Have You Heard About River City Girls?
Nowadays, it seems as though there is a renewed interest in beat ’em up titles. For one more piece of evidence, consider the case of River City Girls, which is expected to be released for the PC plus the three main consoles on September 5 of 2019. In short, River City Girls is a continuation of the River City franchise, meaning that interested individuals can expect plenty of fast-paced, side-scrolling fighting action.
With that said, there is one thing about River City Girls that might cause a bit of a kerfuffle if the title was better-known. For those who are curious, River City Girls is exactly what it sounds like, which is to say, it features a pair of high school girls named Kiyoko and Misako heading out to rescue their kidnapped boyfriends Kunio and Riki. People who play a lot of beat ’em up titles should have no problems recognizing this as a simple and straightforward reversal of a classic beat ’em up plot. Unfortunately, video game controversies have started up for even more tenuous reasons, particularly since Kunio and Riki have been protagonists for previous installments in the River City franchise.
Is There an Issue with River City Girls?
Already, one can envision the accusations that people might hurl, thus making it worthwhile to debunk them:
“It’s pandering” is a very common accusation whenever a title features either a female protagonist, a non-white protagonist, or a protagonist that otherwise fails to reflect what some very vocal players see as the “norm.”
To some extent, this might be true. A lot of people enjoy playing characters that resemble them, particularly if they don’t get such opportunities very often. As a result, such protagonists can be a very simple but nonetheless very effective way for a particular title to distinguish itself from its competitors, thus making it that much easier for it to carve out a share of the market.
However, interested individuals might want to ask themselves why this is such a problem. After all, there have been a lot of beat ’em up titles with male protagonists, meaning that the perception of River City Girls as a potential threat is laughable. For that matter, women as playable characters have been a part of beat ’em ups for a very, very long time, as shown by examples ranging from Blaze Fielding from Streets of Rage to Marge Simpson from that one Simpsons beat ’em up that came out in 1991.
It’s Setting a Bad Example
Moving on, some people might be tempted to criticize River City Girls on the basis that it is promoting women beating up men. If that happens, that would be a particularly hilarious accusation to hear coming out of the mouths of people playing video games. After all, the overwhelming majority of people playing video games have been very insistent that video games don’t actually encourage video gamers to become more violent, meaning that this particular accusation would be more than a bit hypocritical to say the least.