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  1. Emily W
    Emily W November 28, 2008 at 3:06 pm |

    My question is – how is it for those of us who can’t handle super complicated controls? This is the first game in a while that I’ve thought highly of when finding out about it on my own (ie: Not a recommendation from a close friend), and part of that is that I can’t stand complicated controls. I played NES and then jumped back in a little at PS2, but I didn’t really get the “controls have a few more buttons each gen” thing that some more serious gamers have learned from.

  2. Ouyang Dan
    Ouyang Dan November 28, 2008 at 4:17 pm |

    Are you talking about Left 4 Dead?

    Great take down of Mirror’s Edge (and great to see you back!), which my husband has been playing since he could download the demo. He loves it, and he is one of those guys who will play a game on “insane” difficulty right away b/c he is worried he will get bored (this has worked out for him on everything except for The Force Unleashed, which is currently on a little time out right now), but finds Mirror’s Edge pleasingly difficult on a lesser difficulty.

    He is also really liking the attempt to get the “Test of Faith” achievement, and will re play stages until he can get through it otherwise. I didn’t realize it would be so difficult to NOT just pick up something and blast your way through. Ha ha.

  3. SnowdropExplodes
    SnowdropExplodes November 28, 2008 at 6:17 pm |

    messages that are too sensitive to be sent online, where the government monitors everything. (I guess PGP has been reclassified as a munition in this future)

    Or maybe it’s like the UK’s “Regulation of Investigative Powers Act”, where if the police investigate your computer, and there is an encrypted part, they can lock you up if you refuse to give them the key to decrypt it.

    So perhaps it’s just the case that simply sending or receiving an encrypted message would be sufficient to land someone in trouble with the law.

  4. Zula
    Zula November 28, 2008 at 8:08 pm |

    I’m glad to see you’re talking about Mirror’s Edge! Even though I don’t own a 360, I bought a copy of my own so I could play it on my friend’s system. I was also impressed by the game, both for the gameplay reasons and for the fact that Faith is a realistic, sympathetic, and straight-up awesome female character, which is practically unheard of in first-person games.

    While I was playing, I kept thinking about Portal, which is the only other FPS I know of that also has a female as the “FP.” And the striking similarity between these two is that neither involve much shooting, unlike the majority of (male-charactered) first-person games. Your thoughts on this?

  5. Jha
    Jha November 28, 2008 at 9:20 pm |

    Now THERE’s an Asian look I could get behind. Great review, Holly!

  6. Onymous
    Onymous November 28, 2008 at 10:15 pm |

    Well Perfect Dark springs to mind as a counter example. That said the lack of female protagonists in (the single player campaign of) FP games makes it hard to really draw a conclusion there, meanwhile in the 3rd person world, they’re generally as violent as the men.

  7. Brian
    Brian November 28, 2008 at 11:10 pm |

    I don’t really get many computer games, but I think this review convinced me to get this one. Thanks! (And I’ll buy it from the Feministe link)

  8. Cerberus
    Cerberus November 28, 2008 at 11:31 pm |

    Actually with the messenger thing, I thought it was a pretty straightforward homage to Y.T. from Snow Crash. Dystopian capitalist society? Check. Non-stereotypical young female protagonist? Check. Said protagonist being a member of a “secure” message delivery program involving daredevil stunts in non-traditional methods of transportation? Check. Relying more on brains than brawn to get out of jams? Check. Check. Check.

    I’m really quite in love with the game and this latest trend of incredibly good games with non-stereotypical female protagonist. If this keeps up, developers will have few excuses for sticking to the same old grizzled man in a power suit concept. The Metroid Prime trilogy, Portal, Mirror’s Edge, the up-coming Beyond Good and Evil 2. It’s a good thing

  9. Brinstar
    Brinstar November 29, 2008 at 12:31 am |

    I also recommend Mirror’s Edge. There is a learning curve if you’re bad at platformers (like me) or are not used to modern console controls.

    It’s a really challenging game, horribly frustrating at times, but when you get past that seemingly insurmountable obstacle, the feeling of accomplishment is awesome.

    IMO the story is a little weak (though I am only at Chapter 6), but I do really like Faith as a character.

    I absolutely love the art direction and the aesthetic they went with in this game as well. It looks really distinctive.

  10. David Sahlin
    David Sahlin November 29, 2008 at 12:45 am |

    I also want to bring up “Trespasser” for Zula. Which I think is even more important to mention than Perfect Dark, because it -was- a game where you looked down and saw your character’s chest. You also saw your character’s arm out in front of you, when you went to manipulate objects.

    Hopefully, they make a more solid Mirror’s Edge sequel.

  11. arielariel
    arielariel November 29, 2008 at 1:44 am |

    As the aforementioned non-gamer roommate, I LOVE this game. I have hated 3D games ever since the n64 came out and I got lost in level 1 of that Mario castle game. I think this is going to be the one that finally gets me over the hump.

    This is what I like: it all makes sense physically. I am a nerd for parkour and other physical activities and I find this really simple and graceful. I can get a sense of the movement and that helps — swinging on bars and stuff is easy because it’s like how you would do it in real life. I find in other adventure games like this I get lost in trying to switch guns or heal myself or whatever. This one you are just moving and you don’t have to deal with objects.

    The buttons are simple — one to go up, one to go down, one to attack things, and one to look behind you. There are a few others but you can do it with just those and the two direction sticks. I don’t like having to learn a ton of complex moves and I feel like I could make it work just on the basic commands.

    Ouyang Dan: she is talking about Left 4 Dead. I tried it and it was a TRAGEDY. I am not qualified. Holly + the NPCs killed 30+ zombies each and I killed 2. I spent most of my time trying to run without running into things, falling through floors, and trying to shoot my gun and accidentally switching items instead. Too stressful for my beginner skill level.

  12. stef
    stef November 29, 2008 at 9:41 am |

    thanks for the fantastic review, holly! my (male) friend downloaded the demo for PS3 and i have to say that i was highly impressed. i’m a geek for parkour, ever since watching “district b13.” in addition, being half-japanese myself, i get a bit tired of the depictions of busty asian females that are in reality, normally anything but. i found faith to be very realistic, and an empowering female protagonist in gaming that just isn’t seen often enough.

  13. it’s like i’ve been living in loveland for the last 5 years. « me, unplugged

    […] to my attention that i am much happier and/or smarter for knowing about.)  i was reading a stellar review at feministe of mirror’s edge, a new female-protagonist video game that incorporates the use […]

  14. exholt
    exholt November 29, 2008 at 4:29 pm |

    The last electronic games I’ve played which are remotely similar were Wolfenstein 3d, Doom 2, and Marathon 2 Durandal.

    Out of curiosity, what were the technical specifications of your old laptop when it melted? Was it a Pentium 4 based machine by any chance?

  15. Ouyang Dan
    Ouyang Dan November 29, 2008 at 5:07 pm |


    Ha! That’s how I feel about it! I like playing games w/ my husband, but I get so frustrated. He will clear a whole room of zombies and I am still trying to figure out how not to run into the wall. I spend all of my time trying to not run into things and not get shot! My inability to master standard controls made me give up on Mass Efffect before I had gotten very far at all. It frustrated me too, in Assassin’s Creed, which I really want to play. One time I got my controller stuck staring at the sun in some game and had to quit.

    *sigh* I will have to stick to computer games. A mouse and arrow keys in WoW is about all I can handle. I love gaming, but I get a little frustrated w/ the controls when the pressure is on!

    Left 4 Dead is still fun, though.

  16. Zula
    Zula November 30, 2008 at 2:06 am |

    Ah, I hadn’t thought of Metroid (the franchise brings to mind the older, less FPS games for me), and I haven’t heard (or only peripherally have) of the other ones. My gamer creds have been thoroughly disproven. *sad panda*

    Holly – I have read that article before. The only way I can see this being “intentionally hilarious” is if the author is intentionally pulling crap out of his butt. If he is, I love it and think it’s great; if he actually believes some of the tenuous arguments he lays out, then I’m terrified. Alas, my irony-sense is not keen enough to determine whether he’s serious or not. I blame that whole “it’s impossible to satirize fundamentalists because someone, somewhere, has said the exact same thing while actually believing it” thing. Except replace “fundamentalists” with “pompous feminist academic stereotype.”

    And now I have sucked all the fun out of that article. Dammit! Sorry. -_-

    Also, re: Mass Effect – though I concur that it was refreshing to choose the gender of the protagonist (among myriad other aspects of the character), I was sorely disappointed by the relationship choices presented. If you were female, you could either have a heterosexual relationship or a homosexual relationship. If you were male, however, you could either have a heterosexual relationship… or a heterosexual (kind of) relationship with an alien. Hm. It leads me to conclude that the game developers were more worried about the “straight men think lesbians are hot” stereotype than striving for true sexual equality.

  17. Muse142
    Muse142 November 30, 2008 at 12:08 pm |

    I blame that whole “it’s impossible to satirize fundamentalists because someone, somewhere, has said the exact same thing while actually believing it” thing. Except replace “fundamentalists” with “pompous feminist academic stereotype.”

    Poe’s Law! =)

    Oh, and yeah… this is why I don’t read gaming websites. The only time they mention anything about feminism is to mock it, or to bitch about how we’re trying to take away their booth babes and boob physics.

    Mirror’s Edge looks shiny though; I might go play through the demo just to see if I can hack the controls.

  18. Sweet Machine
    Sweet Machine November 30, 2008 at 12:08 pm |

    Thanks for this post — I am aching to play this game, but just about every first-person game gives me motion sickness. We downloaded the demo and I could only watch for about two minutes before I had to leave the room — so sad! So I’m glad to be able to experience it vicariously a little bit here. :-)

  19. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses November 30, 2008 at 2:29 pm |

    My brother downloaded the demo for Xbox, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this game. The first thing I said to him was how happy I am that this woman isn’t all sexed up or anything like that. It’s really, really difficult to control, but the tutorials are pretty helpful. I’m more into fighting games, which have some pretty complicated controls too, so I’m sure I’ll be able to learn Mirror’s Edge. Hopefully, one of us will buy it after Christmas and play it while we’re on break.

  20. Ens
    Ens December 1, 2008 at 2:53 am |

    Zula – The same publisher’s previous title was “Jade Empire”, with similar interface and gameplay, and which had a bisexual man, a bisexual woman, and a straight woman* who could be wooed by protagonists of a an appropriate gender. They also stressed over and over in the dialogue of Mass Effect that the blue alien wasn’t gendered at all, but their species happens to look and sound a lot like human women — which is an excuse, sure, but at the same time it is an exploration of ideas most video games don’t have.

    * That said, male characters can convince both women into a threesome, which brings back your point of appealing to the “whoa, two chicks at once” crowd.

  21. Mirror’s Edge: Pixilated Beauty, Race, and Stereotypes at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    […] as always, Hollyhas got the gaming goods. Mirror’s Edge is at its heart a game about parkour, the athletic art of moving between two […]

  22. moo moo
    moo moo March 19, 2009 at 9:56 pm |

    the artists intention, which was to show what an attractive woman looks like through asian sensibilities, is spot on. i believe that the look of celebrities/models in asia do align with the second picture much more than the first.

    think to euro fashion shows with asian models who always seem to have that extremely severe face and needle thin eyes (more like 1st pic) and compare that to to cutesy doe eyed baby faced women from any asian CD cover or movie (see: anne suzuki, liu yifei), or even the girl on the poster for your upcoming local asian nightclub dance party (more like 2nd pic).

    i’m not saying either are more accurate representations of what asian women actually look like, but it’s a valid point that there are distinct looks that both cultures find attractive… or maybe i’m totally wrong! kelly hu is pretty hot, zhang ziyi crossed over successfully, grace park especially in those fhm pics, riyo mori was chosen by japan to represent japan and won the very american miss universe competition and none of them would go in the severe looking needle eyed asian category (sorry lucy liu and sandra oh, you’re firmly in that first category). perhaps we do have good taste in asian women in the west! it’s just that maybe we just don’t know how to draw em pretty yet.

    which is fine, i think an asian artist person would be more likely to accurately depict an asian person than some swedish team. seriously, i’ve never met any asian girl that looks like the chick from heavenly sword.

    having said all this, i think the artist should have left the whole breast augmentation business alone. it just sets the new image up as an easy target for claims of being superficial and contradictory (“oh, the asian man gives the asian girl bigger boobs which are so only a western thang!”) the whole breast issue is ethnically insignificant anyway, its not a race thing, it’s an individual preference thing. if changes had been left to the face only, people would be having much more interesting discussion on cultural perceptions of beauty.

    anyway, even though the boob job wasn’t necessary, i definitely prefer the second one. she looks prettier.

  23. Gamez and Girlz. « sketches of a twenty-something life

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