The Big Reveal: Exploring (Trans)Femininity in Metroid
When 1986s Metroid revealed Samus Aran as a woman, it was cited as one of the biggest shocks in video game history. Years later, Hirofumi Matsuoka, one of the games initial designers, referred to Samus as a “newhalf”—a Japanese term for a transgender woman. Our chapter explores these two revealing moments—one as woman and one as trans—playing on our typical understanding of video games and their audiences, as well as the audience’s notion of gender identity. The big reveal trope can be a visual rendering of the “trapped in the wrong body” narrative so common in transgender storytelling, while simultaneously using Samus’s reveal to reinforce the typical hegemonic masculinity at the center of most video games.
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