Resident Evil proves that the worst trope in horror video games must die

Resident Evil proves that the worst trope in horror video games must die

The nature of horror is to transgress, to delve into what is acceptable.

Back in February 2022, the controversial indie game release Martha died Aroused furious ridicule among critics, which led to rock, paper, gun To wearily describe it as “the game in which you peel the face of a dead woman”. But while the shocking conversations surrounding the game’s release may have fizzled out, there remains a bigger problem allowing games like this to exist in the first place. The implicit threat of brutal violence against women has been a major video game ever since Mario rescued Princess Peach from the wagon for the first time. As the medium has matured, the portrayal of this threat has become more and more clear – literally and figuratively.

Martha died It takes grotesque to new heights. In her headline-grabbing scene, Julia smears her dead sister Martha’s face and puts it on her own, confirming how she stole Martha’s identity. Most devoted horror fans, myself included, don’t necessarily object to the narrative being told in this interactive scene. Horror is inherently difficult to watch.

We’ll save you the rest of this moment Martha died.LKA / Wired Productions

However, this moment is scandalously bleak. After a moment that can make us more nervous, the game allows us to reconsider our manual labor; We were left to stay on the mutilated corpse. The implication is that the entertainment value of this desecration is more important than what the incident reveals about Julia’s deteriorating psyche.

Julia later breaks into Martha’s crypt, undresses to reveal her naked body, and then uses the same scissors to cut Martha’s uterus to reveal a fetus. At that moment, Martha is the ultimate embodiment of weakness. Despite the peace that death must bring, more abuse falls on her body. The quiet purity of the flawless female body is taken against his will, forced to endure horrors he cannot defend.

“the game delights In killing her on a sexual charge brutality. “

The use of nudity and violence to abuse and overpower women, whether dead or alive, is noted in other popular games, such as tormented souls. Released in August 2021, the game has received many positive reviews due to its survival horror. But others were not affected. gaming trend He described it indignantly as “just another example of the brutality and gratuitous sexual violence targeting women that has permeated the horror genre since its inception”.

Honestly, it’s hard to see tormented souls any other way. The fixed camera perspective puts the player in a predatory position right from the start. Often hiding behind her, the angle as low as that of a stalker, she regularly sees heroine Caroline’s underwear as she wanders around the abandoned hospital. An inevitable and deliberate design feature, her underwear is rendered with intricate detailing.

2021 opening scenes tormented souls.

This “artistic decision” has no bearing on the actual narrative, and is most evident in the game’s opening scenes, when Caroline brutally lost consciousness. Less than three minutes into the match, we saw her wake up naked in the shower with an endotracheal tube down her throat, her body writhing and stuttering as she rushes to remove it.

“If a woman’s body must swerve From the norm, it becomes the dreaded “other” that should be fight. “

This hideous dancer makes her sexually assaulted in two different ways. First, the camera always sits in a position that offers the most graphic angles for nudity. The player waves over the pigeon, looks at her from a safe spot and outruns, then joins her in the bath, positioned at the opposite end to increase the visual impact of her nudity. Second, Caroline groans as she removes the tube in a way that is clearly intended to arouse oral sex, and her raised chest emphasizes sexual arousal. This humiliating and shocking episode transforms Caroline from a clever detective into a vulnerable victim within minutes, a transformation that follows her throughout the game.

It’s all too easy to point out that indie horror is the problem – these are niche games with limited reach, after all. But AAA franchises are equally guilty of fomenting violence against women, even if they do so in less overtly obscene ways.

Jill Valentine, one of the 2020 Capcom Champions Resident Evil 3 Remake, is a particularly disturbing example. Despite being known as an iconic badass in the lovable zombie franchise, the game takes pleasure in killing her with sexually charged brutality. An example would be a scene involving a giant spider monster strangling Jill from above, then hitting a large tentacle down her throat. is similar to tormented soulsCamera angles emphasize Jill’s vulnerability: we look at Jill as the creature inserts its tentacle, and take a close-up of its mouth as it mutes around it.

There was no scene like this in the original game – it’s a completely new invention of the new version. Furthermore, when you play as the second playable character in the game, Carlos, these types of scenes simply don’t happen. He was hurt, of course, but not in such an overtly sexual way.

Photography by Mia Winters, a supporting character in Resident Evil 7 And the Resident Evil: The Village, is a little more subtle in its execution, but nonetheless trades in annoying metaphors. The wife of protagonist Ethan Winters, Mia has been alternately portrayed as a victim who must be attacked (as Martha, Caroline, or Jill) and as a hated monster (as Julia).

Mia Winters turned in Resident Evil 7.Capcom

in RE7Mia’s body becomes a site of weakness that Ethan must protect, while also being a vessel of terror in its own right. She is powerless to the whims of a serial zombie virus (it’s complicated) as it takes hold, forcing her to transform against her will. during one of many fight in RE7Ethan embeds a cleaver into the side of Mia’s neck, causing her face to transform from that of a crazy monster into the embodiment of serene femininity. The spectacle fuels this idea that women can be easily outmaneuvered, but at the same time poses a threat.

Women’s bodies change throughout their lives, often significantly more than men – think menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause. As such, the female figure arouses both curiosity and fear; Men take turns or discard what he can turn into. If a woman’s body should deviate from what it defines as the norm, it becomes the dreaded “other” that must be combated. It’s one of the main reasons why female body abuse often takes center stage in horror games.

Horror provides an ideal way to explore these ideologies without repercussions, while blurring the line between pop culture commentary and fantasy. It’s entertaining from a place that continues to reinforce stereotypical views of women, an aberration of horror that comes from enjoying women who suffer. Moving beyond these kinds of lazy metaphors is an essential step toward telling more memorable and thought-provoking stories in the genre.

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