Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Samus vs. The Galaxy 92

1up has a look back at the Metroid series during the 20th anniversary of Metroid for the NES. From the article: "Metroid's gameplay isn't beloved exclusively. Fans love the series' heroine, Samus Aran. Samus is hard to define as a character, which adds to her appeal. In the scrolls of the Chozo, the avian race that raised her after she was orphaned, she's recorded as The Newborn, and the hope of their depleted race. To the Galactic Federation, she's the protector of the galaxy. To Space Pirates, she's the Huntress, or a handful of vulgar alien words. To gamers, Samus is mostly an enigma. Unlike other game heroines, she hasn't spread herself and her secrets everywhere like a high school senior of ill repute. Samus' motivations still command respect and a certain degree of awe."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Samus vs. The Galaxy

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:47AM (#15872530)
    Samus is a girl!?
  • unless of course you beat the game in less than 8 hours :)
  • by datafr0g ( 831498 ) * <datafrog AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:03AM (#15872576) Homepage
    Unlike other game heroines, she hasn't spread herself and her secrets everywhere like a high school senior of ill repute. Samus' motivations still command respect and a certain degree of awe."


    Yes, the fact that she appears to be motivated to take off more clothes the faster you finish the game certainly commands a great deal of respect.
  • Friend of mine got Super Metroid on the SNES when it first came out. He was a big Metroid fan, having played both the NES and Gameboy versions to death. Anyway, on the SNES version, when you died, Samus' suit disintegrated and Samus herself emerged wearing some kind of underwear getup. Nothing too risque thankfully. There was also a high pitched scream as you died.

    My friend's first reaction: "Why is there a girl in Samus Aran's suit?".

    The fact that Samus Aran is female has absolutely no bearing on the gameplay of Metroid. Anyone who plays the game for long enough will cease to care. At best, its a marketing novelty factor, like the flashy suit or spaceship. When you really, truely play a game for dozens of hours, superflous things like that fade into obscurity.

    My friend wasn't alone. I'll bet there were many fans of Metroid who has let this fact completly escape them. If asked the question: "Are there any female lead characters in some of your favourite games?" I'd wager many, many Metroid fans would be streched to answer "Metroid" quickly. This is because, a true gamer will simply not care, and these facts will slip their minds.

    It's like if you were asked to name a game with a black lead character. You might be harded pressed to do it, because you simply didn't care. And no, it's not the game you were thinking of [wikipedia.org].

    If you want to make the characters "ethnicity" part of the game, the only way to do that is to make such things user customisable. A la MMORPGs, Oblivion, etc, . Other than that, the specifics of the characters themselves, outside of their in game abilities, are irrelevant, as any avid gamer will tell you. Who ever picked Blaze because she was a woman? I mean come on?

    The game is the gameplay. It isn't the graphics, or the hype, or the characters, or the style, or the studio, or the music. These are only minor parts of the core that is the game. People need to stop getting distracted by things that concern other entertainment industries, because they only loosely apply to video games. The game is the gameplay. No amount of marketing can change that.
    • It's like if you were asked to name a game with a black lead character. You might be harded pressed to do it, because you simply didn't care.

      Actually CJ from GTA San Andreas popped into mind because I only played the game for the ghetto fabulous lifestyle, drive-bying on BMX bikes and the like. Once they had you going on 20 minute fetch quests on the countryside I quit playing, and you better believe had he been white I would have dropped it earlier.
      Alright I probably wouldn't have but it was pretty sweet

    • by StocDred ( 691816 ) * on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:54AM (#15872801) Homepage Journal
      At best, its a marketing novelty factor, like the flashy suit or spaceship

      I dig what you're saying, but how can the original Metroid be faulted for marketing novelty when the fact that Samus is female is only revealed if you were a super-player? Nintendo didn't make a big deal about her gender in early marketing; she looks like a pixellized robot on the box cover. Most players simply had no idea because they never finished the game. Back then we had no internet to ruin things within .5 hours of a game's release.

      Samus's reveal was more of a bonus surprise for dedicated players than anything else. And, motivational underwear aside, she still remains an early and inspiring example of a female video game heroic avatar. Which is cool, having diversity of leads in video games (male, female, alien, young, old, heroic, evil etc). I hope you're not arguing against that.

      And not too long ago, there was an article about how often male players choose a female character, even in games that are not customizable or online. So, window dressing does matter. Yeah, gameplay is important, but story and characters and immersion are also important. Calling it "irrelevant" is an unfair whitewash.

      Of course, turning Samus into an obviously mega-hot Lara Croft / Witchblade / Lady Death style of female "role model" is pure marketing... but that's more of a latter day invention. And I still would say Nintendo hasn't milked that in the way that Tomb Raider or Bloodrayne a hundred other games have.

      I'd wager many, many Metroid fans would be streched to answer "Metroid" quickly.

      And I would wager you're totally wrong on that one. Fans are on that.

      • Most players simply had no idea because they never finished the game.

        In under 2 hours, which was the limit to get Samus to remove her suit.

      • Samus's reveal was more of a bonus surprise for dedicated players than anything else

        If by "dedicated players" you mean the 1987 definition, which was "kids who knew enough other gamers that one of them eventually found out about the JUSTIN BAILEY code", then yes.

        I'd wager more people learned Samus's gender from entering that password than from completing the game quickly.
    • It's like if you were asked to name a game with a black lead character. You might be harded pressed to do it....

      Yea, because it dosen't exist.

      Oh wait...Crazy Taxi had that obnoxious black-sterotype driver. You know, the "yo yo yo yo!" guy. So I guess there is one.
      • Yea, because it dosen't exist.

        Are you trying to be funny, or are you not really a gamer? Eddie Gordo is one of my favorite game characters in the last 10 some-odd years. There are plenty of other (albiet not neccessarily main)black game characters that immediately come to mind, such as the coach from Mike Tyson's Punch out, or Jax from Mortal Kombat, or Balrog from Street Fighter 2.
    • "Why is there a girl in Samus Aran's suit?"
      All the mysteriy stuff asside, the main reason why Samus is a girl might be simply because Metroid is as far as I know inspired by the movie Alien and that featured a female hero as well.
    • I'm sorry but while I share your opinion that graphics is just eyecandy and gets old after 5min, the characters, the style, the music and the story DO matter to me and most gamers out there.
      Gameplay is very important, but many games with sucky gameplay, weird cameras or sucky controls still get by just by having a compeling story or amazing characters.

      Games are a visual media, not just the interactiveness.
    • Actually, they did play on her "maternal instincts" a bit in super metroid, when she didn't kill the metroid and took it back with her. She could have, but didn't because it was just a baby and had bonded with her.
    • The game is the gameplay. It isn't the graphics, or the hype, or the characters, or the style, or the studio, or the music. These are only minor parts of the core that is the game.

      Really? I'm pretty sure that the story, characters, music, and yes even the games graphics are integral to the game.

      Not to say that the actual gameplay isn't important, but these other parts are what differentiate one game of button mashing from another. All video games, when stripped to the lowest level, are reaction tests, m

    • Plot follows (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phorm ( 591458 )
      The plot follows the gender-lines to a small extent, however. When a baby metroid emerges at the end of the old gameboy version, the first thing it seems it Samus and thus it assumes she is its mother. Rather than killing the critter, Samus allows it to life, eventually turning it over to some (supposedly benevolent) scientists... which leads to the SNES version in which the metroid sacrifices itself for her.

      Yes, it could have been done with a male lead, but the 'mother' subplot does more easily track wit
    • If the gameplay is right, people will even love a blue hedgehog or a green rabbit.

      http://www.jazz2online.com/ [jazz2online.com]
  • ...like a high school senior of ill repute.

    Who in the hell comes up with this crap?
  • by Rayonic ( 462789 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:12AM (#15872899) Homepage Journal
    Sadly, none of the recent GBA or Gamecube games have sold well in Japan. See: http://vgcharts.org/worldtotals.php [vgcharts.org]

    Metroid Prime: 120,000 units
    Metroid Fusion: 180,000 units
    Metroid Prime 2: 70,000 units

    I can understand why the Prime games haven't sold, because the Japanese market has the whole "FPS games are scary and confusing" thing going on. But Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission were very much in the style of the old 2D games.
  • Mysterious = cool. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:17AM (#15872938) Homepage Journal
    The fact that so little has been actually revealed about Samus really helps get fans interested in her. Without much of a backstory, people can't get wrapped up disliking it, and may even subconsciously fill in the gaps with whatever cool details they want. It's also the mysterious knight-in-armor aspect, like how Boba Fett had developed such a cult following after the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Fett looked really cool, he acted badass, we only saw him for a few fleeting scenes, and the main characters seemed to know just enough about him to be afraid. How could he possibly not be the pinnacle of awesome?

    If they ever do up a Metroid RPG with hours of dialogue and flashbacks to Samus' past, watching her parents get killed outside a theater which inspires her to fight crime or some damn thing, interest in her would wane just as Boba Fett lost a big chunk of his cult following when the prequels tried to heavily feature him and his origins.
  • Samus is awesome. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maul ( 83993 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @09:02AM (#15873326) Journal
    Samus is one the most interesting game characters, and is probably the most intriguing of Nintendo's main heroes.

    It may have been just a side effect of the fact that Metroid was never popular in Japan, but Samus has a lot of mystery factor that I think actually helps the player try to get inside of the the character for themselves.

    In Super Metroid, the player starts to get a hint about the motivations Samus may have. In fact, the backstory that was developed for Samus (Her colony was destroyed by space pirates, she was raised by Chozo and given Chozo blood, etc.) appeared around the time of Super Metroid. The eManga released around Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime is just an updated version of that story. It may be a better revision of that story than what they had originally, but that backstory did exist since 1994 or earlier. Even so, much of Samus' personality, motivations, etc. still needed to be inferred by the player.

    I very much enjoyed the depiction of Samus in Metroid Prime. It is obvious that the character is female, you can see the reflection of Samus' face and hear her voice once in a while (though like Link, she doesn't speak words), but they don't make a huge deal of it aside from that. By scanning the Pirate data, you can basically see how large a threat Samus is now considered by the Pirates, so you know the character you have control over is powerful. You can ultimately imply that Samus is fairly silent and solitary. Samus' pursuit of the pirates, in my opinion, is not simply revenge oriented. Many developers would have had Samus yell, "Hey, Ridley, this is for my mom!" while blowing him up. Sure, Samus may have a grudge for what the Pirates did, but I think her primary motivation is to stop them from causing any further harm.

    This is the version of Samus I like the best.

    While the bonus endings often reveal Samus in swimsuit-like attire, I like the fact that Samus shows up with the appropriate equipment to get the job done. Whereas many game heroines dress in next to nothing, or something totally impractical for what they are doing, Samus wears a heavy combat suit.

    I'm not sure I like the Zero Suit Samus that will be in the new Super Smash Bros. game. It would really destroy the series to try to make Samus into more of a Lara Croft / DOA Girl type character.
    • Hmm. I'd say for me, Metroid Prime did too much to retroactively de-mystify the original Metroid.

      Playing the first game, I thought Samus was a bounty hunter exploring a mysterious dark lost world, and the statues bearing "gifts" in royal chambers were almost as strange to Samus as to me. (This was kind of reinforced in later Metroids where some of those statues would come to life and attack) So, Metroid itself pointed out I was wrong about her gender... but it wasn't til Prime that I realized I was wrong ab
      • Even though the 3D games are lovely and well designed and feature expansive worlds, too often its obvious that these aren't worlds, they're carefully designed levels, sculpted hand in hand with the powerups made available.

        Fully agree on that one, its one of the things that extremly dissapointed me in the 3D Metroids, while most of the 2D one weren't much better in that regart, its a lot easier to suspend disbelieve in 2D then it is in 3D. Prime always felt like Theme Park ride, not like an alien world, it

      • "Hmm. I'd say for me, Metroid Prime did too much to retroactively de-mystify the original Metroid."

        Then I suggest you can't see the forest through the trees. The point of view of the original Metroid story is that of an outside observer, one that doesn't know Samus on a personal level, and from what can be gleaned from MP2: Echoes, that's the point of view of most of the denizens of the galaxy, even the federation troops (among whom there is apparently doubt that Samus even exists).

        And with Metroid Prime,
        • Then I suggest you can't see the forest through the trees. The point of view of the original Metroid story is that of an outside observer, one that doesn't know Samus on a personal level, and from what can be gleaned from MP2: Echoes, that's the point of view of most of the denizens of the galaxy, even the federation troops (among whom there is apparently doubt that Samus even exists).

          I still see it, especially the Chozo statues in the original, as a bad kind of "shrinking universe" syndrome, the same thing
    • I'm not sure I like the Zero Suit Samus that will be in the new Super Smash Bros. game. It would really destroy the series to try to make Samus into more of a Lara Croft / DOA Girl type character.

      Not only that, but the Zero Suit and its ilk (see also Metroid Prime 2's ending scenes) completely neglect what I believe is one of Samus' major strong points: she is not a teenager.

      When games include female characters at all, the vast majority of those characters will be between the ages of 13 and 20, and imp

  • She means a lot:D (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hrrY ( 954980 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @09:19AM (#15873457)
    For starters, my record on Super Metroid is 1hr:53m.
    Contrary to popular opinion, beating the game in this amount of time, to me anyway, was not based on the promise of seeing some space lingerie in all of its 16bit glory, nor the bounty of a "naked" Samus; but the fact that the maps were designed in a way for the player to create a line that allowed you to kill all enemies, open all doors, and dig out the hidden stuff in 1 fluid motion. That being said, I feel that Samus represents a unisex appeal that has yet to be re-created with any other female game avatar in the past 10 years. People didn't stop playing when they found out "OMFG SAMUS IS A CHICK!!!I MUST BE GAY!!!", nor was there any discussion of bust sizes or unique events that allowed you to see "aspects of her femininity". She was a hero, plain and simple. These days you can't even define a female protagonist in a game without complimenting their physique in some way shape or form./ Bizarre thing was, not many girls got into Metroid; imagine that, a female protagonist in a game that wasn't exploitive of women whatsoever *that* women summarily stayed away from like the moon stays away from stars.
    Does anyone see the irony in that..:/
    That damn Bush administration!
    • It was also sci-fi, which I might remind you is not hugely popular with the ladies.
      • This is true, but on that same note can't Super Mario Bros or Tetris subscribe to the idea of Sci-Fi. If mushrooms that make you grow, or falling blocks that can be rotated that drop at fixed speed(s) with no physical attachment isn't Sci-Fi then I don't know what is. One of the essential factors of a fantasy setting is the idea of non-conforming elements of the physical world as we know it. Although, yeah, chicks not digging sci-fi is sci-*non*fi;D
    • Red Scarlet, the holder of the fastest 100% completion Super Metroid (non-tool assisted) speed run, is female.
    • The only other female character I can think of that doesn't exploit the female form is Nicole from the Halo games... recently featured in DOA4.

      While not a main character she's a spartain and wears the same armor as the Master Chief. Using her in DOA4 it's odd to see what LOOKS like the Master Chief but with a distinctivly female voice. Considering the spartains can be any gender... there's no reason the Master Chief couldn't have been a woman as well.
      • there's no reason the Master Chief couldn't have been a woman as well.

        Except that you can tell he's male the same way you can tell Nicole is female. He does have a spoken line or two between the two games.
        • Well, I ment that in the way that I KNOW that he IS male but bungie could have just as easily made him a woman by doing nothing more then changing the script. I ment it in that despite the fact the the MC is male it wouldn't have changed a single aspect of the game had he been female.
    • You(or anyone else) remember your best time in original NES Metroid?
  • Once again a rather weak link to the escapist. (Sorry, I lost everything in Francis, VideoGames somehow didn't mean a whole lot. Besides we were able to salvage most of the Games, Had to buy a few PCs and a new GameCube.)

    Once again, just when I'm about to complain the next story is actually interesting.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/57/16 [escapistmagazine.com] Cry Havok, much better article, on Havok Engine and Immersion.

    So thank you again for my Escapist reminder. I do commend you on linking to the print version th

  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's a fantastic little video spot that assembles all the best bits of the metroid games in order of the story 'arc' that has developed on imeem [imeem.com] - it's accompanied by some funny commentary about how she just can't hold onto her power ups and her relationship with the metroids.
    Definitly worth a watch even if you've played all the games and know all the bits.
  • Or Megaman, or just about any of the under/undeveloped characters of video game lore. Where does Mario come from? Did he descend from an ancient race of plumbers gifted with shapeshift/morphing abilities through catalysts? Why does he fight for the Mushroom Kingdom?

    Some characters are just more interesting/better designed than others, and Samus would be one of them. It is not the absence of information that makes her special because there are way too many video characters that lack an interesting back

    • Umm, what absence of information? There's a e-manga [cplaza.ne.jp] that fills in most of her back story. (Translations of which can be found here [mechadrake.com].) Then the manuals are actually filled with a great deal of information. Some of the Chozo lore scans from MP1 give you the Chozo viewpoint of Samus and her role. And, there are also the flashbacks in Zero Mission which give a small detail to what here childhood was like. There's a whole bunch of information on Samus for those that actually want it. It just comes down to wh
  • ...and no mention of "Justin Bailey"? For those who do not know, entering "JUSTIN BAILEY" as the password in the original NES game (with all blank spaces on the second line) let you start the game as Samus wearing a bathing suit. My friends and I knew that Samus was a girl back in 1987.
  • "she hasn't spread herself..."


    Did anyone else have "inappropriate" thoughts reading that?
  • Dude name Andrew Jones did the concept art work for the two Prime games.
    I got a chance to see some of his early work for the series before Prime2 came out and Jones depcited Samus in a really interesting way. Some shots had her in human form with the suit super-imposed over. He depcited her as battle torn, with short dirty hair, carbon residue from countless battles caked on but with fierce eyes. Cool stuff.

    Can't seem to find any links, although, here are some to Jones' other stuff.
    Theres a pic of concept c

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

Working...