Badass Women in Games

Badass Women in Games

Yes I am a girl, Yes I play video games, Now make me a sandwhich

Over the years video games have started to make women the protagonist or give you the choice to make the protagonist female. I think game companies have started to realize that women play games too and do not always want to play a man either. As a video game animation major I know I am going into a field where there is not much female presence, but the fact that women are becoming our main characters in games makes me hopeful for myself. Here are is a list of games with Badass female protagonist or characters.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn takes place a thousand years into the future, in a post-apocalyptic world where huge animal like machines rule the land. Over time, human civilization has regressed to tribal societies of hunters and gatherers who survive in immense forests, imposing mountain ranges, and the atmospheric ruins of their ancestors – all while the machines become increasingly powerful. Aloy is a female hunter who protects her tribe even though they shun her. What I like about it is that it was a highly anticipated game with its main and only playable character female. It became the fifth-best-selling PlayStation 4 video game (3.4 million copies sold).

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

If you know the name Nathan Drake, you know Uncharted. Like Tomb Raider, Nathan Drake explores mythical stories and treasures. Recently the series ended, but continued with new yet memorable characters taking the lead, Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross. Chloe Frazer was a treasure hunter and an old love interest in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Nadine Ross was a mercenary searching for treasure against Nathan Drake and his brother in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. In Uncharted: The Lost Legacy they work together to find a lost Indian treasure. It is another example that whatever a man can do, a woman can do.

Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice

In this dark mysterious game you play Senua who goes to Norse mythology hell to save her lovers soul. What I like about the game is that the savior role is reversed. It is not a man saving a woman, but a woman saving a man. You learn how in life she triumphed after being degraded and thinking she was a monster she still went to hell with fear in her mind.

Tomb Raider 2013 Reboot

Before this reboot, when I thought Tomb Raider, I thought of the oversexualized movies staring Angelina Jolie. Now I think about the game reboot by Crystal Dynamics. While it is the tenth game in the whole series it counts as areboot because it shows the origins of Lara Croft as she begins her career as an explorer. In this game you bleed, have to hunt your own food, and fight enemies with bows and arrows. It was done so well that there is a sequel called Rise of the Tomb Raider, released in 2015 and is the foundation to the 2018 film of the same name.

Wolfenstein: The New Order and New Colossus

Wolfenstein is about being part of the resistance fighting Nazi's if they won WWII and took over the world. While the main character is a man there are a lot of strong females in this story. Caroline Becker was the leader of the Kreisau Circle, or at the very least the Kreisau Circle of Isenstadt, in Wolfenstein. She would give mission orders to William, the main character and still fought even though she was bound to a wheelchair. Grace Walker is the leader of the American Resistance cell in New York City in the sequel game. She takes over as leader of the Kreisau Circle when Caroline dies and continues to give William his missions. Anya Oliwa was a nurse that helped William when in a coma, helped find and becomes a member of the resistance, and is William's lover and mother of his twin children. Anya is so badass that she is fighting and killing Nazi's while five months pregnant. If that is not badass than I do not know what is. Frau Irene Engel is a female antagonist in the game. She is a extremely loyal Nazi general that hates William and the resistance she calls vermin. These are examples of strong women, while not the main character lead important roles in the game.

These are just some examples of great games with awesome female characters and or leads. I hope gaming companies continue with this trend. I hope one day there are just as many female protagonist games as there are male. Hopefully one day there will also be LGBTQ protagonists as well.

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Social Media Popped My Privileged Suburban Bubble And Widened My Political Perspective

Apps like Instagram helped me truly understand the world around me.

These days, everyone seems to bring up how detrimental social media is to society and the adolescents within it. Quite honestly, I can't blame them. There are plenty of reasons as to why social media can be harmful. That being said, the positive effects of social media are always overlooked.

When I registered for Instagram in sixth grade, it was solely because of the bandwagon riding around my school to keep up with my friends' middle school predicaments. This was the time when most of my peers and I lived in our advantageous, middle-class enclosures that steered us clear from any issues happening around the world. It wasn't until my freshman year of high school when I really started to keep up with the news and current events. I would be aware of what is going on, but my standpoints on the events happening were never truly solidified. I myself am quite privileged and haven't really experienced any sort of persecution or oppression in my life, so it was difficult to recognize and understand many of the issues going on. That is, until I found the political side of Instagram.

Growing up, everyone has only one source for learning about what is going on in the news — their parents/guardians. Every kid discovers world through their parents, so naturally, there will be bias and underlying opinions. These parents' perspectives can have a large impacts on what their children think. Kids almost always agree with their parents because, well, no one wants to disappoint them. Children walk through life with information supplied by their parents, and many times, situations are butchered to comply with their taught beliefs.

When I started to check out these accounts dedicated to the social, economic and other issues going on around the world, I was overwhelmed by the amount of opinions there were. What surprised me the most was seeing the perspective of the people who are directly affected by certain topics, such as the immigration regulations and gay rights. It was fascinating for me to be able to receive firsthand exposure and evidence of how the world's occurrences affect real people, and ultimately this has helped me shape my own personal beliefs today.

With social media, I am able to leave my privileged-suburban bubble and see the real reasons why some topics in the world are so controversial and argued about. People have accounts on all sides of the political spectrum, and although I do not agree with every one of them, I am able to see the way that my nation and the rest of the globe thinks. Social media gave me a way to independently form my positions on how I want the world and its politics to run.

Because social media is such a large and influential part of the modern age, why not use it productively? Using social media to educate yourself will not only benefit you but also the future of our society and other generations to come. I believe that everyone has a responsibility as a citizen to be aware of the issues transpiring our world today, and learning through multiple points-of-view is a perfect start.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Robots And Ethical Philosophy

Opening the doors to the future. Quite literally.

Boston Dynamics is a robotics company driven to innovate robots using "sensor-based controls and computation," according to their website. On February 12, 2018, Boston Dynamics posted a video of their latest progress with their SpotMini robot opening a door for another.

When I saw this video, I was in awe and felt a great surge of hope for the future. However, when I got on Twitter, many people were afraid.

Though for most, the robot reminded them of an episode of Black Mirror, where dog-like robots hunt and exterminate humans. Heres the trailer for that episode:

I hope this attitude towards robots is more of a meme and less stirring suspicion over new, beautiful tech. I found this public opinion quite ill-informed, though I do not believe those that expressed fear are in the wrong.

Boston Dynamics is funded in part by the US Military. While these robots can be used for warfare, their practical use is far more commercialized.

Applying Ethics to Robotics

There is a lot to be said about how robots should be treated and even if we should restrict them from complete intelligence. The philosophy of robotics is not something the likes of Aristotle or Descartes would have ever had thought of. They simply did not believe such a thing possible. They believed intelligence was something given by God, not replicable.

However, perennial philosophy is flawed in that it does not portray an accurate model of the human. Humans do not have ethereal parts. We do not have souls. We have organic circuitry and neural networks that do all of the cognition and thinking.

Our "mind" is simply a metaphor for our brain. As we learn more about the brain and how it creates thought, we can apply this to AI. Perhaps all of cognition is just a complex algorithm. All we need is the code hidden within.

So if we create robots, where is the line drawn before we need to secure civil liberties for their kind? This is not so convoluted as it may seem. There are two things of importance when we talk about robots: intelligence and sentience.

Not many know that sentience is completely different from intelligence. Sentience is simply the ability to feel. Intelligence is the ability to think. We have been able to achieve rudimentary intelligence in AI, but we have never been able to actually replicate the ability to feel. Sensors are not enough to give robots sentience. They need authentic emotions.

If a robot is built for a specific purpose, say for an assembly line, they may be given sensors, but they are following specific algorithms. They are not sentient nor intelligent, thus they do not get rights. They are as humanoid as a lever or pulley. A lever or pulley isn't restricted to 40-hour work weeks.

. . .

The upbringing of sophisticated robots should not be something that scares people, but of course, it does. The thought of a superior species to us humans is something we aren't used to being such a reality. Programming is one of the most secure jobs because no programmer wants to write code that will replace their job. So I do not see our kind stooping to such lows as to create such beautiful machines and allowing them the full range of intelligence and sentience.

Cover Image Credit: @Tomasz_Mikolajczyk

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