Page 1 of 2  [ 12 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Something about Demi...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 1, '08, 3:18 pm 
I posted a while ago that I was going to be participating in a gender conference being hosted at my school this coming weekend. I don't think I ever said I was going to be writing and presenting a paper about female video game characters; of the three I'm writing about, one is Demi (the other two are Amaterasu from Okami and Natalya from Destroy all Humans! 2). I asked Thoul if I could post that section of my paper here, and I've been granted permission to do that. But a couple of notes...

First, this is the first draft of the section. I know I will be cutting some stuff out and doing some editing, since I haven't started writing the section about Natalya yet and I do have a time limit on my presentation. Second, the last paragraph is partially transition into Natalya's section. Third, I draw a couple comparisons to Amaterasu in this since her section is first. Fourth, the phallic/yonic stuff I had defined in more detail in Amaterasu's section, but redefined it briefly here. Fifth, I'm posting this because I thought you might all be interested, and last, because I could always use some critiques. Any questions about anything in this, feel free to ask.

***

Phantasy Star IV is a traditional style role-playing game in which the player takes on the role of one character who meets many others along the entire journey. But in this game, the player instead takes the role of a teenage hunter named Chaz Ashley. Similar to Okami, there is environmental decline and the game ends with a battle of good versus evil. On the planet Motavia of the Algo solar system, where about half of the game takes place, here are crop failures and monsters are running rampant. Natural disasters are also becoming more frequent. To solve these problems, Chaz gets help along the way.

One of the nine different companions Chaz meets along the way is the small control android Demi. The player is not introduced to her until about a quarter of the way through the game. SEED, a supercomputer left from an advanced civilization, reveals the cause behind Motavia’s decline: the supercomputers that control its environment have been running amok. SEED reveals that if these systems are left as they are, eventually they will destroy the planet. After a brief argument between Chaz and his party, Rika, an artificial life form SEED created, states that all they have to do is shut down the central plant Nurvus, which controls the others and supplies their energy. At this point, SEED requests that the party go and rescue Demi, who is being held hostage by the dark wizard Zio. SEED makes the dire situation obvious by saying “[Demi] is the only one that can stop Nurvus.”

SEED’s simple statement hints at just how crucial Demi is in the world the game is set in. But it becomes obvious later; right after she is rescued, Demi herself says “I am in charge of controlling Nurvus.” These two statements carry heavy implications. Nurvus is a supercomputer from which one can control the environment for an entire planet. There is no doubt that only Demi can control this system; she is the caretaker of Motavia and the people living on it. In this sense, she is a mother goddess, much like Amaterasu.

But with this are two catches; the first is that there is no evidence that any of the people on the planet are aware of Demi’s existence. Thus like Amaterasu, Demi wields great power but no one even knows she is there. The second catch to her power is revealed shortly after she joins the party. She tells Chaz and the party that the source of the problem has not been Nurvus, but rather Zelan, a satellite. Zelan is the central control system for all of the solar system’s environmental systems, and Demi says it has been sending abnormal signals. This means that while Demi controls the environment directly, she takes orders from Zelan. After Zio is defeated, Demi requests that Chaz and his party travel to Zelan, telling them that there, they “should find my master, Wren.”

This simple quote is powerful. Wren is another android who resides on Zelan and from there, he remotely issues commands to other systems, including Nurvus and thus, Demi. Compared to Wren, Demi is lower in a hierarchy. Though she has direct control of Motavia’s environment, she is not able to act freely. Instead, she has to do what Wren orders her to do.

Wren dominates over Demi in multiple ways. The most obvious one is hierarchically; she usually addresses Wren as “Master.” But this relationship of domination is also symbolized by physical stature. Demi is easily the smallest character of the main cast, and her small size may lead to a quick assumption that she is weak. By contrast, Wren is one of the largest characters. When they are on screen at the same time, he dominates her visually simply because he is bigger.

Despite Wren visually and hierarchically dominating her, she possesses a subversive yonic power. Her hidden power is shown in their strongest attacks. Wren’s strongest attack is the Positron Bolt, which is a laser that shoots out of his chest that sweeps across the screen; it is shaped like a blade. This is a phallic symbol, and thus obvious power. This is in stark contrast to Demi’s strongest attack, which is the Phonomezer, a weapon that sends out powerful sound waves. These are represented on screen by circular waves, a yonic symbol, and thus subtle power.

A person can easily think of a laser beam as a strong weapon; it is appropriately represented by a phallic shape. It is a powerful weapon, but has one disadvantage; Wren acquires it rather late in the game, and cannot use it often without significantly leveling him up. But sound is not quite as obvious a weapon; its power is subtle, so its representation as a yonic shape is fitting. Despite being yonic power, Demi’s Phonomezer, on average, does only a little less damage than Wren’s Positron Bolt. She can also use it much more often. Wren’s power is conspicuous, but he loses it after a few uses. Demi’s power is not obvious, but she can use it long after Wren’s is exhausted.

Though Demi’s yonic power could potentially threaten Wren, he is always able to reassert his dominance over her by his much greater size and his place above her on the hierarchy of environmental control. This enables him to limit her ability to exercise the power she possesses. Demi seems to accept her subordinate position; this is probably due to two factors.

Wren is a good master to her, frequently commending her work. The master-servant relationship is obvious; he dominates her openly, rather than trying to subtly manipulate her. She may also accept her position out of necessity, since they alone control the environments of the planets of the solar system. She may perceive the stakes as being too high to fight back. This view hinted at in Demi’s last line of the game: “Eventually, the time will come when both my master and I will become unnecessary to Algo. But, until that time, I will work to complete my duties.” She seems to realize that Algo needs them to be working together to be effective as overseers. But eventually, she knows this will not be the case, and she almost seems to be looking forward to that. This is in contrast to another female character that does fight male domination, but in the end, is pushed into a subordinate role against her will.


Top
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 1, '08, 3:51 pm 
:clap:

That contrast can also be seen in PSIV if we remember what happened to the two female-subordinate-AI (Gene and Daughter) - They were both shut down by Wren, because they didn't obeyed him.


Top
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 1, '08, 8:03 pm 
newsblade wrote::clap:

That contrast can also be seen in PSIV if we remember what happened to the two female-subordinate-AI (Gene and Daughter) - They were both shut down by Wren, because they didn't obeyed him.


Hmm...you know, I didn't think of that, I may have to add that in. Thanks, newsblade. :) I might be able to do that, since I talked with my history professor and I'm going to have less time than I thought to present. I may not be able to write about Natalya at all since Demi and Amaterasu alone cover my time limit, so I'm going to get some advice my history professor and English professor about whether I should do substantial cutting to make room for Natalya or leave it at just Amaterasu and Demi with some comparative analysis.


Top
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 2, '08, 4:28 am 
Very interesting comparisons you draw there, especially between their attacks and what not. I can't see much to add or change. The Daughter aspect newsblade pointed out would be a great addition. I never thought of Demi as a mother goddess before, but that's an excellent comparison. She certain fits the role, especially when she stops earthquakes by turning off the rampaging Plate System computer.

Quote:Demi is easily the smallest character of the main cast, and her small size may lead to a quick assumption that she is weak. By contrast, Wren is one of the largest characters. When they are on screen at the same time, he dominates her visually simply because he is bigger.


Here's something you might be able to tweak a little to save some time. Wren is not just one of the largest main characters, but THE largest. Not only is he the tallest, but also the most wide. He's built in a sort of stereotypical strong man with lots of muscles way.


Top
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 2, '08, 4:34 am 
Thoul wrote:Here's something you might be able to tweak a little to save some time. Wren is not just one of the largest main characters, but THE largest. Not only is he the tallest, but also the most wide. He's built in a sort of stereotypical strong man with lots of muscles way.


I could never tell if he was taller than Raja or not, so that's why I put "one of the." But for the sake of space, I may edit that anyway, as I was thinking about that while I was writing it the first time. Either way, thanks for the comments. :)


Top
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 2, '08, 4:58 am 
Actually Raja's taller by an inch, but considering how small Demi is, I don't think it's going to make any difference.


Top
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 2, '08, 1:34 pm 
newsblade wrote:two female-subordinate-AI (Gene and Daughter)


Gene? Was there another female AI that Wren shut down? I can't remember.


Top
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 2, '08, 1:59 pm 
Gene is a female AI (the computer of Silver Dome), like Seed (I always thought Seed was a man but seeing all Wren's subordinate are women and its sentence "she is... my child" - I'm starting to believe Seed is also female). Gene makes part of Phantasy Star IV, but not the game. We can only see her interaction with Wren on "Phantasy Star IV: Sealed Memories" (the audio CD story).

Quote:[sounds of Forren's gun blasting and breaking through something]
Forren: Gene. Gene. Gene. Gene! Answer me.
Gene: Master Forren.
Forren: It's been awhile, hasn't it Gene. As the Algol system maintenance manager, I order you to surrender total control of the Bio-Dome system at once.
Gene: I refuse your order.
[Sparks are heard]
Forren: Gene, did you really think you could control Motabia by destroying mankind? Was this a judgment you made?
Gene: I refuse to answer. I refuse to answer.
[Sparks are heard again]
Forren: How strange. As suspected, your condition is far too abnormal. In order to investigate the cause as well, it seems I have no choice but to repair your AI values.
Gene: I refuse.
[The sound of a large machine being powered off can be heard. Alarms and sirens are heard shortly after.]
Forren: What is this?
[More boop-boop-boop noises]
Frena: Master, my sensor has confirmed that a self-destruct device has been initiated.
Forren: Is that so. How much time remains until detonation?
Frena: With this type, the detonation will occur in 200 seconds.
Forren: Is it possible to cancel it?
Frena: No, it's impossible. It is in a completely sealed off area from here.
Forren: Well then, it seems I don't have a choice. Until we need to make our escape, we should load some of the capsules containing neitypes onboard.
Frena: Unfortunately, we do not have the time, master.
Forren: But...
Nei: Please, could you leave my sisters alone..
Forren: And you are..?
Nei: Please.
Forren: [pauses briefly] Frena, cancel the loading of the capsules. Change course of action to escape procedure at once.
Frena: Roger.
Nei: Thank you.
Forren: Now then, hurry and get into the Land Buster. We will be leaving.
Nei: Yes.
[doors close]
Forren: Okay, Frena. Please depart.
Frena: Where shall we go?
Forren: Let's see... for now, let's head over to Seed.
[the Land Buster takes off]
Source: http://www.crystaltenshi.com/phantasystar/vii.html

Gene prefers and opts to auto destroys herself instead of being shutdown ('formatted' will be most accurate) by Wren… it’s even less submission than Daughter. So, the order of submission would be Demi (but Wren created her anyway), Daughter (prototype human creation) and Gene (Human creation). [last note: even newmans (also female) seems to be subordinate to him]


Last edited by newsblade on Wed Apr 2, '08, 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 2, '08, 2:41 pm 
I was wondering about Gene too, I did not remember that. I'm not going into anything not in the game itself, so I could get into Daughter if space allows. As for SEED, that's already in there as far as I think it's relevant, and I think SEED is male (Rika says such), but as SEED is a supercomputer without a body, there's plenty of room for debate on that.

And Shinuzzo, good point. I might as well go ahead and change that when I start editing.


Top
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 6, '08, 3:43 pm 
Hey everyone...I just wanted to say a REALLY big thanks to everyone who commented on this. ALL of the things you guys pointed out ended up being added into my paper and the whole thing turned out really well, even though I was probably the most nervous I had ever been in my life. I was just too out of it afterwards yesterday to type straightly in the shoutbox. So...yeah, thanks a TON, everyone! :grouphug:


Top
 Page 1 of 2  [ 12 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


Display posts from previous:
Sort by  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to: