This is a moment I have both anticipated and dreaded since the day I began blogging about video games. Since my first emoticon and hyperlink-laden post documenting my misgivings with the copy of “Sneak King” that came with my Whopper, every tap of the sweat and Doritos-stained analog stick, every arbitrary number I've ever assigned a game's soundtrack, every hot pocket microwaved in secrecy and shame has been in preparation for this one moment. My rite of passage, my trial by fire. My initiation into the illustrious tradition of video game bloggers.

The time has come, my cherubs, for my List Of Video Games Ranked According To Their Relevance To The Seemingly Randomly Assigned Topic.

Five Unsuspectedly Sexist Games

Finding the sexism in the Dead or Alive Volleyball franchise is like finding the racism in this picture. It's so very obvious and unapologetic that anything more than a “huh, well that's kinda fucked up” is a waste of your time and energy. Real sexism, the toxic, brain-eating “okay class today in Home Economics we're going to talk about how to land a rich husband” authentic sexism is found not in the games that are marketed to the very horny adolescent boys and very shady old men of America, but to the games that are marketed to girls themselves. The widespread popularity of handheld consoles has invited a flood of unfortunately produced, poorly conceived video games designed to supplement the “this is what girls do” bullshit so readily available on Disney and Nickelodeon, as has the phenomenon of games being downloaded as opposed to bought in a brick and mortar store with flesh and bone people. The pedantic concepts, shallow gameplay and unoriginal packaging allow these games to be made cheaply and with little remorse for their effects on gamers, as whether or not they bomb doesn't really affect the bottom line of the company.

Alright. Enough jibba-jabba. Nobody's buying this whole “academic” act anyway. Let's just get on with the list.

5. Bratz: Diamondz Forever
System: Nintendo DS
Publisher: THQ

“Shop. Try on clothes. Repeat.” It's the staple of enforced gender roles, the do re mi of sexism. So how did THQ build a better mousetrap with Diamondz Forever? First, they added a “fashion show” angle to the game, which not only forces you to buy new clothes, but then uses those said clothes to judge your worth. Then, they added a “prize”, a game-ending MacGuffin, for you to win, which turns out to be just another pointless fashion accessory that you have no use for now that you've beaten the game. Then, they threw in a bunch of sidequests featuring pets, which are the ultimate accessory, amirite? Finally, just to get you while you're down, they starve the game to about an hour's worth of gameplay. Probably so like you have more time to go shopping (for a Bratz doll).

Haha, seriously though, marketing a video game that only takes an hour to beat to girls is unforgivably patronizing, especially in a time where women have made up the majority of college students since 2005. How you sleep at night is beyond me, but it probably helps that you eat so many live kitties.

4. The Imagine Series for Nintendo DS & Nintendo Wii

System: Nintendo DS
Developer: Virtual Toys, Lexis Numerique
Publisher: Ubisoft

While it would make more sense for this list if I chose only one of the thirty-seven harbingers of hate in this library, you wouldn't be able to muster one game's worth of thoughtful play if you somehow managed to Katamari them all together into one big cosmic ball of suck. The games allow you to simulate the challenges of such woman-empowering careers as: Wedding Designer, Salon Stylist, Babysitter, Interior Designer, Babysitter, Cheerleader, and of course, Babysitter. No, I wasn't being ironic. There are actually four games in the series devoted to babysitting. One of which, titled “Baby Club” sounds like it should be a weapon in Viva Caligula. There is the occasional “step in the right direction” with games like Imagine: Pet Doctor and Imagine: Teacher, but if you're 5-10 year old doctor is self-aware enough to know that she wants to be a vetenarian or instructor when she grows up, chances are she'll take one look at these games and go “What? No MarioKart?” And that's how you ruined Christmas.

The game reflects badly not on the develoeper, but the parent buying the game in the first place. These games seem to suggest that girls are not as capable at jumping on goombas or puzzle solving as boys, and that their DS or Wii would be better used trying to figure out what kind of a career they should pursue. Now before you try to tell me that “nobody uses a game to get ready for a career” go ask a Marine how they felt about Call of Duty (if you're reading this please write me so I know you weren't killed by an RPG), a Med School student about Trauma Center, or a software engineer about Five Minutes To Kill Yourself. If you have that many friends. If I did maybe I wouldn't be doing this nonsense all the time.

3. Fat Princess

System: Playstation Network
Developer: Titan Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
A quirky, cartoony take on “capture the flag”, with the flag replaced with a princess that you force feed to make heavy and thus more difficult to capture and carry back to home base. Do I really need to explain what's wrong with that concept? What's perhaps most heartbreaking about this game is that unlike other titles on this list, it's actually quite good. It's quirky, inventive, and fun, with a focus on teamwork (a trait you don't find often outside of shooters) and a flair for the absurd, which makes the whole “holding a princess captive and feeding her cake” aspect all the more brutal, like the rape scene in A Clockwork Orange or the cries of “shoot that n*****” echoing throughout Twitter following Kanye's latest stunt du jour. I can even handle the exhausted “damsel in distress” trope, because sometimes, after a long day of being teabagged by GokuPwnsYouN00b, you just long to carry a girl in a frilly dress out of a burning building. The game does bring up interesting questions about sizeism, fatphobia, and body image, as we seem to prefer our princesses either frail and petite, or obese and somewhat deformed. But the real question, the one on everyone's minds, is “if she keeps eating all that cake, how is she ever going to find a husband?”

To anyone who would argue that this isn't even remotely aimed at girls, note the similarity between the princess in the picture and Nintendo's Princess Peach. Me-1 You-0.

2. Cooking Mama

Platforms: Nintendo DS & Nintendo Wii
Developer: Cooking Mama Limited Publisher: Taito, Majesco, 505 Games
So what squick me out about this most beloved franchise? Is it that, while marketed as a family game, it nonetheless appears on every “good games for girls” list (and even a “good games for girlfriends” list) and has been shamelessly marketed by outlets like GameStop as a game for girls? Or the insinuation that cooking is a woman's activity? Or that 5-10 year old girls have just been longing for a game that teaches them to cook, an activity most parents don't allow their children do to until their teens or even later and will just become another loathed, thankless responsibility thrust upon them and exploited by friends, significant others, and possibly even their children? No, what rubs me the wrong way about this game is the cutscene, I guess we'll call it, that comes up whenever you run out of time, forget a step, or however else you manage to fuck up chopping up a tomato. Mama will give you the death glare and say “Don't worry, Mama will fix it!” That's pretty shitty when even Halo 3 has more personal accountability than your game. Yes, just leave your mess behind for the woman to clean up. She's got some spare time before Gardening Mama, Crafting Mama, and you guessed it sports fans, even Babysitting Mama. You've got shit to do, you know. Go learn some chemistry and math with Science Papa. If you played this game for longer than 10 minutes and didn't feel like a patiarchal enabler, congratulations, you're Republican Party material.

Super Princess Peach
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Developer: TOSE
Publisher: Nintendo

I'll admit, this one's personal. Growing up, Peach was my idol. She dressed snappily, practically reinvented the parasol, and above all knew that her place was not in the kitchen but up in Mario's grill. From firing red shells at Donkey Kong in Mario Kart to hitting Pit with a frying pan in Smash Bros Brawl, Peach never sacrificed style when she laid the smack down on video game royalty. For the longest time I wanted to get a tattoo of her on my back, but just couldn't stomach the amount of beer necessary to convince myself it was a good idea. Imagine my delight at the prospect of playing as my imaginary girl—role model in a platformer on the DS. I waited outside the GameStop, waiting for it to open so I could play the game I thought I always wanted (and so I could pretend to pre-order a game only to tell the clerk that he “didn't sell me on it fast enough”). I raced home, curled up on the couch, turned on my DS, and turned it back off half an hour later. And cried. Then I ate a cookie. Then I cried some more. Then I blogged about crying. And that's why I have a therapist. Peach should get one too, by the looks of it.

In the game, Peach draws power from her unstable emotions to tantrum and cry at her enemies to death so she can raise some coins to buy items, because no girl's game is complete without an element of shopping, and just because Mario's life is in jeopardy doesn't people should cut you a fucking break or anything. In Super Mario Bros 2 I saw the Princess pull turnips out of the ground and throw them at people. In this game she can't even jump on enemies. Why? Because it's not ladylike? Because she's had to slim down to fit in all those frilly dresses? And why is the game so goddam easy? Don't want me to get too distracted, lest I forget to club babies and dice a fucking cucumber for dinner? Racing and party games are one thing, but adventure platformers? Hah. That's a man's game. Fuck you, Nintendo. If women were as emotionally combustible as you think we are we wouldn't have time to buy your stupid games, on account of being too busy beating the shit out of any random men we encountered on the street. I always knew you were like all the others, Peach. I just always hoped I was wrong. But it's cool. In ten minutes this PBR will kick in and I'll forget the whole thing. Meet ya on the tennis court, betch!

Oh my god. I did it. I've finally arrived on the video game blogger scene. Somebody better call my Momma, cuz I've made it to the big leagues, fools! Screw Attack, here I come!

Brb, hot pocket's done.

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