So for those that don’t know my preferences, I am a Super Smash Brothers fanatic. The idea that my favorite Nintendo characters can come together in one game and beat the ever-living piss out of each other is divine, and every time a new one is coming out I follow every aspect of it. This past Tuesday, my sister and I ordered Papa John’s Pizza and watched the newest Nintendo Direct episode centered all about the next Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS. Here, you can watch it for yourself if you want:
Yes, it’s 39 minutes long, but it contains every bit of information you could possibly want to know, including two brand new, never before revealed characters at the very end. Smash Bros is a big thing with my sister and I; we’ve been playing it together since the original, and I have it on good authority (my own eyes) that she used to sit in her room for hours playing Melee as Zelda/Sheik. She got damn good at it too. As we watched it, we saw the reveals of the returning characters like Zero Suit Samus and Sheik and were excited about the fact that they would be their own characters now. We oohed and ahhed at everything Sakurai presented and laughed at his attempts to recreate the Iwata “directly” hand gesture.
Amidst all of our reactions, I’ll tell you what we didn’t do: we didn’t put a second thought into what each character was wearing.
Afterward, I go online to find that a sect of people are upset that Zero Suit Samus’s new jet boots are high heels. They’re angry that gender stereotypes are being continued because a girl has been given high heels. They don’t like the idea of Zero Suit Samus, a characters whose entire gaming life has been about being a girl in a “man’s world,” is given this minute accessory.
The entire debate has me wondering if I’m even qualified to be a “gamer” anymore. Not because I question my enjoyment of video games and love for the industry, but because I didn’t give a single shit, damn, or f— about the fact that Zero Suit Samus is now wearing the equivalent of high heels. When her portion of the Direct came on, I was more focused on how she played and what she could do than her costume. I hope that doesn’t put me at the minority, but I think it might.
Now I know gender issues are high on the list of industry problems right now, with the very successful hashtag #1ReasonWhy still carrying strong. I fully support every person who wants to get into gaming, be they white, black, man, woman, whatever, but I feel like this jet boot issue is completely overblown. Is your entire opinion of the character really going to be affected because she’s now wearing high-heel jet boots? Will you not buy the game because one character is wearing one piece of digital clothing? It makes zero sense to me that folks would be offended by the type of boots she’s wearing; it’s really not important in the least. Furthermore, if you want gender equality, look no further than the Wii Fit Trainer: both the male and female trainers will be included, and both of them have the same attributes, strengths, weaknesses, and moves. The two are exactly the same in every way, making for literal gender equality in the game that NO ONE is talking about. I find it odd that detractors would turn Samus away, but ignore the Wii Fit Trainer.
Bottom line: think whatever you wish, but I feel like a few aspects of this argument are a tad overblown. In the grand scheme of things, this is not something to get up in arms about. Your heart is in the right place for thinking there’s a major argument to be made, but this isn’t the topic to use as a strong point.
That’s just my two cents.