She Has No Voice So I Must Scream: On Voice and Agency in Video Games

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5 Responses

  1. alexlayne says:

    Forbes thought of the day: “Silence is argument carried on by other means.” That is all. It just reminded me of your post.

    • dr. b. says:

      I could see that as being true if there was true silence. In the game there is a voice, it is just the male voice of Transistor. So Forbes’ quote doesn’t hold up in this case.

      • alexlayne says:

        Well that’s exactly what I’m saying. Her silence has created an argument about the silencing of women– which is your post!

  2. Roxanne says:

    I have to say that when I originally found out that Red had no voice, in the beginning at least, I was disappointed. The YouTube comments on the trailer started the, “I wish it was a male character, and they should have given you an option to chose between genders” wars, which I decided to stay away from this time. The skeptic in me immediately pondered if the developers knew that would be a possible reaction, and were placating the male fan base in some way by making her mute and having a male narrator. On the other hand did they even realize the implications of not giving her a voice. After all Bastion contained a similar style of storytelling and the voice acting of Cunningham is superb; perhaps they are only trying to imitate that success.

    Silence in male characters often represent toughness and wisdom, but the problem still remains that her silence is not by choice. Even in the Little Mermaid Ariel makes the bargain to trade her voice to be human, even more problematic but her choice. What I hope for and has maintained my level of OMG-female-protagonist is the metaphor that could play out in Red’s journey. They have the potential of presenting a major struggle for women. A female carrying a heavy burden who has to fight to find her voice in a world that has taken it, something I haven’t seen in video game, and I think it hits particularly close to home for a lot of women, but only if the narrative does it justice. Maybe I want to read too deep into the possibility from my desire for a strong female protagonist, but I hope in this case the simplest answer is incorrect. I look forward to playing it to find out, and to you ladies breaking it down.

    • dr. b. says:

      Roxanne, I am hopeful for this game as well, but the cynic in me makes me antsy. I suppose that we will have to wait until 2014 to play through it and see for ourselves!