Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Bechdel Test and Tomb Raider

The Bechdel test is used to determine if a work of fiction fairly represents women. It has three simple rules
1) The work of fiction must feature at least two female characters
2) who have a conversation between them
3) about something other than a man or men.

TVTropes has an excellent article on the subject (i actually prefer it to the wikipedia article)
First off, I'm super happy that The Dark Brotherhood Resurrection Passes! Both babette and Averna discuss killing people, sometimes men, sometimes women.

Lately I've been playing the Tomb Raider games. Steam had a sale and I got every TR game ever made for $15, which I consider a fantastic deal.

I've been playing the most recent titles, Tomb Raider Legend, TR: Aniversary (which is a great remake of the original Tomb Raider 1), and TR: Underworld. These three titles form a trilogy of sorts. I was in awe of how many strong empowered female characters there are in these games. The antagonists of all three titles are females. In fact, the primary antagonist of all TR games is an ancient imortal female ruler of Atlantis.

In the Tomb Raider games men are always secondary characters. They are either hired guns of the female antagonists, which relegates them to mini-boss status or just plain mooks, or they are hired by Laura. The men hired by laura either A) clean her mansion, or B) support her with technology/research and all three of them are rescued by laura on multiple occasions.

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