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Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Episode 8: Femme Fatales

Talkin' 'bout them 3D ladies...

After weeks of teasing and scheduling conflicts we finally bring you the Femme Fatales episode of Nerds Without Pants! Games and tech writer for the International Business Times Lisa Eadicicco joins us to talk about our favorite polygonal ladies, but we start off with what we’ve been playing. This week the crew covers Tekken Tag Tournament 2, FIFA ’13, FTL, Borderlands 2, and Resident Evil 6 among other things.

We begin the conversation with our thoughts on female protagonists in media as a whole. Can women be strong and still be sexy? Is the tendency to sexualize women in video games any different than the way they are portrayed in film? These questions lead us to a discussion on our favorite female leads and supporting roles in video games. The selections may surprise you!

We take a detour into some more serious talk, bringing up male harassment of female gamers, with examples like the Street Fighter x Tekken Cross Assault fiasco and the vitriol over Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” series. We also bring up the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot and that controversial attempted rape scene. Things go to a dark place, so we wrap things up with the female characters we’re embarrassed to admit we love.

We hope you enjoy this episode, and we really want some feedback on it, especially from any ladies in the audience. Comment below or head on over to our Facebook fanpage to participate.

Featured Music:

Shivaree- Goodnight Moon

The Hit Girls- Bad Reputation

Bjork- Army of Me



Rob Ottone Staff Alumnus

10/05/2012 at 01:45 PM

Let me just say that Lisa is absolutely fantastic on this show. We're looking forward to having her back!


10/05/2012 at 03:53 PM

Lady and gentlemens, well done. I agree with what Patrick said near the end, it was refreshing to see how positive the focus was throughout. Patrick was also correct in his assessment that I would appreciate the great shoutout to Alyx Vance. Lisa was fantastic and it would be awesome to hear her on more topics and episodes in the future.

It was great hearing you guys answer my question on how sex is handled in Fable games. The way sex is handled in the games doesn't lend itself to an intimate and emotional experience but I still think it's fun to play with. After all they are "systems" programmed into the game and in the end it's all math. Even though it's not very emotional and it all comes down to math I still really love the systems in Fable and the romance systems are included. In fact if I could distill all my thoughts on why I love the Fable franchise so much it would probably come down to the systems. I love the ambitious personal, nutrition, social, economic, and psychological systems built into Fable games and my favorite thing to do in those games is to experiment with the systems to see what kind of experiences I can have with them. I like seeing how I can affect my character's skills, appearance, wealth, standing in society politically, people's opinions of me, and how the good/evil system interprets my interactions with the game world. Now onto female characters in game.

The female lead and support characters at the top of my lists are all safe answers that I'm sure you could all guess since you've heard me explain them before. The favorite lead being my female Commander Shepard in Mass Effect, and the favorite supporting being Alyx Vance in Half Life 2, especially HL2 Episode 1. But instead of just going with the safe answers I'll go into other lead and support characters that I've never talked about.

As a lead female character in a narrative, I really love and became attached to the female Spartan-II that I created for the Halo Reach campaign. At the beginning of the game you can create your own Spartan, male or female, and customize their appearance. The female Noble 6 that I created became the canon character for me and I can't imagine any other character being in her shoes. She's like my own personalized Commander Shepard in the Halo universe. *Reach spoiler* At the very end of the game all of your fellow Noble Team Spartans became dead or missing while defending the planet and when the Pillar of Autumn departs desperately for orbit with Cortana and 117 on-board, Noble 6 (your character) remains behind on Reach to go down-with-the-ship and fight the overwhelming Covenant ground forces to the death. The very final moments of Reach occur in an unexpected mission after the end of the game. In the final mission the lone Noble 6 is surrounded by Covenant on the destroyed surface of Reach and you are free to fight as long as possible, but eventually you loose your helmet, you have to fight hand-to-hand with Elites, and watch your Spartan die alone, but with honor. That was one of the most heartbreaking things I've felt in an FPS campaign. You can criticize the narratives and coherency in the previous games all you want and I will agree with you, but Bungie really made a tragic and beautiful story with Reach and the female Spartan I created was at the heart of it. *end spoiler*

As a supporting character I don't want to cheat and give two but these guys are basically a 2-for-1 package. I love Anna Grimsdotter/Colonel Lambert in the Splinter Cell franchise. During every mission Grim and Lambert are the ones you hear in your ear the whole time and Same Fisher couldn't do his job without those two. Together they all get the job done with respect to the military hierarchy, but they are incredibly informal, they take jabs and liberties, and they basically all know each other on a very intimate level (Sam's daughter Sarah is discussed often) since they are all in the intelligence and reconnaissance business. Over the course of the games I became so comfortable with each character's presence that I have the various actor's voices imprinted on my brain after so many years of listening to them. Anna and Sam have a unique relationship because she is much younger than him and they joke about it all the time, but there is no submission from either character. Niether one is afraid of the other. They are both brilliant, each is the best at what they do (like Cortana and 117 in Halo), they're both strong, dangerous, and they can't do the job if one of them is missing from the equation.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

10/05/2012 at 10:36 PM

You know, I would say female Shepard is a pretty unique choice. I don't know why I don't think of her. Maybe it's because she's a created character, even if she's voiced. I put her in the same category as the main character of Fable or Oblivion. But that's a great one to select for sure. Mass Effect was the first game where I created a female character to play as. It was on my second playthrough, sure, but until that game I would not have considered playing a female character unless she's the sole protagonist like Tomb Raider.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

10/05/2012 at 09:00 PM

I'm aware that Samus and Chun-Li were safe answers, but they honestly are my favorites, especially Samus. I mean Metroid being my favorite series, i'd be lying if i didnt say Samus. Jade from BG&E is a great choice too. 

As for Secondary characters, I do have one thats more original. Elika from PoP 2008. She definitely embodied a great secondary character and had some really emotional moments in the game, especially at the end. 

Others I can think of that are cool;

 Fang (FFXIII)

Amaterasu (Okami)  

Sharla (Xenoblade)

I know there are others that im forgetting, but those come to mind.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

10/05/2012 at 10:39 PM

Rob may have poo pooed the "obvious" choices, but I think they're obvious for a reason. If I was more of a Half Life fan Alyx would have made my list. She's such an amazing character that I consider Half Life 2 to be her story instead of Gordon Freeman, the most overrated video game character since Link.

Elika came very close to my supporting choice, as well. I know you and I are on the same page with Prince of Persia 2008, and if we're talking non-RPG characters she's probably at the top of my list. But like we said in the show, Trip from Enslaved is pretty incredible, too.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

10/05/2012 at 11:23 PM

yeah, I love Trip. I need to finish Enslaved, one of the more underrated games of this gen.

Patrick Kijek Contributing Writer

10/06/2012 at 03:17 PM

You're definitely right on why obvious is obvious. Just like why a cliché becomes a cliché. As artists, it's tough not to poo poo them, since we want to make new ones all of the time.

Our Take

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

10/05/2012 at 11:40 PM

You want some less obvious choices? Protagonist: Asha from Monster World 4. Supporting character: Brigid Tenenbaum from Bioshock.

Yeah, I know Asha is kind of a Link-ish silent protagonist, but she emotes quite a bit more than Link, and the game makes it clear that she's put through a lot. Normally I wouldn't care about spoiling such an old game, but it only recently got localized as part of the Monster World Collection, which you should pick up anyway.

Rob Ottone Staff Alumnus

10/06/2012 at 12:42 AM

When I say "obvious", it's merely meant to get people thinking instead of regurgitating the same answers. Chun-Li and Samus remain safe answers. They just feel lazy to me, in terms of narrative design. Tenenbaum is a great choice.

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

10/06/2012 at 09:47 AM

I don't know if lazy is fair. Just because it's a popular opinion doesn't negate the value of the statement if it's genuine. For example, I think Midna from Twilight Princess is a fantastic example of a strong female supporting character, but I'm sure she's on plenty of lists. I just personally love her character.

Our Take

Patrick Kijek Contributing Writer

11/07/2012 at 11:22 PM

My dad's name is Bill.

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