Sugar and Spice in a World That's Not Nice

The old "damsel in distress" routine is perhaps one of the less socially progressive clichés that video games still deal in, due to the simple narrative elegance of a character wanting to fight for something they love. Pretty much every beat-em-up (not to mention most of Mario's adventures) seemed to involve rescuing one's girlfriend, daughter, sister or president from an overwhelming force of ne'er-do-wells. This has the unfortunate ancillary effect of putting said female deuteragonists in a light that either makes them seem hopelessly co-dependent or mere objects to be won after all the protagonist's hardships.

With kids though, that helplessness is inherent. Humans have a natural inclination to protect their young, and so the fact that these are all female characters is less relevant in light of their age and the difficulties presented by having so little control over their own lives. Nonetheless, these little ladies aren't necessarily albatrosses around their respective protagonist's necks: They're occasionally self-sufficient to an extent and helpful in their own way, and are at the very least often well-realised characters that you can't help but grow attached to regardless of this medium's oft-exaggerated sense of machismo.

(Idea shamelessly stolen from Video_Game_King which I then subsequently forgot about. I'm awesome.)

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7 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

I'm pretty sure you kind of got this idea from me.

Posted by Mento

@Video_Game_King: Oh yeah! I remember now. Something about how frequent kidnappings are in video game land, right? It's close enough that I should credit you somewhere.

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Posted by Video_Game_King

Sort of. More like "how can these toddlers be kidnapped and have absolutely no recollection of it, and why is this appearing to be so common".

Edited by Mento

@Video_Game_King: I checked the wall post and I think I would've struggled coming up with examples of video game characters who were taken or kidnapped as a toddler and grew up in an odd environment while being oblivious to their origins. Or maybe not, since apparently it's happened to every single video game protagonist ever.

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Posted by Video_Game_King

Oh shit. I would've limited it to "working for the enemy" instances, but somehow, I'm pretty sure Link would still get on there. Somehow.

Also, I just checked the TVTropes pages for Altenna and Terra, and neither one had a good trope for this, so research might've been difficult.

Posted by Mento

@Video_Game_King: Without the assistance of a TVTropes page for the thing to make a list about, that's me, Gameological Society and half of Cracked out of commission. We'll regroup on a fresh idea for next week, which I will then obliviously take all the credit for.

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Posted by Video_Game_King