This is gonna be long. There's a tl;dr.
So I've been jamming the Wadjet Eye games into my brain for the past two weeks: point and click adventures in the old style, with more mature story lines and themes.
I don't know if they are doing it intentionally, but these games are *so much more feminist* than you would expect from games circa 2006-2015.
I've played eight of the thirteen games available so far (Blackwell Unbound/Legacy/Convergence, Gemini Rue, Shardlight, Shivah, Technobablyon, and Unavowed). Of those eight:
* Six let you play/control a female character
* Four are *primarily* female characters, with limited supporting or no male main character gameplay
* To my recollection, there was literally *one* exchange in *all eight games* that implied the female character might use sex to get what she wanted, and it was *not a playable option* – it was just a passing moment from a creep. (maybe others will feel differently, but I'm willing to accept this as valid characterization of a scumbag, because the game makes it *very* clear the rest of the world doesn't think like that)
* Outside of that moment: literally no sexualization of the female characters at all. There are female characters who express attraction to males, and males who express attraction to females, but at no point do you feel that creepy "male gaze" coming into effect.
* None of the female protagonists are treated as "weak" – in fact, many/most of them kick more ass than the men. (In Unavowed, for example, three of the playable characters are "fighters" – and two of those are women. In Shardlight, both the protagonist and the rebel leader/badass are women. In Technobabylon, the *overwhelming majority* of pivotal characters in the story are *women*).
Is it perfect? Of course not. Aside from the one example of sexualization, the Blackwell series features a supporting lead who's a male ghost from the 40s, and he can be annoyingly misogynistic. Nothing as bad as "women shouldn't have jobs" or "women are for sex" – but he tends to call the lead "darling" and "doll" a lot, and it's obnoxious. He's otherwise passable (nothing sexual, nothing demeaning that I remember).
But I'm not done.
Every single game has featured *at least* one person of color (most have many more), and the actors portraying them are often from the same race (there are some exceptions). Nobody's race or culture is ever played up for laughs – the worst example I can think of was a a female pirate in Unavowed who spoke in a buccaneer/Irish brogue that earned a few, "I can't understand what you're saying" jokes.
There was also a Jamaican-type character in Blackwell Legacy, and it was just because the performer couldn't do a convincing Jamaican accent. But it was never a joke – just awkward.
These are low-budget games by a very tiny studio, and they are still doing a kickass job.
Will others find room for improvement? Of course. But so much of it is handled in stride – it's never called out, or lit up with big flashing arrows.
They are believable characters set in worlds where women are equal to men, and people of color are equal to white people. And I think Wadjet Eye games deserves some cred for creating those kinds of worlds when no one was watching for it, and without trying to score woke points.
tl;dr Wadjet Eye games creates awesome worlds where women/men and racial groups are treated equally, and it just felt awesome to be in a world that played the way the world should be (in that way), and not the way world can be.
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