Girl in the Machine
Monday, November 12, 2007
Grand adventures in Cyrodiil.

Let's get it right out there: I love Oblivion. As do many others.

Why should feminists in particular love Oblivion? It's simple: no sexist stereotypes.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a totally immersive RPG experience that lets you log several games' worth of play without even touching the main quest. You can skulk around in the thieves' guild, buy a haunted mansion in Anvil, or swing around a golden claymore that sets people on fire. Awesomely, the customization for your avatar is extremely diverse, letting you choose any race, any color, even species both human and no.

During my adventures throughout Cyrodiil, I have happily encountered none of the major sexist stereotypes that often plague fantasy settings. There is an abundance of female characters with wonderfully varying personalities. I've happily yet to encounter a sultry gypsy, whiny damsel, or mourning widow. Instead, women are knights, guild leaders, countesses, guards, bandits, mothers, vintners, alchemists, pirates, the list goes on and on. Just like in real life, women are (gasp!) just as diverse as men.

The excellent writing isn't the only good part. In other fantasy RPGs such as World of Warcraft, your typical iron cuirass is a sturdy breastplate that covers your manly warrior from clavicle to hip. However, when worn by his female counterpart, it magically transforms into a low-cut bikini top complete with C cup and underwire. In Oblivion, this mystical process never occurs. Bulky plate armor is rightfully just as bulky and formidable on a womanly form, and you can even raid villagers' closets and deck out your character in a foppish tunic 'n trousers combo, if you wish. (Note: I have not seen if you can put a dress on a dude yet, but a little modding does go a long, long way.)

And speaking of modding, nothing says creativity quite like user-created content. You can add in your own races or give Skingrad its very own gay bar. The possibilities are limitless, and Oblivion definitely gets an A+ in my book for not even needing the extra content to be entertaining. This is a game that doesn't get any "Yes, but" treatment from me: not only does it feel inclusive, it is inclusive, and in no way does it leave women out like so many of its competitors.

Readers, what have your adventures in Cyrodiil been like?

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 Posted by BomberGirl
 12:35 AM + Link to this post
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