Bechdel Test: Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2

Status: Passing type 1 “A scene meeting these criteria is an unavoidable part of the game”

Description:“A marginal case. Prominent NPC characters Alyx and Mossman have two conversations:

In the first, they discuss some errors in the scientific apparatus they’re supervising; in the second, they start off partly talking about other male characters (Breen and Eli Vance) but segue into a technobabbly science discussion. It is arguable whether they count as ‘sustained’.”

Playable Character Test: There is a female playable character (who doesn’t meet the other criteria)

Note: My googe-fu couldn’t confirm that there was a female character. Please leave a comment if you can confirm or deny the presence of a playable female character.

(others have corrected this in the comments and original submitter confirmed they must have accidentally missed clicked, it happens)

Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac OS

Source: Reader Submission by John Brindle. Thank you for your contribution. If you disagree with a game’s rating leave a comment below or E-mail me at namedbychaos @


Link to the Bechdel test of Half-life 1

What other have written about Half-Life 2:

Characters Done Right: Alyx Vance

Anti-antcitizen One

Half-Life 2: Alyx and Eli Vance

Half-Life 2: Dr. Breen and G-Man

Half-Life 2: Gordon Freeman

Gender in Half Life 2: Episode One – Will Alyx ever get her hands dirty?

Author Note: I feel the need to apologize for posting this so late, it was supposed to up last week wasn’t until now I realized I wrote it up and forgot to hit publish.


Bechdel Test: Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark

The cover art for Perfect Dark featuring Joanna Dark

Status: Passing Type 1 “A scene meeting these criteria is an unavoidable part of the game”

Description: You play as Joanna Dark, an agent working for the Carrington Institute an R&D company secretly allied with a race of extraterrestrials called the Maian. You fight against the dataDyne cooperation who have allied themselves with an extraterrestrials race known as the Skedar, who are at war with the Maian and have dark plans for earth. You have at multiple unavoidable conversations with dataDyne’s female head Cassandra De Vries.

Platform: N64 (a remake is also available for the xbox360 via XLive)

Sources: Author play through, link to prefect dark script, links to perfect Dark Cinemas: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

Bechdel Test: Mirrors Edge

Status: Passing type 1 “ A scene meeting these criteria is an unavoidable part of the game”

Description: You play as Faith a female “runner” (couriers using Parkour maneuvers to avoid capture/detection while delivering messages in a future overrun by electronic surveillance). You have several unavoidable conversations with other female characters in the game, including your sister Kate and fellow runner Celeste.


Faith having a conversation with fellow runner Celeste:

Platform: xbox360, Playstation 3, and PC.


What others authors have written regarding Faith and Mirrors Edge:

Comparing Female Protagonists: Portal and Mirror’s Edge

Faith Connors: Inclusive Character Design

This is the first game to be submitted by my submission form ya!! Also on that not I’ve added the optional ability to include a screen name/handle when submitting a game if you what to be credited with the submission.

Source: Reader Submission; Description added by author.

Bechdel Test: Portal

Status: Passing. Type 1, “A scene meeting these criteria is a unavoidable part of the game.”

Description: The main characters Chell and GLaDOS are female coded (Chell is a human female, GLaDOS is a female coded AI) and the game’s cast is almost entirely female. A computer sphere at the end of the game is male coded, and “ratman” might be considered a character in absentia, as you never see him but find “dens” with his scrawled writings as you play the game.

Chell, is a silent protagonist so some may disagree that Chell and GLaDOS truly communicate. However, in the context of the game I’d say it most certainly does GLaDOS is clearly trying to communicate with Chell via her constant dialogue. The games creators have repeatedly said that Chell doesn’t talk as a “screw you!” gesture, to the robots who are all “acting like dicks”. That we as the gamer follow her instructions during the training portions of the game are another clue that we should intercept Chell and GLaDOS exchanges as communicative.

Source: Author play through, (link to portal script)


Portal and its squeal Portal 2 are two of the most ripe games for feminist analysis currently on the market. I hope to discuss some of these themes here personally. But till then here are some links to others analysis of the games:

Still Alive? She’s Free.

Portal is the most subversive game ever

Video Game Feminist of the Decade: or, when “You” is a girl

Portal 2 and Feminism

Portal and feminism – plot!

Portal and feminism – chell!

Portal and feminism – GLaDOS!