It seems like it's been ages, hasn't it? Since Anita Sarkeesian started that Kickstarter for the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games and that entire ... thing ... started up. Getting past all of that, putting it all behind us, it was only last week that the first video finally came down the pipe, detailing part one of the Damsel in Distress trope:
So, the very short verdict is that, well, it's okay. It certainly could have been worse, but I believe that it certainly could have been better as well. Perhaps I'm not giving the series a fair clip, after all there is another episode of damsel in distress content to cover. At the same time though given the circumstances I cannot help but feel that this series is going to be scrutinized heavily either way, so there's no reason for me not to do so myself.
The video itself is, well, alright. After waiting such a long time and seeing some of what was said in the interim I was actually bracing for the worst. The damsel in distress is a strong presentation, but it mostly fails to really delve beyond the surface of the actual presence of the trope itself.
For example, it's true that Dinosaur Planet, retooled into Star Fox Adventures, was changed to have the focus on Fox instead of Krystal, the original female protagonist. However, while the video attributes it to the idea that Miyamoto strong-armed it into being the third game in the Star Fox franchise. This isn't wholly correct. The development on Dinosaur Planet had gone long enough that the game was going to be released on the GameCube instead. Also, it was known that Rare would be leaving Nintendo soon for Microsoft, having just been acquired by the latter.
With this in mind, Nintendo thought that it would be best to incorporate the game into a franchise that would prevent Microsoft from simply using Rare to easily port the game over to the Xbox. This was part of the motivation, the other was that despite being well received from a critical review standpoint, the last few games that Rare had released in terms of platformers, Banjo-Tooie and Conker's Bad Fur Day, underperformed when it came to actual sales. Due to this, Nintendo believed that incorporating Star Fox into the game would allow it to be a stronger seller, which it was.
That's not to say that Krystal's role in the game wasn't minimized, because it was. At the same time though, watching the video you'd come to the conclusion that it was done solely because she was slated to be the female protagonist in the game and for no other reason.
Likewise, the video points out that Princess Peach and Zelda are often portrayed as damsels in distress. The thing is that these are facts that everyone knows already. It doesn't really extend to anything past a surface level discussion that says "this is happening, this is bad", it doesn't extend itself into an actual discussion, instead it seems to be content to stay as it is, and I find that to be fairly disappointing considering the high hopes I had for this series at one point.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh, after all, there is a somewhat legitimate reason as to why the comments have been disabled. Still, it stands as more of a promise of what could have been, than a realization of what is. I will be watching the other videos as well, but I don't think that unless something changes that I'll be commenting on further.