Monday, June 20, 2005

Gender Equality in Video Games?


Final Fantasy II imbalance
Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
This shot is one I took of my early party in my current game of Final Fantasy II, which I've been playing lately on the Gameboy Advance SP via the Final Fantasy I & II Dawn of Souls game.

While playing, I happened to notice that the female in my party was way behind (in terms of HP) my male party members. At the time, the first male character had 447 possible hit points, the other male had 583, while the female had a paltry 209. "Where's the gender equality in that?!?" I wondered.

Yes, I KNOW that how much HP you gain in this game is about how much you get hit and thus having her in the back row meant she got hit less, thus gained fewer HP.

The imbalance still amused me, particularly in light of more recent Final Fantasy games, where the female characters are quite powerful; for example Yuna in Final Fantasy X. For what it's worth, I've played quite a bit since that shot was taken, and Maria has been moved to the front row. Currently, Firion has 1521 HP, Maria has 1228, and Guy has 1807. Maria's still a bit behind the "boys" as it were, but she's got the best weapon skills (ice bow!) and is currently the only party member who's adept at Holy, so she's still pretty badass.

I still find it interesting, though, that Final Fantasy II, first published in 1988, incorporates weaker women than current games do, when compared to the men of the game. The video game evolution of gender equality does seem to mirror the "real life" evolution of gender equality...any thoughts from the peanut gallery?

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