I would think that after locking it in a drawer for six years, Gabriel Knight III would be dead from malnutrition. But when I opened the drawer yesterday it sprang out at me and devoured my weekend in a gulp, fresh as a morning daisy. Go figure.
The Gabriel Knight series was one of the last of Sierra’s ill-fated attempts to make adventure games aimed at the ladies. You alternate between playing as Gabriel, the smooth-talking Southern sexpot who drives a Harley without a helmet (which makes me, newly-educated biker chick, wince every time I see it) and Grace Nakamura. Grace is smart, sassy, and soberly-clad. It’s interesting to see the way designers think girls like me (i.e. girls who play computer games) want to be. Frankly, I would be happier if Grace was a busty Nordic chick who slept with all the male characters. Additional stereotype/role models are the lesbian couple, comprised of one (1) overweight hysterical artist, sort of a poor poor man’s Gertrude Stein, and one (1) makeup-free Welsh woman with very practical shorts. Yes, I guess these are my three options if I’m going to be a woman. Oh, and the French slut character who pretty clearly had something to do with murdering a few people, not unlike my award-winning role in the arthouse darling Fjords! The Musical.
I guess I should just be grateful that I have more options than the standard virgin/whore in modern media. Now I can be a brainiac virgin or a murderous whore. So it’s a wonder that Sierra’s “kid sister” line of games never took off, isn’t it? Let’s just blame our failure on the lack of market and not consider that the flaw might lie in the game, shall we? And while we’re at it, let’s add long, tedious conversations into all our girl games, because girls like talking more than problem-solving.
I want my weekend back.