I regularly listen to a radio show called This American Life and was surprised that a recent episode had a story on Aeriths death in Final Fantasy VII. Its always interesting hearing what other media makes of gaming and I was hoping that the show would approach this subject with the same openness and genuine curiosity as they do with every other subject. You should have a listen yourself but I cant help feel they took a slightly patronising tone.

I have to say I didnt cry at Aeriths death myself but calling her one-dimensional and a prop is unfair. It shows a basic misunderstanding of games characterisation. Games characters dont have to fill in every single detail in the way other narrative forms do as you are role-playing as the characters yourself. You are using your imagination to build the characters up from a sometimes admittedly basic template.

The Cloud and Aerith I know are not quite the same as anyone elses. Thats part of why its easier to emotionally connect to them. You actually spend a long time in Aeriths company, just chatting to her, fighting, and experiencing things together. You grow together in the way you would meeting a new friend. Thats what makes her death seem so personal.

The show was obviously focussed on her as a weak female character who needed rescuing and assumed only teenaged boys had cried at her passing. I dont believe this can be true, Im sure female players would be just as likely to be upset at losing her (hopefully someone will back me up there).

It is also ignoring the fact she was a great asset in battle, not just with healing but with attack magic too. Im pretty sure she rescued Cloud more than the other way round. We shouldnt forget there were two other major female characters too, in Tifa and Yuffie, who were both great fighters and characters who were the equal of any of the males on the team.

Now dont get me wrong, Im not claiming the female characters in Final Fantasy VII are necessarily perfect female representations when considered by modern standards. BuRead More – Source


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