297: The Princess Problem

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BobDobolina:

Just to zero in on this:

There's a tendency to think this weakness stems from an outdated gender stereotype - that because these stories were written so long ago, they cast women in roles both passive and powerless. You only have to look at the wicked witches and the domineering stepmothers, however, to realize that this is not the case at all. These characters hold plenty of power, and they wield it with a calculating intellect. So princesses aren't weak because they're women; they're weak because they're princesses.

No, it's still based on an outdated gender stereotype. The stereotype is: women can be powerful and independent and therefore evil, or powerless and male-reliant and therefore virtuous.

Too true.

Once, just once I would like to rush in on my trusty stead/nucwear-wessel with gun/sword in hand to rescue a kidnapped PRINCE.

"Hey man, how YOU doin'? *leers* Join me on my mount? Heh, I said 'mount'."

*ahem* Just for a bit of diversity, y'know?

Sylocat:
Great article and I agree with a lot of it, but as someone who has worked with abuse victims in the past, it makes me a little uncomfortable to hear Cinderella get reprimanded for not running away... long-time abuse victims tend to internalize their abuse and become too scared to flee. It's not rational, but welcome to the real world.

Working with similar situations from time to time, I certainly understand this real-life phenomenon that "outsiders" often see as baffling. But because I know how that works, I see more reason to go after Cinderella, not less.

Now, when I say "go after Cinderella," I obviously mean the author, or the current person using the story. I think the writer of this article probably means the same. Cinderella is a fictional character.

These sort of stories are idealized "happily ever after" tales. They're meant to show the world at its best in some way. Cinderella is meant to idealize the "good things happen to good people" idea... except it doesn't. Rather than having the story revolve around how Cinderella gradually finds the strength to leave, it's all about being rescued by magic, with no effort on her part. The message being delivered is, "Good things will happen, so just sit there and do nothing."

Cinderella's story glorifies the prince, more than anything. He is the one that rescues her. Even the all-powerful, magical fairy godmother just prepares Cinderella to go catch a prince.[/b] Once the party's done, she goes right back home. Until the prince, that is, comes searching for her.

It's a story written during a time when women were [i]encouraged to be passive, wait for men to provide for them, and put up with whatever was happening until that time came. Surely you could see how continuing that story, unaltered, into today just isn't the best model for girls?

Oh please rescue the princess is the story line of maybe two game series, practically every videogame character (male or female) in existance is far more capable than humans have any physical capability to be.
It's only a trope because of the billions of mario games

jamesworkshop:
Oh please rescue the princess is the story line of maybe two game series, practically every videogame character (male or female) in existance is far more capable than humans have any physical capability to be.
It's only a trope because of the billions of mario games

And about a billion other stories, from Brothers Grimm to Arthurian Legends to Greek myths. And hey, when you look at a story like Perseus and Andromeda, it's not bad when you think about women's (lack of) status at the time. Andromeda tells Dad to stuff it with his marriage plans, she'd rather marry the guy who saved her. On the other hand, she doesn't slip the chains and bonk the dragon on its nose, either. Still, not bad for 500 BC or so.

But now we live in more enlightened times, and these tropes are showing their age. And there's an increasingly larger female gamer population; not including casual games, it's about 40%. No, really, it is-- probably not on game forums, though. The saving princess motif has all the appeal to women that saving Rainbow Sparkle Pony has for men. Sure, good gameplay will make up for it, but it's still hard to relate to.

Mouse One:

jamesworkshop:
Oh please rescue the princess is the story line of maybe two game series, practically every videogame character (male or female) in existance is far more capable than humans have any physical capability to be.
It's only a trope because of the billions of mario games

And about a billion other stories, from Brothers Grimm to Arthurian Legends to Greek myths. And hey, when you look at a story like Perseus and Andromeda, it's not bad when you think about women's (lack of) status at the time. Andromeda tells Dad to stuff it with his marriage plans, she'd rather marry the guy who saved her. On the other hand, she doesn't slip the chains and bonk the dragon on its nose, either. Still, not bad for 500 BC or so.

But now we live in more enlightened times, and these tropes are showing their age. And there's an increasingly larger female gamer population; not including casual games, it's about 40%. No, really, it is-- probably not on game forums, though. The saving princess motif has all the appeal to women that saving Rainbow Sparkle Pony has for men. Sure, good gameplay will make up for it, but it's still hard to relate to.

I specifyed in gaming not the last few thousand years of storytelling

women in videogames are not largely helpless princess, most are derided as being men with tits
fact is that gaming has largely revolved around power fantasys and quest naratives leading most characters to be either conan/red sonya types (Other heroes that principly employ violence to solve problems)

Sarah kerrigan
Jill Valentine
Nina Williams
Ada Wong
Taki (Soulcalibur)
Talim
Tira (Soulcalibur)
Samus Aran
Rayne (BloodRayne)
Claire Redfield
Morrigan Aensland
Mileena (Mortal Kombat)
Lightning (Final Fantasy)
Lulu (Final Fantasy)
Kasumi (Dead or Alive)
Kitana (Mortal Kombat)
Ivy Valentine
Chun-Li
Cammy
Bayonetta (character)
Alyx Vance
Mona Sax
Sheva alomar
Lara Croft
Rubi malone
Cate Archer

jamesworkshop:
I specifyed in gaming not the last few thousand years of storytelling
[snip]
women in videogames are not largely helpless princess, most are derided as being men with tits
fact is that gaming has largely revolved around power fantasys and quest naratives leading most characters to be either conan/red sonya types (Other heroes that principly employ violence to solve problems)

Videogame narrative isn't inseparable from the thousands of years of story telling preceeding it. All those tropes and motifs weren't invented in the last 20 years. But your point about strong female characters in recent games is a good one. Game companies HAVE been responsive to changing cultural values, just as movies and other media have. That's not to say that they don't have a long way to go: for every Alyx Vance, there's far too many female side characters who seem to be there as nothing more than motivation for the main male lead, as the original article pointed out (and listed).

I dunno ... the princess was never really the prize in the platform games I played when younger. Kinda just like a cliched prop. We were all about the enemy-killing...

And I can only really point to Lenna and Faris in FF5 :) ... some helpless princesses, they.

thaluikhain:
Um...play as the kidnapped princess breaking out of the castle, instead of the hero breaking in? Like The Great Escape only with more expensive clothes and probably a less awesome theme.

I think you might be onto something there, thaluikhain. We seem to forget that the majority of Princess(esque) tales (Snow White, Thumbelina, Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin etc.) follow the journey of the Princess (yes, I realise the article's use of Sleeping Beauty is not, however, the best example for this theory). Yet this journey, from what little I've seen, seems ignored as a plausible narrative in today's gaming. What I'd love to see is gaming's answer to Pan's Labyrinth; an engaging, alternative fairy-tale narrative from the girl/princess' perspective that has so, so, SO much to tell us about the monsters, magic and vulnerability of our own lives.

Therumancer:
[snip]

I have no expertise on your points in your comment here, Therumancer, I'm just impressed by the intelligence of your remarks and that you've not cut your points to cater for short-attention spans. Trust me, the savvy contribution you made to widening the debate here was appreciated - made me think, chum.

VondeVon:
I would posit that the reason all the princesses we rescue are weak and demure, is because all the feisty and strong ones have already rescued themselves.

I did have to smile when I read this, thanks VondeVon.

Doesn't the mechanic used in (one of) the Paper Mario Gamecube games help - Peach (and the castle) gets yoinked by Bowser, and Peach does go around trying to escape...she's just not that good at it (for instance, baking "cake" for a morbidly obese Shy Guy). So she's not passive, just useless.

I personally think plot is not what happens but how it happens. A hackneyed plot with lovable and relatable characters that have good on screen chemistry and dialogue exchanges is not only excusable but makes for a great experience. Everyone knows that the hero to 90% of games will be alive at the end* and have defeated his greatest enemy just as everyone knows the hero will rescue the princess. (*end of a series if they keep the first game open ended, and they probably will) Yes it does allow writers to get a bit lazy with the development with the hero, but honestly, having to save a princess is just as good an excuse to be the hero as you're the chosen one, you're born with divine blood, your relative is the evil king, etc.

I agree most with the concluding paragraph, but would like to add that princesses can add to the plot with well written dialogue or be some sort of helper/confidant (much like alex in HF2). A passive defenseless character can make the player fall in love with/get attached to them just as well as any other archetype.

Don't know about you, but this whole article reads like an angry feminist rant to me.
There has been a number of example strong princess in past video game, but the author choose to ignore them just to push a point.

Princess Peach ditch her helpless way as early and the second Super Mario Bros. game. She can do hard radish plucking labor, grab and throw ninjas even hover in mid air!

I haven't had the pleasure to play Oricana of Time, but from the number of time and support Shiek is getting here. I will have to assume she is not a passive princess either.
Midna just blows this article out of the water and than some.

CrystalShadow brought up a good classic. King's Quest 7: the Princeless Bride.

This whole article seems to resonate feminist dogma. That women should aspire to male qualities and force themselves into traditionally male dominated arenas. Now, I fully believe if a woman is capable of being, for example, a Firefighter, Soldier or Police officer then they should be allowed to become one if they are capable of meeting the standards. However, if a woman wants to be docile, demure, or (*GASP*) submissive in nature and follow traditional gender routes, then why discourage her? Here's another idea. Supposed a man wanted to enter a traditionally female arena. Nursing, Flight Attendant, Fashion or Interior Design. Generally the societal reaction is to discourage him in the age old tradition of humiliation and degradation. In the latter cases, males would be subject to homosexual slurs, regardless of how accurate they might be.

People should really consider all of this before penning dogmatically feminist articles such as this one.

i say that sometimes the classic storylines, tweaked with some imagination/madness can make all the difference.

jamesworkshop:

Mouse One:

jamesworkshop:
Oh please rescue the princess is the story line of maybe two game series, practically every videogame character (male or female) in existance is far more capable than humans have any physical capability to be.
It's only a trope because of the billions of mario games

And about a billion other stories, from Brothers Grimm to Arthurian Legends to Greek myths. And hey, when you look at a story like Perseus and Andromeda, it's not bad when you think about women's (lack of) status at the time. Andromeda tells Dad to stuff it with his marriage plans, she'd rather marry the guy who saved her. On the other hand, she doesn't slip the chains and bonk the dragon on its nose, either. Still, not bad for 500 BC or so.

But now we live in more enlightened times, and these tropes are showing their age. And there's an increasingly larger female gamer population; not including casual games, it's about 40%. No, really, it is-- probably not on game forums, though. The saving princess motif has all the appeal to women that saving Rainbow Sparkle Pony has for men. Sure, good gameplay will make up for it, but it's still hard to relate to.

I specifyed in gaming not the last few thousand years of storytelling

women in videogames are not largely helpless princess, most are derided as being men with tits
fact is that gaming has largely revolved around power fantasys and quest naratives leading most characters to be either conan/red sonya types (Other heroes that principly employ violence to solve problems)

Sarah kerrigan
Jill Valentine
Nina Williams
Ada Wong
Taki (Soulcalibur)
Talim
Tira (Soulcalibur)
Samus Aran
Rayne (BloodRayne)
Claire Redfield
Morrigan Aensland
Mileena (Mortal Kombat)
Lightning (Final Fantasy)
Lulu (Final Fantasy)
Kasumi (Dead or Alive)
Kitana (Mortal Kombat)
Ivy Valentine
Chun-Li
Cammy
Bayonetta (character)
Alyx Vance
Mona Sax
Sheva alomar
Lara Croft
Rubi malone
Cate Archer

i loved characters like Cate Archer & Mona Sax... their personalities felt very plausible.

Sir John the Net Knight:
Well Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, Princess.

Damn, got ninja'd on that classic

OT:The princess fetch quest is becoming a really old story line, but aren't all storylines, ARE there original storylines left?

I think this completely misses the idea. Mario, Zelda, and whatever other game has had this particular plot mechanism, uses this as an intro into gameplay that is usually excellent. You can try to argue that the story of these games sucks, I agree. But, it's not about the story.

The other first game I played with this plot back on Nintendo was Dragon Warrior 3. The princess plot lead to a bigger plot, but it started as just a, "rescue the princess" story.

Every game that comes to mind is pretty darn excellent. I can't think of any bad ones that use this plot. Though, there are undoubtedly plenty. But, you see the failure in those games as being gameplay, and not story.

BobDobolina:

Just to zero in on this:

There's a tendency to think this weakness stems from an outdated gender stereotype - that because these stories were written so long ago, they cast women in roles both passive and powerless. You only have to look at the wicked witches and the domineering stepmothers, however, to realize that this is not the case at all. These characters hold plenty of power, and they wield it with a calculating intellect. So princesses aren't weak because they're women; they're weak because they're princesses.

No, it's still based on an outdated gender stereotype. The stereotype is: women can be powerful and independent and therefore evil, or powerless and male-reliant and therefore virtuous.

They don't use an "outdated gender stereotype" at all in most games. Any modern game that is about saving the princess in RPG terms, tends to have an a heroine present as strong as any villains. Or they come across equally strong women in the their travels.

The Princess needs to be saved because she is not a strong independent woman, but there are lots of times there is a strong independent woman present at the saving. And then there is the stereotype of Princess's to consider. They are usually codled(spelling?) and largely naive to the state of the world.

I hate when people try to define everything little thing such as this a negative gender stereotype, like it or not, people like this exist. I have known both men and women like this. The reason that a strong independent woman doesn't usually act as the primary savior of a needy princess is because society fears anything that remotely looks or sounds like a homosexual relationship. So, they cast the men as the savior and weak woman as the one in need of saving. Take into account that the strong independent women are not usually in need of saving.

Also, most of those games take place in a bygone fantasy era where the primary gender roll responsibilities fall on men. Zelda is like this, Dragon Warrior 3 was like this, and Mario is transplanted to a fantasy land where people eat mushrooms and get big for chrissakes. In Final Fantasy 13, as a more modern example, there is no princess to save, but the role of savior of the planet falls onto a female character. She is both virtuous and strong.

to be fair

you do have to rescue Peach in Super Mario RPG for the SNES

but then she becomes playable

and the story completely derives from the typical story of rescuing her

standokan:

Sir John the Net Knight:
Well Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, Princess.

Damn, got ninja'd on that classic

OT:The princess fetch quest is becoming a really old story line, but aren't all storylines, ARE there original storylines left?

Sure there are, people just aren't looking hard enough.

rollerfox88:
Doesn't the mechanic used in (one of) the Paper Mario Gamecube games help - Peach (and the castle) gets yoinked by Bowser, and Peach does go around trying to escape...she's just not that good at it (for instance, baking "cake" for a morbidly obese Shy Guy). So she's not passive, just useless.

She still manages to help Mario from the inside, and provides a means for Mario to beat Bowser in the final battle. She's not useless, just not very good at getting out of trouble on her own.

Wow, apparently it's Defensive Day today!

Baresark:
I think this completely misses the idea. Mario, Zelda, and whatever other game has had this particular plot mechanism, uses this as an intro into gameplay that is usually excellent. . .

They don't use an "outdated gender stereotype" at all in most games. Any modern game that is about saving the princess in RPG terms, tends to have an a heroine present as strong as any villains.

Hmmmm... does the original KOTOR count as a modern game? ISTR being tasked with saving Bastila twice in the course of that game; it's just as common for "heroic" women to be subverted back into damsel in distress roles.

At any rate, I wasn't saying anything about "most games," nor do I think the article was, so you can relax.

I hate when people try to define everything little thing such as this a negative gender stereotype, like it or not, people like this exist.

Could you please tell me in your own words what you think "stereotype" means? Because I have this feeling it doesn't mean what you think it means.

BobDobolina:
Wow, apparently it's Defensive Day today!

Baresark:
I think this completely misses the idea. Mario, Zelda, and whatever other game has had this particular plot mechanism, uses this as an intro into gameplay that is usually excellent. . .

They don't use an "outdated gender stereotype" at all in most games. Any modern game that is about saving the princess in RPG terms, tends to have an a heroine present as strong as any villains.

Hmmmm... does the original KOTOR count as a modern game? ISTR being tasked with saving Bastila twice in the course of that game; it's just as common for "heroic" women to be subverted back into damsel in distress roles.

At any rate, I wasn't saying anything about "most games," nor do I think the article was, so you can relax.

I hate when people try to define everything little thing such as this a negative gender stereotype, like it or not, people like this exist.

Could you please tell me in your own words what you think "stereotype" means? Because I have this feeling it doesn't mean what you think it means.

I can safely say this isn't a defensive thing. I just enjoy a good back and forth with someone who doesn't leave a single line response to an article.

1.) It's not a negative gender stereotype to help your friends. You might very well yell at my girlfriend for being weak and calling me when she got into her first car accident, didn't know what to do, and was crying hysterically. Like it or not, people in general will need your help. And on top of that, Bastilla was at no point presented as a weak gender stereotype. Did you have to save her? Yes. Was she a typical weak princess role who was incapable of doing anything on her own? No. KOTOR suffers from poor writing, I hate to tell you. There was no logical reason for her to be trapped when she was trapped, and it wasn't because she needed you to come and save her.

2.) A stereotype of any kind is built on a societal view based on sex, race, or any number of other factors. Yes, those are my words. But, they exist because there are people within a society that fit that. I'm Irish, but I don't spend my weekends getting wrecked. But, I do know people who do, both Irish and otherwise.

I see what you're doing, but I don't know why you think that every time something like this happens in a socially recognized medium it has to mean something earth shattering. You are engaging in one of my pet peeves, you're turning all women into victims of videogame chauvinism. Your argument is part of the problem, not part of the solution. If the woman in question is not the perfect representation of a strong woman (in your opinion), the medium is degrading women and engaging in negative stereotyping.

That being said, I didn't mean for my original post to come off as confrontational in any way. Nor do I intend this one too, I just have a strong opinion. I don't need to calm down my friend, I'm a mountain lake as far as being calm is concerned. And they were talking about the, "save the princess" plot point some games participate in. And you're the one who mentioned gender stereotypes, after a little blurb from the author. I'm just here to tell you, just because a game uses this plot device doesn't mean they are making a blanket statement about women as being either strong and villainous or weak and virtuous. I would even go as far as to say that you may have an issue with it, much more than any women in my life.

Edit: As a quick aside. Society defines a stereotype, is a false view. A society builds it's stereotypes around the people within it. That is why we see are seeing the opposite view come into prevailing light. Will it happen over night, no it won't. But people are not nearly as victimized as some like to think in this subject. No one is trapped in what people think of them, they only trap themselves.

image

Zelda is saying SUP.

Seriously the princess problem hasn't been as big as people are portraying it to be these days. Ocarina of Time already made the Princess in a serious ninja and Peach has fought back her fair share of fights.

yes get rid of a proven story that has been around longer then the video game industry. This is what I dont like about gamers they are often very narrow minded and dont realize things, Disney can keep makeing the princess movies because young girls dont expect the prince to come and save her from poverty. Nintendo can keep making mario and kirby games because not only do they do what they do well there are allways new people comeing in. Honestly Im sick of the gamer mentality that video game creators exist only to meet their needs their are other audiences out their and sorry if they have more loyalty to their investors then their fans but thats how capitalism works their out to make money.

You would have done much better to mention the princess (Farah) in the Prince of Persia series as an interesting counterpart to this. While she does require some rescuing, she's an invaluable companion and Sands of Time would be a lousy game without her.

Granted, her role in Two Thrones is much more meh.

And there is a "rescue a prince" trope that is the counterpart of the "rescue a princess" trope, but it's usually done as a "restore the *rightful* king to his throne" story a la Prince Caspian.

Personally, I find the stupid mysticism surrounding the idea of "royalty" to be far more objectionable than any "rescuing" trope.

thaluikhain:

WanderingFool:

HankMan:
Well if she could save herself, then it wouldn't be much of a game for us now would it?

That certainly would make sense...

Um...play as the kidnapped princess breaking out of the castle, instead of the hero breaking in? Like The Great Escape only with more expensive clothes and probably a less awesome theme.

There was a game exactly like this. I wish I could remember its name but I believe it was on the Japanese PC-98 but the Hero set the princess free at the opening of the game and promptly died of his wounds. The rest of the game is about the escape.

EDIT: I think I fixed the mess that is the quotes.

The irony of using Sheik as an example of 'Strong Princess' is that, the MOMENT Sheik gets revealed as Zelda, the MOMENT she takes off her guise as a strong dispenser of teleportation songs....

...she gets kidnapped and you have to go rescue her. The very moment the 'man clothes' come off... she's now an object to be rescued as a SIDE-EFFECT of the main quest which is already established by that point.

Let's be absolutely clear about Ocarina of Time. Your quest is to lock Ganandorf into the Golden Land so that he stops being mean to Hyrule. You have the stakes for the adventure set clearly for you; the world is dying because Ganundorf is a jerk. You can see the ruination and decay in the land, because you're not just looking at pictures of it or being told... you are SHOWN the results of Ganondorf's evil. This is an example of how to set the stage right.

How does Shiek add to this by being the princess, and getting kidnapped? It serves no purpose other than to say 'It's legend of zelda, and zelda's gotta get in some peril cause that's how we do things in Hyrule!'

Sheik ain't the subversion of this trope! She's a card carrying exemplar of it, who exists solely to lure you into a false sense of 'it's not rescue the princess time' until... oh yeah, it is.

Contrast that with Twilight Princess. Forget Midna. Take Zelda herself in that. She's sitting there, in her sword and armor, fighting to the last until evil has assailed her castle, and she makes a sacrifice to preserve her kingdom's future. She's not some MacGuffin who sits there waiting to be rescued... she's a fighter who, defeated, makes the complex choice to subject her people to the Twilight so that they can survive in limbo, in the hopes that someone can rescue them, rather than succumb her people ti extinction.

THAT is not a 'princess peach.' That's a queen making a desperate sacrifice, and shows a strength of character and leadership.

---------------

That said, Princess Ashe from ff12 is a great example of a princess who is far from helpless.

This was one of the beautiful things about far cry. Even though you were trying to rescue an unknown beautiful woman, once Val enters the game play, she's no wussy. She actually is portrayed as a more confident bad ass than Jack even appears to be. She's useful in combat and a bossy companion, and she is basically the 'anti-princess'.

Doesn't really count as a "character" but the Princesses in Medieval II: Total War weren't THAT submissive, essentially tramping across Europe as diplomats...until they found themselves a hubby of course, at which point they vanish and start shooting out sprogs.

KillerShroom:
Doesn't really count as a "character" but the Princesses in Medieval II: Total War weren't THAT submissive, essentially tramping across Europe as diplomats...until they found themselves a hubby of course, at which point they vanish and start shooting out sprogs.

Bonus points for using their feminine charm to sucker enemy armies into disbanding (assisted by some of Daddy's gold, of course, because armies tend to consist of a lot of guys who need to be kept quiet) and for being able to convert enemy generals to your faction.

Sir John the Net Knight:
Well Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, Princess.

And for anyone who wants to see a game which breaks the mold somewhat, you should check out Haunting Ground: the only game where the hapless princess (and admittedly, her little dog too) has to save herself from the evil castle.

Alexander Pierre:
image

Zelda is saying SUP.

Seriously the princess problem hasn't been as big as people are portraying it to be these days. Ocarina of Time already made the Princess in a serious ninja and Peach has fought back her fair share of fights.

Yeah, and then literally two minutes after she puts on a dress, she gets kidnapped by Gannondorf.

The Peach example at least gets some credit from the Super Mario Adventures comics in Nintendo power. I've brought this up on no less than three separate occasions on The Escapist, but in those comics, Princess Peach dresses up as Luigi and threatens to suicide-bomb the Koopa Kids.

Dastardly:

Alfie Simpson:
The Princess Problem

A closer look at the age-old tradition of princess saving.

Read Full Article

snip

I really think the bigger question that more games need to be asking, throughout all of this, is where the hell are the King and Queen? It could make a very compelling story, the old war-hero King going all "Liam Neeson" to rescue his daughter (who happens to be the Princess)...

How about the stepmother rescues her? Get rid of the "evil" stepmother stereotype, develop a relationship between a girl and her step-parent, get a strong female character, move away from the idea of women catfighting over power or the king, get in one of those "uniquely female" mothering moments that Extra Credits talked about... that'd be pretty sweet. :D

There's quite a few proactive princesses out there though. Elika from Prince of Persia is very strong. Farah is the same though she does turn back into the helpless kidnapped princess in PoP 3.

What about the Queen and Princess in King's Quest 7? Both are the only playable characters, are very strong and also the ultimate saviours of the world. The Princess is especially smart and plucky, doing things ranging from wandering (bravely, not stupidly) into a dragon's cave to strike a deal to digging her way out of an exploding volcano!

And consider, for a moment... the stepmothers and sorceresses from fairytales were very often portrayed as evil *because* they had power, while the princess was portrayed as good because she was doing what every good little girl ought to; wait for a man to rescue her. The prince ought to be organising her life, not her wicked stepmother, sheesh! 9_9

These stories were born of an age where strong women were automatically a bad thing, and we still see the carryover in today's games, though things are changing. But there'll always be a place for the helpless, hapless princess in all mediums of fiction.

thaluikhain:

WanderingFool:

HankMan:
Well if she could save herself, then it wouldn't be much of a game for us now would it?

That certainly would make sense...

Um...play as the kidnapped princess breaking out of the castle, instead of the hero breaking in? Like The Great Escape only with more expensive clothes and probably a less awesome theme.

King's Quest 3 sort of did that actually. It was a prince instead of a princess, but the first thing you have to do is covertly beat the clock to rescue YOURSELF.

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