Alien: Isolation

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The 1979 film Alien, a science fiction horror film, is praised for it’s realism, special effects, and for challenging gender roles. The movie follows protagonist Ellen Ripley as she fights for survival while she and the rest of the crew on the spaceship Nostromo are stalked by an extraterrestrial creature. The movie spawned a franchise comprised of , novels, toys, more movies, comic books, and video games including the 2014 game Alien: Isolation. While much of the franchise has focused on Ellen Ripley, Alien: Isolation follows Ellen’s daughter Amanda as she searches for answers about her mother’s disappearance 15 years before. Like Ellen, Amanda is a strong female protagonist who lives in a world where she is not limited by her gender.

Amanda’s portrayal in the game closely resembles that of her mother- she is shown to be brave, clever, determined, and she even uses a flame thrower to scare the Aliens like her mother did. After learning that the flight recorder from her mother’s ship has been found, Amanda accepts a place on the team going to Sevastopol Station to retrieve it. When they arrive, the team realizes that the station is almost completely abandoned and they eventually learn that those remaining on the station are being stalked by an alien creature and killed by androids called “working Joes.” In her attempt to find the flight recorder and eventually get off the station, Amanda must navigate through the station avoiding other humans, androids, and most importantly, the alien. Amanda’s skills as an engineer prove to be useful for her. Because the station is abandoned she needs to find ways to restore power to certain areas to achieve her goals. While she receives occasional help from other characters, most of the game play consists of her solving problems and, if the player chooses, fighting humans and androids.

One of the most empowering aspects of the game is the focus on the mother-daughter relationship. Amanda’s motivation is to search for answers about her mother’s disappearance and find closure and she is willing to risk her life to do this. Relationships between two women seem to be unexplored in science fiction. Instead, sci-fi usually focuses on how women interact with men and vice versa, but Alien: Isolation uses the mother-daughter bond as a way of advancing the story. While Amanda interacts with many men (and a few women),  it’s her bond with her mother that motivates her.

The Alien franchise presents a world where individuals are seemingly not limited by their gender. While we see few (if any) men who take roles traditionally held for women, we see many women, such as Amanda, who take on roles that are traditionally reserved for men. Nobody comments on the fact that Amanda is an engineer, it’s an accepted fact. Likewise, it’s accepted that women often make up half of a ships crew. On the station, women are often seen fighting alongside men. The society created in the universe allows women to fully participate. The society however is not “gender blind.” One man asks Taylor, one of Amanda’s crew mates, if she’s “just another girl with daddy issues.” The characters may have individual prejudices, and stereotypes may still exist, but these characters seem to be rare in the fictional world of the Alien franchise and the game,  Alien: Isolation, seems to continue to challenge gender roles like the 1979 film.

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BioShock Infinite

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    The game BioShock Infinite is set in 1912 in the fictional floating city Columbia. It was founded by self proclaimed prophet Zachary Hale Comstock who led the seemingly utopian city. It becomes obvious throughout the game that Columbia is not a utopian city at all, but instead a theocratic militant dystopian city that emphasizes racial purity and is on the verge of a civil war between the white upper classes and the racial minorities consisting of slaves and indentured servants. BioShock Infinite openly and directly explores social issues such as race and class distinctions, but its portrayals of women explore gender issues, although not as directly. The game utilizes characteristics of science fiction to twist these tropes, creating a new world where these tropes are rejected, offering numerous empowered women including Elizabeth, Daisy Fitzroy, and Rosalind Lutece.

The game is played from the first person perspective of the protagonist Booker DeWitt and the plot revolves around rescuing a girl named Elizabeth, locked in a tower. Right away the game is presenting the “Damsel in Distress” trope where “A character, usually female and nubile, is made helpless and put into immediate danger in order to put the cast in motion” and it’s up to the male protagonist to “Save the Princess,” a female character who “has been kidnapped and put in a tower, and you (and you alone, unless it’s a 2-player game) must fight your way through a veritable army of evil minions, dodge horrific death traps, etc. to save her” and your reward will usually be the love or kiss from “the Princess” (Damsel in Distress, Save the Princess). But although BioShock Infinite presents these tropes at the start of the game, the game uses these tropes in a unique way that ultimately reveals Elizabeth to be a strong, empowered female character, and there is definitely no romance between Booker and Elizabeth; in fact, it is later revealed that Booker is Elizabeth’s father, unbeknownst to either of them.

Elizabeth is introduced into the story because the main protagonist is sent to get her in order to pay off a debt. While she develops her own narrative throughout gameplay, her narrative is used to support Booker DeWitt. He is sent to rescue her, and although she possess her own unique ability, it is Booker who saves her and it’s through Booker that we discover who Elizabeth is. We find out that Booker DeWitt had sold his daughter Anna who turns out to be Elizabeth. Although he regretted selling his daughter, Booker DeWitt uses his daughter for his own benefit. But not only is she sold by her father Booker DeWitt, she is then raised by her father Zachary Hale Comstock (who is actually Booker DeWitt in another reality) to be his successor (He chose Anna specifically knowing that Booker was another version of himself and that would mean Anna, whom he raised as Elizabeth, would be a blood heir). Elizabeth is used by father multiple times. Even though Booker is unaware of the fact that Elizabeth his daughter, he rescues her in order to get rid of his debt. The offer was presented to him as: “Bring us the Girl and Wipe Away the Debt.” Booker is not rescuing Elizabeth out of anything more than self preservation. To him, Elizabeth is a solution to his problem, like she had been previously when he sold her as a baby.

I would still argue, however, that Elizabeth is an empowered woman. While her narrative is based solely on supporting Booker DeWitt’s narrative, she is often portrayed as a strong and independent young woman and her narrative is compelling and unique even though it relies on Booker’s. Unlike other characters, Elizabeth possesses a unique ability; she is able to open “tears” that lead to parallel worlds. It is because of these tears that the story is able to progress: Elizabeth’s ability to open them saves Booker in a few instances and allows the story to progress. Without her ability, Booker would have been killed. But it’s not just her unique ability to open tears that make Elizabeth so strong. Her situation and life was complicated by her powers and by the world she lives in and she faced challenges that Booker often struggled to understand.

Elizabeth lives in a world where racism and slavery is prevalent, her city is floating in the sky, her father is a prophet, and where she is able to view parallel realities. She is presented with unique challenges, but she overcomes them. She is also constrained by the the year the events take place: In 1912 women still had very few rights. This combined with the fact that the city of Columbia is almost completely cut off of from the rest of the world (as it is a floating city that broke away from the United States) means their social progression is much different from the rest of the world at the time, specifically the US. The city is ruled by a self proclaimed prophet, who runs the city as a theocratic, militant state, leaving very little room for social equality. The game shows many examples of the racism and exploitation that takes in place in the city with propaganda posters praising racial purity. While Elizabeth lives a more privileged life as the white daughter of the Prophet than the slaves and indentured servants, she is still locked in a tower because of her powers. And although she lives a lavish life (her tower is filled with anything she could desire from books to dresses), she is deprived of human attention. Most of her contact with other people is limited to the time she is studied by scientist and doctors. Despite being the “princess in the tower” (quite literally, as she is the daughter of the prophet who will inherit the city from her father) Elizabeth is still a capable, strong young woman who, although she was rescued from the tower, becomes the hero in the end by using her power to go back and drown Booker DeWitt, preventing him from ever becoming Zachary Comstock, the militant Prophet.

Besides Elizabeth, there are two other named women in the game who are important to the story and gameplay. Daisy Fitzroy is a black prisoner forced into slavery in Columbia where she was a housekeeper for Lady Comstock. After being framed for Lady Comstock’s murder, Daisy flees the Comstock house and forms the Vox Populi, a resistance group of oppressed groups in the city of Columbia. Through the game it is revealed that Daisy is not only a genius (which is determined through an intelligence test she is forced to take), but she is also a charismatic leader and an excellent fighter who seeks to empower oppressed groups. Daisy had a dark side, however; she is will do anything it takes to kill those in power, even if it means killing innocent citizens. Daisy’s biggest flaw is her lust for what she considers justice.

Rosalind Lutece is another intelligent women who pushes the plot along and is essential to the game. Rosalind is a quantum physicist responsible for “quantum levitation,” the process used to keep the city of Columbia afloat. Rosalind also studies the tears and was able to talk to an alternate reality version of herself, a man named Robert. The fact the it was Rosalind and not Robert who opened the tear and brought him into her reality is interesting. It appears that while both Rosalind and Robert are brilliant scientists; Rosalind is the one who is able to bring the other through the tear and it often seems as if she is the smarter of the two. Her identity as a woman seems to be partly responsible to her intellect and devotion. Rosalind and Robert helped Comstock find Booker in an alternate reality and bought his daughter so that Comstock would have a blood related heir. Rosalind is brilliant scientist who is responsible for many of the events leading up to the start of the game. She is also seen and talks to Booker throughout the game and often helps Booker understand what is happening.

Daisy and Rosalind are strong and powerful characters but I wonder whether or not they are empowered? Daisy and Rosalind use their intelligence in ways that may be abusive. Sarah Lefanu examines this in matriarchal utopias, specifically  Jayge Carr’s Leviathan’s Deep where:

The female characters are women, but women with attributes of men, that is, women with power and the capacity to abuse it. They must, finally, be shown to be at fault. Yet the fault seems as much to lie in their womanness (otherwise why invent them as women?) as in their position of power. Powerful women are seen as biological monsters. Biology is muddled up with social structures. (48)

Daisy specifically seems to abuse her powers and kills innocent people, a flaw that cannot be redeemed. She is a position of power a the leader of the oppressed wanting to start a revolution, and ultimately she abuses this power, causing the player to see her as a villain as much as Zachary Comstock. Rosalind is also hugely at fault; it was her who retrieved Elizabeth from the alternate reality. But Rosalind does get Booker to rescue Elizabeth again, which leads to the destruction (or lack of creation) of Comstock in the end.

While BioShock Infinite does not pass the Bechdel test because the women in the game do not talk to each other, it is revealed that Rosalind and Elizabeth did interact previously, and in fact knew each other. Although this relationship does not take place in game, there is acknowledgement of the existence of two women who talk about and Elizabeth’s powers rather than men. I struggle with whether or not the game passes the Mako Mori test. All the women’s narratives are dependent on the men’s narratives but do not necessarily support them. In fact, I think Booker’s narrative supports Elizabeth’s narrative. He is sent to rescue her in order to erase a debt, but once he rescues her, the story is no longer about his debt. Instead we want to know Elizabeth’s story and understand the circumstances that led to her imprisonment in the tower. At the same time we are learning more about both Daisy and Rosalind and their influences in the city and the story of the game. The characters, especially Elizabeth and Booker, are so entwined that it’s hard to pick out whose narrative is supporting whose.

The game would easily pass Elsa Bartley’s criteria for video games which states: “There must be a female character with whom you can interact, who doesn’t need rescuing, and isn’t a prostitute.” While Elizabeth wouldn’t fit this criteria because she needs rescuing, Daisy and Rosalind would. The player interacts with both characters, multiple times throughout the game. And we know that neither of them are prostitutes: Daisy was a former housekeeper who now leads a revolution while Rosalind is a scientist. And neither of them need saving. In fact, Daisy is attempting to save others and is fighting back against oppression.

Bioshock Infinite presents a unique setting where there is little, if any, social progression. The three main women in the game reject the societal norms and ideals and each of the women do this in different ways. While the portrayal of women in this game may have some flaws, like the fact that Elizabeth must be rescued, the three of them are still strong and empowered women.

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Pacific Rim

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The 2013 film Pacific Rim is a science fiction monster movie where the earth is under attack by Kaijus- large monsters sent to wipe out the human race for colonization. To fight these monsters, Jaegers were created–huge humanoid robots controlled by two human pilots who would join minds in a neural bridge. Although the plot seems to center mostly around male pilot Raleigh Becket, it also focuses on Mako Mori- a rookie female pilot who has never fought the Kaijus before. Despite being the only main female character in the movie, and despite the way she is often “protected” by the men in her life, Mako is presented as very empowered woman; one who is strong and capable and who is equal to her male counterparts in both mental ability and physical ability.

When Mako is first introduced, we see her in an outfit that looks very similar to a military uniform–loose fitting cargo pants, boots, and a long jacket and carrying an umbrella. She wears a similar outfit for the rest of the movie, later swapping her jacket to for a button up shirt. She only varies from this outfit a few times. In one scene on a day that seems to be her day off we see her in her bedroom wearing a flower cardigan. In another scene, when candidates are testing their fighting skills against Raleigh, she removes her button up shirt to reveal a tank top which she wears during the testing. Her last outfit is the same outfit that all the pilots wear–a black suit that resembles armor, covering her entire body and identical in design to her male counterpart. Mako Mori is never once presented in an a sexualized way. Her most revealing outfit is the outfit she wears when fighting; however, even that isn’t very revealing as the most exposed part of her body is her arms.

But throughout the movie nobody comments on her appearance. At least until she finally gets to wear her pilot suit. When she enters and see Raleigh, he comments on the fact that she looks good. But he’s not commenting on her appearance because of a sexual attraction to her. She is wearing a suit that covers her entire body and looks exactly like his. It’s the same suit that all pilots wear. He’s not commenting on her sexual appeal; he is commenting on the fact that she is finally where she wants to be, she is finally a pilot about to drift for the first time and she is finally achieving a lifelong goal, one that she has worked hard to reach. To her this outfit represents that goal and that work, something that Raleigh understand because it was him who pushed Marshal Pentecost into allowing her to be his co-pilot.

Besides her outfits, Mako is presented as an empowered women because of her intelligence and position. When Pentecost first introduces Mako, he refers to her as their “brightest” and she quickly proves him rights. When she talks to Raleigh, she explains her near perfect test scores than offers him a critique of his own performances which she has been studying in order to find him a new co-pilot. She points out some of his flaws and errors he has made. Throughout the movie Mako is praised for her intelligence and proves that she is fully capable or even more capable than many of the men. It is up to her alone to find co-pilot recruits for Raleigh to test with and for her to judge the compatibility of the recruits. Besides Pentecost, it appears that she has the most power in the workplace as she answers to no one besides him.

But it’s not just intelligence and her position that empower Mako. She is also equal to her male counterparts physically. When Raleigh asks to fight against her when testing co-pilot recruits, Mako and Raleigh are an equal match. When Raleigh scores, Mako scores, and their score stays equal throughout the test. Despite her smaller stature and her different fighting techniques, she is able to physically defend and take down Raleigh, a man almost twice her size. Because of this, we learn that Mako and Raleigh are fully compatible, meaning that they would be the perfect team to control a Jaeger together. Jenn Smith describes how the the Angels in Charlie’s Angels “were introduced as being able to do what ‘no man can’ and they proved throughout the movie that they were able to physically defend themselves, use teamwork and intelligence and their sexuality to fool the boys and beat the bad guys” (Smith). Mako is introduced in a similar manner. Although she doesn’t use her sexuality, she proves her intelligence and physically ability which makes her the perfect candidate to “beat the bad guys.” She is just as capable as her male counterpart in every way.

Despite her position of power and her intelligence and physically ability, Mako is often held back and “protected” by the men in the movie. Pentecost in particular often tried to hold Mako back. However, it appears that it’s not the fact that she is a woman that he does this; he does this because he is a fatherly figure to her. When she was child, he rescued her from the Kaijus and has helped her achieve her goal of becoming a pilot. But if she were a boy who was saved by Pentecost, would he still feel this overwhelming protective instinct? Is it because of their father-daughter relationship that he feels like he needs to protect her? Or would he feel just as protective in a father-son relationship? Maybe he would, but maybe he is protective because she is woman. But if that’s true, why did he help her become a pilot in the first place and why did he employ her in a position where she would be working very closely with Jaeger pilots? Did he do this to keep her satisfied and give her the feeling that she is on control or as a way for her to gain experience before she becomes a real pilot? But Pentecost does eventually make her Raleigh’s co-pilot after seeing how compatible the two were. But it’s not just making her co-pilot on an ordinary mission; this mission is extremely important and the fate of the earth and mankind depends on the success of this mission.

Raleigh comments on Mako and Pentecost’s relationship, asking Mako why she obeys him. Mako explains that “it’s not obedience, it’s respect.” To Mako, her relationship is built on mutual respect and she doesn’t “obey” him. Instead, she respects his decisions. This is important for Mako’s character. She wants Raleigh to know that she isn’t simply doing what she is told, to her there’s a clear choice and her choice to respect what Pentecost wants. At times it seems that Mako obeys him because she feels a sense of duty to him because he saved her a child, but she makes it clear that this isn’t the case. She never mentions that she owes Pentecost anything, only that she respects him. Even later in the movie, when Pentecost becomes a co-pilot to save the mission, Mako still doesn’t obey him because a sense of duty. Pentecost tells her “I need you to protect me.” Mako protects him because of her affection and respect for him. Pentecost is flipping their roles and acknowledging that he need her to protect him now, like he has tried to protect her in the past. This moment seems to indicate a huge shift in their relationship. It’s no longer a father-daughter relation; now it’s a relationship between two pilots of equal rank, both trying to save the world. This reinforces Mako’s position as a pilot, and not just a pilot, but a capable pilot who is needed by another.

Like Pentecost, Raleigh also feels a need to protect Mako at times. When another pilot insults Mako, Raleigh steps in to “protect her honor.” Despite the fact that she has proven her capabilities over and over again, the men in her life still feel the need to protect her, perhaps because of her small stature and her quiet voice. Near the end of the movie, Raleigh and Mako (who are piloting a Jaeger together) make their way down into the breach, a portal connecting the earth to an alien world, so that they can detonate their nuclear Jaeger and collapse the portal to stop the Kaijus. Once inside, Mako loses oxygen causing her to lose consciousness. Raleigh states that he can finish alone so he gives Mako his oxygen, then ejects her out of the Jaeger, risking his life to save her and the world. Mako was rendered unconsciousness at the most critical point in the movie, causing the male protagonist to take all the risk and save her. However, Mako’s inability to complete the mission is not caused by the fact that she is a woman and it has nothing to do with her ability or lack of ability. It was caused by damage to the Jaeger which could have affected Raleigh instead which begs the question- Why didn’t Raleigh lose consciousness instead, letting Mako save him and the world?

Mako and Raleigh’s relationship is extremely important in the story. While Mako was obviously physically attracted to Raleigh (she spied on him taking off his shirt), there is little indication of anything more than friendliness and respect from Raleigh. Until they drift together. In the drift, partners sync their minds. They can see each other’s memories, hear their thoughts, and feel their emotions. It’s not until after the first time Mako and Raleigh drift together that he seems to feel for her romantically. It’s not until Raleigh truly knows Mako’s mind that he develops these feelings for her. Mako is never sexualize and she is never reduced to just a love interest for the male protagonist. She doesn’t seduce him and he doesn’t seduce her. There is no physically intimacy, only emotional. Their relationship remains professional and platonic until the very last scene where they kiss for the first time.

What empowers Mako the most, however, is that fact that she gets her own  narrative. Her story and motivations do not support the male protagonist’s story. Mako isn’t motivated by the men in the movie, she is motivated by her own need to avenge her family who were killed in a Kaiju attack. While Pacific Rim would not be able to pass the Bechdel Test because she never talks to another woman, the movie still portrays her as an empowered women and it deserves recognition for that. So the Mako Mori test was created which thats that a movie must have “least one female character, who gets her own narrative that is not about supporting a man’s story” (The Bechdel Test). Mako’s narrative is completely independent from Raleigh’s. Although her desire to be a pilot may be influenced by Pentecost who was the Jaeger pilot who rescued Mako as a child, her narrative does not support his or Raleigh’s narratives.

Ritch Calvin states that “Science fiction as a form allows the possibility to imagine worlds in which women are full participants” (4). Pacific Rim is a good example of this. Although Mako is the only woman in the movie that is a main character, we also see another female pilot who is killed during the mission. The world that the movie exists in, allows women to be full participants and even allows them to become world saving heroines.  But it’s not just women who are full participants: individuals of any race and class have the opportunity to become heroes, as long as they are drift compatible. In this society Mako is not held back by her gender; instead, she is fully able to become a heroine who helps save the world.

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The Walking Dead Game

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The Walking Dead franchise is known for its incredible and complex characters, especially women, and the 2012 video game by Telltale Games as well as its 2013 sequel are no exception. The game series has many examples of strong and empowered women. While the franchise is usually classified as a horror game, the setting of the series, post zombie apocalypse, lends itself to classification as science fiction as well. As Ritch Calvin explains, “The very foundation of science fiction narrative renders itself amenable to examining and  imagining other worlds, other societies, other beings, in which the inequalities and prejudices of our own histories are gone (or altered) – or, at the very least, differently structured” (4). The setting of The Walking Dead does just that. It creates a world where the previous society and structures of that society have been destroyed. In a world where zombies are the largest threat and millions have already been killed, the previous societal rules no longer matter: life is simply about a fight for survival. Those who have power now are those who have shelter, weapons, and food. Class, gender, and race  no longer determine who is in power (although they may have determined who was unable to survive in the beginning). While people may still be influenced by personal prejudices, there is no longer a nation wide system to oppress minority groups.

In the first game you play as a man named Lee who you later find out was convicted of murder. The beginning of the game opens with Lee in the backseat of a police car, being asked by the driver whether or not he committed the crime. The officer is distracted, nearly hitting a pedestrian and swerves of the road and wrecks the car. Lee wakes up in the wreckage and sees the dead officer and quickly discovers the zombies. Although you play as Lee, and the game opens up with his storyline, the game focuses largely on Clementine, a little girl whom Lee finds alone and hiding in a tree house. Together Lee and Clementine set off in search of safety, meeting other characters along the way.

Despite only being 8 years old, Clementine is an empowered young girl who is forced to mature quickly than she should have. Her development as a character is what empowers her the most. Clementine is a young black girl with shoulder length, thick, curly hair and throughout the game, she wears a dress. At the beginning of the game, Clementine often needs protection from Lee, but this is not because of her gender. Early in the game Lee and Clementine meet a family with a son named Duck who is around the same age as Clementine. Both Duck and Clementine are unable to protect and defend themselves because of their young age. But as the game continues, Clementine begins to mature and grow while Duck remains a static character until his death. Although they are the same age, it is Clementine who survives and Duck who dies not too long after the apocalypse begins. However, Clementine eventually learns to protect herself. While on a train to Savannah, Georgia, Lee realizes that he will not always be around protect her and decided to teach her how to use a gun and decides to cut her hair, making it harder for people or zombies to grab it. For Clementine, this seems to be an empowering moment. Although she doesn’t want anything to happen to Lee, she understands the importance of being able to protect herself and him if needed, despite her strong moral compass and unwillingness to kill.

Eventually, Clementine is forced to use these survival skill. While in Savannah, Clementine receives a message on her walkie-talkie from a man claiming to know her parents. Clementine goes in search of the man and her parents, leaving behind the group she was with, including Lee. Because the player plays the game from Lee’s perspective, we don’t know how Clementine got to the man and what happened once she got to him. Lee sets out to find Clementine and the man and eventually does. It is revealed that the man is not who he claimed. You find out that he had owned a car full of supplies that your group had stolen. He claims that this led to death of his family and that this was a plot for revenge and Clementine had been used as bait. Lee fights the man and with Clementine’s help, is able to subdue him. The two make it out, but Lee had been bitten and passes out. This point shows a huge change in Clementine. Despite her small size, Clementine drags Lee to safety. With Lee’s guidance Clementine is able to escape to the rooftop to find the other survivors. Clementine is now the one having to save Lee. Although she cannot save him from death, she can save him from a painful death and prevent him from turning into a zombie. The game ends with Clementine alone in a field, watching two figures approach her.

When the next game begins, a few months have past. Clementine has met up with two others from the group- Christa and Omid. This time, the player plays as Clementine. Clementine looks much different now. Instead of a dress, she wears jeans and a t-shirt. She also wears a baseball cap that covers her short hair. While the baseball cap was significant to her in the first game because it was her father’s, she didn’t wear it all the time, but does now. The wardrobe change is significant for Clementine because she is no longer an innocent little girl and her clothes are now more practical for survival. After being surrounded by death and destruction, she is now a survivor. She is no longer defined as a “little girl.”  Clementine consistently proves her ability to survive. After Omid is killed, the game jumps forward 16 months and only Christa and Clementine remain. As they are attacked by a another group of humans, the two are separated. Clementine is forced to scavenge for food and run from zombies. When she finds a dog and tries to share her little food with it, it attacks her, forcing her to hurt the dog in self defense. Eventually she is found by another group of survivors who lock her in a shed believing she was bitten by a zombie. She sneaks out of the shed and into the house where she finds all the supplies she needs to sew up her injury. She then gives herself stitches in the shed, a painful and difficult procedure but one she understands in necessary to her survival.

Despite being hardened by the post-apocalyptic world, Clementine retains her compassionate and caring personality, and she not only has to survive herself, but because of her nature, she feels a need to protect those she is with as well. When she and the new group she is with is caught by a man named Carver, the group often turns to Clementine for help because of her small size. She is also forced to kill Sarita, a woman she is with, to prevent her from turning into a zombie. And after a pregnant woman named Rebecca gives birth to a son, Clementine must save the baby when Rebecca dies with him in her arms and starts to turn. When she catches others in the group stealing a truck and supplies from the rest of the group, Clementine is shot while trying to stop them. At the end of the game, when a fight between two characters breaks out, Clementine must decided whether to kill one of them or walk away.

The game also includes other strong women such Lily, Carly, Christa, Sarita, and Rebecca, all of whom are attempting to survive in a harsh world with Christa and Rebecca, both pregnant, also attempting to create a future for their children. None of these women are sexualized either. While some of them may be flirty and interested in relationships with male characters, they are never sexualized. They wear clothing appropriate for a zombie apocalypse and are not portrayed as objects of male desire. Instead, each one is portrayed as individuals with their own personalities and narratives that are not always dependent on the males in the game. Because of this, the game would easily pass the Mako Mori Test. It would also pass the Bechdel test because the women interact with each other often, usually about survival. The game series would also pass Elsa Bartley’s test for video games because you interact with many women who don’t need to be save and there are no prostitutes in the game at all.

Both games center almost entirely around Clementine who must face unbelievable challenges for a child her age, but she survives and tries to protect whoever she can and she isn’t hindered by her gender.Although in the first game Clementine often needed protection, as she grew up she became both a survivor and a protector. Clementine is an empowered young girl who is retains her caring and compassionate nature despite the horrors she has seen and experienced.

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