Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wild Guns Reloaded Has A Fat Female Protagonist And She's Awesome!!

Natsume, as a developer, has always been big on rewarding their small yet hardcore fan base throughout the years. While most know them as "The Harvest Moon people", they are so much more. Their legacy "pre-Harvest Moon" catalog includes some of the greats in the annals of retro action gaming history including "Shadow of the Ninja", "Shatterhand" (published by Jaleco but developed by Natsume), and perhaps one of the most obscure action games of the 16-Bit era, "Wild Guns". For the uninitiated, Wild Guns is a 1994 arcade style shooter in the same vein as "Cabal" or Konami's incredible "G.I. Joe" arcade game. "Wild Guns" quickly became a cult classic and in turn became very expensive in the resale market. Because of the price tag, I had given up hope of getting a physical copy of this game in any iteration, but suddenly, Natsume announced a remake of sorts of the title for PS4 and released a series of trailers for the game as well as the two new characters. While Bullet the dog is fun and cute but not shocking, the other new character, Doris is pretty surprising and actually pretty awesome in a world where some gamers take anything different from the norm as an affront. In reality though, Doris is pretty awesome and also quite important.
The reason Doris is important as a character is not because she's the "power" character of the four, or because she's a
female character. Both of those things have been tropes in gaming for a while, but it is a big deal that she's a visibly fat woman. She wears a crop top and throws grenades as her primary ranged weapon. If that isn't the definition of bad-ass, I'm not sure what is. In addition to being a pretty cool character design wise, her character also lacks the weird trope of being tied to a love interest that tends to bog down a lot of character backstories in games regardless of gender. She's a soldier first, and the mission is supreme above all. So, she has something in common with legendary male gaming protagonists like Sam Fisher and Solid Snake, also filed under bad-ass.

With the addition of Bullet and Doris, the playable roster of "Wild Guns Reloaded" is majority woman. That's a rarity in gaming nowadays. Having capable characters in those roles is a great thing in general but having a fat character in one of those slots can do a lot towards filling representation gaps in gaming for big groups of folks who have been long underrepresented in gaming. Now, if we could just get a small update with a playable person of color...