't dressed in her Zero Suit at that point just because. For her, that's her preparatory attire for her power suit. If she has a need to use that suit (as she was at that point desperately attempting to get approval to board a ship for what would have been a suicide mission), it would be easy for her to just unsnap that harness and summon her armor.

Otherwise, I think we're just going to disagree on a lot of points regarding the Zero Suit and Samus's depiction in it. As I said before, I understand that it's a garment that goes for a certain level of physical appeal, but on the other hand, I don't see the suit merely as a vehicle for that.

@d_w said:

Talk in the podcast went to the idea of a complete reboot of series. Personally I don't trust Nintendo with the character. It's beyond apparent that they have a very specific and sort of disgusting view of how she should portrayed. But if I were doing it, I would probably completely disregard anything after Super Metroid. Maybe rework in the general plot of Fusion (ie her merging with the Metriod DNA and some other amoral non-space pirate related experiments,) and include some of the more interesting items from those games (diffusion missiles, stuff from prime.)
But, as I said before, it's probably better to wait for some Metroid-fan-turned-indie-dev to make a different game with a character inspired by what Samus could have been.

This is one point that I will staunchly disagree with very strongly. I simply do not like the idea of rebooting Samus or Metroid in general. Video game reboots are...spotty, to say the least. It worked for Tomb Raider, true, but then look at DmC. That game wasn't necessarily bad, but there are a lot of fans of the series that were turned off by the stark, drastic attempt to reinterpret the characters, world, and gameplay. (Fans of the old Tomb Raider games made similar complaints regarding that reboot, but they haven't been nearly as vocal.) It's also not guaranteed that, if another Devil May Cry is made, the reboot Dante will be brought back.

If Nintendo were to go back and just redo Metroid with a different Samus character, well, the game might appeal to some fans that aren't fond of Samus as she exists now, but there will be a contingent that will feel equally put off that the Samus that they know and care about has been "replaced" as it were. It's not a win-win situation for anyone in that regard and can end up just brewing bad feelings. Hoping for a reboot isn't really the answer, because at it's core, it's just hoping that you get what you want at the expense of what other people currently have.

Posted by metalliccookies

Loved the interview and going to the the EP :) it would be cool to hear more of these 'fans of a franchise doing something creative' interviews...

Also I fear that Ridey may be too big for a musical lol

P.S. reading the comments it reminded me of a old saying... "Men only care about sexisium in games when Samus is involved" (it's a joke I find is kind of true)

Posted by dr_mantas

I've always liked Samus. She's sexy.

Posted by Ravelle

Maddy was a total delight to listen too, what a wonderful person. It's people and things like that made make me forget the negativity of the gaming community and internet.

Edited by TheHT

@hailinel: Mhmm, I agree with the idea of a zero suit. Something she simply wears under her armor. I can accept that in that scene she wanted to be ready to suit up and and get in on the fight. I'm not a huge fan of the armor 'phasing' in around her zero suit rather than being a separate thing she physically needs to take off and put on, or them apparently making it like the Venom symbiote (which also more explicitely ties her strength with wearing the suit), but that not really the crux of the issue I was trying to get at with that scene. It's this:

If the armor just summons onto her body, what's the point of the boob harness anyways? And her butt looks like she not even wearing the zero suit at all, save for being blue. Why is so much emphasis placed on her chest and ass? It's dissonent, and demeaning to the character and the audience. I understand the function of the suit, but the way that they've chosen to portray Samus in the suit wasn't a consequence of that function, it was a conscious decision.

I'm not averse to Samus being characterized further or making her more human than a Terminator or Boba Fett. Her sparing the Metroid showed she wasn't cold-hearted and would act independently from authority figures if she wanted to. Whether she did so because she thought the scientists could study it or because she took pity on the creature, the idea to give it to the scientists coming later, would have been a fantastic question to explore and play around with in later stories.

Keep building upon her mystique, expanding the world and the bounty hunter's place in it, creating a richer, more intriguing and mature character over time. Instead, so far as I can tell from Other M cutscenes and what I've heard, they certainly went for more characterization, but a lot of it framed Samus in an entirely different light, often gutting elements central to why she was admired.

I think that's why a lot of people were upset by Other M, and that's perfectly reasonable. I agree that you should be able to voice a dissenting opinion without everyone piling on and shitting on you, but that's a different topic altogether. What they did wasn't the only way to develop Samus. There's not really any necessary connection in wanting more insight and actually liking what they put there.

So I don't think it was a matter of either having a silent protagonist or having a deep character, so much as having a good, believable charactization that enriches the character rather than an antithetical characterization that cheapens or detracts from what made the character so beloved. I think even those who just wanted a silent protagonist would have come around to the direction of having more characterization, if that characterization itself was more patalable.

It's important to recognize that the reason you wouldn't want a reboot is just the other side of the reason others would. Asking for a reboot with Samus' characterization being more in line with the "headcanon" is the wrong thing to do only insofar as you yourself like the current characterization. There's nothing wrong with that being the only reason to oppose it. But saying it'll upset people is moot considering there are already people who are upset. In that regard it's quite dissimilar a situation from the DmC or Tomb Raider reboots.

Even if a reboot came about with the "headcanon" Samus, the other characterization from in Other M wouldn't suddenly disappear. There'd just be another rendition of Samus around, one hopefully more faithful to what folks gleamed from the old games. They have theirs, you have yours, and both have the oldies. It's closer to a win-win than the way things are. Granted they could just fuck it all up again, in which case the situation wouldn't really get any worse either.

The Nintendo Power depiction isn't exactly what I thought she'd look like, but it's much, much better than what they went with.

Do a Google image search for Samus Aran, and you'll find much more pictures of zero suit Samus than armored Samus, often in sexually suggestive positions. I'm not naive, I know the internet is for two things: the bringing together of people and ideas from all across the planet with the incredible potential to educate, connect, and enrich humanity; and for porn. All the same, I can't help but wonder if the overtly sexual fan art is really that far off from what's now "canon".

Besides the converation about her characterization in Other M, a conversation about her visual depiction alone I think is one very much worth having, especially in a larger context. @verysexypotato articulated the sort of dissonance I'm trying to describe much better than I did, and without muddling the two topics. I as well don't take issue with the designs in Skullgirls, just like I'm not at all against Bayonetta's depiction or even the look of characters from Dragon's Crown (though those touch sequences were fuckin terrible). Those worked for those characters and those styles. My ideal isn't for all female characters to be covered up and grotesque.

Zero suit Samus is just a noticable shift, a depiction with a new focus that contradicts so much of what made the character special, and much of her importance in the context of video games and storytelling within them.

Posted by AMyggen
Posted by Hailinel

@theht: The harness makes its only appearance in that scene, which is during a mission where Samus is still part of the military. She has a special exception in that she's allowed to use her Chozo-granted power suit rather than the military-standard armor. They never explain the explicit purpose of the harness because it's not really an important factor in the scene, but I always chalked it up to her wearing it so that she had at least something with pockets or pouches that conformed to military standards when she was wearing the Zero Suit and not her military attire (which she wears in other scenes). The scene itself is actually really short, and in watching it, my vision was never really directed at her breasts or he rear. My eyes were either drawn toward her face, or toward where Samus is looking (as in the shot from the rear where she's looking up at Adam).

And I wouldn't say that Other M draws Samus in an entirely different light from previous games. Earlier entries (other than Fusion and Zero Mission) do very little to expound on Samus's past or personality outside of her actions (and what few words she says in Super Metroid's prologue). It's not something that feels inconsistent to me. I understand that a lot of people don't feel that way, but that's just my take on it. Different people had different perceptions, questions, and expectations of Samus, and it was inevitable that when the veil was pulled back that not everyone would like or appreciate what was revealed, regardless of how well the story in Other M was actually told.

And in regards to rebooting with a headcanon Samus in mind, well, whose headcanon would they ideally follow? A rebooted Samus that fits a profile idealized by one group isn't going to please other groups, even if those other groups don't appreciate the current Samus; they might feel that in some way, the reboot is more objectionable than what came before. If the solution that some people want is to throw the baby out with the bathwater and start over, who's baby do they bring in to replace it? What happens if the majority of people out there don't like the reboot? Or that the reboot tries too hard to appeal to that set that desire a different Samus? Doesn't there just come a point where it's better to simply ask for a new protagonist and universe that can fit that mold, rather than to ask for that which already exists to be redone to fit their desires?

As for comparing Samus's appearance as she exists officially and in the NP comic, I disagree that the NP comic's look is better. She doesn't feel like Samus to me and never matched my interpretation of her, even back in the days when it was first published. And the amount of fan art, pornographic or not, featuring Samus that can be found on Google seems like an odd statement to make. Sure, there's a lot of it, but that's the internet. If history were different and the comic Samus were the canon interpretation of her appearance, it's fair to say that Google would be overloaded with similar images of that figure. Her different physique would not be a barrier in that regard.

Posted by TheHT

@hailinel: That it's only in that scene or that it's not important to the story elements there doesn't excuse it. The harness strapped around her chest and the light illuminating her butt further draw attention to a suit that already accentuates her body. It's not impossible to focus elsewhere, but I think the intention of their design is obvious.

I appreciate your focus on function and story, but I think you're really downplaying the way they actually show her. The leering camera, the way lighting illuminates and highlights selectively, the way they frame her, how they animate her. These are things that don't just happen. They're thought about and decided upon when crafting these scenes.

If anyone wants to see what I'm talking about, these are scenes with Samus in the zero suit from Other M:

I don't think it was enevitable that if they chose to pull back the veil on Samus it would create a character that many feel destroyed what made her. I'm aware that you liked what they did to her though. And like I said, they could totally fuck about a reboot too. I don't think the fact that they could screw it up, or that some people don't like reboots, means that the answer for people who don't like the perceived missteps made with Samus should not be a reboot.

The new series idea is a suggestion people sometimes find themselves on both sides of in different cases. In some circumstances suggesting those who don't like aspects of a game should just find another game, and other times suggesting that people who don't want aspects of a game to change should bow out and make another game. I think the point for most scenarios when a new character and universe becomes the best bet, is when the specific changes made or prescriped results in something that contradicts or throws away much or all of what worked with the old character, especially when it's an iconic one.

It's not even a situation where you fight over multiple competing canons from random corners of the internet. I think most folks who find her characterization and depiction disparaging don't have another specific story already prepared that's the only thing they'd find acceptable. I think they want a portrayal that reinforces and builds upon what made Samus so respected and intriguing before, as opposed to the new focus the devs have opted to home in on. Frankly, they're just doubling down.

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--jHxbNXa6--/c_fit,fl_progressive,w_636/nv4fzezcqzxscukzc8ub.gif

The Google statement was leading to the point that all of those sleazy depictions from fan art and the like are increasingly difficult to distinguish from official ones. There'd be porn either way, but that the games themselves now place such an emphasis on the fact that she's a woman, when the biggest takeaway from the old games was that it didn't matter, is disappointing. I don't think that's an unreasonable position, or one that boils down to somebody only wanting her to remain an oft-silent protagonist with little exposition. It's just that her strengths went so far over the developers' heads.

Posted by Hailinel

@theht: But in the case of Samus, not everyone is in agreement with how Samus has come to contradict her earlier appearances. If the idea of Samus is is largely in the player's mind (as in Metroids 1-3, and different people had different interpretations of her, then what is the consensus of where things went wrong? There are those that never cared for Zero Suit Samus, those that were fine with it up until Other M, those that think that Samus should never speak, and others that find silent protagonists dull and limited. Do you take away Samus's interactions with other characters entirely, or limit her to a Gordon Freeman-esque silent figure among talkers (as in Metroid Prime 3)? If you do have Samus talk, what do you have her say?

"Reboot, start over," is really an answer I only hear from people when they don't personally like something. And outside of perhaps recent trends in film, video games are the only media I am aware of in which this sort of desire is openly stated. If fans of the earlier Game of Thrones books didn't like the most recent one because of how a certain character was portrayed as compared to earlier books, or how the events take a turn they don't like, they don't ask that George Martin go back and change things, much less start over. (At least, the people with criticisms that are taken seriously don't.) Maybe those people that don't like how a certain character turned out write a story of their own. Maybe it's fanfiction and just does something they find more preferable, or maybe it's an attempt at an original story of their own. Either way, it inspires fans to be create stories and characters that they want to see, rather than make requests or demands that others change their own works to meet those desires.

Posted by verysexypotato
Edited by TheHT

@hailinel said:

@theht: But in the case of Samus, not everyone is in agreement with how Samus has come to contradict her earlier appearances. If the idea of Samus is is largely in the player's mind (as in Metroids 1-3, and different people had different interpretations of her, then what is the consensus of where things went wrong? There are those that never cared for Zero Suit Samus, those that were fine with it up until Other M, those that think that Samus should never speak, and others that find silent protagonists dull and limited. Do you take away Samus's interactions with other characters entirely, or limit her to a Gordon Freeman-esque silent figure among talkers (as in Metroid Prime 3)? If you do have Samus talk, what do you have her say?

"Reboot, start over," is really an answer I only hear from people when they don't personally like something. And outside of perhaps recent trends in film, video games are the only media I am aware of in which this sort of desire is openly stated. If fans of the earlier Game of Thrones books didn't like the most recent one because of how a certain character was portrayed as compared to earlier books, or how the events take a turn they don't like, they don't ask that George Martin go back and change things, much less start over. (At least, the people with criticisms that are taken seriously don't.) Maybe those people that don't like how a certain character turned out write a story of their own. Maybe it's fanfiction and just does something they find more preferable, or maybe it's an attempt at an original story of their own. Either way, it inspires fans to be create stories and characters that they want to see, rather than make requests or demands that others change their own works to meet those desires.

People disagree on a lot of things, yet dialogues happen, changes are made, changes are unmade. You won't please every single person who plays a game, but I don't think that's a very good reason to not tackle the issues involved or to shove away anyone who has any serious criticisms.

I think it seeming like book readers don't tend to call for serious changes or full do-overs in literature doesn't actually have any bearing on whether people who play video games should or should not. Never mind the fact that works of literature have and absolutely are subjected to criticism and suggestion.

The question of authorial control versus any responsibility to audience or to markets or even to just good consistent storytelling isn't an all or nothing affair. I don't think a position that completely accepts whatever a developer puts out, without any room for dissent, is at all reasonable or worth getting behind.

It's an outlook that directly supports creators completely abandoning all sense or history. All standards may be stripped away and extreme contusions in works be considered perfectly acceptable. It's to sanctify works that inspire being turned into works that demean. Conversely, I don't think all stories should be created by the masses either.

We trust storytellers with the stories that we connect with, that we use in formulating our understandings and ideals of the world, or escaping them. We trust them to understand and weave tales responsibly, with reason and with care. If they falter, we should be able to express our concerns and help the story find its way, rather than be politely shown the door.

Putting such a focus on the physicality of Samus' being a woman is one such misstep, and one that I absolutely don't think should be swept under the rug.

Posted by Hailinel

@theht said:

@hailinel said:

@theht: But in the case of Samus, not everyone is in agreement with how Samus has come to contradict her earlier appearances. If the idea of Samus is is largely in the player's mind (as in Metroids 1-3, and different people had different interpretations of her, then what is the consensus of where things went wrong? There are those that never cared for Zero Suit Samus, those that were fine with it up until Other M, those that think that Samus should never speak, and others that find silent protagonists dull and limited. Do you take away Samus's interactions with other characters entirely, or limit her to a Gordon Freeman-esque silent figure among talkers (as in Metroid Prime 3)? If you do have Samus talk, what do you have her say?

"Reboot, start over," is really an answer I only hear from people when they don't personally like something. And outside of perhaps recent trends in film, video games are the only media I am aware of in which this sort of desire is openly stated. If fans of the earlier Game of Thrones books didn't like the most recent one because of how a certain character was portrayed as compared to earlier books, or how the events take a turn they don't like, they don't ask that George Martin go back and change things, much less start over. (At least, the people with criticisms that are taken seriously don't.) Maybe those people that don't like how a certain character turned out write a story of their own. Maybe it's fanfiction and just does something they find more preferable, or maybe it's an attempt at an original story of their own. Either way, it inspires fans to be create stories and characters that they want to see, rather than make requests or demands that others change their own works to meet those desires.

People disagree on a lot of things, yet dialogues happen, changes are made, changes are unmade. You won't please every single person who plays a game, but I don't think that's a very good reason to not tackle the issues involved or to shove away anyone who has any serious criticisms.

I think it seeming like book readers don't tend to call for serious changes or full do-overs in literature doesn't actually have any bearing on whether people who play video games should or should not. Never mind the fact that works of literature have and absolutely are subjected to criticism and suggestion.

The question of authorial control versus any responsibility to audience or to markets or even to just good consistent storytelling isn't an all or nothing affair. I don't think a position that completely accepts whatever a developer puts out, without any room for dissent, is at all reasonable or worth getting behind.

It's an outlook that directly supports creators completely abandoning all sense or history. All standards may be stripped away and extreme contusions in works be considered perfectly acceptable. It's to sanctify works that inspire being turned into works that demean. Conversely, I don't think all stories should be created by the masses either.

We trust storytellers with the stories that we connect with, that we use in formulating our understandings and ideals of the world, or escaping them. We trust them to understand and weave tales responsibly, with reason and with care. If they falter, we should be able to express our concerns and help the story find its way, rather than be politely shown the door.

Putting such a focus on the physicality of Samus' being a woman is one such misstep, and one that I absolutely don't think should be swept under the rug.

What about when the creator's sense of history just happens to not correspond to a player's sense of history? Can the creator be blamed if he or she doesn't share a view that's only held by a certain percentage of the audience? Can the audience really call the creator wrong when a game is released that only contradicts the views of select audience members? Should the views of audience members that don't agree with the creator hold authority over those that do?

Let's say that there are two audience members, one of whom finds the storytelling in the Metroid series consistent, and the other does not. Both are able to share their views with equal eloquence. Should either side expect their views to have more influence on the narrative and characters of the series than the other?

Posted by TheHT

@hailinel: I think in the case of Metroid, Nintendo would do well to consider the response Other M received, reassessing Samus' depiction as well as where they would take her. Whatever direction they chose, be it one or the other, a middle-ground, or something entirely different, anyone who is displeased should continue to express their issues, as long as they continue to care about the series.