I tip my hat to Sour Duck on her analysis of Beyond Good and Evil (the video game). I liked it so much that it made me jealous that I didn’t come up with it first.
The hero and main characterâ€”the character that you closely identify with and the only character you’re able to control from beginning to endâ€”is Jade, a young woman who lives in a lighthouse orphanage.
The narrative is constructed from Jade’s point of view, and generally we learn new information when she does (although the game leaves clues that the savvy player can pick up on). Jade’s parents are deceased, and she has only her Uncle Pey’j as family. However, while other characters are important, they are subordinate to the character of Jade.
This is quite a switch for action/adventure games, where central characters are usually male.
You’re not The Woman, but a woman
Jade isn’t surrounded by male characters, either. The Governor of Hillys is a woman (what’s more, a black woman), as is the Museum Director, who pays Jade for the photographs she takes of new life forms. At least one character of a underground rebel cell is female (a cat woman) as well.
Although the proportion of female to male characters is still weighted towards the male, female characters are placed in positions of status and power and, more importantly, risk.
With all the crappy female characters out there, Jade has always made me proud and SD articulates many of the reasons why I felt that way. If you’re at all interested in video games, it’s worth giving this article a read.