Today I want to talk a little bit about my favorite video game character, Jade from Ubisoft's Beyond Good & Evil. But before I do, I'd like to conduct a little tangent first. It'll all make sense, trust me!
The current toxicity going on all over the Internet is heartrending to watch. The vitriol spit out at feminists, academics, journalists, developers, and players attempting to raise the critical bar of gaming is unfortunate, cruel and, in some cases, criminal.
The words I wrote two years ago ring truer now than they did then. And this drastic shift into negativity and hate has left me feeling awkward about my passion. I've loved gaming since I was 2 years old. Thirty years of my life have been contingent on video games and their amazing gift of recreation and escape. I believe that games saved my life as a teenager, and I believe that they are a wondrous invention that allows people to explore, discover, and enrich their lives in ways they cannot in the real world. One way I conduct such experimentation is by playing games as women. It's the closest way (without surgery—I do identify as male, so that's not in the cards) I can begin to fathom the world women see, experience and, at times, suffer through.
Which brings me back to Jade. Beyond Good & Evil is my favorite game of all time and the biggest reason is its heroine. Jade is such a fantastic character. She's confident, capable, and courageous. She is a very passionate person and fights for the truth at every opportunity. She's also human and has to cope with the loss of her family and friends, the militarization of Hillys by the Alpha Sections, and her own inner demons (both figuratively and literally). But Ubisoft didn't resort to tropes or clichés to define Jade. Michel Ancel and his team created a protagonist that I can relate to, and ultimately one I try to aspire to be. She overcomes the many adversities thrown in her way, and she does it not only for herself, but for everyone she cares about, and for the planet of Hillys. The truth must be known; the terror must be stopped. No matter the cost.
Jade is an inspiration. She is an icon I can look to in these troubled times and remind myself that what I'm doing is important, and that, sometimes, you have to come face to face with fear in order to do it. And by being such a incredible woman in her game, I can hope that she can not only inspire me, but perhaps encourage some of you as well.