Saturday, September 22, 2012

Re-post: Zombies and Lickers and... Children?! Oh, my!

If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably already know that I’ve landed a volunteer gig with the website Gaming Angels. I’m not going to lie: I’m really bummed about that whole lack of pay thing, as I was unaware of the addendum posted to the initial “We’re Hiring!” notice because I had already gone after the position and felt no need to check out the original post. Nevertheless, I wanted to do it, and so I am.

With that being said, I’m reposting my first article for them here (with a couple of minor tweaks in the form of a few handy-dandy links, and some general edits), as it was originally intended for this blog anyway. Enjoy, and don’t forget to look for some of my game-oriented ramblings (such as this bitchin' Hands-on of the RE6 demo) over there!


Zombies and Lickers and… Children?! Oh, my!

*Stop! Mild story spoilers for Resident Evil 5 (and possibly 6) ahead! If you haven’t yet played it, you have been warned!

A couple of months ago I had a very strange conversation with my then five-year old daughter: We sat at the kitchen table and discussed T-Virus versus C-Virus infection. Questions were asked and answered, some basic biology was discussed, and some rather adorable banter ensued. On the other side of us, my three-year old listened intently before enthusiastically asking me to play the E3 video of Leon Kennedy’s epic trek through the zombie-infested streets of Langshiang, China.

Yep; my kids are fully aware of the Resident Evil games, and they love them.

I know, I know – one of the cardinal rules of parenting is to never, ever, under any circumstances let your young children see any sort of violence or carnage, lest they become chainsaw wielding psychopaths. However, after a period of sustained horror and feelings of massive parental failure, I was hit with the realization that maybe the accidental exposure to RE wasn’t such a bad thing. My daughters entered the fray at a very cut scene heavy part of the RE5, which allowed the storyline to quickly overshadow the fact that I was balls deep in a never-ending sea of bloody, Plagas-infected mutations. The at times convoluted narrative sucked the girls in and they quickly became completely enamored by the cast – particularly the women. Sheva Alomar and Jill Valentine were kicking all kinds of ass, and they were just blown away. The older of my daughters – whom I shall refer to as Midget – could not take her eyes off of the last bit of Resident Evil 5′s Chapter 5-3. She was so awe-struck by Jill’s ability to take down her hulking bloke of a partner that she drew a P30 chest piece onto one of her drawings in what I assume was an effort to make the colorful little girl on the paper a badass. 

Left: Jill as pictured in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3; Right: Midget's P30 drawing

And, really, why shouldn’t the Wee Ones be allowed to see empowered women in action? Because, let’s face it – even though movies, television, and games have come a long way, they are all still permeated with a plethora of completely useless dames. Strong, powerful chicks running and gunning it with the big boys while keeping their clothes on is just as appealing to little girls as glitter and ponies. I know that when I was young, I ate that shit up.

There’s another plus-side to the whole thing, and it’s that monsters in general don’t scare my daughters as much anymore. I mean, they are mildly freaked out by zombies (Midget moreso than her sister, Munchkin), but things like the Cephalo, Duvalia, and, now the J’avo? The slimy, randomly mutated bastards don’t really faze them; in fact, Munchkin tends to find them absolutely hilarious! (Which, okay, Duvalias kind of are, because honestly, what in the hell…?) This has translated into easier times during Halloween, when stores are teeming with costumes and animatronics that a lot of older kids find terrifying. Case in point, my eleven-year old nephew will get freaked out at the very sight of fake blood and/or certain types of props. Meanwhile the girls will enthusiastically request to go to the “Halloween Store” whenever possible, and have helped to pick out some of our creepier decorations.

Now, does the fact that I let my daughters see me play Resident Evil games translate to me being completely lax in the types of things that I allow them to witness? Absolutely not! There have been numerous times in which I have asked them to close their eyes or leave the room altogether and they have done so without question. With that being said, the release of RE6 is now only a couple of weeks away, and I do intend to let my daughters sit down and watch me play bits of it – particularly any segments featuring Sherry Birkin or Ada Wong, whom they have taken a keen interest in.

However, I can tell you now that some big chunks of Leon’s campaign are going to be completely off-limits, as I draw the line at excessively brutal gore-fests and overtly sexual spider-bitches.

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