You see this woman? You see her? That’s Rieko Kodama. Bless this lady. Bless her.
She is the creator of Phantasy Star and a little game called Skies of Arcadia. She is also called “The first lady of RPGs”. But that’s not nearly enough. Let me tell you why she is awesome.
This woman was the lead designer of several very large scale games back when console gaming was only about a decade old. She was designing games before I was even alive. Let’s not forget she’s old enough to be my mom now and she’s still producing blockbuster games like 7th Dragon in Japan!
In 1987, she created Phantasy Star. Not just the lead designer, she wrote the story and came up with the setting. A large scale RPG with a rich universe, it was revolutionary for its time and gorgeous. This game was TRULY ahead of its time. Not just graphically but as far as the setting. Nobody had attempted making a setting like that in a video game. Hell, storytelling in video games was still in its infancy in 1987! Also, the protagonsit of Phantasy Star is a woman. Barely even a woman, she is a 15 year old girl. JUST ONE YEAR after Samus surprised the world with her sex, Phantasy Star had Alis Landale. Nobody cared that she was a girl, she was judged by her character, not her sex. And she was far from eye candy. Sure she had a pretty face, but her design is hardly attention-grabbing, and she wears pants and armor. Later installments in the Phantasy Star series show Alis Landale as the legendary hero of the Algol Star System. Need I mention that she is a headstrong badass? And let me say this again, THIS WAS IN 1987. At the time when people were only just starting to tell stories through video games.
RIGHT AT THE START OF THE GAME her brother is murdered in cold blood for trying to intercept a government conspiracy. And Alis takes his sword and swears vengeance. Just like that.
And you know who wrote and designed this game? The one in charge of the story, dungeon, and character design?
This sweet little lady.
Let me add that the only iconic video game heroine that predates Alis Landale is Samus Aran (And uh, I guess Ms. Pacman). Before Lara Croft, before Chell, before Jade, before ALL of them, there was Alis Landale. And Alis is proof that if you look in the right places gaming has been great with female representation since the 80’s! Do we need more though? Yes, we do. And that’s why pointing out and celebrating great examples like Alis is important.
When Anita Sarkeesian was still a toddler, this woman was designing games like this. And she designed many more. Skies of Aracadia is a great one.
Instead of worshipping and supporting Anita Sarkeesian and her attacks on gaming, why not show your appreciation for wonderful women like Rieko Kodama, who helped make gaming better? Better yet, why not BECOME a wonderful game designer like Rieko Kodama? Instead of complaining about ultimately trivial things, I want to put a light on the things that make gaming great.
Also, I didn’t need to mooch money off of people and then make those people do the research for me and then look pretty in front of a camera to make this post. I did it all for free. And I used my own knowledge as well as simple google searches. And I did it because I’m passionate about gaming. Only thing I do ask is to maybe check out and help me build my ever-growing list of games that feature non-sexualized female protagonists. (Which I’ve been neglecting lately, I admit)
Girls be ambitious! Become a great game designer like Rieko Kodama, Kim Swift, Robin Hunicke all of them! Don’t just complain like Anita does, make a difference like Rieko and countless other female game designers have!
Rieko is one thing Sega has that Nintendon’t
I honestly never paid attention to the people behind the games until recently, and as soon as you start looking into it it’s baffling where the feminists are even getting the idea that women aren’t a part of the industry or culture. They just see a few erotic character designs and statistics saying guys are the main demographic, and go ape shit. lol