Never Forgetti

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Video in TIB AV-Portal: Never Forgetti

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Never Forgetti
A didactic live-gaming performance about dying women across video game history
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lecture performance, 2018 multiplatform game, soundtrack & strategy guide Never Forgetti is a didactic live gaming lecture about the deaths of female video game characters and how their normative framing prevents them from developing agency to avert their fatal destiny. The performance investigates on power relationships between lecturer and audience to reflect on how models of subjugation are established in media and our current social realities. Taking on the persona of Jenny Vorfahrt, a mysterious character that exists both outside and inside the gaming realm, I provide attendees with showcase of gameplay and theoretical knowledge about life and death of popular heroines, as well as the symbolism of classical game design. In reality, however, Jenny is pursuing her own secretive agenda...
Keywords Art, Culture

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[Music] video game bros shed sweet tears when female sidekicks die why do women often wind up in dangerous situations and
video game narratives why they would dare die so dramatically and where do they actually go when they passed away in remembrance of video game histories losers Jenny forfeit commemorates female legacy in a didactic life James Emma Nam all
right does that work does it work nice alright thank you for that really dramatic introduction and yes it will begin now
audio input please [Music] storytelling has often favored characters that innately represent privileges the prominent untarnished white sis male figure remains the perpetual focus and hero of most narratives however these narratives devote little or no attention to the sacrifices and deaths of women who often only bolster the hero's exposure and victory what happens to them after the credits do we simply forget about them today I'm here to tell the story of history's losers to remind us of the legacy and commemorate their loss so it is actually me Jenny
forfeit and I'm just like you see I'm a
producer of music and a fashion model so I'm a DJ and also a local anesthetic of tranquil dreams and unfulfilled desires so what is going on today I will be your guide through this lecture of commemorating all the female heroines in video game history I don't know if any one of you play the video game but I highly think so so we're just gonna
start with a video game a classic video game design choice that often happens in JRPGs which is role-playing games often hailing from Japan so what happens here
we see a flower field suspended in an endless horizon and we often see this setting in JRPGs like Final Fantasy
series do you know that one like yeah probably right or the tales of Ceres and in the older and also in the newer entries to that series there are often females in flower fields and it's often a glossy HD cutscene and they tried to really catch the flower petals that ran from above I can't do that right now because this cream is really too big but for many females it's their only chance to really feel themselves until the cutscene fades out so the flower field is really like a
cliched setting to to really show that women really don't have a story in like they don't have a place in the narrative but being that passive creature who's just like suspended like wobbling here and just waiting for something to happen just waiting until they catch yeah a leaf or something I don't know I don't I don't know and actually I'm not a woman myself so I
really don't know how women feel there so let me just put that there so what are we gonna do now we leave this story here behind we leave the this
pathetically romantic setting of the flower field and just go down because there's not much choice I can't just go down here and leave this place and enter the place where all the women lie after they died in the cemetery so I created this place to commemorate all the women who died in video game mister what's wrong with the lights can't you decide okay so what are we going to do now is I'm gonna give you theoretical knowledge about reasons for women to die in video game narratives so first and I forgot something because I brought to you something really special
which is this is the official strategy guide for the game called never forgetting and we're not going to use this camera I think I'm just gonna read it out so we can make a little let's read so the first reason for women to die really is the butch therapy and I'm
just gonna read it out because it's much more concise than I could ever put so an heteronormative story lines masculine vamps have no place their sexual preferences causes them to not be
interested in the leading male character who's often a macho which in turn makes it too difficult for norm for narratives to address their complex female personalities that don't exclusively revolve around romance solution they die or they surrender to male flirt attacks and turn straight so we have a classical military gay conversion in this example
here which is Meryl Gainsborough from Metal Gear Solid a game that is very
very popular in the early 2000s not even like around 2000 well it was a banger and it's a really good game so what happened to Merrill like Meryl is a really strong butch as you can see like she has a really big biceps and like there's even an anchor so we again have like a really cliched notion of a really masculine family like she has an anchor
here like a pirate like she's not a pirate she's in the military whatever so what happened to Merrill did anyone of you play Metal Gear Solid very good so a Metal Gear Solid's Meryl was first like that proud lesbian who was really not getting on like she was not getting with the main protagonist called snake something that is like snake I mean that's really obvious that it's something phallic and so she was not
really getting with him and she was like hey I'm a proud lesbian I don't need you like I'm strong by myself and in the end of the story like she was really turned against this protagonist by a black
genetically gifted special troop guy and he was like making her turn against the main protagonist and everyone was like yeah finally like a boss fight is going to happen and the only way you can like really defeat this boss is you have to bitch slap the out of Meryl until she falls unconscious so the game really forces you to like indulge into domestic
violence which is rather odd I would say so much to Meryl and there's also a storyline awkward she dies so we have
the we argued back to the - what this kind of presentation is all about so the next grave is the new Christian martyrdom and I will explain to you with
the help of this very concise strategy guide what the new Christian martyrdom is all about so it is quite simple an imminent apocalypse is avoided through a dramatic sacrifice of everyone's favorite female character did our girls really just die so that man could revel in their happy ending question mark and here we probably have
the most iconic heroine who ever expire
but it's 2018 so it's almost 2019 so you should know this is Aerith Gainsborough who died in Final Fantasy 7 so she was stabbed by this really sorry here's a hair I have to get rid of that so she was stabbed in the back by a guy
wielding a 20 metre long katana it's really 20 meter long so like well it ranges from like 2 meter to 20 like it just depends on how exaggerated the fanboys put it but it's a really long katana and she's again impaled by something very phallic and it seems to
be a common thing to be causing deaths of women so yeah and here she is kind of put to her wet grave and this is also
the only time in history where the hardest gaming bro like really the toughest man was allowed to cry because this was heartbreaking guys heart
so here's a little easter egg it just says where we are a place of remembrance dot dot dot it has nothing to do with the storyline it's just we are here so the next cause for women to die is the hetero Futurity marriage motherhood house works powerful magic or sword wielding femme stern domestic and are deprived of any agency in the post ending story arc fantasy so after the game divorce is usually not considered
because the game ended already what we have here is celeste sword-wielding
femme of final fantasy 6 so she used to be a genetically modified general of the Imperial Army until she really fall in love badly with our main protagonist again and it's really it's not reciprocated by him because he is still in love with this deceased wife so we have a really strange triangle going on there and there's also a really intricate like I really recommend playing this game because there's a really intricate bondage scene like a 12-bit bond or 16-bit like the graphics
it's 16 right like these pixelated grata just like these backgrounds I met it like I don't know how many bits but so
we see soldiers again bitch-slapping her on tight on a wall so we really have that sexual thing going on there between
the soldiers on her and then she's freed and subsequently falls in love with the main protagonist so she really also his life at the end it is heavily hinted that they marry which kind of equals like dropping dead because as we all know like most most accidents happen in the
households so it is per se a very dangerous situation she's getting in I don't find that funny I don't know why
you're laughing actually I do so the last chapter here in this scenery is being royal heiress so let me just read it up your princess is once more in another castle there she suffers from royal inhibitions aristocratic power structures and potentially curses her children with the same fate of royal succession so we have many many many examples of princesses that get like abducted all the time or that like almost died but here I have the most prominent one which is princess
die oh it's great scary story it's Grace Kelly so Grace Kelly just like princess died died in a car accident when like strange constellations between her her husband and another Monegasque yeah noble man or someone who just hangs out there he hangs out in Monaco just has the money for that so that happened there and she had to die in a car crash just like lady died it's really ominous
because it seems to be again rather recurring theme so after we have that
[Music] now there's an interactive part sure
you've been waiting for this so what I have fear I hope you brought pants because I didn't so what we're gonna be
doing now is everyone takes a a postcard and what is really handy about yeah just hand them people one here one there they're not enough for everyone because I didn't believe this room was so
freakin big so if you look at the
backside of the postcard you can see
first on the bottom right my website which is conveniently placed to your satisfaction what I want you to do right now though is to write down your thoughts about what would she tell these people like these women who died for no reason ever to just make the story a bit more dramatic what would you want to let them know if you could so actually it's a little commemorative note that I want you to think about I really hope you brought pens [Music]
I think one minute is surprising and in the meanwhile we can really listen to this soothing track by the way I kind of did all the music for this but
just like the backgrounds I stole half of it [Music]
do these microphones work [Music] yep the microphones on the sides who's in
charge [Music] we'll just try say book yep perfect yeah I think we can go now right [Music] did you think about something you would want to tell them or or just any thoughts about what you wish [Music] go to the mic please [Music]
so much collaboration and I great [Music]
yeah I thought it's gonna be done hello it's not working [Music] No yeah yeah actually I thought it's gonna be anonymous so sorry to shatter your illusion so I wrote stay strong you will always be missed loved and objectified also thanks for being my secret lesbian quick crush as an opportunity can you repeat that last part you will always be miss I said also thanks for being my secret that's being queer crush as an awkward teenager thank
you [Applause] team crush absolutely love it there was one thing I really like did not understand because he said like stay strong but they're they're freaking that so like what does it do to them so but I love the last part because no one ever said to them like you're just a hot girl or you're just a hot fam in their storyline so that's really good I never saw that somewhere
oh yeah that's more yeah I'm sorry for your death maybe you will not be forgotten and maybe you get reborn in a different video game with better chances but who's like maybe we should think about the authorship of the new videogame like who is gonna make these video games maybe you are they're so kind thank you well because I'm rather humble I would
say we hope that an elderly lesbian
produces your next video game [Music] because that's also probably cool okay next one I think we're good after that though hi ladies come back as zombies
kick the out of four guys to bitch-slap you you kick the out of the guys who bitch slapped you yep
[Music] [Applause] [Music] zombi yeah they should come back as zombies it wouldn't work if they're just dead I mean they have to come back as zombies return a zombies amazing [Music] all right what do you have to say to them you are not a dramatic device but a person in your own rights no one can
ever take that away from you heaven seems to be like a pretty mail run place you can leave these dick dangling pricks behind and do your thing and find some more appreciating company fate a phantom world some more appreciating company yes I also do wish that for these women nice [Music] [Applause]
what we shouldn't forget is that it's also like even more so in video games it's not there it's not within their agency to really find their their peer group because they only have a set amount of characters that are like just
build to make lives of women hard so I'm not going to add anything but thank you for your contribution was really nice [Music] alright we have to speed it up I think so I'm saying this to them this didn't have to happen it's not your fault your destiny was written by a greater power that you cannot escape by God a man by man thank you for that all right last one I wrote a bit more
but I'll make it quick yeah or maybe the essence if you would
type it you have to you would have to type it the following way open brackets so many year but not all close brackets
hashtag men are trashed so let's all help crush patriarchal scripts and video games a very interesting I do have to
say however I don't take orders from people in the audience thank you so with
these words being said we leave the graveyard to find us in a scenery that welcomes us after a long day at the cemetery where all the old people hang out at the cemetery cafe here we can see old people enjoying the coffee and cake while we learn something so this person says hey why are you staring at me which is pretty accurate because that is not how communication works like you're not just staring at people just waiting for them to say something is that right right this is not how communication works and I would be offended by that too this woman does not know what butch means does anyone not know what which means was it clear okay to say it really
like in a very derogative way butch is a like really manly lesbian like really masculine like the first butch we saw was Meryl with that anchor tattoo so you can really identify Butch's by their anchor tattoo obviously
and actually to be quite frankly I don't give a damn about what the others say because we all know that these are really like generic characters that really don't have anything to say they don't even have a name so what are we gonna do now is I am gonna perform for
the wrapping of this lecture a really conceptual music piece that is about can we turn the lights a bit slower like get in the mood can we do that can we do that
all that automatic well it is a song about women who die in the Russian Roulette and turn the volume up please excuse me yeah let it bang it's a banger [Music] louder please yeah
[Music] and take a deal calm yourself he says to me if you play you play for keeps take the gun and count to three I'm sweating now I'm moving slow no time today my turn the girl and you can see my [Music] [Applause] [Music] ooh [Music] [Applause] [Music]
say a prayer
and then a scary that is he she's never and you can see my [Music] [Applause] [Applause] I must pass test so just pull the trigger flashes before my eyes I [Music] goodbye but it's [Music]
[Applause] [Music]
[Applause] hi
[Applause] [Music] this test the trigger [Applause]
[Music] and once again I'm not dead I'm a man thank you
[Music] [Applause] [Music]
at the time that was awesome thank you
so I think we will head straight into
the Q&A yes because that was interactive and seemingly interactive was not so
we've been we've been led along all the way all right so we've been led along all the way yeah yeah of course I'm the
moderator I said it I'm your guy today and I'm not gonna be not editing your stuff you've gotta tell me all right so there's always a higher power at work
okay is there anyone like cheeky enough to oh yes what I'd like to know is you chose this miss for far to do this show what would this presentation have missed if you would have presented as a man a very good question I kind of liked actually I hinted it a bit too much at the end I think that was a bit cheeky like I think the whole game is still through the male gaze like that's that's what you're asking right like the whole game is just because I'm here like dressed as a woman and actually I'm just wearing like a dress and a wig like I'm not even fully it like I don't have boobs and stuff but that doesn't make a woman either so yeah it wouldn't have changed anything because the game is still made by someone who identifies as male is that to your liking the answer I mean like thank you yes what sorry
so I'm sorry I came in a little bit late
so I have no idea whatsoever if you address that beforehand but many of us probably have have seen and heard and maybe contributed or maybe blocked the gamergate controversy yeah and all that came along with it with all the the online harassment of of people who of woman on line of people who defended this woman and in the consequence that is that has been going on for years now so in the consequence it happens now and then that that game comes out where you actually play a feminine character maybe even a female character or the other way around and you know what do you think about that can we can we hope for more inclusiveness in that direction that this these these rigid these Richard
male gaze scripts that still determine how games are developed or maybe he is out a little bit so that more diversity can take place more inclusiveness and more inclusion of all the perspectives and not just this hetero male gaze oh yeah absolutely I think so much has happened since 2012 and I was to be frank I was really not knowing what happens back even when 2014 or something until someone mentioned the gamergate kind of yeah movement to me and I think so much has happened also in regard to how we see games not only like this little thing in the end about putting characters in there and old we like in the cemetery cafe like old people that would only be about identity
like just because we have more old people and video games doesn't make them more inclusive per se I would say but also how we think about the mechanics of games itself like this game really like I don't enjoy playing it it's just a tool for me to convey what I want to say
so it's actually an elaborate PowerPoint presentation if you will yeah nothing more so games can the very mechanics of games can also be like weird if you will yeah okay I thank you from the internet sorry what new aesthetics art what is it
what is that supposed to be new aesthetics oh that's art like three please thank you there's a game that came out in the early 2000s in the early 2000s called Siberia and it has a very strong female perspective and and the hurryin is getting empowered that she's going through the process of solving all the mysteries and in through the game and I was wondering if you're keeping a secret collection of yours as as a collect
collection of such games that have heroes that get empowered through the
game narrative yeah actually just the games I played as a child like really these games I grew up with they had somehow an impact on me like nowadays I can filter way more what what is going on with games and I think the really the really bizarre thing about about these games that I grew up with was that I was kind of indoctrinated by them I just
didn't question why women die all the time or why women only ever talked about the one thing which is love not even sex it's just love and that really cliched concept while men were always like blah blah blah let's fight the baddies you will always be safe with me blah blah blah and I think what really fascinates me about that is that I kind of like speaking completely took that into my personal relationships and I think when you grew up with games and really took them seriously you have to kind of or it's good to emancipate you yourself from from these notions from these cliched notions otherwise it's
yeah I mean these games really did something to be not only like good things like of course I want someone who like jumps in front of a bullet for me and and stuff right I mean I'm sorry did
I kind of diverge from the question oh sorry no I don't keep a catalogue sorry okay Mike number one you talked about
the game as an elaborate PowerPoint presentation yes and I was wondering
your opinion on the future of game development perhaps being used as a device for performance or what you think the potential is for that yeah I'm not really into the gaming house occult the gaming industry and I don't know much about it I also don't know much about like the the per critics of of developing games and publishing them but I think these triple-a studios that really do big games like recently fallout 76 if you heard about that and they really failed at that and really once loved company like Bethesda who really did classics was like really going down the drain and bad happens with with games that have to make a certain estimate of million trillion I don't know dollars I'm not guessing again so what's my point I think it's a it's a very good evolution of what games can be and games don't even have to look pretty today to be nice like all these all these really popular queer games or what you would call queer games there are indie titles and I'm kind of happy that triple-a titles really don't I don't really care for many of them anymore because they are just getting a bit greedy so I'm kind of looking forward what games can do in the future it does that answer your question sort of I was wondering also how the
game is maybe not so much meant for other people to play as it is just for you to be exactly to present with and I was wondering what kind of genre of game you think that is and if that's a genre of the future perhaps yeah yeah very
good question and a very keen observation I would say this game can actually not be played by you because I didn't like upload it and stuff but also why would you play Jenny for felt like you're not Jenny for thought so I can only play myself right so I would say
the genre would be an extension welcome to my fantasy world people yeah no you
can't play the game sorry okay there are no more questions thank you very much
for the one playable character Jenny for part young
[Music] [Music]