Serious Games Source offers some heady insights into the designs of DS's Super Princess Peach
and New Super Mario Bros
. Despite North American and European marketing efforts to mask sexist overtones, it should be clear to anyone who's played Peach
-- and succeeded using her emotions -- that the game perpetuates certain stereotypes about women. Gonzalo Frasca writes, "What is shocking is that from all the possible design options available, the creators of this game had to frame the princess as an emotionally unstable person."
Digging deeper, Frasca discovers that Mario has also failed to avoid cultural imprints. Where Peach
focuses on a woman's bursting emotions, NSMB
follows a size-obsessed man searching for that "mega mushroom" to make himself ginormous; and thereby invincible.