September 28th, 2005

We usually don’t think of blood as a weapon. Sure, there’s plenty of gore and violence in our entertainment culture, in our movies, TV shows, and video games. But normally we associate it with weakness and defeat. The losers are the ones who bleed.

Killer 7, on the other hand, shows us a new appreciation for the powers of blood. Accumulating it allows you to perform more potent moves. Blood, in fact, is everywhere. And Kaede Smith, the one female persona in the game, takes blood appreciation to a whole new level. Her special ability is, you guessed it, bleeding.

Which is pretty darn creepy.

Whatever other shortcomings Killer 7 may have, the title certainly stands out for its innovative approach. This innovation reaches into the creation of characters like Kaede, who, as an in-game woman, is in many ways quite unique. Though she is technically a gamer avatar and a “protagonist”, she bears many traits of a monster in her eeriness and otherness (See more on this issue in an upcoming article of mine in The Escapist which deals with the terrible feminine in survival horror games.). Her womanhood, in connection with her bleeding, is an even more frightening and radical inclusion in the game.

Women + bleeding + power equal… well, let’s just say it, menstruation – a subject that is still a majorly uncomfortable one in modern society. Why is Kaede so strange and so striking? Perhaps because she plays off of our subconscious (or conscious) associations and uses the strength of that fear to her own in-game advantage.

Tags: Blog

5 Responses to “What Are You Going to Do, Bleed on Me?”

  1. JB Says:

    “Women + bleeding + power equal"¦ well, let's just say it, menstruation”

    Awesome… Just freaking awesome. I love the jungian touch as video games complexity increases so do the possible interpretations of abstract ideals.

    Great writing!

  2. Bonnie Says:

    Let’s be friends :-). No, seriously, it’s always really hard/touchy to try and discuss new ways of looking at video games, especially when they include ideas that are considered less than dinner-table acceptable. However, it would be great to hear from a fellow gamer interested in a parallel line of thinking. Any similiar insights you’d like to share about other games or characters?

  3. JB Says:

    Well I’m always impressed by the depth of the relationships created in the Final Fantasy Series. During VII I think for the first time I found my self “emotional” over the tribulations of the characters, bonding with them similarly to the method in which I enjoy books.

    One game I’ve played recently was fairly blatant about objectifying human mental hang-ups. Psychonauts while childish in it’s overall presentation presented characters with a deep psychosis. The humor I found to be extremely dark and the characters representitive of the psychosis compelling in their complexity.

    I also felt that the GTA series III and IV created a level of character complexity with fairly deep implications. I remember being agahst at flaming innocent civilians. But truly enjoying the sheer demonic brutality.

    I think that the core of good gaming (at least what I enjoy) is creating a fantasy. A good fantasy works on multiple levels from the abstract visualization of the feminine power to making moral decisions. As game designers and developers find the time, budget, and opportunity to increase the amount of subtle input the games themselves will provide a more holistic fantasy.


  4. Bonnie Says:

    I hope you’re right that the time and energy developers are dedicating to all those interesting nuances and details is in fact on the rise! Fingers crossed…

  5. Lleld Says:

    Yoshinori Kitase, Kazushige Nojima, Tetsuya Nomura, Hironobu Sakaguchi all contributed to the masterpiece of writing that was Final Fantasy VII, (a.k.a. VII or 7). The depth and power of the story was awe-inspiring, once one could get passed the ground-breaking graphics of the game. Even while I was personally introduced to the series by VIII, VII has always been my favorite of the second-generation Final Fantasy games. And by second-gen I mean VII and beyond. Once the jump was made to three dimensions, it changed the entirety of the series, and thus deserves proper recognition.

    Incoherent babbling aside, i’ve run out of time. Perhaps more later.

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