The Big Picture: Gender Games

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Cesilius:

I'm sorry if i sounded like an ass, i read some of your earlier posts and you make some good points, granted i still think you are missing the main point of why these games are made by a country mile.

hatchet buried - I'm frequently ass-ish and likewise apologize. And i agree to some extent with your point about market forces; game creators and publishers could capitalize immensely on changing the way sexuality is conveyed in games, making sex fun for the whole family.

If they do sex right (I confess I have no idea what "right" is - just ask my ex), it could mean both short-term profit from that mysterious 42% and long-term artistic legitimacy.

Plus we get (virtually) laid. Everybody wins.

EDIT: I will say that if more women were making games, we wouldn't need to have debates over poses, portrayals and boob physics. Maybe then we can get to some of the finer points of sexuality.

If anything, I'm surprised that women didn't get mad about Other M. I know Bob liked it but it pissed over who Samus really is. I've read the manga, it did a better job than Other M as it stayed true to Samus' character. I've followed the series since it first came out, now after reading the manga where Samus got over her doubt, fear and angst after fighting Ridley THE FIRST TIME. I'm expected to believe that she's a whining, dependant, man obssessed, wishing she could be a mother type of woman? yeah, go eff yourself Yushio Sakatmoto. Yes she had a fear of Ridley, but she remembered that Ridley killed her parents and flew into a rage and pretty much got over everything the minute she blasted him into a burning corpse. Which turned out to be a very well done and emotional scene.

I'm sorry Bob, but Other M is not how you write a strong female lead or show her doubts and fears and emotions. Other M she didn't have any, she was too busy wondering what Adam thought (who was also protrayed wrong in that game too, and why she left; also wrong) the whole narrative was wrong, her characterization is wrong and quite frankly, I found it insulting. I grew up with Samus, I looked up to her, I knew her story, and how she felt. Now Sakatmoto wants me to accept that she's nothing more than a girl who has to rely on everyone and has major daddy issues. No she doesn't, she had a healthy relationship with her father till Mother Brain killed him, then she was adopted by the chozo and raised to be a warrior. That's it, she was injected with chozo DNA, the space pirates crap their pants when they hear her name and even though, she's still kind, and willing to help. Yes she misses her parents and kinda still broods, and takes the death of ANYONE personal because she's always trying to prevent it. She wants to help clean up the galaxy because everything was taken from her, but she doesn't forget she still has friends and an extended family that she can always go back to. She's independant, strong and determined, but she's still human. Other M forgot that.

Okay okay, Rant over. There, that's how much I love Samus.

Very informative episode. I really enjoyed it.

This episode reminded me of Yahtzee's review of World of Warcraft; how the males of the horde races were composed of brutish shambling monstrosities but the females were simply sexy humans with a different covering. "Trolls with tits? They'd gouge their lungs out breastfeeding!"

What is sad, is that women don't need to be sexed up dolls to hold a gamer's attention. Women such as Alyx Vance (Half Life 2), Jade (Beyond Good & Evil), or Faith (Mirror's edge) are great female leads that never have to bare it all to hold the audience's attention.

Sex may sell but it not the only thing that sells. Well written characters can make money too.

Fiz_The_Toaster:

coates32:

Fiz_The_Toaster:

SWEET!!

I will say when I played El Shaddai I couldn't help but make comparisons to 3rd Birthday when I saw that mechanic, and thought El Shaddai did it better....

Yeah, I have to agree with you about El Shaddai doing that better, mainly because that guy's paints don't get shredded to shorts (even if it did, I would found it very difficult to be offended). I'm still not sure if I would enjoy 3rd Birthday, due to the games other mechanics.

And to MovieBob's point, I never thought of it that way but I agree with him about there needs to be more variety on of female characters (especially protagonists) expression of body language.

3rd Birthday's mechanics takes getting used to, I know it took me a while to get used to them before I was comfortable with them.

Yeah, I will say that Western game companies do pose their female characters better and you can tell a lot about their personalities with how they pose better than Japanese female characters. I know there are some exceptions, but fighting games seem to be the worst offender when it comes to this, and I will never understand why that is.

I don't think fighting games are all that concerned about varied expressions (particularly DOA), but there is Rainbow Mika from Street Fighter Alpha 3 that comes to mind as far as more unque body and facial language. It could be possible that I'm looking to deeply into this, though.

cbert:

Cesilius:

I'm sorry if i sounded like an ass, i read some of your earlier posts and you make some good points, granted i still think you are missing the main point of why these games are made by a country mile.

hatchet buried - I'm frequently ass-ish and likewise apologize. And i agree to some extent with your point about market forces; game creators and publishers could capitalize immensely on changing the way sexuality is conveyed in games, making sex fun for the whole family.

If they do sex right (I confess I have no idea what "right" is - just ask my ex), it could mean both short-term profit from that mysterious 42% and long-term artistic legitimacy.

Plus we get (virtually) laid. Everybody wins.

EDIT: I will say that if more women were making games, we wouldn't need to have debates over poses, portrayals and boob physics. Maybe then we can get to some of the finer points of sexuality.

I agree and those changes would be most welcome. I do think though that if you reform the system (add female programmers such) , you will see an increase in games that focus less on sexuality. At the same time though i believe you will see little decrease in sexuality in gaming as it stands today. Sex has a very heavy influence in all arts.

My college professor is a professional marketer, teaches 400+ level marketing courses, and has well over a decade of experience in the industry. He's sold everything from video games in stores to watches on the Home Shopping Network. I asked him about this issue last class and here's what he said:

"The job of a marketer is to work for their client by letting them make as much money as possible by any means necessary while having the least amount of cost. Nothing else matters, EVER. We aren't a charity and we don't give a damn about society, we do our jobs within perfectly legal parameters. The day that women decide to speak with their money is the day that any business client will actually give a damn enough to care."

I actually wrote that down, heh. That's pretty much what sums it up. Males are easy and cheap, therefore they are the target demographic for such a visual-heavy medium such as video games (and comics/paintings/movies). Our entire ethnocentric society is based around certain ideals. Few guys want a 'fugly' girl to be the protagonist. She has to be *gorgeous* or she'll be forgotten.

The overly-large breasts are actually done that way (apparently) because of legal issues, they want to avoid ANYONE even THINKING their characters are underage in any way whatsoever, and the easiest way for most people to judge a woman's age is by breast size. Pissing off people because your character is a loli is a lot worse than pissing off a much smaller segment of the population because the character has a huge chest. This is no more apparant than here in the US. Compare marketing in Asian countries (where age of consent/marriage is much lower and standards are different for dating/sex with young girls) with what is accepted in Western countries, huge difference.

Beyond Good and Evil, wonderful game, nice puzzles, nonviolent gameplay, strong nonsexualized female lead, anthropromorphic lovable characters, yet it FAILED MISERABLY at retail.
No One Lives Forever, strong gorgeous sexy-yet-sensible female lead in retro-chic 60s outfits kicking down bad guys and basically being a badass 'Female Bond'. The horrible sales spoke for themselves.

Money talks, nothing else matters, and if women wanna be heard they need to speak with their money. Guys already speak with their money very loud and clear every time they keep making gritty and brown FPS games.

"Give the people what they want".

OT: 187 on an undercover cop, bish.

gundamrx101:
snip

Welcome to shades of gray, it's what the real world is made of

Just when I though I couldn't love MovieBob any more, he makes an entire episode based on something I've been screaming at morons for years.

As far as the limited examples of women who are protrayed in ways that reflect their personality, here are my favorite examples:

"Alright, lets get in, kick some ass, and get out!"
image
"What the hell is that on the ceiling, and is it going to eat me?"
image
DETERMINATION
image
Yes, I realize there are some exceptions with Heather, but not in the ACTUAL GAME ITSELF.

Aiddon:

gundamrx101:
snip

Welcome to shades of gray, it's what the real world is made of

Except Other M really isn't a shade of gray. It's a steroetype who is packaged as a 'real human being'

Tarkand:

One of the thing that surprised me was how good of a job Space Marine did of presenting a female officer in it's storyline (And it's not just me: http://designislaw.tumblr.com/post/10076180504/warhammer-40-000-space-marine-most-suprisingly)... of all games, a shallow futuristic military male-ego boost porn game (And I'm saying that as a huge W40K fan, just look at my avatar, I actually painted the little guy myself :P) isn't the one I expected to have a good grasp of female character design!

I was more under the impression she was inserted because of the impossibility of a love interest for the main character and so was made so that she gets as close as possible. I assumed since she felt the same enthusiasm for war as Titus did (poor choice for a name relic poor choice) she would be the closest to a love interest as possible in a nationalistic and theological government as the Imperium, and as to not make it look like a joke she wasn't dressed all skimpy (although the Orks still make it seem like a joke, and the story in general takes itself so seriously it is a joke). I guess this goes along with the argument though, but she was just another dull character in the quasi-theological-Fascist world of 40k.

That and some Imperial Guard fanboy's will also bitch and moan about how the Imperial Guard had to have their asses saved again by the Space Marines, this time by just 3 of them.

I always found women like Rachel (from ninja gaiden) or Ivy Valentine (from soul calibur) to be kind of out of place.

On one hand you've got a women who'd probably fall over her gargantuan tits when she tried to swing a sword and then get mauled to pieces because she wasn't wearing more than a piece of string.

Then on the other hand you've got a ninja
In full ninja gear
Who's armed to the teeth and focuses on making shit dead as opposed to making the camera fly down his cleavage (if hypothetically the ninja female).

Who would you want on the front line against a demon invasion?

Jade from beyond good and evil was awesome and she didn't take off all her clothes and to a mock strip tease for the camera.
The boss from metal gear solid was equally awesome and even when she unzipped her top to show snake her scar (spoiler alert), she still wasn't a stupid submissive bimbo, proven by the fact that a few seconds later she'd just broke both your arms and shot you in the face...... twice and given you a huge rant on how to be a true patriot.

Gaming industry needs more female icons who are noted for their characters and not for their physical assets accentuated by their lack of clothing

compare:

subject A
image

subject B
image

Subject A is "Get the EF out of my way."

Subject B is DATASS!

Now that I'm looking at both of them, I have no idea if Zero Suit Samus would even fit in Power Armor Samus' form...

Warforger:

Tarkand:

One of the thing that surprised me was how good of a job Space Marine did of presenting a female officer in it's storyline (And it's not just me: http://designislaw.tumblr.com/post/10076180504/warhammer-40-000-space-marine-most-suprisingly)... of all games, a shallow futuristic military male-ego boost porn game (And I'm saying that as a huge W40K fan, just look at my avatar, I actually painted the little guy myself :P) isn't the one I expected to have a good grasp of female character design!

I was more under the impression she was inserted because of the impossibility of a love interest for the main character and so was made so that she gets as close as possible. I assumed since she felt the same enthusiasm for war as Titus did (poor choice for a name relic poor choice) she would be the closest to a love interest as possible in a nationalistic and theological government as the Imperium, and as to not make it look like a joke she wasn't dressed all skimpy (although the Orks still make it seem like a joke, and the story in general takes itself so seriously it is a joke). I guess this goes along with the argument though, but she was just another dull character in the quasi-theological-Fascist world of 40k.

That and some Imperial Guard fanboy's will also bitch and moan about how the Imperial Guard had to have their asses saved again by the Space Marines, this time by just 3 of them.

I think you're being unfair.

That being said, regardless of the reason why they put a solid female character in the game, the fact remain the game has a solid female character in it. Even if it happened by accident.

Kingsnake661:
IMO, this issue won't change until the gaming landscape, or demographic changes more then it has.

nope

JustaGigolo:
In a medium such as gaming where the majority of the people playing your games like boobs, of course people are going to use boobs to market towards their interest. It doesn't make it a good thing to do, but it works, and profit is pretty much all that matters. Look at all the Fabio romance novels, they're just as bad if not worse than what gaming is doing, but they sell.

yep

lockgar:
Or maybe make a female character that you don't want to fuck?

these things get played by thousands of guys, so good luck with that-- someone is going to want to

IceStar100:
Sex sells

yep

I had an idea of stuff to type but they pretty much covered it.

Interesting observation, I never noticed that. Although there are many examples against this thesis, I can think of a few examples to side with it. Nice episode.

Hmm.
Hmmmmm.
It's not the clothes, it's how they wear them...
Interesting take on it! Food for thought, eh?

The Random One:
I don't think about this very much because I by and large agree with the 'feminist' viewpoint, and I am personally offended that devs think I'll look into/buy/enjoy their game more because there is a girl with big boobs in them. But this is a very nice look into the underlying mechanisms of the thing.

I realize that every time an almost normal girl (or just competent in combat girl) shows up as an important character in a game, even if she's not drop dead-gorgeous, she has to have some feature that's über hot, usually a gigantic rack. Like Elizabeth in the upcoming Bioshock Infinite, or the bodyguard lady in Dead Island. I think this shows some people are trying to change this and some people are pushing not to.

I'll also add that Ivy is probably one of the girls who gets a pass on this stuff, since she also uses her sexuality as a weapon - which is why one of her alterative outfits is usually some sort of military uniform that shows nothing but her head, as if she was saying 'I can beat you by distracting you with my boobies, but I don't need to. It's just more fun this way.' The rest of the SC roster is guilty though.

Also when you showed Bowser's second pose I was sure you were going to say it communicates U GONNA GET RAPED.

Therumancer:
lotsa stuff

No. There is a difference. Look at the roster of any random fighting game.

There will be a lot of fine looking man with muscular arms and big biceps and revealing clothing.

There will be a lot of fine looking women with big boobs and huge legs and revealing clothes.

There will be a bunch of weird looking man who are mutated or on fire or skeletons or maybe just fat, depending on the setting.

And there might be a robot.

See the problem?

Just about ALL characters wind up with some feature that would be considered attractive though, that includes the male ones. In general heroic games feature characters who represent a heroic ideal. In general you don't see a lot of normal looking guys involved in heroic fantasy of any time, and in games like fighting games where the fantasy revolves around world class fighters, your not going to generally see a bunch of normal looking people.

As I pointed out, the more varied look of male characters is because men are more physically variable at the high end, we can put on and develop muscle mass a lot more efficiently and in all kinds of shapes. Women tend not to have as many options, there is a limit to how far a girl can really "bulk up". This is why men max out much higher in terms of physical capabilities, and also why feminists complain about a lot of jobs having requirements that are very difficult, if not imposisble, for women to meet in certain jobs.

A dude can be a wiry whip of muscle, or some hulking mountain and be viable and show improvement from it. Beyond a certain point women are not going to be able to put on any bulk and muscle and have it actually be an advantage. Women who reach an idea "fighting weight" tend to come out looking a lot more similar than guys do, not identical, but within certain dimensions. This is why you don't have any lady pro-wrestlers built like "Hulk Hogan" or whatever, women just can't develop themselves that way. Even female body builders wind up
in a totally differant catagory from men, and are judged by differant merits.

This is to say nothing of the simple fact that women who do fantasy artwork wind up producing the same basic stuff... a physical ideal, as men do.

When it comes to what's attractive, I will also say that guys are generally putting their best features out first for the cheesecake factor. You look at something like the cover art for "Resident Evil 5" and the sheer size of the bicep Chris is flexing and it's pretty over the top, this being in exactly the same vein as those "magical wolfboys" people make fun of in Twilight.

See, the problem is that this issue exists in the mind of feminists (and for a lot of them probably only as a political point), and guys that think that by taking a position like this it will make them more likable to girls. Overall we just don't pay attention because society has not made "oh my gawd, look at the exploitation of men" a viable attention getting/political strategy.

Finally, for those that made it this far through my post, the mosrt important point:

If you stop and think about it there are just as many "exploitive" images of guys out there, it's just that are invisible on the political spectrum. These images ARE directed heavily at women, who are just as swayed physically as guys are whether they want to admit it or not. The career of guys like Fabio or Justin Beiber should make this pretty obvious for those who have been paying attention. If you bother to look at the statistics about gaming there are TONS of women gamers out there, and that's hardly something that has happened by accident. A lot of women might not admit that they bought a product because it's got a picture of some strapping male sex god plastered on it, no more than most guys will admit artwork with attractive women helps their tales, but it remains true.

One funny thing I've mentioned before is that for all the mockery of Duke Nukem and how offensive he is towards women, and so on and so forth, that character does seem to be pretty popular WITH women. I've run into TONS of girls who have played that game, even if many claim "well I just borrowed it" and seen far less of them go out of their way to knock it than guys. To be honest Duke is by all accounts the perfect man for your average girl, he's got the big muscles, the chipped good looks, and the macho attitude. While he's an egomaniac he stands up for his women. To your typical nerdboy who worships movies about how the intellectual, sensitive guy, gets the girl by demonstrating how much better he is for the girl in question than the macho jerks she usually dates, it's kind of crushing to see it come into gaming that this is the kind of guy girls REALLY tend to go for. I don't think that many nerds really get that their macho-empowerment fantasy space marine characters and such are the kinds of dudes that are the opposite of what the players are in real life, and arguably fit the mould of those skimpily dressed babes for the women. That dude showing off a huge bicep with muscle definition that would only pop out with at least a gallon of professionally applied body oil? Yeah... that's not really aimed at the dudes. Just like not all men like girls with massive boobs, not all girls like guys that are buffed out into uber-musclemen, but we have other examples as well. There are plenty of pretty-boys out there in gaming like say... Sepiroth... he's not just enduringly popular because he was an epic villain, but because he's sort of a sex symbol to women. Don't believe me? Login to Encyclopedia Dramatica and look up people like "Sepiroth's Slave" (if they still have the page) and so on for some pretty extreme examples, and then understand that this is simply the lunatic fringe of a kind of fanbase most guys have never noticed because they don't really notice the sex appeal of their own gender since it's not aimed at them.

Seriously, consider the above. There isn't an issue here. The issue only exists due to politics and people wanting to make one. Honestly I also suspect that a lot of the problem has to do with the whole "Scott Pilgrim" generation of male nerds being convinced that the gender dynamitcs there are anything other than an empowerment fantasy. They sit there and wonder "why aren't these gamer girls interested in me" and use the artwork and such as a scapegoat, when in really the simple truth is that when it comes to fun girls really don't
go for nerds which are called nerds for a reason. It can be shattering to realize it, and the very same empowerment fantasies present in games tend to cause a lot of guys not to notice that their video game protaganist is the guy who would be kicking sand in their face and walking off with the girl, and that guy is helping to bring the girls that are in the audience into gaming. Girls being just as shallow in their own way as guys are in theirs. A nice rack has sold tons of products to guys, just as Fabio's hair blowing in the wind has sold tankers full of substitute butter to housewives... and well, the amount of money made by Justin Beiber (away from the muscle-dude stereotype) from not only music but merch with his image on it, says a lot as well. Girls aren't flocking to The Beeb because of his musical talent, the posters being hawked at Wallmart with him standing there in a hoodie with hearts all around him (or something similar) kind of says it all.

Clearly the answer too all this is more pretty male characters doing absolutely nothing but wearing slivers of cloth and posing. I'm sure my sister would approve of this lol.

nice episode. agree with him strongly. i always ask my self why they always have to make the women look like sexy looking toys. sure, i do like nice looking women, i sure dont deny that but i sure dislike extremely attractive looking women in games who wear skin tide suits or very revealing dresses in fights no normal woman would wear.

i guess you guys have seen the resident evil trailer for the 3DS, were this girl pretty much has her suit open that her breasts almost fall out and the suit is skin tide. now thats something a game really doesnt need. resident evil is now really going in to this direction that women look so damn attractive and the men all look like muscular fridges with a tennis ball on top. i mean, seriously, look at ada wong. who the hell runs around like this. or sheva, so damn attractive looking with pretty much the perfect body.

and there is lara croft. always huge breasts. ok, she looked a bit better in underworld and legend, but still very big.
now the new lara looks at least realistic and not made to look sexy as in the previous games. if they really stick to what they say, that you have to fight for survival, then this lara could be seen as a believable character. so lets see what will come out of the new tomb raider.

rayne from bloodrayne is hot, yes, i admit it. but they can cut down the size of her breasts though. the game as such is now really over the top gory and unbelievable that you can more or less accept such a attractive looking woman.
yes, mortal combat, tekken etc, are also over the top games you cant take seriously but all the women in there have huge breasts and are all attractive looking.

the only female game characters i actually like are alyx from half life and femshep from mass effect. they all look nice and have a personality you can actually believe and compare with in real life.
alyx as a freedom fighter. is also intelligent and her body at least isnt shown off. she is dressed believably for the situation she is in. also her behavior and attitude makes her more real that you can say, thats a woman i can hang out with.

with femshep its pretty much the same. she is not posed as a sex symbol but still attractive looking. not like miranda, she is for sure made to look that way but at least she has also a personality you can resemble with.

Hey guys,

It's me, video games. Remember when I was fun? Remember how much fun we had together before everyone started talking about how racist, sexist, or homophobic everyone seems to think I am?
Remember those times that you just enjoyed me for what I was, rather than over analyzing me as a form of art or a new media or whatever it is you kids are calling me these days? Where did those times go? If you'd ever like to have those days back, let me know. I'm sure dying for some regular escapist fun. No need for lengthy discussion. Let's not talk. Let just shoot some grubs. We can fly around in the Normandy together. We could build things out of blocks. We could even rescue the princess together. Whatever you want; I don't much care. Let's just go back to having fun, huh?

I miss you,
VGs

Therumancer:
No Bob, there is not an issue.

You, and others making arguements like this, tend to overlook the poses struck by male characters for the most part as being equally revealing in their own way. The overwhelming majority of those characters are showing off features like their oversized arms, or smooth, pretty boy looks in the course of striking those poses. If you didn't know anything about the characters in question, they would just be generic musclemen, male models, or chippendales, the same way how Mai would just be a pretty girl.

When commenting on the greater diversity among male characters, that's not really an issue either. Both genders represent something of a physical ideal in video games, granted it might be a fringe ideal, but it's still there. To use E-Honda for example, there are people who work their entire lives trying to get a perfect build for Sumo like he has.

When it comes to support characters just like your portly merchants and such, you have the matronly barmaids and old crones and such filling out the nooks and crannies of villages. Not all of the spectators in the backround of say a fighting game are universally good looking for example.

Now, I will also say that there is also a bit less practical diversity in women for the kinds of games presented, because there is some relevency to this in real life. If you look at female dancers and martial artists and such you'll notice they all tend to wind up with the same, or very similar builds. In comparison guys, who are designed differantly for physical activity, can be greatly more varied in the way they develop. There are books on bodybuilding and body sculpting that are dedicated to this kind of thing. Saying that say Mai and Chun-Li have more physical similarities than say Ryu and Sagat is simply the kind of results your going to see from the training given the building blocks. To use perhaps a better example comparing say a Zangief to say Tina (Dead Or Alive), or say again Mai, you could say "well why isn't Tina bulked up like that, and is instead still built more along the martial artist lines", look at the real world pro-wrestlers those characters are based off of. A girl who does all the same moves that the guys do, and trains the same way, still winds up developing along those same basic lines, where a guy can show more signifigant differances in overall body bulk and mass.

In most cases game developers are looking at the sources that inspire the fantasy, and producing idealized versions of it. Do Zangief seem like idealized fantasy versions of live performers like the old Nickolai Voldkoff or Sable (back before she got kicked from wrestling)? Yes... they cover that well.

The reason why feminists are treated like they are making an issue out of nothing, is because they are. Their basic arguement is that we shouldn't have idealized depictions in video games or fantasy... or at least not of women. Generally because they feel men can't handle it or whatever (but of course their Chippendales stuff is fine ironically).

There is no pretension that the audience is a bunch of teenagers, heck the gaming media has been talking about the average age of gamers rising for a long time now, and the female characters we're talking about are frequently from "M" rated games (because of the sexual aspects that might be present). Teenagers couldn't have kept this arguement going on as long as it's been going on through the gaming community, they would have been stomped by the feminists long ago. The battle isn't being fought with kids, but between adults.

I don't see this as a case of being concerned about feminists "ruining our fun" so much as the whole arguement as being stupid. Especially seeing as when women produce idealized, fantasy artwork, it comes out exactly the same way.... which is a point that is almost universally sidestepped in these discussions.

Ah my favorite poster on here. One of the very, very few I don't want to hit with a stick and invent new profanities to use on.

Probably because S/he is the bloody voice of reason when most of the people in this forum are trolls, hatefully narrow minded, and simply idiots. Arrogant too, but I usually see that as a vital part of stupidity, that without the arrogance one is merely ignorant.

I wish I could actually say things like this... because it's largely how I think them but my hatred for stupidity seems to twist everything and make it come out somewhat stupid itself and about ten fold as hatefully as I think it.

So thank you for being one person who points out that largely.... EVERYONE is almost equally wrong and needs to accept the blame they deserve for which part they play in being the problem.

Great job Bob! Oh, but may I suggest one more thing women hate about how certain females are protrayed in media:

"Boobs don't work that way!"

lockgar:

Daaaah Whoosh:
I think what game developers fail to realize is that they can have female characters who are incredibly hot without showing off their curves all the time.
Like Kat in Halo: Reach, or more simply the female SPARTAN model. It doesn't contain any less armor than the male version does(except the smaller codpiece, for obvious reasons), and yet many gamers could probably still jerk off to it, if they were that kind of person. What I'm trying to say, though, is that it works both ways. I'm sure there are some people out there, possibly women, who find the male SPARTANs attractive, and are similarly enthralled by the shape of their butts. However, no one is angry about this, because no one feels like they're watching some weird space pornography. They're simply enjoying seeing what some would consider idealized human forms in armor that is both functional and badass.

Or maybe make a female character that you don't want to fuck? Just a thought. Maybe have an actual person who happens to be female, and not an object of sexual desire?

That is pretty much an impossible task at base, for both men and women in video games, due to the fact that sexual interest is a very varied concept amongst video gamers and human beings in general - you'll never not have a character in a movie, game or book that isn't an object of sexual desire to someone in the world. Regardless of intention to actually make them sexually appealing or not.

OT: While I tend to agree with most of what Movie Bob has mentioned in this video, I do still consider that the video game industry is only going to get more balanced once both male and female characters in video games have been taken down a notch or two in fantasy idealism. However, that still leaves the issue that most play video games for the reasoning of putting yourself in the shoes of an idealized, "perfect" human being that you will never likely be yourself, as well.

As a well-endowed woman, I understand the visual appeal of posing to flaunt the assets.
I think the concept is over-used in most forms of media (not just video games, but let's face it: the girls in video games are designed to have certain measurements). I think that the skimpy outfit concern is silly -I find some of the outfits to be cute and relevant to the character (ie: the bat tights on Morrigan). Over the years, I have gotten used to the fact that there will always be women with abnormally large knockers in video games, though it is painful to see a character with that as their main selling point.

Yeah, she may have something sweet in the A department too, but why should I feel compelled to care about this character? What does Ivy's outfit tell me about her? Nothing. It just tells me that designers wanted to play up assets to appease the target market of the male gender. They do not expect too many female gamers to pick up Soul Calibur.

I do not think that the posing is a majority of the problem. I'm nearly willing to let that go because there will be plenty of fan art to supplement the provocative depictions of the characters which the company may not produce. It would be a welcome change, though I know that it isn't likely to happen.

My only request is that developers take the time to flesh out their females (no pun intended). Is she from a different culture? Why not integrate a piece of popular or historical fashion from that culture (ex: Tekken 5 Asuka's geisha-esque garb -which, may I say, is very sexy)? It is one of the many ways they can make their own characters seem like more than something fun to watch in movement. If you think about it, they do that more often than not with a majority of over-muscled men in video games. Convey the character, not the sex. Add the sex appeal as a spice. No one will turn down a small amount of sex appeal -so why try to outshine the porn stars?

the biggest problem i have with feminism and civil rights movements in general is: its never enough. (hold flame while i make my point.)

equality is all well and good, but telling men to give up oversexed females while females ogle twilight characters (bob's example) is not equivalent.
you could make the same point with scholarships based on sex/race,
words one race/gender can use while another can't,
or that stupid rule about not hitting girls even in retaliation.(I've heard many a girl tout this right after hitting a guy)
there are many other cases i could point to, but I'll stop at that.

if you really wanted equivalency, ask for more oversexed guys to balance it out. why does it have to be something negative like making us drop things? equivalency does not have to mean bringing everyone down, and by definition can't be giving the lesser more than the other has. any movement that screams for equivalency while taking perks the other won't get is flawed from the start.

Therumancer:
Now, I will also say that there is also a bit less practical diversity in women for the kinds of games presented, because there is some relevency to this in real life. If you look at female dancers and martial artists and such you'll notice they all tend to wind up with the same, or very similar builds. In comparison guys, who are designed differantly for physical activity, can be greatly more varied in the way they develop.

I disagree with you. Women have just as much variety in how their bodies develop depending on which activities they perform and which muscle groups they focus on, as well as variety in their body type to begin with.

You can see that just like a male sumo wrestler has a different build from, say, a fencer, because he uses different kinds of muscles, females who practice sports such as hammer throw or weightlifting develop their muscles differently than those who, say, are dancers.

The only thing that seems to be constant in the lineups is the small size of their breasts comparatively, because breasts are made of fat, and the more muscle you get, the less fat you have.

You also don't see as many older female characters in fighting games, they tend to all be in their 20s, while males have a much broader age range.

I really like the detail about character poses. Great insight.

So... I have spent most of this morning watching Suikoden openings, and when I remember Nanami and much of this debate.

I know it's one series fighting a tidal wave, but the Suikoden series had a lot female characters that weren't over sexed models, and many of them were very deep and troubled characters.

Part of the reason I rank Suikoden I & II as my all time favorite games to date.

Allow me to present the argument I made when discussing this issue with comic books a while back, dealing with the "Men are sexualized too!" excu- I mean, "argument". It fits just as well with video games.

While I disagree with the OP's suggestion that sexualization = powerlessness, let's not kid ourselves, guys. We can say all we want that there are plenty of women in comics who are not usually sexualized (Wonder Woman, Invisible Woman and Storm come to mind), but pretty much every female superhero out there has been played for sex appeal at some time or another. And enough with that B.S. about men in comics having muscles of steel as sexualization for the ladies. You and I know that's just a cheap cop-out argument with little basis in reality. Women don't go see Superman movies to fantasize about him carrying them away to the Fortress of Solitude. Nor do they watch Die Hard to drool over John McClane. As others have mentioned, characters like Edward Cullen or even freaking Harry Potter have exponentially more drooling, obsessed fangirls than any superhero. Comic books (or at least superhero comics) have for a very long time been almost exclusively been a man's medium, made by men for men, so it stands to reason that the images within superhero comics, both male and female, would be made to appeal to men. The well-muscled men of comics are not a woman's ideal of a man, but a man's view of the ideal man: the man we men want to be, not necessarily the man women want. This applies to countless action heroes in movies and games as well: Conan the Barbarian, Rocky, Rambo, the Terminator, anything Steven Seagal, Vin Diesel or van Damme have ever done, Marcus Fenix, Duke Nukem (to parodic effect), Nathan Drake, Kratos, the list goes on. That's the effect they're all going for: our own gender's fantasy about our own body image. It's the image we men have built for ourselves as the ideal. And because sight is naturally much more of a primary sense for men when it comes to sex (compared to smell and touch for women), our view of a good-looking woman is a much bigger part of women's body image than the reverse. As a straight man, I will admit that men tend to be a lot more picky about what we consider an attractive-looking woman than women are for us, and that has a big part to play in what the female ideal is in the eyes of both men and women. So I just don't see how that "sexualized man" argument holds any weight in the terms of the men in action films and comic books. Sure, men are sexualized, but you can't really claim that it's in those media that they are. Superman and Batman are not, nor have they ever been, considered really "sexy" characters. The one real example of overt male sexualization I can offer in action/comic media is James Bond. Heck, I'm straight as an arrow and I'D let Bond have his way with me. But other than that, you have to look at media designed primarily for women to really see male sexualization: rom-coms, soap operas and the like. That's where the sexually appealing guys to women are. And the same logic applies: along with the handsome guys are the women that women want to be like. It's just the different ideals and interests that thousands of years of assigned gender roles have implanted in us. Whether it's nature or nurture, I really don't care.

I'm just tired of this argument. People always seem to respond with, "Well, there are more men buying video games than women", but that doesn't excuse anything. 1) There are a lot more women buying video games than you think and 2) Why does "We have a lot of male consumers." have to translate to "SLUT UP ALL THE LADIES IMMEDIATELY!"?

And it isn't just that the ladies are slutty, its that the dudes aren't. If it really was a matter of marketing, wouldn't they want to get all their bases covered? I mean, if they made the guys just as appealing to women as they did the women for men then by their logic they would attract female consumers. If women can get passed all the sexualized chicks then guys can get passed the sexualized dudes. Unless, of course, that there's some other reason they like to put scantily clad women in sexy poses in their games.

By the way, before you argue that this kind of marketing isn't effective on women, remember that Jrpgs are very popular with women (particularly those that are in their teenage years, seeing some parallels?). Jrpgs tend to actually have attractive men in them. You know, the ones who aren't grimacing and bulging with muscles? The ones that guys complain are basically walking unrealistic girly stereotypes of what women like? Seeing more parallels?

And if you say that Jrpgs are popular with women because they're normally less violent than games with real-time combat and gore I will literally punch you in the face... and by literally I mean I will imagine doing it and take great pleasure in imagining that it causes you great pain and blood loss.

Agh, I told myself I wouldn't get into this sort of conversation again! I always feel like a whiny brat when I do. I love video games and I don't think every developer and male gamer is a sexist pig. I just want to be able to play a game and feel like I'm the intended audience. It's something men take for granted and all of you with penises should take a moment to appreciate it.

gundamrx101:

Aiddon:

gundamrx101:
snip

Welcome to shades of gray, it's what the real world is made of

Except Other M really isn't a shade of gray. It's a steroetype who is packaged as a 'real human being'

Whatever helps ya sleep at night

thankfully most of the games Ive played I havnt really come across the over sexualistion on rediculous levels show in the video (I mena outfits and stuff)

however there are issues and im glad bob adressed them

Whow, Bob blew my mind away. I understand that most females in games generally tend to look sexual but this is pretty much clear as day to me now. The posing, or as we like to say 'body language' is a key factor. When Bob was expressing how characters look with just poses alone- that REALLY got me thinking.. and he's 100% right.

Now I can actually see why women complain. Sure, I understood they want women to stop being sexually appealing on purpose to entertain the guys breaking the 4th wall- but to just be that and not stand for anything else... yeah, now it's a lot clearer. Here's an example of what I see now:

This is Lightning from Final Fantasy 13. In this pose, you can tell she's highly confident with a purpose in mind. Not to mention she's not even dressed in a sexual way what so ever. Now, look at the image before this:

Now in this one... she's riding some sort of creature. Her body language is showing off her physical appearance which is calling out to us guys, "Hey, check me out. I'm one sexy girl, and you can play me while I show off my body to arouse you." Sorry to say it so bluntly, but this doesn't suit Lightning's personality nor make a good character if based on this purpose.

Bob has a very solid point, thank you for discussing this... now I am thinking deeply about this issue more then ever.

obscurumlux01:
My college professor is a professional marketer, teaches 400+ level marketing courses, and has well over a decade of experience in the industry. He's sold everything from video games in stores to watches on the Home Shopping Network. I asked him about this issue last class and here's what he said:

"The job of a marketer is to work for their client by letting them make as much money as possible by any means necessary while having the least amount of cost. Nothing else matters, EVER. We aren't a charity and we don't give a damn about society, we do our jobs within perfectly legal parameters. The day that women decide to speak with their money is the day that any business client will actually give a damn enough to care."

I actually wrote that down, heh. That's pretty much what sums it up. Males are easy and cheap, therefore they are the target demographic for such a visual-heavy medium such as video games (and comics/paintings/movies). Our entire ethnocentric society is based around certain ideals. Few guys want a 'fugly' girl to be the protagonist. She has to be *gorgeous* or she'll be forgotten.

The overly-large breasts are actually done that way (apparently) because of legal issues, they want to avoid ANYONE even THINKING their characters are underage in any way whatsoever, and the easiest way for most people to judge a woman's age is by breast size. Pissing off people because your character is a loli is a lot worse than pissing off a much smaller segment of the population because the character has a huge chest. This is no more apparant than here in the US. Compare marketing in Asian countries (where age of consent/marriage is much lower and standards are different for dating/sex with young girls) with what is accepted in Western countries, huge difference.

Beyond Good and Evil, wonderful game, nice puzzles, nonviolent gameplay, strong nonsexualized female lead, anthropromorphic lovable characters, yet it FAILED MISERABLY at retail.
No One Lives Forever, strong gorgeous sexy-yet-sensible female lead in retro-chic 60s outfits kicking down bad guys and basically being a badass 'Female Bond'. The horrible sales spoke for themselves.

Money talks, nothing else matters, and if women wanna be heard they need to speak with their money. Guys already speak with their money very loud and clear every time they keep making gritty and brown FPS games.

"Give the people what they want".

OT: 187 on an undercover cop, bish.

Yes yes yes, fucking yes. Bob doesn't do anything other than to point out the obvious. Yes, most video games have oversexualized images of both men and women but you know what? That sells and in an industry that really doesn't look very kindly to failure the best bet is the safest bet. Oh, and don't expect this to change in a few years, once this generation of gamers reach their 30's most wont have enough time for AAA tittles, but their kids will and guess what they'll want?

Wow. I honestly hadn't noticed this until now.

Thanks a lot, MovieBob, though in all seriousness, though, I highly doubt the Internets can put aside their stupid, non-sensical arguments, bias, and elitism to actually do something productive. If they can, though, I'd really enjoy this, especially as an avid supporter of stronger female protagonists (or, frankly, more female protagonists in particular that aren't... well... obvious eye-candy).

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