Jimquisition: The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

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PunkRex:
I will be playing as Femshep on my next play through of ME so I can fuck the shit out of Garrus... thats not gay right?

Nope. I did a FemShep Thanemancer playthrough, didn't feel creeped out at all. Still haven't gotten around to importing that one to ME3... but I'll get to it, fear not.

It isn't wrong to NOT like roleplaying a woman in a videogame, it's got nothing about homophobia. Male gamers are always going to be able to relate better to male characters. If there was a market for it, there would be more female lead characters. Look at the rest of mediums; books, movies, music. A game should be able to stand on it's own, by it's own merits.

Simply put, this video makes no sense.

Funkyfists:
It isn't wrong to NOT like roleplaying a woman in a videogame, it's got nothing about homophobia. Male gamers are always going to be able to relate better to male characters. If there was a market for it, there would be more female lead characters. Look at the rest of mediums; books, movies, music. A game should be able to stand on it's own, by it's own merits.

You've got about 13 pages worth of stuff that you've seemed to miss that proves you more or less hideously wrong.

Actually, I just kinda realized something...what are we arguing about again? Seriously people are just going at each other over...what exactly?

Sepko:

Funkyfists:
It isn't wrong to NOT like roleplaying a woman in a videogame, it's got nothing about homophobia. Male gamers are always going to be able to relate better to male characters. If there was a market for it, there would be more female lead characters. Look at the rest of mediums; books, movies, music. A game should be able to stand on it's own, by it's own merits.

You've got about 13 pages worth of stuff that you've seemed to miss that proves you more or less hideously wrong.

I admit that I would prefer a male character to play as, it doesn't make me spineless or any less of a man, it just makes me someone that has not been shamed to the point where I need to wear a dress simply to make other people feel better,

If people want to play as female characters, fine, and there are some games that it will not matter, but my preference remains and I will speak with my money and leave it up to the developers to decide what kind of games to make. Evolution will let us know who is wrong and who is right as the companies that make those games win or fail.

Funkyfists:
It isn't wrong to NOT like roleplaying a woman in a videogame, it's got nothing about homophobia. Male gamers are always going to be able to relate better to male characters. If there was a market for it, there would be more female lead characters. Look at the rest of mediums; books, movies, music. A game should be able to stand on it's own, by it's own merits.

Simply put, this video makes no sense.

I agree with you 100%

Just like I read male focused books and have nothing against women reading books with female protagonists I have a preference to playing male characters.

I would not complain that there isn't a stronger male character in any female orientated book, I would simply not buy it. Thankfully we still have a choice to buy or not to buy games and can let our money speak for itself and leave everyone else to complain about it.

erttheking:
Actually, I just kinda realized something...what are we arguing about again? Seriously people are just going at each other over...what exactly?

It seems that one side is stating a very rational and what one would think is a normal statement of a preference as males to play a male character, and the other side is trying in vain to convince us that there is something horribly wrong with us that needs to be changes so we can be more enlightened like them...

Then when the other side realizes they can't really change or shame some men out of their preference they get all pissed off and start getting really emotional

TheBestPieEver:
This whole situation makes me want to buy Remember Me -Even though I think it'll be shit- to stand for women in relationships in gaming. We should be able to explore every type of situation and relationship in gaming, and I will fight for it tooth and nail.

This is my issue. Judging from the previews and gameplay footage, it looks like a bad game, which means it'll probably sell badly too. I'm worried that this sort of thing has a cooling effect, as producers will point to the female protagonist and go "yep, that's why it didn't sell". Somehow, they looked past the terrible writing, poorly implemented gameplay, and a dull protagonist whose character design began and ended with "let's make her a strong!Independant!Sexy! Female". We have nowhere near enough female protagonists as it is, and when the likes of Hydrophobia, Mirror's Edge, Red and Velvet Assassin flop, it discourages writers and devs from even trying.

Partezan:

erttheking:
Actually, I just kinda realized something...what are we arguing about again? Seriously people are just going at each other over...what exactly?

It seems that one side is stating a very rational and what one would think is a normal statement of a preference as males to play a male character, and the other side is trying in vain to convince us that there is something horribly wrong with us that needs to be changes so we can be more enlightened like them...

Then when the other side realizes they can't really change or shame some men out of their preference they get all pissed off and start getting really emotional

That sounds like a very biased statement.

Being a man and preferring to play as one doesn't necessarily bill you as a xenophobe, but the problem is the industry leads are twisting this out of shape. People like Partezan, above, simply like to play as guys. That's fine.

Then why the Hell do we keep seeing devs conflate that to playing as Caucasian gunbros with the requisite five o'-clock shadow?

I'm never going to bash on anyone's preferences, but the general message the industry is "getting" is that gamer dudes want their dude avatars. Making an effort and swapping your chromosomes around for a good cause could change things, or at least send a more progressive message. Otherwise, your absolutely decent preference for playing as a man is going to get smashed in with idiotic man-child opinions like Aris Baktarians' concerning female contestants in fighting games.

Unfortunately, that's what the industry goes by. The douchecanoes wanting to play with other douchecanoes exclusively tend to yell louder than the sedate ones, who either simply have a marked preference for the male gender or who've played as a female character and have never suffered from it.

Mind you, I'm not considering stuff like World of WarCraft or TERA. TERA's female models are rather egregiously sexed up precisely because they're looking to titillate male players into giving their product a shot. That's degrading on general principles. On the other hand, Vanilla Skyrim's female models are sedate.

At the same time, I can't criticize titles who push the female form for the sake of pure comedy. Rack up the "Sex Appeal" slider for female characters on Saints Row: The Third. Not only do you get horribly impractical breasts, but a silly walk/run cycle on top of it, to reinforce the fact that your character's body is ludicrously attempting to hold up these mutant mammaries. When it's pushed to that extreme, I really don't mind because the intent of parody or comedy becomes obvious.

There's a reason why I haven't touched stuff like Caliente's suite of mods for Skyrim, though. Women in the north of Tamriel are more likely to have functional armour around, and tantalizingly exposed skin wouldn't go too well with the Sea of Ghosts' frigid waters. So personal tastes dictates that I avoid making my Dovahkiin look like Jessica Rabbit.

Partezan:
Jim is the pussy calling men's preference to play a male character as spineless.

It's more spineless of men not to admit that yes, they prefer to put themselves in a male role when we fantasize and more likely than not the people designing the games also wish to write a story for the experience of a male character.

Men don't need to appease women by playing female characters if they don't feel like it anymore than we should make it mandatory to put some sports in female magazines, it sounds crazy to say this and it really shouldn't but if you are a guy it's OK to want to play as a GUY character. Enough with the shaming.

You see this? This is what we call 'Privileged.' A defense of the status quo that willfully ignores the underserving of an important market segment because it might take away the rarefied position that the speaker inhabits.

This might be a valid point if there was an even spread of male and female protagonists in the industry. As it stands, there isn't, and so your argument has about as much sympathy as saying that the Civil Rights movement was an unfair infringement on Southern Traditions(tm).

IamLEAM1983:
Being a man and preferring to play as one doesn't necessarily bill you as a xenophobe, but the problem is the industry leads are twisting this out of shape. People like Partezan, above, simply like to play as guys. That's fine.

Then why the Hell do we keep seeing devs conflate that to playing as Caucasian gunbros with the requisite five o'-clock shadow?

I'm never going to bash on anyone's preferences, but the general message the industry is "getting" is that gamer dudes want their dude avatars. Making an effort and swapping your chromosomes around for a good cause could change things, or at least send a more progressive message. Otherwise, your absolutely decent preference for playing as a man is going to get smashed in with idiotic man-child opinions like Aris Baktarians' concerning female contestants in fighting games.

Unfortunately, that's what the industry goes by. The douchecanoes wanting to play with other douchecanoes exclusively tend to yell louder than the sedate ones, who either simply have a marked preference for the male gender or who've played as a female character and have never suffered from it.

Mind you, I'm not considering stuff like World of WarCraft or TERA. TERA's female models are rather egregiously sexed up precisely because they're looking to titillate male players into giving their product a shot. That's degrading on general principles. On the other hand, Vanilla Skyrim's female models are sedate.

At the same time, I can't criticize titles who push the female form for the sake of pure comedy. Rack up the "Sex Appeal" slider for female characters on Saints Row: The Third. Not only do you get horribly impractical breasts, but a silly walk/run cycle on top of it, to reinforce the fact that your character's body is ludicrously attempting to hold up these mutant mammaries. When it's pushed to that extreme, I really don't mind because the intent of parody or comedy becomes obvious.

There's a reason why I haven't touched stuff like Caliente's suite of mods for Skyrim, though. Women in the north of Tamriel are more likely to have functional armour around, and tantalizingly exposed skin wouldn't go too well with the Sea of Ghosts' frigid waters. So personal tastes dictates that I avoid making my Dovahkiin look like Jessica Rabbit.

The solution to this is very simple, you let the market speak for itself

And if you feel that the market is missing out on an opportunity and has it wrong, then you are set to sneak in and make lots of money. Naturally taking risks and putting in effort that goes along with releasing a game.

It just seems to me if these people put half the time into making games with female protagonists as much as they spend arguing about the lack of them, they could have their theory tested in the real world and see if the market backs up their view or not.

seizon:
hrm, as an Assassin's Creed fan, this makes me want to play a game where desmond has to relive one of his female ancestor assassin's lives...

Yeah, it got to me during Assassin's Creed 3. You actually play as a female character for all of 10 seconds... during a loading screen, a moment before playing as Connor. It's like the game is taking the piss: "Oh, you want to play as a woman? Well, here you ar- Psych!" I'm annoyed that Liberation only got exclusively released on the PSP. How far are they going to go out of their way to not let me play as a woman?

Mahoshonen:

Partezan:
Jim is the pussy calling men's preference to play a male character as spineless.

It's more spineless of men not to admit that yes, they prefer to put themselves in a male role when we fantasize and more likely than not the people designing the games also wish to write a story for the experience of a male character.

Men don't need to appease women by playing female characters if they don't feel like it anymore than we should make it mandatory to put some sports in female magazines, it sounds crazy to say this and it really shouldn't but if you are a guy it's OK to want to play as a GUY character. Enough with the shaming.

You see this? This is what we call 'Privileged.' A defense of the status quo that willfully ignores the underserving of an important market segment because it might take away the rarefied position that the speaker inhabits.

This might be a valid point if there was an even spread of male and female protagonists in the industry. As it stands, there isn't, and so your argument has about as much sympathy as saying that the Civil Rights movement was an unfair infringement on Southern Traditions(tm).

If there is a true 'underserving' then you have a chance to make a name for yourself.

Just how will it take away from any position? Just because there are more female leads in games does not mean there are fewer 'good' games. Developers will make games based on publishers and sometimes; their personal preference.

An even spread of male and female protagonists in the industry doesn't make sense. Do you mean in games??
Unfortunately for you the market doesn't call for it. Your argument makes as much sense as saying there should be as many paraplegic protagonists as not.

maninahat:

TheBestPieEver:
This whole situation makes me want to buy Remember Me -Even though I think it'll be shit- to stand for women in relationships in gaming. We should be able to explore every type of situation and relationship in gaming, and I will fight for it tooth and nail.

This is my issue. Judging from the previews and gameplay footage, it looks like a bad game, which means it'll probably sell badly too. I'm worried that this sort of thing has a cooling effect, as producers will point to the female protagonist and go "yep, that's why it didn't sell". Somehow, they looked past the terrible writing, poorly implemented gameplay, and a dull protagonist whose character design began and ended with "let's make her a strong!Independant!Sexy! Female". We have nowhere near enough female protagonists as it is, and when the likes of Hydrophobia, Mirror's Edge, Red and Velvet Assassin flop, it discourages writers and devs from even trying.

Oooooor it could just be the fact that the demand for games with such protagonists isn't as high as everyone would like to believe (confirmation bias) and the market just can't support those kinds of characters right now?

Why is that not an option?

Even Devil May Cry outsold Bayonetta by over 30%, and DMC was an exclusive while Bayonetta was multi platform.

Mahoshonen:

Partezan:
Jim is the pussy calling men's preference to play a male character as spineless.

It's more spineless of men not to admit that yes, they prefer to put themselves in a male role when we fantasize and more likely than not the people designing the games also wish to write a story for the experience of a male character.

Men don't need to appease women by playing female characters if they don't feel like it anymore than we should make it mandatory to put some sports in female magazines, it sounds crazy to say this and it really shouldn't but if you are a guy it's OK to want to play as a GUY character. Enough with the shaming.

You see this? This is what we call 'Privileged.' A defense of the status quo that willfully ignores the underserving of an important market segment because it might take away the rarefied position that the speaker inhabits.

This might be a valid point if there was an even spread of male and female protagonists in the industry. As it stands, there isn't, and so your argument has about as much sympathy as saying that the Civil Rights movement was an unfair infringement on Southern Traditions(tm).

There is a big difference between horrible laws imposed on people as with civil rights, and a personal preference in an entertainment product. If you want to talk privilege in terms of the law then there is no greater privilege than that given to women over men.

Men serve more severe prison sentences for the same crimes, are given custody of their kids less often, are generally the ones forced to pay the women money regardless of how much custody they have (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2031838/Jon-Cryer-forced-pay-ex-wife-8-000-month-child-support-losing-appeal.html) or if the child is even biologically theirs or not, are seen as guilty by default in domestic violence and rape allegations and are discriminated for jobs because of quotas for the amount of women needed regardless if the men are more qualified, then there is the huge difference in money spend on male health issues compared to the money spend on female causes even when men die earlier and commit suicide 3 times as much as women do.

I can go on, and i'll be happy for you to tell me where in the law men are privileged over women also...

PS: I forgot to mention the treatment of male pedophiles compared to female ones:
(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1077266/He-seduced-Married-housewife-sex-boy-14-walks-free-court-judges-extraordinary-ruling.html)

Gottesstrafe:
Fine, Jim. If you'll be my daddy, I'm your Huckleberry.

Out of curiosity, was there much furor over Mirror's Edge's protagonist being female?

Not a furore, but there was that time some artist redesigned the character to "improve her appearance" for the Asian market. By his argument, Faith's ethnic characteristics were exaggerated to appeal to a Westerner's concept of beauty, whereas Asians would prefer her with big eyes and bigger boobs. The designers found the reaction depressing, saying they weren't trying to make a swimsuit model in the first place.

pinkerton:
Great post, needed to be said.

I'm sad that I can't shake the feeling that if a women had said these exact words, the response from the internet at large would have been aggression and threats.

Thoughts?

Agreed. Just read in this thread that Anita Sarkeesian basically said the same but the poster didn't like her condescending tone...lol.

It's called hypocrisy. Jim inexplicably has a huge following and it really doesn't matter what he says...they'll agree.

I was expecting this topic to blow up with comments but not slide into threats of rape and anti-Semitic rants. It is possible to have a civil conversation about tropes vs Women as long as it's a male leading the discussion.

Mr_Terrific:

pinkerton:
Great post, needed to be said.

I'm sad that I can't shake the feeling that if a women had said these exact words, the response from the internet at large would have been aggression and threats.

Thoughts?

Agreed. Just read in this thread that Anita Sarkeesian basically said the same but the poster didn't like her condescending tone...lol.

It's called hypocrisy. Jim inexplicably has a huge following and it really doesn't matter what he says...they'll agree.

I was expecting this topic to blow up with comments but not slide into threats of rape and anti-Semitic rants. It is possible to have a civil conversation about tropes vs Women as long as it's a male leading the discussion.

No point in rape threats for Jim, black leather + over compensating with anger and dominance + overactive desire to please women = a funky SnM dungeon and some strap on waiting for him at home.

Partezan:
Snip!

Then, honest question, why aren't devs seizing that market en masse? We've got, what, Valve and its staple of usually decent female characters (GLaDOS excepted, considering she's not technically female), the recent re-envisioning of Lara Croft that's finally done away with the Adolescent Male Fantasy Boobs; and maybe Nilin from "Remember Me". Otherwise, all that comes to mind is your usual set of obscure to semi-obscure characters from adventure games, from April Ryan to Kate Walker.

CrazyCapnMorgan:

Women are human, too. It's not THAT hard to understand. Although, I was once told that women were more complex than men because of the chromosonal makeup: women have XXXX, where men have XXXY and therefore are 25% more complex than men (or something to that effect).

Crash course Genetic Biology:

Men have as many different types of genes as women.

The difference is due to the y-chromosome being non coding in men, and chromosomes being in pairs of redundancy, each chromosome essentially coding for the same genes just separate copies. For, men one of those pairs doesn't have a "back up" (because the Y-chromosome is non-coding) so more likely certain genetic diseases will be expressed for lack of a backup if anything goes wrong.

This is why colour blindness is fairly common in men but extremely rare in women. Because the gene associated with colour blindness is in the 23rd pair of chromosomes.

Things in fact get more complicated with men's genetic code.

Frankly, it's super bloody complicated all around. The important thing to remember about genetic differences between men and women is other than the Y chromosome there really aren't any. Both boys and girls are the product of the same reproductive process, the difference between men and women are mostly down to the action of a few hormones.

The difference between men and women may seem different but genetically it's mostly irrelevant.

Treblaine:

CrazyCapnMorgan:

Women are human, too. It's not THAT hard to understand. Although, I was once told that women were more complex than men because of the chromosonal makeup: women have XXXX, where men have XXXY and therefore are 25% more complex than men (or something to that effect).

Crash course Genetic Biology:

Men have as many different types of genes as women.

The difference is due to the y-chromosome being non coding in men, and chromosomes being in pairs of redundancy, each chromosome essentially coding for the same genes just separate copies. For, men one of those pairs doesn't have a "back up" (because the Y-chromosome is non-coding) so more likely certain genetic diseases will be expressed for lack of a backup if anything goes wrong.

This is why colour blindness is fairly common in men but extremely rare in women. Because the gene associated with colour blindness is in the 23rd pair of chromosomes.

Things in fact get more complicated with men's genetic code.

Frankly, it's super bloody complicated all around. The important thing to remember about genetic differences between men and women is other than the Y chromosome there really aren't any. Both boys and girls are the product of the same reproductive process, the difference between men and women are mostly down to the action of a few hormones.

The difference between men and women may seem different but genetically it's mostly irrelevant.

Getting a little off topic but it's the small differences that mean a lot. e.g. it's the women have babies not men. This led to evolution making it the imperative of women to be the carers while men became the hunters. Step forward and we have videogames that allow people to step out of their regular lives and simply have fun. Well it turns out men enjoy different things than women. Which leads to the imbalance. There's a little more to it more to it but really? It's biology, evolution and at the moment? The way things are. Unless publishers want to change their demographic things wont change.

The games industry is strong because it is the way it is. It works.

Wow, I find it really weird that game developers are scared of giving female lead characters agency in romantic plotlines, or having a female player character kiss a male character, just because it's probably a male player playing the game.

I'm 100% heterosexual, and when I was playing Mass Effect as Femshep I was all like... come on, Kaidan, give me some of that sweet lovin'. And come to think of it, that's the only game I can even think of that allowed me, as a female character, to actively pursue a romantic relation relationship with a male character. Anyone know of any other games that offer that possibility?

I almost always choose to play as female characters when it's an option. I mean, isn't the whole point of playing a character to experience things from a different perspective?

Kopikatsu:

maninahat:
snip

Oooooor it could just be the fact that the demand for games with such protagonists isn't as high as everyone would like to believe (confirmation bias) and the market just can't support those kinds of characters right now?

Why is that not an option?

Even Devil May Cry outsold Bayonetta by over 30%, and DMC was an exclusive while Bayonetta was multi platform.

Considering how well Portal 2 and Tomb Raider sold, it isn't as if consumers are adverse to games with female characters in and of themselves. Putting aside the fact that Bayonetta was a new IP without a pre-established fanbase (unlike the DMC franchise), poor female character game sales is partly down to the chicken and the egg problem Jim already described in the video:

Less Dev Support -> Less Marketing -> Less Public Interest -> Less Sales -> Less Dev Support...ad infinitum.
It's also to do with the fact that a lot of the big titles with female protagonists happened to really suck. That isn't helpful either.

Even if it wasn't to do with that, and it was down to male gamers just not wanting to play as female characters...then that's worse. Those folk really could do to broaden their horizons. Imagine how many classic works of literature you'd miss out on if you applied that mentality to books and their characters.

boots:

Lightknight:

Either way, with the target market supposedly being comprised of around 47% women this sort of thing should start happening. It's not a boys world anymore, or so it seems. Like I said, we'd need to know more "genre/market category" specific data to ascertain how valid that percentage holds up across the market but it's not like that study asked men a different question.

Yeah, but haven't you heard? The 47% of gamers who have vaginas aren't real gamers. They're just playing Farmville and The Sims and Angry Birds. Girls don't like shooters or real games. Their tiny girl hands can't work the controllers properly, and every time they get killed they burst into tears and curl up in a big menstruating ball.

inb4 someone actually argues this for realsies.

Haha, it's a funny statement to make (very Archie Bunker of you), but it's also a real concern that console game developers have and that they may know more about than we do. It may not be a coincidence that the rapid increase of female gamers has coincided with the development and adoption of smart phones, for example. If so, the target market for a console AAA game may still be 70% or more male. So we can all smile and nod while making delightfully droll statements like this like we know better than developers but we may honestly be missing the full picture they have.

That being said, I spent some time talking with my wife about this issue last night. We of course agree that it's a double standard that men can approach women in games but developers can't make a woman that is interested in men. We can't figure out why there's a hard no to female protagonists in relationships rule. Would it really impact male gamers that badly? It was fairly clear to me that people sexualized the original Lara Croft to a significant degree and basically spent entire games undressing her with their eyes and such. In that way, I'm not so sure that a romantic relationship with a male character in the game would translate into the male gamer having an avatar-identity crises of homoerotic proprotions. Maybe it'd just be an opportunity for men, who have evolved to be attracted to these kinds of things, to get to see their sexy protagonist get undressed. It's a creepy point to make but not entirely out of line with the kind of behavior we've seen.

Anyone here play Morrowind? Do you recall having to strip naked for a certain male leader in order to curry favor and getting called puddin' in the process? Hilarious.

maninahat:

Not a furore, but there was that time some artist redesigned the character to "improve her appearance" for the Asian market. By his argument, Faith's ethnic characteristics were exaggerated...

That may be a fact.

...to appeal to a Westerner's concept of beauty

That, however, is not a fact. That's an assumption of "why" and it's baseless speculation and it is the basis of the controversy. There was no reason to bring loaded statements like "a Westerner's concept of beauty" into a debate, even though it's the most blatant kangaroo court of public recriminations.

We really can do with more reasoned and structured discourse, how can we settle anything when people are making arguments that are so clearly fallacious and derailing if not down right false. They can't just stick to the facts and what is known.

There's a problem here with holding the games industry to a standard we don't hold other industries to.

No-one complains that Twilight isn't marketed to men or face-cream is only marketed to women or beer is marketed to men.

maninahat:
Considering how well Portal 2 and Tomb Raider sold, it isn't as if consumers are adverse to games with female characters in and of themselves. Putting aside the fact that Bayonetta was a new IP without a pre-established fanbase (unlike the DMC franchise), poor female character game sales is partly down to the chicken and the egg problem Jim already described in the video:

Less Dev Support -> Less Marketing -> Less Public Interest -> Less Sales -> Less Dev Support...ad infinitum.
It's also to do with the fact that a lot of the big titles with female protagonists happened to really suck. That isn't helpful either.

Even if it wasn't to do with that, and it was down to male gamers just not wanting to play as female characters...then that's worse. Those folk really could do to broaden their horizons. Imagine how many classic works of literature you'd miss out on if you applied that mentality to books and their characters.

There's another problem as well, if it's the study I'm thinking about it was really poorly done or at least, it didn't give us nearly enough information about the samples in the study to know if it was even valid. We also weren't informed of how that sample size was composed. Better information would tell us the marketing budget in relation to the overall budget. If they're small budget games then saying that the marketing budget is less than AAA games like that's unexpected is pretty dumb.

What we really need to see is games with female protagonists compared to male protagonist games that have a similar budget, genre and target audience. I remember the Penny Arcade Report on this topic that had a picture comparing Mirror's Edge and inFamous. Two very different games with very different budgets and potentially entirely different target markets. Just because you can run on the top of buildings in both games doesn't mean they share everything else. If the proportion of the marketing budget is significantly different on average then we have something to talk about. If not, I'm guessin the sample size was too small to be a valid sample or that there were too many vectors that weren't accounted for.

Metalrocks:
seriously. what is the big problem playing a female?? nothing. its simply idiotic to think like this. i love playing a female character more then playing a male character. if i have the chance to play as a female, she comes first. same as in ME games. i made a femshep and later on more. and if some are really disgusted to see the female protagonist kissing a man, then there is really something wrong with them.

i really hope that companies ignore this stupidity and carry on using the female protagonist as planed.

There isn't anything wrong with me wanting to play as a male in a game either. As it turns out, I personally identify better with a male lead character, and when given the choice as to what gender I want to make my character, I go with the one I'm most comfortable with. I'll play a female character, fine, but the game itself needs to be good. I won't play a female just for the sake of playing female. I wish this community, and Jim would quit shaming people who feel this way.

Quit imposing your morality on me, and assuming there is something wrong with me not wanting to play your way.

Partezan:
I agree with you 100%

Just like I read male focused books and have nothing against women reading books with female protagonists I have a preference to playing male characters.

I would not complain that there isn't a stronger male character in any female orientated book, I would simply not buy it. Thankfully we still have a choice to buy or not to buy games and can let our money speak for itself and leave everyone else to complain about it.

And when the publishing industry decides it won't put out books with female main characters, you'll actually have a point to make. Until then, please don't change the subject.

All of this is meaningless.

We need better games, male or female leads be damned.

Red X:

ccdohl:
Why does the audience have to be spineless and weak, or repressed homosexuals just because they prefer male characters in games? I mean, it's presumably just because most gamers are male.

Sure, the attitudes toward female sexuality could be different, but the preference, as it exists, doesn't make anyone a bad person. It's just a preference, right?

I personally prefer a male protagonist in a game. It may have something to do with my preference for self projection or something, I'm not sure. But it doesn't make me a bad person, does it?

I like the show and all, but Jim seems to be way off this week.

What Jim was getting at is the way there seems to be an unecessary fear to show women on a cover let alone have one as a main character, it's not so much about what you personally prefer but rather the fact the big wigs (from publishers i guess) have demonstrated a either disrespect or lack of vision when a game involves or is centred around a woman. That is bad.
If you don't want to play a female character that's fine but what seems to be the problem is that even if you wanted to you aren't given an option and women aren't given fair representation in games where they are/could be the focus, just pushed to the side as it where.

I get the point, and the fact that Jim is exaggerating for comedy. Basically, the portrayal of female characters in lead roles is risky because it affects sales, because most gamers are reluctant to buy those titles.

I just don't see why that is such a terribly negative thing. It's just a popular preference with gamers. It's not good or bad. It may be based on some imperfection in the social structure of human culture, but that doesn't mean that it's some moral flaw. It also doesn't seem to indicate that gamers are sexist or prefer to see female characters as lacking sexual agency, just that they don't want to get in the shoes of the other sex for the most part.

I mean, we don't really chide men as sexist pigs for mostly avoiding movies like Eat Pray Love or the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Maybe that comparison isn't perfect, but I think that it works.

Personally, I think it's about projection. Gamers can get comfortable enough in the shoes of a female character if she's being violent, but dealing with a relationship with a man is a different kind of action and one that, understandably, might be awkward for some gamers. (For the record, I don't feel that way. I typically avoid the romantic paths with characters in games, but I was disappointed that my male dwarf in DA:O couldn't get down with Allister.) I don't see it as a moral flaw, just a preference.

Maybe I'm just way off because I don't think that a revolution in the portrayal of females (or any other characters for that matter) in video games is of vital importance to the medium. \

Blue Ranger:
Yes, females are allowed to be protagonists and have realtionships in games. Speaking of females in relationships, one of the reasons it seems to be looked down upon isn't just because of homophobic males. I do believe part of the problem is with these dumbass e-feminists who seem to be just as opposed to females in relationships, specifically with men. According to these pathetically sad and insecure females, women aren't allowed to show interest in men because it apparently makes them weak and submissive to men. God forbid a woman falls in love with a man, and she wants to persue a relationship with him. Apparently to these internet feminists, women need to be lonely, or only fall in love with other women.

Another problem with female protagonists is how when some people create them, they have to be in god mode. They can go around beating up and killing men, because apparently that makes a strong woman. Oh, but don't you think about having a man who's capable of kicker her ass. Woman have to always win, or else the internet feminists will call you a misogynist.

The reason why people dread these kind of threads is because people don't discuss this in a civil manner. We have internet feminists and white knights antagonizing men, treating them like they are the spawn of satan and that all of us men are somehow footsoldiers of the patriarchy. No, the vast, VAST majority of men aren't actually trying to oppress women. We men don't all get together in secret meetings trying to come up with plans to hold women down. We're too busy trying to live our own lives and making it through our day. Men aren't the bad guys here, contrary to popular belief.

Yes, there is a proplem with discrimination in general in our world. One of the biggest reasons why is because many people who preach about equality are incapable of practicing what they preach. They want equality, yet expect everyone else except themselves to change.

Nice job with the victim blaming there. Again, can I rub Gears of War 3 in your face, and ask where the feminist complaints were about how you can shoot the female characters, bayonet charge them, chainsaw them, do everything to them that you can to the male characters. I played gears with female characters and I did all the above to male and female mp characters, and had them done to me by male and female mp characters. In fact, I'd like to see some actual complaints you have seen by feminists as opposed to you shoving words in their mouths and then damning them for saying what you only claim they said.

I have seen far more frivolous feminist bashing and straw feminising than I have seen feminists making frivolous and misplaced complaints blowing things out of proportion.

XMark:
Wow, I find it really weird that game developers are scared of giving female lead characters agency in romantic plotlines, or having a female player character kiss a male character, just because it's probably a male player playing the game.

I'm 100% heterosexual, and when I was playing Mass Effect as Femshep I was all like... come on, Kaidan, give me some of that sweet lovin'. And come to think of it, that's the only game I can even think of that allowed me, as a female character, to actively pursue a romantic relation relationship with a male character. Anyone know of any other games that offer that possibility?

I almost always choose to play as female characters when it's an option. I mean, isn't the whole point of playing a character to experience things from a different perspective?

Considering I came here to say just about this exact same thing, I'll just quote you on it and echo the sentiment. I think what Mass Effect did was actually hugely beneficial, since it sort of killed two birds with one stone. First it allowed complete player choice in the matter of gender, and also how much you wanted to invest in it. It also, ultimately, showed that no matter if it was Manshep or Femshep, the story is pretty much the same, with only the romantic subplots differing.

I think more choice is ideal, and more games with the option to play either gender would address many of the issues presented here.

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