As I am currently awaiting the release of The Last of Us Part II, I decided it would be best for me to go back and experience some of the older zombie games that I have not played in years. The original TLOU is an absolute classic and one of the best games ever made, but I truly cannot stress just how important Resident Evil is to me as a feminist and a writer.
The end of the Nintendo domination over the gaming industry was a golden age of creativity in gaming. For the first time developers were free to challenge the established patriarchal concepts introduced (And to this day suppported) by the former gaming giant. Games like Final Fantasy VII challenged the idea of women being nothing more than damsels to be rescued, while games like Metal Gear Solid emphasized strong, intelligent female characters in the lore of the story and world.
However, in my mind, Resident Evil is the first TRULY feminist video game franchise. For the first time ever, you could choose between a male and a female character. And for the first time EVER, the female character had clear advantages over the male one. Now, she wasn’t ever BETTER, per se, but it was so mind blowing to me how Capcom put so much time and effort into making such compelling female characters.
And then Resident Evil 4 ruined everything.
This is the first time I’ve played RE4 in years. I was one of those people that disliked the game from the onset, due to being developed for a purple lunchbox rather than a real video game console. The game had clearly been extremely casualized to appeal to fans of games like Wind Waker and Pikmin. It was more action oriented than previous entries, with little in the way of puzzles and the subtle, creative horrors that the original three games produced. And worst of all, the female lead, Ashley, was relegated to that despised damsel in distress role. How the mighty have fallen.
However returning to Resident Evil 4 after over fifteen years has given me a new perspective. A new, disgusting angle that my naive younger self did not catch up on.
Resident Evil 4 HATES Mexicans.
The plot of Resident Evil 4 is as follows. Leon S.Kennedy, the ambigously gay, emo haired protagonist is sent on a rescue mission to Mexico to recover the daughter of the President of the United States. Now this is a relatively simple, less complex plot compared to past entries, possibly to appeal to Nintendo fans and their childish tastes… but it has a theme to it.
TOXIC, EVIL FOREIGNERS ARE OUT TO GET THE PRESIDENT AND HIS FAMILY.
That’s it. That’s the plot, summed up in a single sentence. And in an age where immigrants are being attacked and hated by the current administration it TRULY gives me pause. Resident Evil 5 was condemned for being racist (And rightfully so) but I believe the trend started in Resident Evil 4. Seeing the blonde, handsome American gun down unarmed brown skinned Mexicans sends a shiver down my spine. THIS is the media I grew up with? Is this the world we fantasize about living in?
One of the game’s most famous scenes involves Leon, Ashley, and another man hiding out in a cabin while wave after wave of Mexicans break in and attack. The only way to defend yourself from this onslaught is to invoke your second amendment rights and shoot them dead. The only thing that is protecting you from the illegals? WALLS and GUNS.
Disgusting. We know very little about Ashley and her Father’s politics, but she’s clearly a Republican, going by her shitty attitude and outfit. What the goals of the Mexicans? Why are they rebelling against the President? Could their goals possibly be noble? I find it difficult to believe that a group of people who refuse to use guns could be all that bad. They take care of their animals and seem to live in harmony with nature… rather different than American societies.
Maybe humanity is the real virus.