Escapist Podcast: PAX Panel: What Women Really Want From Female Characters

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I haven't even watched it yet, but I want to comment on how funny it is that the ad for it (for me, anyway) was those Slim Jim Dare "Made From Stuff Guys Need" commercials.

Susan Arendt:

female protagonists? how about some more female antagonists as well? like more Glados and Darth Traya type villains? if were are gonna see more female protagonist i was to see the reverse as well.

I agree. The few female villains that crop up tend to be over-the-top cartoons along the lines of Isla the She-wolf. That's part of why I'm excited for Uncharted 3, where the villain is not only female, but over 30. (And voiced by the amazing Helen Mirren.)

The day they get someone like Meryl Streep involved in a game is the day I hit the ceiling.

It's sad because there's only a couple of things I remember from FFX-2:

-Bevelle's 100-level challenge thing.
-LeBlanc's massage scene.
-Yuna, Rikku and Paine's hot spring scene.

So yeah. Two of those have to do with girls doing weird things to each other (It wasn't rated M, I know, but still).

I guess female gamers have more pressure simply because of that: they're female. A horrible misconception that we still see nowadays is that gamers = guys. I'll just throw that out there: I work at GameStop and whenever we have a shift where there's only girls, guys freak out! I once heard a guy walk in and immediately stepped outside and yelled to his friend "Hey! There's only chicks in there! What's with that?" and he left. Not only that but when a girl is working the register, two things happen: Either people are just amazed that this girl knows as much about games as the guys or they just avoid her altogether. And I think it's ridiculous! Some girls at work know perhaps more about games than some guys. Why is that surprising? If a guy is an expert gamer, that's fine. If a girl is an expert gamer, she's probably an alien.
And guys avoiding girls so that they can have a manly gamer's talk with a male employee instead? That's dumb! Are they asking for porn or what? Do they think the girl is gonna recommend Barbie's Horse Adventure over Black Ops?

And it's because of people like these, people who still live in Prehistoric times, that girls are seen as the lesser gamers. They have to strive harder to get up there with the top dogs. And when they get there and start telling everyone about girls wearing bikini chainmails, what's the response?: "Oh, these dumb feminists. Give it a rest and go shave your legs!" (I have also seen that happen, by the way).

I think we're going nowhere until everyone learns to treat guys and girls equally. But that's not gonna happen anytime soon, not because gamers are dumb, but because society overall isn't quite there. Girls still get paid less than some guys with the same positions and there's still guys using phrases like "Make me a sammich, bitch!" without joking.
I;m rooting for the girls, though. Giving birth? Pssh, after that, you become bulletproof, I assume.

Agreed, I never understood this character relate-ability either. I'm always aware I'm playing a game, that's what makes it fun. For me immersion is just the state where gameplay goes so smoothly you can focus on what's happening on the screen instead of silently cursing about unintuitive level design or uncanny valley girls etc.

That's why it doesn't really matter that much to me as what character I play - except for when I get into a bit of a roleplaying mood, but that's a rarity and most definitely not found in BioWare games.

I don't agree with Kathleen about established relationships in games/TV not being a form of escapism. I'm thirty four and I've spent most of my life not married. Playing a long-married character would be escapism for me. It would also be an amazing change from the usual game choice.

There are other examples of cool married characters on TV than just Amy Pond in Doctor Who. I've recently enjoyed watching How I Met Your Mother where one of the main characters is a happily married couple.

Good storytelling isn't limited when your characters are in an established relationship. There's a whole heap of stories that can only happen when characters are married. While it seems like there's more choice with a singleton, those storylines have been played out in a lot of different stories on TV, in Films, in Videogames. The untapped goldmine are the newlyweds/ruby anniversary storylines.

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