How Age of Empires 2 made me sexist in video games

Peter Bech Astrup
Discord: MicroPastry#5339

Age of Empires 2 was an amazing game, with beautiful campaigns and amazing gameplay. UNTIL THE GAME BROKE ME, more specifically Joan of Arc or Jeanne d’Arc broke me. The one unit in the game with a truly custom model leading an army of her own.

Look at that subtle off-silver color of her armor as she leads her army from the front, even her horse is armored. Now you might be asking yourself, how is this sexist? And well, I suppose it isn’t, I lied to you. But Age of Empires 2 BROKE ME, or rather Joan of Arc frenchpilled and lady-officer-pipelined me. My curse is to spend every strategy game looking for the most Jeanne d’Arc faction with the most Jeanne d’Arc leaders. If a faction has some kind of badass woman in armor leading the men, OH BOY does that get my Jeanne d’Arc going.

Thank god there’s no Total War game representing the Hundred Years’ War in France, I wouldn’t know how to explain to my friends and family my growing anti-english sentiments as I play 50 campaigns as Jeanne d’Arc without touching any of the alternatives, reveling in experiencing the timeline where she wasn’t burnt at the stake because a king she helped crown abandoned her.

Now you’re probably wondering, why the heck are you writing this article? There’s a really simple reason: I humbly propose we say, fuck historical accuracy in video games – unless you’re trying to create a perfect simulation of the middle ages, I don’t want it. If I have to hear one more argument online about how there shouldn’t be a female general in this game because of the argument [fill in the blank], I’ll humbly lose my shit and create the mod myself if I have to.
Historical accuracy is well and good, but using arguments of historical accuracy in non- real historical worlds may be some of the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard.

“There shouldn’t be a magical elf woman leading an army in 1478. It’s unrealistic because she’s got a lower muscle-to-fat ratio” – John Redditor.

Okay John Redditor, I think your argument for realism goes out the gate when people shoot thunder clouds from their thumbs and burp fireballs. I so genuinely do not care for the arguments and have yet to see ANY that can truly argue for why there shouldn’t be more ladies in armor in our media. Make the armor realistic, I don’t need the curves, I just need my Jeanne d’Arc aesthetic experience of kicking the ass of the English or whichever cartoonishly evil bad guy we’re fighting in the game.

And before someone makes the assumption, no it isn’t a thing about women in armor being sexy, how shallow of you. Maybe some of us (read: me) just really enjoy viscerally smashing the patriarchy by having a woman beat men at their own game, maybe women in armor are just that bit cooler of a novelty than John Cricket the Englishman.

I’m going to include a call out to Games Workshop here for being a company that’s too cowardly to produce proper female models for leadership roles outside of the faction wholly dedicated to warrior nuns. It’s not that I’m needy, it’s that I would like my officer executing soldiers for cowardice to have the OPTION to be a woman rather than seeing the same fucking commisar model updated four times to just be “guy in hat and cape” for the fourth time. Also limited-edition models don’t count – if you made a mold for a lady commissar to celebrate some book I didn’t read, at least keep the model on shelves.

In short: Jeanne d’Arc good, French good, English bad, and more female heroes and generals in my strategy games please.

PS. It’s also this fucking game’s fault I somehow ended up liking anime, fuck this game I love it and fuck my brother who I also love for telling me what seppuku was at an age where that shit was far too influential.