Steven Saus injects people with radioactivity as his day job, but only to serve the forces of good. His work has appeared in multiple anthologies and magazines both online and off. He also publishes as Alliteration Ink. You can find him at stevensaus.com and alliterationink.com.
I have to admit, I like the game Zombie Farm. Quite a bit, actually. It’s got all the good bits of the *Farm Facebook games, but doesn’t require Facebook (iOS only, sorry). The game mechanics are such that you can min/max as much as you want… but aren’t penalized for not doing so. That and… well, farming zombies. How cool is that?
And then I thought they avoided the Plants vs. Zombies sexism problem that the Border House talked about (and I later critiqued a bit). There’s female zombies. They have their own special abilities toward game balance. Okay, cool. No problems ahead, right?
Yeah, I was idealistic.
In Zombie Farm, your zombies can get special abilities – whether through defeating certain enemies, or “mutations” (I have a zombie with a potato head and celery arms, for example). It adds a nice little tweak to the game.
And then I saw this special ability:
Chivalry: Girl Zombies are stronger around you.
Ooooookay. At least it’s making women stronger (despite calling them “girls”). That’s not too bad. It could even be a nice twist on chivalry being all about disempowering women. And then I unlocked the complementary ability…
Grace: Regular zombies are stronger around you.
Yeah, it’s the embedded sexist idea that “regular” is equivalent to male.
I figure The PlayForge did notintend sexism here – it’s a product of our nice sexist culture where “normal” defaults to “straight white male”. And luckily, it just takes the change of a word in the description text (“regular” to “male” or “boy”) to nom some embedded sexism the way zombies nom brains.
So, PlayForge, I’ll be waiting for that update, y’all.