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100 sci fi women #29: Joanna Dark

To date, the women on my list have come from books, films and tv. However, there is of course another medium which engages with science fiction and fantasy quite heavily, so it is perhaps time to move to the world of gaming. Perhaps the reason why it has taken this long to get to a game character has something to do with the arguments in this interesting piece of women and (computer) gaming. I will confess that I am somewhere in the middle between a “casual” gamer and a hard-core gamer chick. I do play lots of casual type games, but I also have a history with more “serious” computer gaming. The thing for me is that I am just not that engaged by first-person-shoot-em-ups, which is perhaps why I will never become a full-on gamer. And I don’t have enough time in my life for serious WoW.

Nonetheless, one first-person-shooter I have played, and one female character I do like, is detailed below.

Joanna Dark Perfect Dark (Nintendo 64)

Joanna Dark is an special agent of the Carrington Institute, pitted against a rival corporation, dataDyne. Her perfect training scores earn her her “Perfect Dark” nickname. While Joanna is sexy, she was never quite as hypersexualised as her video-gaming compatriot, Lara Croft. She was a first-person shooter, so the player saw through her eyes. In her missions she saves the US President, saves good aliens, defeats evil aliens and generally saves the world. This has got to rate as a worthy female hero. A rare figure in the world of games, Joanna Dark stands on both her own merits, but also on what she represents: a female centred games, where the character who is played through is a woman, not clad in shorts, who is more than merely capable and who can beat the bad guys every time. I just wish they’d make Perfect Dark for the Wii.

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