There is a good reason for how quiet I've been this week, I promise. More on that soon.
I visited some friends yesterday to try out some Band Hero. I have managed to avoid the rhythm game trend thus far and so I'm a bit out of my depth with them. I would have expected a party game to be a bit more accessible for a newcomer like me, though I can certainly see the fun that could be had with enough time to get the hang of things. I wasn't feeling brave enough for singing, and the guitar felt slightly awkward in my little hands. I probably had the best time on drums, but I was keeping to beginner mode where it doesn't matter at all which drum I hit. Some things really do bring out the newbie in me.
There are a bunch of games that are not recent but I've heard good things about and would really like to try. One of these games is Beyond Good & Evil, which I just aquired and spent a bit of time with today. I'm enjoying it so far, and I agree with comments I've seen about Jade being a good example of a female game protagonist who kicks some arse without being hyper-sexualised. That is really quite refreshing.
On gender, I found this article interesting. Their introduction takes a while to get going, and probably focuses a bit much on some specific games. I haven't read the actual thesis, but I hope it's a bit more well-rounded. I was interested by what they actually did, which is altering some of the character models for Team Fortress 2 to make them female instead of male, and then surveying a bunch of people about their impressions of the designs. Essentially, they conclude that there is scope to include different builds and genders in character design while still having these be well-received (and presumably marketable?). Food for thought, at least.