She's Always A Woman
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 September 2012, 12:43 pm

Hey, Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?" "No, have you?" — Hudson and Vasquez, characters from the film Aliens

Every time there's a discussion of female portrayals in games (usually around the time another Lara Croft or Dead Or Alive game is about to come out) someone always ends up asking, "Well, then who IS a good portrayal!?"

Each time, we all roll our eyes and someone starts listing off the standard examples. Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, Alyx Vance from the Half Life series, etc. And then the conversation proceeds along its accustomed rutted path, discussing their various merits and demerits. But thanks to the latest Steam sale and the release of the new level tools, I've been re-playing the Portal games and I realized that a key example that gets missed from those lists time and time again is GlaDOS, particularly as she is portrayed in Portal 2.

"She's not a woman! She's a robot!" you exclaim. But that's not all she is. This may be somewhat of a spoiler if you haven't finished Portal 2, but she's actually the personality/mind of Cave Johnson's girlfriend and personal assistant, Caroline. But even with her metal shell and all the subsequent programming from Aperture Science staff obscuring her human origins, GlaDOS is far more a real woman than Ms. Croft and many of her cohorts have ever managed to pretend to be.

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