After one whole year, I can see the light again! I can see pictures in Gamespot blogs! I can go back and read all those blogs that included pictures, and at times their writers were joking about some subject and I couldn't understand the meaning of it. I can even put pictures in mine blogs. That surely deserves a celebration blog, by posting one with a picture in it! So what picture should I choose? I thought for fun: if I had only one chance to post one picture, what this picture would be? In the context of a gaming site of course.
It didn't take me more than 20 seconds: Maria Whittaker. The front cover of the game "Barbarian". The back cover is even better. But I wouldn't want to test further the mods' tolerance, so you can easily see it for yourselves in google images if you type the key words: Barbarian C64, video game, etc.
And now I guess I have to find the reasons to justify this selection. I have to dress up with some words, try to explain with my basic English, the deeper meaning of this picture. I can discuss how the old cover boxes of the 80's looked like, how much different they are from today's cover boxes. I can talk for long about the game Barbarian and the origins of violent games, the animations of the beheadings, how much I was impressed- and a little bit shocked as a kid with this game, many years before god sent us the PEGI system to save the world from the future serial killers. Also I can admit the real reason and say that I simply like Maria Whittaker, the girl that posed as a model for Princess Mariana. I like her as a woman and I still enjoy looking at her a quarter of a century later. Honest enough I think.
Besides my adolescent enthusiasm for photos of Maria Whittaker in bikini, or Samantha Fox, there are a couple more things that I'm interested in about this picture. If you notice in the front cover, Mariana sits on the ground and embraces with her hand and body the leg of the Barbarian. This detail has puzzled me from the first moment that I saw this cover. That posture might not mean that much really, maybe it was just an interesting idea for the needs of the shooting. What matters is that this picture does have a symbolism for me, as a viewer. There is a message that tells a short story about the role of Mariana in the game and her relationship with the Barbarian. The woman seems depended on him, submitted to his superiority, yet it so clear to me that she fully owns him. She is wrapped around his leg, like an earthy creature half-Snake, half-Eve, and in control of the Barbarian's body, literally and metaphorically. Eventhough it's the Barbarian who actually freed Mariana from the captivity and after all it's he who chose her to become his mate, this story isn't reflected so clearly in the picture. It's more as if Mariana has all that she wants, regardless the initiative of the Barbarian. The Barbarian seems preoccupied with his duties as warrior. If I had to put a title under this picture, I would choose: "A healthy relationship between two good-looking barbarians", and as subtitle: "Mariana likes the Barbarian". The only lead to understand how this man sees Mariana is the assumption that the Barbarian allows Mariana to own him, (he could crush her head any time he wanted, if he didnt like being touched) and from that I can presume that he is interested in her, at least with his own way, his heroic way.
The picture leaves no doubt who is the dominant figure between those two. The Barbarian is superior. He has the strength to kill his enemies, and then choose to free Mariana and have her as his woman. Mariana on the other hand has fewer options: she is the trophy herself for the Barbarian, and she can either be happy about it, or not particularly happy- it depends on who her saviour will be, and basically on her own taste in saviours. Fortunately for her, this warrior seems to be exactly her type.
Fortunately for her, and fortunately for the player of the game; because if you haven't figured it out yet, the Barbarian is you, and everything that we said about Mariana is actually your affair. And here comes another interesting detail about this photo: Mariana is holding the leg of the Barbarian, but she is looking at you in the eyes. It's like saying: Don't let the fact that I hold him by his leg to discourage you, because you and he are one and the same.
In this game you are lucky to know, even before you start playing the game, (even before you buy it) how your "prize" will look like if you manage to beat it -she will look exactly like Maria Whittaker and dressed as she, and the best news is that she wants you! (too) But even if you are not skilled enough to beat the game, Mariana is still there on the front cover, the back cover and in a free poster that comes within the game. In other words, and in modern terms: a "win-win situation". And the game has even more to give: In your late 30s, when writing about Barbarian will feel incomparably more fun than playing it, Princess Mariana will still be there as the subject of your analysis. Name me one other 26 years old game that can do all these.