The Needles: Lose the Dude

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The Needles: Lose the Dude

Why are lead characters in videogames almost always women?

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they are? granted there are a fair few but i wounldn't say it's almost always

hooray satire!

Satire or not I think there is a lot to be said for the shallowness and meat-headedness of a lot of games... And a lot of the male leads *are* designed to be hunks and hotties. When I play online, I usually prefer the female avatars... I just want to get away from a lot of the machismo BS from reality. Granted I've played COD:MW2, and loved it, but that's because so many of the characters *weren't* simply super-badasses in super-armor with super-steroids and other unrealistic garbage.

Satire or not, I think the game industry should push for more creative ideas with regards to what genders and what characters they make. Having big bulky space marine(esque) guys in Gears of War 2 have a few emotional moments doesn't drown out the fact that they're big bulky space marine(esque) abominations that look rediculous...

Okay I get that you wrote this to turn the discussion on it's head of lead characters and the video game industry but I gotta admit I miss the point at the very end.

Are you simply proving that despite what women object to women have been a huge part of gaming from the beginning?

or

Because the video game industry is so big now and has been male driven that we now acknowledge that women have been pigeon-holed into a niche(a big niche) and a stereotype that prevents women gaming from bearing fruit due to all the false perception of sexism in video games by having mainstream media be outraged at the intentional controversial titles as proof?

Someone wanna help a guy out here? I loved the writing and the intention but the point eludes me.

Hahaha. That was great. A rather good piece of deadpan humor.

"They want to say yes, I am trying to solve my mentor's murder and save the world from a diabolical plot by uncovering the ancient and magical treasure of Ra, and I'm doing it with testicles! My hint meter is full, my chromosome is X and by God, I will not rest until my Big Fish Game Club card is full!"

Well...one of them certainly is. But the women gamers have two of those :P

Andy Chalk:
The Needles: Lose the Dude

Why are lead characters in videogames almost always women?

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Protip: men are identified by the Y sex chromosome (in conjunction with a single x), women have a pair of Xs.

-m

Tenmar:
Okay I get that you wrote this to turn the discussion on it's head of lead characters and the video game industry but I gotta admit I miss the point at the very end.

Are you simply proving that despite what women object to women have been a huge part of gaming from the beginning?

or

Because the video game industry is so big now and has been male driven that we now acknowledge that women have been pigeon-holed into a niche(a big niche) and a stereotype that prevents women gaming from bearing fruit due to all the false perception of sexism in video games by having mainstream media be outraged at the intentional controversial titles as proof?

Someone wanna help a guy out here? I loved the writing and the intention but the point eludes me.

im with you tenmar, good writing, good satire, but i fail to see the thesis of the article. what are you trying to say with it?

that was a pretty good article,
it was very interesting to read.

Its not something I have noticed alot, but...I dont think they are the main characters. Certainly not in alot of the games I am playing (Gender choice aside)

Though, I dont think female leads are bad, I think we can relate to them just as much as we do male characters...as, they often seem to show male characteristics

Satire or not, I have to agree with other posts...what is your point?

I find that both male and female characters are the typical Hollywood stereotypes...males are muscled hunks...females are "hotties".

I don't care if my protagonist is a man or a woman, as long as I get a good game. Really, what more can we ask?

Genius. I congratulate you.

That really felt like it switches messages half way through. Are you mocking women who want to be included? Or are you mocking people who don't think it matters?

I think everyone is missing the point, in the fact that there isn't a point. It's just a really funny article, which isn't necessarily trying to mock anybody or convey a message. It's just FUNNY. Remember that?

Good read, full of humour, but the underlying message eludes me, to my shame.

Instead of speculationg i will do the thing:

Dear Mr. Chalke,

this was a really interesting and mindbending article and for a moment i was confused if i was reading a BizzarroWorld Article, if you were serious (where my confusion would be justified cause i don't look into sozialGames very much or at all) or if it where something different alltogether.
It would be nice if you could clearify my confusion.

Sincerely, your reader,

Felixader

I believe the message is that video game companies create characters and settings for what they think their core demographic is.
Where shooters are almost always guys, puzzles tend to be female characters (think Portal).
This stereotyping is wrong on a lot of levels and I would love to see more change.
Bring me more female action stars (female Sheppard should have been the lead rather than male Sheppard), and I wouldn't mind more puzzle games being played by an Indiana Jones-type character.

felixader:
Instead of speculationg i will do the thing:

Dear Mr. Chalke,

this was a really interesting and mindbending article and for a moment i was confused if i was reading a BizzarroWorld Article, if you were serious (where my confusion would be justified cause i don't look into sozialGames very much or at all) or if it where something different alltogether.
It would be nice if you could clearify my confusion.

Sincerely, your reader,

Felixader

Yeah, I was laughing at the apparent sarcasm until paragraph seven, at which point I got really, really confused.

Andy Chalk:
The Needles: Lose the Dude

Why are lead characters in videogames almost always women?

Read Full Article

You said "my chromosome is X." While technically true, I think you meant "My chromosome is Y."

girl_in_background:
Good read, full of humour, but the underlying message eludes me, to my shame.

"Hardcore" games like Gears of War have male protagoniss, but casual puzzle solvers have female protagonists the vast majority of the time.

Satire, sure, but it got me thinking. I guess my confusion comes from why it matters. I could care less about what bits Our Hero has got as long as he or she is interesting and likable. How much do you think I, as a certified lady-type person, actually relate to Lara Croft? We both wear bras, sure, but that's about the beginning and the end of the similarities between Ms Croft and yours truly. If you relate to and admire a character it should be because they have qualities you admire and want to aspire to, not because their chromosomes match your own. Sharing the same netherbits with a character does not automatically mean you understand everything they're going through, nor should having an X to someone's Y mean you'll never grasp what they're feeling.

Yes, the leads in "casual" games are predominantly female, and I suppose that's because that's the most vocal market that's playing them. If you cruise through the Big Fish Games forums for any given game, it's probably about a 70% Panty Party. I'm not saying these games aren't "for" male gamers, I'm saying the biggest, LOUDEST, and, most importantly, visibly active part of that audience is made up of the wimmins. I'm not exactly sure why. I always figured it was because guys were off doing guy stuff, like lifting ham and talking about bosoms in gravelly voices.

Look at it this way; for years, before "casual" gaming really hit its stride, we womenfolk had VERY few female leads. And that was fine, you know; I played my Harvest Moon or my Mario or whatever and it never bothered me that there were THINGS in that character's trousers I would never understand. It wasn't until recently ("recently" here being the last, eh, ten years or so?) that we saw a massive upsurge in female heroines in mainstream gaming, or at least the added capability to play as one. I liked it because running around as Jill Valentine was cool. I suspect some guys liked it because they liked watching Jill Valentin's metronome butt ticking back and forth in those tight pants of hers.

I guess my question is; what qualities do people imagine a male lead could have that you're being deprived of, and a female lead cannot have? I'm not saying this to be prickly, I'm just curious. If you look at "boy" movies, the ones aimed at younger kids, they teach toughness and camaraderie and resilience. Conversely, young chicks get heroines who teach them about kindness and gentleness and respect. Shouldn't all those traits be good things to have regardless of gender? Maybe it's time we stopped obsessing over whether our characters are male or female, and started thinking about what a real "hero" should be.

Loved it, good fun. Turning stuff on its head n all that. I honestly hadn't seen that as a workable angle before - I guess I lack the necessary intimate knowledge with casual games, lol ;P

Good article. Enjoyed the satire while delivering your point of view(if indeed you intended to have a point of view or just wanted to be humorous).

Thorvan:

felixader:
Instead of speculationg i will do the thing:

Dear Mr. Chalke,

this was a really interesting and mindbending article and for a moment i was confused if i was reading a BizzarroWorld Article, if you were serious (where my confusion would be justified cause i don't look into sozialGames very much or at all) or if it where something different alltogether.
It would be nice if you could clearify my confusion.

Sincerely, your reader,

Felixader

Yeah, I was laughing at the apparent sarcasm until paragraph seven, at which point I got really, really confused.

yeah, same here.

hey, chalk, i know what game you should play. touhou>:)

you'll be pulling your hair out from there being no guys AND the fact that these little girls are owning your ass on easy.

Add me to the confused. While I've seen an occasional "Why aren't there more female leads?" article, it never felt like the sort of thing that needed to be parodied, partly because you only saw those pieces so very rarely.

maxben:
I believe the message is that video game companies create characters and settings for what they think their core demographic is.
Where shooters are almost always guys, puzzles tend to be female characters (think Portal).
This stereotyping is wrong on a lot of levels and I would love to see more change.
Bring me more female action stars (female Sheppard should have been the lead rather than male Sheppard), and I wouldn't mind more puzzle games being played by an Indiana Jones-type character.

Neither gender Shepard takes the lead? If you mean Shepard on the cover it's Stereotypical Soldier Shepard, he exists to be the simplest and blandest action hero.

Dora:
Satire, sure, but it got me thinking. I guess my confusion comes from why it matters. I could care less about what bits Our Hero has got as long as he or she is interesting and likable. How much do you think I, as a certified lady-type person, actually relate to Lara Croft? We both wear bras, sure, but that's about the beginning and the end of the similarities between Ms Croft and yours truly. If you relate to and admire a character it should be because they have qualities you admire and want to aspire to, not because their chromosomes match your own. Sharing the same netherbits with a character does not automatically mean you understand everything they're going through, nor should having an X to someone's Y mean you'll never grasp what they're feeling.

Yes, the leads in "casual" games are predominantly female, and I suppose that's because that's the most vocal market that's playing them. If you cruise through the Big Fish Games forums for any given game, it's probably about a 70% Panty Party. I'm not saying these games aren't "for" male gamers, I'm saying the biggest, LOUDEST, and, most importantly, visibly active part of that audience is made up of the wimmins. I'm not exactly sure why. I always figured it was because guys were off doing guy stuff, like lifting ham and talking about bosoms in gravelly voices.

Look at it this way; for years, before "casual" gaming really hit its stride, we womenfolk had VERY few female leads. And that was fine, you know; I played my Harvest Moon or my Mario or whatever and it never bothered me that there were THINGS in that character's trousers I would never understand. It wasn't until recently ("recently" here being the last, eh, ten years or so?) that we saw a massive upsurge in female heroines in mainstream gaming, or at least the added capability to play as one. I liked it because running around as Jill Valentine was cool. I suspect some guys liked it because they liked watching Jill Valentin's metronome butt ticking back and forth in those tight pants of hers.

I guess my question is; what qualities do people imagine a male lead could have that you're being deprived of, and a female lead cannot have? I'm not saying this to be prickly, I'm just curious. If you look at "boy" movies, the ones aimed at younger kids, they teach toughness and camaraderie and resilience. Conversely, young chicks get heroines who teach them about kindness and gentleness and respect. Shouldn't all those traits be good things to have regardless of gender? Maybe it's time we stopped obsessing over whether our characters are male or female, and started thinking about what a real "hero" should be.

You wacky women and your sensible approaches to things...

Seriously, I agree. Fem-Shepard isn't any less heroic on interesting because the is a Man-Shepard. I think it is the same thing that someone on here (can't think of who) put in an article about stupid things they keep doing with Protagonists and making the hero "relatable" was on there and I agree. I'm not an heroic figure, I'm a nerdy guy who lives on planet earth on this layer of reality so the master chief and myslef don't have a huge array of commonalities (just like you and Lara). I'm never going to make the mistake that I am that guy or that I could resonably become that guy. I'm not him and I don't want to be him in regular life. I have no desire to be a party to violence since it involves terrible violence.

Heehee this was one of the funniest articles yet. And makes a great point as well.

Matt_LRR:

Andy Chalk:
The Needles: Lose the Dude

Why are lead characters in videogames almost always women?

Read Full Article

Protip: men are identified by the Y sex chromosome (in conjunction with a single x), women have a pair of Xs.

-m

And the really pretty women have three X's.

Okay, bad joke aside, I don't get it. I read the comments, and I keep seeing the word "satire" come up, but for a change it's gone way over my head.

Can someone simplify?

Sorry, but all I see here is a mockery of a legitimate argument.

The gender of protagonists is an irrelevant strawman and the casual game argument doesn't fly either (C J Davies made the point in this week's issue of the Escapist that casual games are a completely distinct medium, as different from "core" games as pulp fiction is from proper literature). I don't want a two-tier system like we have in Hollywood, where you have gung-ho action movies for the guys and "chick flics" for the girls. We ought to be able to meet in the middle and create something like, to pick a relatively inclusive franchise at random, Firefly. That includes aspects that appeal to the archetypes of both sexes, and is better for it.

FWIW, I think it's a problem with the institutional culture of the industry, not gamers themselves. Male and female gamers would be equally happy to see more inclusivity in the games they play, but the industry is so male-dominated that there just isn't the drive to bring that about. We need more girls to go into game design.

I don't play metroid so yeah, no lead females in any game I play except dark alliance games. Don't see why everyone's making a huff over no female leads since the main companies aren't changing the way they churn out games because The Escapist pointed something out.

Ruzinus:
Add me to the confused. While I've seen an occasional "Why aren't there more female leads?" article, it never felt like the sort of thing that needed to be parodied, partly because you only saw those pieces so very rarely.

Offhand I would say this is a sort of follow-up to another article pointing out allegations made against certain video game developers that accused them of using a male lead cast because "female leads can't sell games". Any and all (and there's a lot of it) debate to the contrary of that statement or the thread it's posted in aside, a follow-up wrapped, deep-fried, dressed and beaten beyond recognition with satire would therefore be my take on things here. The multitude of threads centering around Activision would seem to support this. In other words,

Ride the wave.

Maybe I'm being a humorless bastard for seeing your article this way Mr. Chalk, but your column comes across as a mean-spirited expression of male privilege. This bit right here in particular stings a particularly hard read satirically:

Andy Chalk:

Believe it or not, there are a lot of male gamers out there and they want to play. Even more importantly, they want to be included. They want to say yes, I am trying to solve my mentor's murder and save the world from a diabolical plot by uncovering the ancient and magical treasure of Ra, and I'm doing it with testicles!

To me, the article seems to be mocking the suggestion that women wishing to be taken seriously as leads in other genres as either unnecessary or quaint; people who wish companies to move towards some sort of progressive gender representation want some sort of paternalistic nanny-state. Or maybe, unlike the rest of the article, the final paragraph is to be taken in earnest?

This is not good satire. The column lacks a thesis, and leaves the reader confused as to what the author's intent is. Have we read a piece mocking women asking for representation in action games? Are we seeing a misguided attempt to show what inequality feels like from a male perspective? Is this merely a demonstration that companies will stick to their target demographics with the media they design?

Frankly, I've read this piece three times now and I'm still not sure.

Also

Andy Chalk:

My hint meter is full, my chromosome is X and by God, I will not rest until my Big Fish Game Club card is full!

Matt_LRR:

Protip: men are identified by the Y sex chromosome (in conjunction with a single x), women have a pair of Xs.

-m

Indeed.

I'm getting the feeling that I read a different article than everyone else. To me, Andy's point was simply that the "target audience" for a game and the gender of it's protagonist do not have to be linked at all. It's also about how in some cases that sort of gender assignment is part of what may breed certain assumptions about target demographics in the first place. Games with a main character shouldn't have the sex of the lead character chosen because it's a hardcore action game OR if it's a mystery driven puzzle game. A character of any race, gender and/or sexual orientation (to take the next logical step) can and should be the hero of any genre of game, and we all like playing as interesting, strong and developed characters regardless of what type of game we're playing.

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