In today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source
, which deals with games created for training, health, government, and other uses, as well as their cultural effects, Powerful Robot's Gonzalo Frasca discusses the allegedly sexist content in Super Princess Peach
for the DS.
In this excerpt, Frasca explains the game's message, and why it concerns him:
"In 2005, Nintendo launched Super Princess Peach, a Nintendo DS game where, for the first time, Peach was the protagonist. Rather than been rescued, it was now her turn to rescue Mario and Luigi who were being held prisoners by the evil Bowser.
I first heard of the game through Ian Bogost, who was shocked at what he called “Nintendo’s most politically incorrect game ever.” The reason behind this claim was that Peach’s superpowers are not physical, such as what is commonly found with male characters in the Mario universe. Instead, Peach fights with an unconventional weapon: her emotions. That sounded too weird to be true, so I ran to the nearest store and bought myself a copy."
"Am I reading too much into this harmless game? After all, it’s just a game, right? If we are going to be serious about games, then we need to take them seriously first. While I am not crazy about Mario, I like the series, just like many millions of players around the world. Still, that is not an excuse for Nintendo to get away with reinforcing stereotypes on children’s minds. On the one hand, it is a blessing to find a game targeted at girls that is also top quality on a technical level: they are not that common.
Additionally, it is good to see how the Princess switches roles with the male heroes after so many years of mainly being a decorative element in the series. What is shocking is that from all the possible design options available, the creators of this game had to frame the princess as an emotionally unstable person."
You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject
, including more on the differences between the U.S. and Japanese packaging and marketing of this title (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).