Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Feminist Analysis of Halo Wars

(Written for the video version)

Halo Wars is a real-time strategy game made by Ensemble Studios. This was the first venture outside of the first-person shooter genre and with a company other than Bungie Studios. The writing is cornier than ever, though the dialog never quite tops Halo 3’s “to war”, and despite involving epic things like a Dyson sphere contained in a planet, it’s actually a very simplistic story. It’s a prequel to the main trilogy, set twenty years prior to the events of Halo: Combat Evolved.

It starts out with Captain Cutter of the ship Spirit of Fire narrating about how hard it’s been to reclaim the planet Harvest from the Covenant. Despite the UNSC feeling they own it now, they’re still fighting Covenant off the surface. He then talks to the ship’s AI, Serina, about preparing for dropping troops.
Serina is probably my favorite character in the game, an aloof and sarcastic AI who lampshades some of the cornier aspects of the plot. Her avatar design is much less sexual than Cortana’s. While Cortana’s a naked hologram, Serina wears a normal outfit. She comes off as just a woman, a digital member of the crew, in contrast to Cortana’s appearance setting her apart from the others, though they considered Serina’s clothes having a similar style at one point.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 9: 1x07)

(See the video version here)

The seventh Dollhouse episode “Echoes” starts to build up momentum toward the season finale with a look into Caroline’s backstory. The thing with Dollhouse is that who a person originally was sheds light on who they really are, which will come out even with mind-wiping and imprinting. We get a taste of what our protagonist used to be to find out what she’s heading towards.

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 8: 1x06)

(See the video version here)

The sixth Dollhouse episode “Man on the Street” is a break from the established formula of the previous episodes. This is when the show started to get good. It’s not about Echo going on an engagement, encountering a patriarchy, and overcoming it. Echo isn’t even in it that much. Instead, it’s a closer look at exactly what kind of place the Dollhouse is and the implications of the technology.

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 7: 1x05)

(See the video version here)

The fifth Dollhouse episode “True Believer” starts with the shiny happy people of a local cult, Children of the Temple, buying stuff from a hardware store. The sheriff expresses disdain for the cult while the store owner thinks they’re just happy and people should show tolerance. Then the sheriff finds a note with “save me” written on the back of a paper dropped by one of the cult members.