The creator of Super Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda has spoken out on the ‘damsel in distress’ archetype he helped popularise in games.
Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto told Kotaku that the industry must be responsive to the increased demand for more playable female characters and be open to storylines that don’t keep women locked in a castle.
"Even as far back as Mario Kart, we had females who wanted to be able to play as female characters and we obviously saw the addition of Princess Peach early on in that series," he said.
"And gradually, over time, we started to see the desire for other-balanced female characters."
The article noted that new games on the Wii U have more female characters for players to chose from, and Miyamoto said this means having women that aren’t just the dainty sort portrayed by Princess Peach.
"And so we’ve added heavier female characters in the mario Kart series for them to choose from,” said Miyamoto. “So I think it’s just a natural tendency."
As far as changing story dynamics so they don’t just have women as objects to be rescued, Miyamoto said this has to go hand-in-hand with gameplay.
“I guess, for me in particular, the structure of the gameplay always comes before the story," he explained.
"And so we’re always looking at, when we’re putting that together, what is the most natural story to take place within that structure.
"So, if we end up creating a gameplay structure where it makes sense for, whether it’s a female to go rescue a male or a gay man to rescue a lesbian woman or a lesbian woman to rescue a gay man, we might take that approach.”