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arks Boiled and Mashed Relationship Status: Mu
Boiled and Mashed
Jul 27th 2013 at 4:59:59 PM

As suggested in the Feminist Frequency thread, it would be helpful to actually get some hard data on the usage of Damsel in Distress for how pervasive the trope is in video games and how often the rescuers and damsels are of one gender or another. The Feminist Frequency thread is probably not the best place to do this, though, since there are so many other topics of conversation which tend to get in the way of the efforts of said census. After we're done with Damsels, we may decide to tackle other issues within fiction.

So from what I understand, here's what we want to know about each game:

  • Who needs rescuing
  • The genders of the people involved
  • whether or not the Damsel survives or escapes of their own volition.
  • Does the person in captivity make any effort to escape on their own or subvert the plans of the captor

For the moment I think we should limit it to capture/escape/rescue scenarios. Though there are other times when Damsel in Distress comes up, these are the most straightforward and seem to be the ones Anita Sarkesian is focusing on.

Right now we need to soldify our rubric so we can start looking at games and gathering data.

Also, please no analysis. At least not yet. That can be saved for after we have results. Right now all I'm interested in is cold hard data.

EDIT: One more thing. Karalora suggested that we should treat remakes or series with the tradition of Damsel in Distress (e.g. Mario) as one instance, or at least give them a little more of a pass. Thoughts on this?

edited 27th Jul '13 5:04:12 PM by arks

Video Game Census. Please contribute.
Karalora Manliest Person on Skype from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Jul 27th 2013 at 7:19:31 PM

First I think we should establish a questionnaire to use for each game. Something like this:

  1. Title of game
  2. Year of release
  3. In which country was the game produced?
  4. What is the gender of the player character? a) Male. b) Female. c) Customizable. d) There is more than one PC and they are not all the same gender. e) Other. (unknown, genderless, genderqueer, etc.)

For each capture scenario in the game:

  1. Which character(s) is/are captured?
  2. What is their gender? a) Male. b) Female. c) Customizable. d) There is more than one PC and they are not all the same gender. e) Other.
  3. What is their relationship(s) to the PC?
  4. How does the character escape capture? a) They escape on their own. b) They are rescued by one or more other characters, but contribute to the effort. c) They are rescued by one or more other characters and do not contribute to the effort or accidentally hinder it. d) They deliberately hinder the rescue effort for their own reasons.
  5. If it is the PC who is captured and they do not escape entirely on their own, what is/are the gender(s) of the rescuer(s)? a) Male. b) Female. c) Customizable. d) Mixed group. e) Other.
  6. How central is the kidnap-and-rescue scenario to the game's plot? a) It is the basis of the entire plot. b) It comprises a significant portion of the plot and must be completed in order to finish the game. c) It does not need to be completed in order to finish the game but is still significant in some way. d) It is a trivial part of the game.
  7. Does the kidnapped character survive a successful play-through of the scenario? a) Yes. b) No. c) It is left ambiguous.
  8. If the kidnapped character is not the PC, what other role do they have in the game's story? a) They appear frequently and actively move the plot. b) They appear infrequently and do not actively move the plot. c) They have no other role than to be kidnapped and rescued.
  9. Is there any other information about the rescue scenario that would be pertinent to the census?

That's all I can think of for now and the questions can probably use some tweaking.

edited 27th Jul '13 8:21:26 PM by Karalora

Stuff what I do.
infalliableliar Void Waiter from Future nothing Location
Void Waiter
Jul 27th 2013 at 7:47:53 PM

Here is a problem I ran into when I was doing my less comprehensive tally.

Games that are non-linear with multiple outcomes.

Let's take fallout 3 for example.

There is a side mission called Big Trouble in Big Town. You must save one person who has been captured by cannibal mutants. If you manage to save them they will tell you of another prisoner being held.

Now both of those people are optional to save. If the first one dies you can just go and tell the people of big town that they died and the quest ends and you get a reward. If you save the first but not the second then you the guest ends and you get a reward. If you fail to save both than the quest ends and you get a reward.

So how would you tally that?

Stop caring and embrace nullness.
Karalora Manliest Person on Skype from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Jul 27th 2013 at 8:18:41 PM

We might have to play it by ear. Actually, let me add something to the questionnaire about special or unusual circumstances.

And as for long-running game series where one character gets kidnapped repeatedly, I don't think we should leave them out of the questionnaire itself since we're just tallying statistics. That's more something that would apply to a criticism of the individual game, i.e. "Ugh, ANOTHER game where Zelda gets kidnapped?" "Well, duh, it's a Legend Of Zelda game, that's part of the formula by now."

edited 27th Jul '13 8:20:44 PM by Karalora

Stuff what I do.
arks Boiled and Mashed Relationship Status: Mu
Boiled and Mashed
Jul 27th 2013 at 8:24:29 PM

[up][up]Let me try to address that with a slightly modified group of questions.

General Game Information:

  • Name of Game:
  • Year Game was released:
  • Country of Origin:
  • Is the PC: A) Male B) Female C) Customizable D) There is more than one PC and they are of multiple sexes E) unclear/non gendered (AFGNCAAP or alien species without our standard sex divisions)
  • Is the game story: A) Linear B) Branching C) Sandbox/mission based

Information for each individual capture:

  • Is the scenario required for game completion?
  • How explicit is the scenario in the actual game? A) The player actively participates B) Cutscene only C) Backstory D) All There in the Manual
  • Name(s) of the person/people captured:
  • Is the sex of the captured person: A) Male B) Female C) Player choice D) Multiple people of both sexes E) Unclear?
  • What is their relationship to the PC:
  • What is the result of the capture: A) They are saved by the PC B) They are saved by someone other than the PC C) They escape on their own D) They die (how do they die? if killed, who kills them?) E) Multiple outcomes (list all that apply)
  • Sex of rescuer (if not PC):
  • What kind of effort does the captured character make toward escape (list all that apply)?: A) They just take it passively B) They fight back at their captors C) They escape on their own D) They search for an escape route to allow a prison break. E) They try to ruin their captor's plans F) They try to persuade their captor to release them G) None seen (when they're found they are already incapacitated to the point that no escape is possible) H) Other (please specify)
  • Other Comments: (this could be a summary of the scenario, extenuating circumstances of the capture not listed in the questions above or anything else the writer thinks is important)

edited 6th Aug '13 4:20:06 PM by arks

Video Game Census. Please contribute.
Karalora Manliest Person on Skype from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Jul 28th 2013 at 2:29:26 PM

Another statistic we might want to collect is: How hyped was the game? We'll have to make some judgment calls there, but I think it's worth knowing. If there are lots of female-led games, but they all get quiet releases while similar male-led games get eight-figure advertising budgets, that's not really equality of presentation.

Stuff what I do.
arks Boiled and Mashed Relationship Status: Mu
Boiled and Mashed
Jul 28th 2013 at 3:55:30 PM

It's possible that we can use That Other Wiki for that. They usually include an area on the articles called "Reception" which lists critical response and sales figures.

Video Game Census. Please contribute.
arks Boiled and Mashed Relationship Status: Mu
Boiled and Mashed
Aug 6th 2013 at 3:32:07 PM

I'd like to get started on this. The list I've made here is basically copy pasted from our Video Game Genres pages. I'll clean it up in a bit to remove duplicates and games that obviously don't apply. This list may seem daunting, but there's a lot of extra fluff in it. Anyways, after we work on it a bit, we should have some usable statistical data rather than examples chosen to outside a very specific point.

I'd say games without a TV Tropes page can be dropped for not being notable enough.

4X Games

Action Adventure

Action

Action RPG

Adventure

Beat-em-up

Eastern RPG

First Person Shooter

Miscellaneous

Platformers

Real Time Strategy

Shoot-em-up

edited 16th Aug '17 8:08:22 PM by arks

Video Game Census. Please contribute.
arks Boiled and Mashed Relationship Status: Mu
Boiled and Mashed
Aug 6th 2013 at 4:17:27 PM

I'll start with the census. I think for now we'll to one game a post.

General Game Information:

  • Name of Game: Blaster Master
  • Year Game was released: 1988
  • Country of Origin: Japan, though the story's a pure American invention
  • Is the PC: A) Male
  • Is the game story: A) Linear

Information for each individual capture:

  • Is the scenario required for game completion? Yes
  • How explicit is the scenario in the actual game? C) Backstory
  • Name(s) of the person/people captured: Fred
  • Is the sex of the captured person: A) Male
  • What is their relationship to the PC: He's the player's pet frog
  • What is the result of the capture: A) They are saved by the PC
  • Sex of rescuer (if not PC): They are the PC
  • What kind of effort does the captured character make toward escape (list all that apply)?: H) Other (please specify)The frog just kind of appears in the final cutscene with no explanation
  • Other Comments: (this could be a summary of the scenario, extenuating circumstances of the capture not listed in the questions above or anything else the writer thinks is important)

Video Game Census. Please contribute.
Malco from the Gungeon
Aug 16th 2017 at 7:54:06 PM

Time to promote my favorite game again!

General Game Information:

Name of Game: Saga 2 a.k.a. Final Fantasy Legend 2

Year Game was released: 1991

Country of Origin: Japan

Is the PC: C) Customizable (4 PC's, one is designated as the "main character")

Is the game story: A) Linear

Information for each individual capture: Lynn is our damsel in distress. First she falls down a cave and can't get out. The party helps her leave the cave by defeating the God of the Mountain a boss robot blocking the only exit from the bottom of the cave. Later, she's kidnapped by a ninja and taken hostage. This time, the main character's dad is slain and a boss fight happens.

Is the scenario required for game completion? Yes

How explicit is the scenario in the actual game? A) The player actively participates

Name(s) of the person/people captured: Lynn

Is the sex of the captured person: B) Female

What is their relationship to the PC main character: Since Lynn's dad died while serving under The Guardians (a artifact-protecting police force led by the main character's dad), the main character's dad took care of her family's needs, so Lynn calls the main character's dad "Uncle".

What is the result of the capture: A) They are saved by the PC's

Sex of rescuer (if not PC): The PC's

What kind of effort does the captured character make toward escape (list all that apply)?: A) They just take it passively

Other: Lynn joins the party both times to take town the bosses after she's rescued. She's not great as a newb martial artist, but hey, extra damage is extra damage. So she does fight back against the ninja captor and the God of the Mountain, but only after being taken in by the party as a guest party member.

edited 16th Aug '17 7:56:39 PM by Malco

My DA account... I draw stuff sometimes!
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