I have found myself struck with admiration recently by games that I have played that have put me in less than empowering positions, games that celebrate difficulty and hardship, struggling and deprivation, rather than empowerment and excess.
My own arcade was called the Gold Mine and featured a facade of a 19th century mine entrance as the portal to entry. Greeting one inside, though, were simply rows of machines spread across a rather filthy and threadbare carpet and a cacophony of bleeps and bloops. Most often there was nary a girl in sight.
Curiously, no matter how fiercely critics react to poor treatment of women, the portrayal of female characters in AAA games seems actually to be getting worse. Women are almost entirely unrepresented, and when they are represented, they exist only as a player objective.