contentgrrl

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Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Leia: the heroine’s journey through hairstyles

Posted by contentgrrl on December 7, 2007

I’m going to show a lot of grrly geekiness here. My family just watched the old Empire Strikes Back again the other night. And it occurs to me that this trilogy is not just about the transformation of Luke Skywalker as a hero. It’s about Leia Organa, his sister.

Sure, with Luke’s story arc, you see elements of the Hero’s Journey. I’ll pull from Joseph Campbell as well as Tarot Journey of the Hero here. There’s the calls to adventure (Leia’s “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” and Obi-wan’s “You must go to the Dagobah system and find Yoda to begin your training.” and “I am your father.”), meeting allies (the droids, Ben & Han, Leia, Yoda), the perilous rescues (Leia on the Death Star, and again in Cloud City, and Daddy Anakin on the new Death Star), the catharsis/toppling of the tower (Death Star, Cloud City, Death Star again).

But with Leia, it’s not so much a coming of age story. It’s a heroine’s journey. Is it coming into matriarchy? I dunno. But I do notice her hairstyles. At first, her style is very regal yet severe: a very straight part down the middle, and huge “cinnamon buns” over her ears. She’s very alone, very closed, and very uptight. OK, that serves her well during capture and torture, right? Once she’s in the position to reward her rescuers, the braids cascade. And when she’s getting a rebel outpost ready to evacuate icy Hoth, her braids are a crown. But did you notice? Nobody among the rebels salutes her, or anyone else for that matter; it’s like, as my husband chimed in, “We’re all equals here, and we’ve all got our jobs to do.” And she becomes more receptive to Han, until she can’t let him freeze without him knowing that she loves him. And then SHE works to rescue HIM, taking down Jabba the Hut just about by herself in a long braid, a gold bikini, and a chain. When they’re all celebrating with ewoks after the last Death Star explodes, Leia’s hair is completely down, with a new hope dawning that she and Han are on their way to a true union beyond limiting dualities, and generations to come who are strong in the Force.

I do wish George Lucas would get on with the final trilogy (it looks like Episode 7 is the Hidden Circle, and here’s the plot). As soon as he can find a screenwriter who can do dialogue well. He’s got the special effects down, and the music, but I’d love for him to finish with a script that’s truly worthy of the epic.

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Posted in culture, grrly, heroes, heroines, music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

better than the standard misguided lists of games to buy as gifts

Posted by contentgrrl on November 21, 2007

Just in time for the holiday shopping rush, I ran across one lazy AP news item. It paid lip service to how little the industry knows about what girls like in games. Then without further ado, was a short list that had no surprises: Sims, Guitar Hero, Disney Princess, Imagine Babyz, and Hannah Montana Music Jam.

Yes, I know that a large number of girls are still brainwashed into emulating pink and purple princess rock star babysitters. But I would have loved to see more about why the industry knows so little about girls and women, and markets so little for them. I’ll leave the rant to others: There is some research about how game makers are dissin’ the women. And then there’s the GamerGrrls Manifesto, Part One and Part Two.

What about Portal? It’s a great puzzle, set in a first-person shooter world, but instead of shooting bullets, you shoot portals and use gravity and momentum to avoid obstacles and projectiles, and make your way to the next level. My character was a female form, and the system’s voice was a fun female voice. Even if that system voice got increasingly neurotic, it was intentionally funny. And the music and lyrics over the closing credits is totally hilarious. My only problem with this game was a little bit of nausea that has been the norm in any game where your perspective changes from moving from 2-dimensional maps to coming in from above and having to reorient yourself. Just like in Descent’s spaceships (from the ’90s). The nausea probably means it’s time to take a break. But if my 4-year-old son can play it, so can any girl or boy of any age.

What about Tomb Raider Anniversary? Forget that Lara Croft’s physical proportions are modeled after every Barbie doll and superheroine that ever was. Lara’s got skillz. And the play control is so much more user-friendly, that after only a little bit, you can get over the mechanics of how to control movement, and dig into exploring those tombs. And even if you played the original, you’ll be surprised by what’s new.

What about Dreamfall and the original Longest Journey? It’s got plot. It’s got great characters, and pretty good dialogue. It’s got great puzzles. It’s got incredible immersion into another world. And both games feature commendable heroines.

Speaking of puzzles, you can’t go wrong with Myst (1995), Riven (1998), Myst III Exile (2001), Myst IV Revelation (2004), Myst V End of Ages (2005), and Myst Uru Live Online (2007).

For Role-playing games, I’ve played the heck out of Diablo II Expansion (2001), where I liked building up my character and treasure chest and Baldur’s Gate II (2000), where I liked the dialog, plot, characters, and team strategy play.

I’ve got to give Elder Scrolls Oblivion (2006) marks for character building. You can go with a less combative character of any sex or race you wish. One of my favorite features is getting people to reveal more information or give you better prices: you win them over either with humor, flattery, boasting, or coercion; I’d never really thought of my encounters that way. It’s a bit of a roll of dice, though. I’d rather see them come up with real dialog examples that you could model in real life.

My absolute favorite RPG is Planescape Torment (1999) for its exploration of philosophies (such as anarchy, hedonism, entropy, chaos, order, freethought, cabalism, and so on) through gameplay and plot. And dialogue (OMIGOSH what fun colloquialisms)! I loved having a little guide who’s always with you to talk about what the next step might be.

I hope you don’t mind that I’m so PC-oriented. Coming up, I’ll talk up some games my kids love to play for free.

Posted in culture, games, grrly, heroes, heroines, learning, marketing, music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

SongMeanings

Posted by contentgrrl on October 29, 2007

I regularly look up lyrics online, and I just came across a great site: SongMeanings.

It’s the first site I’ve seen that lets people contribute not only the lyrics of songs, but also a discussion of what the songs mean.

For instance, in Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide, “I see my reflection in the snow covered hills” someone thought it had to do with Stevie Nicks’  father or grandfather, another thought it was turning to a mountain of cocaine, another thought it had to do with being precariously perched on a pedestal, another reported it had to do with an ultimatum from her father after Lindsay Buckingham left her in Aspen, Colo.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham are some of my heroes/heroines in the music world.

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