I'll admit, though. It's lazy writing in a lot of cases, and could easily be averted, but most of the time these days it's done by popular formula franchises like Mario and Zelda, which, even now are sometimes trying to break free from this trope.
The point she's making in the video doesn't have to do with the trope being tired, boring, or done before. Subversion and lampshading don't eliminate the trope's existence. She's pointing to the trope being problematic, in a big-picture sort of way to the overall impression and image of women that gaming puts off. It's a very prevalent trope that's seen across most genres of games, and it instills, very subtly, the idea that women are weak and fragile and need to be saved, protected, etc by someone else, who generally happens to be a man.
Okay, I'm going to start this post by saying that while I DO agree with a lot that she says through her video, she's kind of stupid in a lot of different regards. I agree whole heartedly with how the trope prevails dominantly through the video gaming field, but the thing with it is that's kind of a little too solidly implemented to just "throw away".
That's a weak justification for continuing the representation of women as weak and needing to be rescued.
For instance, the whole purpose of Mario games is to beat Bowser and save Peach. The problem with just throwing away the whole idea of how Mario saves Peach is that it's kind of what the games revolve around. Now, if all of a sudden Peach were to find the power to escape from her captor and make her way back to Toadstool, Mario would have NOTHING to do. The core problem with Mario games in the respect is that Mario has never had an intricate plot (aside from the Mario RPG games, which I will address shortly). Mario's NOT about saving the world. It's not about an evil turtle that wants to dominate the world. It's about a plumber who's implied to be in love with a princess and a turtle that is supposedly forcing her into staying in his castle or something. Bam, take all of that away and Mario games cease to exist.
I argue that the alternative - an evil turtle bent on destroying the plumbing - is no less simple, contrived, or cliche than using the damsel in distress plot device to trigger the action to begin. They are both tired stories that could be repeated endlessly on loop every generation with no major differences aside from removing the "princess" as the objective of the quest. You could turn Peach into that fourth playable character in NSMB. You could flip her from being weak and helpless and the prize for beating the game and turn her into a helpful ally who assists in winning the game. I don't see how this would be a dreadful change to a tired formula.
The thing about this is that Mario started its life as a series very early on. (Which also happens to be the case for Zelda games herp derp) Early games simply didn't have the technology to have intricate plots that revolve around character development and progression through the game. They simply always had one objective. In Mario's case, it just happened to be Peach needing to be rescued. Mario has always been a light hearted series with little in the ways of plot and character growth. If you can give me ONE good substitute for the whole "Bowser kidnapped the Princess", go ahead. Because if it was a game about a plumber that was supposed to retrieve a stolen artifact for the princess there would be criticism about how the princess couldn't do it herself. If the princess did it herself, the game wouldn't be discussed at all.
They had enough technology to create a story. The story they chose was beat the bad guy, get the girl. Why was there a girl you had to save? Why must they maintain this tired plot device? Nostalgia is really not a good reason for sticking to a potentially problematic plot device. And the argument of "it just so happened" is meaningless, here. What is preventing them from changing the formula? I mean, really.
Also, to note, in subsequent spin offs of the series there is usually IS an intricate plot. (Paper Mario, Mario and Luigi etc). There is often times no Damsel in Distress factor in those games.
Fair enough, but these games would be entirely irrelevant to a video discussing the prevalence of the Damsel in Distress factor, and she did mention them, just not by name. She pointed out how Peach is playable in Mario Kart and Mario Party and others. It's silly to level criticism about how she didn't mention one specific spin-off by name.
She actually doesn't talk about anything relevant. She discusses two game series that over 30 years old and points out instances of the trope being used around 80-70 years ago. What. I don't even see the point of the video in that sense.
She was describing and justifying why this trope was a thing. She pointed to early instances of it and explained how those influenced more modern instances. She explained how it isn't something limited to video games, and that they simply took it from the movie sources. The comments connecting the ape stealing a lady to Jump Man were very relevant for showcasing where the trope even came from.
I agree with the whole "Zelda gets powered down in true form" etc thing, but the fact still remains: She was a headstrong, actually powerful character in her other forms.
And the issue that she was pointing out here wasn't a lack of character or power, it was just the fact that they took a strong female character and then, as soon as she became more feminine, they pulled her away from the player and turned this (arguably) prettier Zelda into the new objective of the quest. You then end up needing to save the girly version of Zelda. That's all she was arguing. It's not even outright criticizing those games in particular, but rather that they just served to CONTINUE the stereotype/trope, despite having the tools available to subvert it. The big picture point here is not about these particular instances but about the prevalence of this trope in the medium and how it subtly impacts things. It only adds to the problem, when video games (especially games produced by such behemoths of the industry as Nintendo) could be doing more to kick these tropes and remove these sorts of tired tropes from their main series of games.
meh, my feelings about this whole thing are convoluted. I want to agree with her and do to some extent but I just don't see how can say that this trope is particularly annoying when only few games actually use it. there are a lot more powerful vidya game female characters nowadays and to be honest, the whole "games being remade and new generations subjected to this shit" thing is dumb because this generation also has AWESOME female protags such as the new Lara Croft, Chloe Fraizer, Samus, Lightning, Cortana and even Jill Valentine.
All she's saying is that the trope is prevalent. She's in no way saying that this video is the be-all end-all to the discussion of women in video games. This is the first installment in a longer series. At the end of it, she mentions how the next part of this discussion will extend to more modern games and how they have been seeking to twist the damsel into something bigger, better, etc, and then talking about games where developers have tried flipping the script. I think your biggest problem is you're viewing this video as a standalone, where it's really only the first in a series that has yet to be made. She'll be discussing other tropes. She'll be praising games for their portrayal of female characters (she already did in this video with mention of OoT and WW). I'd share most of your opinions here if this weren't only the first video in what promises to be a much longer series.
Keep in mind that she's only citing specific examples of the trope to prove the points she's making. She's in no way demonizing these games and saying they're shitty and bad because of this trope being used in them. She's merely pointing out that it's a prevalent trope, and it's an issue to continue portraying female characters in such helpless roles where they need to be rescued by male protagonists. It's just one symptom of what feminism dubs the "Patriarchy" - that is the male domination of media and, by extension, the world. It subtly influences our views and opinions toward women and conditions us to see women as "lesser" or "weaker" or "needing to be protected." And I'm not saying - or even intending to imply - such things about anybody here. If you need proof of these sorts of things, just look up absolutely any post made by a woman which even remotely touts feminist ideals. You'll see scores of people (mostly men) responding to the post in a negative, non-constructive manner that (more often than not) deals with the fact that she is a woman, whining about inequalities.
Also, what I took out of the video, personally, was just a general sense and understanding of WHY this trope is bad and is something which should be avoided, if at all possible. I had an event planned for such a kidnapping and rescue of the primary female protagonist of my Great Sage novel, and only watching this made me realize how silly and pointless that scene was for her, the character being captured. What does her character have to gain from it? How does she become stronger as a character? The answer was, well, that she wouldn't. I re-wrote the scene in my head and ended up with something which uses the trope in a more effective way to allow it to develop both the captive AND the rescuer. It's just something to be cautious/conscious of, I feel.