Jimquisition: The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

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uanime5:

Hey you know all those books, comics, and even movies written by women. Did you ever wonder why they don't include any of the female characters you mentioned? Could it be because even women don't like these types of women? If so then their lack of appeal is probably why they're not in games.

You must not do much reading of things with female leads. Because there's plenty of books written by women with varying female personality types in their leads. Comics are tougher because you have to stick to indie titles, as the Big Two aren't very accepting of female talent (but the few that do, have written for characters that range from Wonder Woman to Mystique to X-23. And movies? Well you've got works like Bridesmaids, Brave, and Zero Dark Thirty as written ones that show women with different attributes.

So, yes, there are plenty of women that like reading about women that are more than just strength through sexiness.

It was explained in the video that the people who rated the box art felt that the cover with the male character the player plays as was better than the cover with the non-playable female character. I guess people just like the character they play as to be on the box art, rather than unplayable characters.

No, it was explained that the box art was plotted the way it was because of fear that having the female on the cover ALONGSIDE the male would scare male gamers off. The argument wasn't to erase the hero, but to use the cover to convey that the woman was also important to the game's plot. the back cover is where you regulate the, "Oh by the way..." bits, as most people don't actually read the back (because if they did, parents would stop bitching about game content...)

Comparing imaginary games to your strawmen just shows you lack a real argument. Certain type of genre are always going to be more popular than other genre, just like certain type of characters are always going to be more popular than other types. So a game made to appeal to as many people as possible will always sell better than a game designed to appeal to a niche market.

Except the video already proved my argument. Publishers don't want to put their money behind a new IP if it focuses on a woman, because they're sure it'll fail. But they'll gladly release it and watch it fail. Meanwhile a new IP with a male lead, get's all the press events, and a slew of trailers and screenshots. And if it fails, no one says, "Well I guess we shouldn't make a game with white dudes anymore." No. They try again. And again. And again. Even using bayonetta as an example, unless you were a big fan of the creator, you didn't see much outside of dedicated game sites. No TV ads, either. But when the original DMC came out, there were plenty of ads.

Look at the Assassin's Creed series. AC3 had theatrical trailers before some movies, plenty of airtime on TV. And Liberation got squat, and was stuck on the Vita, a system with a decidedly small userbase. The game was set up to fail long before launch.

Mass Effect is brought up alot (well let's just go with all of the Bioware titles of late). I remember the ME2 commercials. For all the glory of having a female playable option, the ads were quick to not make mention of that. Dragon Age focused on the male version of the hero as well. Sure ME3 got a fem!Shep trailer. And if you were a denizen of the webs, you saw it. But it never hit the airwaves during primetime. It was never shown in theaters.

Partezan:

You can call out the market and demand from them what you desire as much as you want!

The issue is that people like Jim shame men into thinking there is something wrong with them wanting to play as a male character, even though here you are demanding to play as a female one. The issue is that people don't seem to see the hypocrisy of women wanting to play female leads but then being critical of men when they speak up and tell the market they want to play as male ones.

If gender in video games really didn't matter, and men shouldn't care if they play as a man or a woman then the same thing should be said for women, stop caring who you play as! But that is not the case, and you have every right to demand female characters but just stop shaming men when they don't do the same.

Except pretty much every self-ID'd female that's commented in this thread has pointed out that we have been playing as male leads (even when there's romance) since the get-go. And we aren't crying out about how ickle it is to do so.

Jim isn't shaming men for not preferring to play female leads. He's calling out guys who's argument hinges on their fear of seeing the character kiss a dude (and subsequently, themselves kiss a dude). If that's the only reason a person refuses to play a woman, that's a pretty weaksauce one as, like I said, women and minorities have been doing it for a long time.

Technicka:
The industry is inundated with different type of male leads. There's something for everyone. Women aren't given the same opportunities. Our heroes are always sexy and ready to have sex. We don't get unattractive fighters (GoW), or goofballs (classic!Dante), or bitter assholes (new!Dante)or douchebags (Nate Drake) or average joes (Alan Wake)in droves. So when the few leading ladies we do get keep sticking to the same mold, at what point do women start calling out the creators to try something different?

Technicka:
You must not do much reading of things with female leads. Because there's plenty of books written by women with varying female personality types in their leads.

Care to provide any examples. Which of the female characters in books written by women are unattractive, goofballs, bitter assholes, douchebags, or average Joes?

Comics are tougher because you have to stick to indie titles, as the Big Two aren't very accepting of female talent (but the few that do, have written for characters that range from Wonder Woman to Mystique to X-23. And movies? Well you've got works like Bridesmaids, Brave, and Zero Dark Thirty as written ones that show women with different attributes.

While you have provided examples of female leads in comics and movies you failed to explain which female characters are the type you said you wanted more of. Which of these female characters are unattractive, goofballs, bitter assholes, douchebags, or average Joes? If none of them are then try to figure out why these type of characters are so unpopular.

No, it was explained that the box art was plotted the way it was because of fear that having the female on the cover ALONGSIDE the male would scare male gamers off. The argument wasn't to erase the hero, but to use the cover to convey that the woman was also important to the game's plot. the back cover is where you regulate the, "Oh by the way..." bits, as most people don't actually read the back (because if they did, parents would stop bitching about game content...)

It was clearly stated that people preferred Bioshock box art that only featured the playable character on the front, so that's why this version was chosen. In the world of marketing what the customer prefers is what's chosen, not what's the most accurate.

Except the video already proved my argument. Publishers don't want to put their money behind a new IP if it focuses on a woman, because they're sure it'll fail. But they'll gladly release it and watch it fail. Meanwhile a new IP with a male lead, get's all the press events, and a slew of trailers and screenshots. And if it fails, no one says, "Well I guess we shouldn't make a game with white dudes anymore." No. They try again. And again. And again. Even using bayonetta as an example, unless you were a big fan of the creator, you didn't see much outside of dedicated game sites. No TV ads, either. But when the original DMC came out, there were plenty of ads.

Bayonetta and DMC were made by different developers and had different publishers so it's no surprised that they were advertised differently. Especially since the original DMC was released in 2001, while Bayonetta was released in 2010. Back in 2001 fewer people used the internet so you had to use more television adverts to make people aware of your games.

You also shouldn't consider how Bayonetta was advertised in the USA as a reflection of how it was advertised throughout the world. In Japan was advertised Bayonetta using large posters at railway stations in Tokyo.

http://kotaku.com/5389856/bayonetta-stickers-removed-posters-uncovered

Look at the Assassin's Creed series. AC3 had theatrical trailers before some movies, plenty of airtime on TV. And Liberation got squat, and was stuck on the Vita, a system with a decidedly small userbase. The game was set up to fail long before launch.

Liberation is a spin off while AC3 is a continuation of the main story. AC3 is being released on a multiple platforms while Liberation is only being released on one (which AC3 isn't being released on). Liberation was never going to be as popular because it's not about Desmond's predecessors.

I will admit that I would feel awkward about a female protagonist getting it on with a male love interest. But to be honest if it meant we got more female protagonists I would happy deal with that awkward moment/s. I would love to see some interesting games with strong female leads and I have felt for quite a long time that it's a great shame that we haven't had many female leads in the games industry because they can often be far more interesting then typical strong males like every single male character from Gear of War.

rhodo:

Red X:
Plus it's rare to have an overtly sexy woman as a main character,

You've got to be kidding me. Are you new to videogames?

Pro tip: when a female character is in a videogame, she will be an overtly sexy woman. Lollypop Chainsaw, Fear Effect, BloodRayne, etc. etc.?

etc, etc? and i can give you even more examples of the opposite (Okami for instance :P), and I suppose you missed the part where i said it's the first i've played as an overtly sexy main female character (I don't count Tomb Raider because she looks it it isn't part of the game)? Lolipop chainsaw doesn't count because it's even more ridiculous but like Bayonetta it's in on the joke. Not that it justifies it.

The issue with depiction of female characters in videogames is that they're nearly always only meant to be sexually attractive. Would YOU identify with a skimply dressed male character who strikes up alluring poses to the player?[/quote] i don't identify with any male in a game, unless he gets kicked in the balls or something. And at what point was i justifying ALL skantily dressed female characters? I said if it has purpose beyond eye candy it's fine with me.

[quote]Not that the sexy vixen character type would bother me. What bothers me? Is seeing ONLY that.

then i guess it's just me because I haven't, you don't ONLY see that in female characters which you prove below

Ideally, female characters in videogames should be of various kinds. Look up at all of these images, all of them.... videogames need ALL of these types of female characters:

1 http://www.videogamegirlsdb.com/Images/Soul_Calibur/Ivy/Ivy_SCD_01.jpg

2 http://www.renders-graphiques.fr/image/upload/moyen/chiyo_bu_maksitobi.png

3 http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/scale_small/0/2130/182036-makoto.jpg

4 http://www.arcade-gear.com/Games/Bloody_Roar/Bloody_Roar_Art_Mitsuko_1.jpg

5 http://feminspire.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Elena-Fisher-Uncharted.jpg

...And more!!!

This is what I would love to see.

Fighting games are bad examples because none (that I know of) of them are main characters which was what we where chatting about, though if i'm honest i too don't like the fact in fighter (often 3D) the women look utterly ridiculous or even in fantasy RPGSs the more powerful women are the less they dress (i mean really?). Excluding Cammy and Sakura Street Fighter is actually pretty okay when representing women, design wise I guess.

Has anyone played Pandora's Tower? Mavda reminds me of my Gran XD

uanime5:

While you have provided examples of female leads in comics and movies you failed to explain which female characters are the type you said you wanted more of. Which of these female characters are unattractive, goofballs, bitter assholes, douchebags, or average Joes? If none of them are then try to figure out why these type of characters are so unpopular.

It's cute that you're so hung up on the fact that I didn't give you a wikipedia calibre listing of every female ever writeen ever. Because Twilight 9regardless of your thoughts about it) was wirtten by a woman with an average female lead. The Anita Blake series features a lead that's a pretty raging bitch more often than not. Wolf at The Door is about a soccer mom-type. My Mad Fat Diary has an unattractiveness, overweight lead. Hunger Games - depsite what the movie shows you, Katniss is painfully underfed and as such isn't exactly going to win any beauty pageants.

It was clearly stated that people preferred Bioshock box art that only featured the playable character on the front, so that's why this version was chosen. In the world of marketing what the customer prefers is what's chosen, not what's the most accurate.

I'm not entirely sure you've actually taken part of a focus group. So maybe that's why I'm not impressed with that argument. Because those questionnaires tend to be worded in a way that lead participants to the results that the client already want. It's far too often used as a validation. After all, focus groups told Hollywood that movies where the female is the hero aren't worth doing. And the whoops Ellen Ripley happend. And whoops again, Angelina Jolie becomes an action star. And whoops Twilight proves even a female led romance can be a force to recon with. And ho, there's Hunger Games again proving them wrong.

Bayonetta and DMC were made by different developers and had different publishers so it's no surprised that they were advertised differently. Especially since the original DMC was released in 2001, while Bayonetta was released in 2010. Back in 2001 fewer people used the internet so you had to use more television adverts to make people aware of your games.

You also shouldn't consider how Bayonetta was advertised in the USA as a reflection of how it was advertised throughout the world. In Japan was advertised Bayonetta using large posters at railway stations in Tokyo.

http://kotaku.com/5389856/bayonetta-stickers-removed-posters-uncovered

That would hold weight if I didn't just watch a Bioshock advert on TV. Traditional media is still something business uses. You're implying that Bayonetta got less TV time because the internet is the way publishers look to spread hype. When plenty of other titles see both avenues being employed. Bayonetta had the beenefit of using the DMC brand (as a good portion of the original DMC team was behind it) and that angle could've been used in the US as a promotional item. But nope.

And I'm not entirely sure why you're bringing up the Japan ad campaign since they don't have the same issues we do with women on covers, or having games focused on them.

Liberation is a spin off while AC3 is a continuation of the main story. AC3 is being released on a multiple platforms while Liberation is only being released on one (which AC3 isn't being released on). Liberation was never going to be as popular because it's not about Desmond's predecessors.

The CoD franchise has been spin offs for quite some time. And no one questioned that aspect when Activision stuck with it. Halo ODST and Reach were too, and they still got as much hype as the main story. Hell, even Ballad of Gay Tony (a friggin DLC) got more media love than Liberation. So like I said, Liberation was set up to not succeed, but now when someone complains about sexism in gaming, people can point out that Liberation happened. But such a shame it didn't do well, and that's why female leads are so scarce.

Technicka:

Jim isn't shaming men for not preferring to play female leads. He's calling out guys who's argument hinges on their fear of seeing the character kiss a dude (and subsequently, themselves kiss a dude). If that's the only reason a person refuses to play a woman, that's a pretty weaksauce one as, like I said, women and minorities have been doing it for a long time.

it has nothing to do with fear, I doubt any gamer out there expresses a physical sensation of terror at playing a romance from a female point of view or that of a homosexual, it's just a preference.

Do you not have a preference in clothing? Do you think it would be retarded if for example you didn't like wearing a dress and then I made a video calling you sexist, and creepy and telling you that you have a problem because you don't want to put on a dress?

If you buy the game for me or even better yet pay me money for playing a game I'll play whatever gay kissing sex thing you can come up with, no one has a physical fear they simply have a preference and these days if your preference isn't a feminine or gay one then you have issues...

And Jim is absolutely shaming that preference, go back and watch his video again and listen to to all the shaming language he uses and all in regards to a PREFERENCE of males to play as strong male characters.

Partezan:

Technicka:

Jim isn't shaming men for not preferring to play female leads. He's calling out guys who's argument hinges on their fear of seeing the character kiss a dude (and subsequently, themselves kiss a dude). If that's the only reason a person refuses to play a woman, that's a pretty weaksauce one as, like I said, women and minorities have been doing it for a long time.

it has nothing to do with fear, I doubt any gamer out there expresses a physical sensation of terror at playing a romance from a female point of view or that of a homosexual, it's just a preference.

Do you not have a preference in clothing? Do you think it would be retarded if for example you didn't like wearing a dress and then I made a video calling you sexist, and creepy and telling you that you have a problem because you don't want to put on a dress?

If you buy the game for me or even better yet pay me money for playing a game I'll play whatever gay kissing sex thing you can come up with, no one has a physical fear they simply have a preference and these days if your preference isn't a feminine or gay one then you have issues...

And Jim is absolutely shaming that preference, go back and watch his video again and listen to to all the shaming language he uses and all in regards to a PREFERENCE of males to play as strong male characters.

Yea, nooope. He's calling out the guys that are saying they can't play as a female because they don't want to maybe have to play a scenario where the lead has adult times with a male. The majority of the video is him raging against an industry that seems determined to ignore that women are customers and that they deserve more than to be depicted as objects in so many games. He also makes mention that games can't even be arsed to offer the chance for players to create a character that they want. If games went about it like BioWare does, then this wouldn't be such an issue (the marketing part would, though). But the games don't even offer that much. So, in a game like Bioshock, preferences is a non-issue because there's only one option, regardless of the players' desire.

I first became aware of this little fiasco (and, incidentally, of Remember Me's existence) via Monday's episode of Checkpoint, LRR's gaming news show over on PATV. So, first of all: thanks you, news scandal, for alerting me to the existence of a game that looks totally fucking awesome. Got my pre-order in about six hours later.

My reaction to the issue itself, however? I was, well, flabbergasted. Seriously, I thought the industry was over this. Did everybody forget how positive the player reaction was to Femshep getting her own trailer during the advertising cycle for ME3? I'm also pretty sure Tomb Raider has been doing well for over a decade now, and that sure as hell features a female protagonist. It was at this point that I realized that I was already out of AAA titles with female PC's, and I got seriously annoyed. So yeah, this is a problem, and I'm just as frustrated as Jim with the lack of an obvious culprit.

I mean, sure, there are other examples of strong female characters in gaming. But they're all relatively sexless (Chell and Samus, and to some extent Lara Croft as well), not player characters (Alyx and Elizabeth), or their games are relatively low-profile (Jade, Nariko). Or they are player characters, but are marketed as sex objects anyway (Bayonetta, every female fighting game character outside of Super Smash Bros.).

Look, I'm hardly siding with Anita Sarkeesian here. Harmony, that woman is infuriating. But, again, this is a problem, and while I may not know who to glare at, I think the developers are going to have to take the lead on this one. The fastest and best way for this to turn around is people making more games with female leads.

Treblaine:

IamLEAM1983:
Being a man and preferring to play as one doesn't necessarily bill you as a xenophobe

We aren't talking about preference, we are talking about extreme exclusion... that it doesn't matter how good or amazing a game is, the idea is that a female lead is worse than "not preferable" but "actively avoided". To the point where publishers decree developers categorically cannot have a female lead.

THAT is the problem. The idea that a game like Bioshock Infinite would be irrevocably doomed by having a "Becky DeWitt" rather than "Booker DeWitt" as the lead role.

That's the lie the industry is indulging with.

Games aren't being decided on their inherent artistic merit, and yes, being entertaining is that. It's being decided by out of touch publishers who are trying to design games by numbers. Not scientific numbers, voodoo statistics of BS correlations and blatant uncritical bias.

Be honest, a great game like Bioshock Infinite... would a female lead really have ruined that game?

Of course not. That's not what I was suggesting, either. Just about the only reason that honestly justifies DeWitt being male - and it's a flimsy one, considering which game we're talking about - is historical accuracy. Female Pinkertons weren't exactly a dime a dozen, and I haven't heard of female 7th Cavalry soldiers being forced to cope with Wounded Knee's aftermath.

Beyond those historical tidbits? Nope. No reason for DeWitt not to be female, I'll agree. What I was saying is that unfortunately, some gamers need to be reminded of what you've just tried to mention; which is that extreme exclusion is a talking point, as opposed to personal preference.

Don't forget: the status quo is always comfortable to some. You'll find that some male gamers just aren't comfortable with playing a character of the opposite gender for no really defensible reason. The thought just happens to upset their Dudebro Habits, and Dudebro Habits inform purchases and rentals. Ergo, back to square one, wherein gamers deny themselves unique experiences by *allegedly* going "Aw, yuck, this game has a chick as the main character! I'ma catch the Ghey!"

As I've said in my other post, though, I doubt this kind of gamer actually does exist. Outside of douchecanoes like Aris Baktarians who probably haven't matured outside of the recess yard somewhere deep down, the industry is both being pushed and pushing itself to further the image of the Average Gamer as being a tween or teen who needs to have his burgeoning sense of masculinity flattered.

We both know that's not the case. The stats are pretty clear: female gamers form a sizable market, and the age range has considerably widened. There's always going to be hormonal teens in the mix so the Dudebro-slash-E-Peen-Stroking mentality will always have *some* amount of influence - but I see this changing sooner, rather than later.

I somehow doubt that I'll want to keep playing as a thirtysomething Caucasian male with brown hair and a square jaw, once I'll have turned sixty. Either I'll transitioned outside of the gaming scene altogether, or my tastes in gameplay experiences will have continued to broaden.

Technicka:

Yea, nooope. He's calling out the guys that are saying they can't play as a female because they don't want to maybe have to play a scenario where the lead has adult times with a male. The majority of the video is him raging against an industry that seems determined to ignore that women are customers and that they deserve more than to be depicted as objects in so many games. He also makes mention that games can't even be arsed to offer the chance for players to create a character that they want. If games went about it like BioWare does, then this wouldn't be such an issue (the marketing part would, though). But the games don't even offer that much. So, in a game like Bioshock, preferences is a non-issue because there's only one option, regardless of the players' desire.

And so what? I fast forward through all the romance scenes in action movies, yes I will watch a romance movie once in a while but in general I care very little for it, do I deserve to be called a creep or be told that I have a problem for it?

In a game you want to loose yourself in the character and if mid game that character gets out some lube and gives his boyfriend and enema so he can slid inside him easier it would throw most people off.

And Im sure there are gay and female games out there, it's just that they are the minority because the market is the minority. If the market was full of women there would be a bunch of female leads and no one would say a word about there being too many female characters, no, it's up to the creators what story and what characters to use and it's up to the people to choose who they play as, full stop.

Windknight:
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.

Excuse me? Victim blaming? Who is the victim and how am I blaming them?

No, you can't rub gears of war 3 in my face because you are not actually addressing my point. Yeah, you can kill female characters in that game in the multiplayer at least, after only before being able to kill male characters. But I'm not actually talking about multiplayer. I'm talking about single player games. Nice try in totally missing the point, though.

Windknight:
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.

Ironic, considering blowing things out of proportion is exactly what you just did. You don't see it happening simply because you don't want to see it. Try taking the blinders of your eyes next time and then you will see it. It happens quite a lot.

Can't we talk about drugs or something like that?

DVS BSTrD:
Okay, fuck it!
I always play as a male in character creation RPGs because I like projecting myself into a character.
Next time though, I'm gunna try playing as a woman. MY SENSE OF SELF CAN TAKE IT!

Jim, call me! <3

I occasionally try to play a woman.

100% of the time I'm basically just playing myself but in a woman's body. I end up hitting on the women characters and taking the dude options anytime they come up.

I'm not a clever man. It has nothing to do with trying to be edgy and everything to do with me only being able to roleplay myself.

I'm always a dude, and always nice, I can't choose mean options for shit :/.

Technicka:

erttheking:
Words

Yes, a lack of representation is oppression. It's an aspect of it. If a group that actively contributes to a industry is only allowed to see themselves depicted in negative lights, they are being told by that industry that they aren't equal to the majority the industry feel beholden too (in this case, hetero males).

I was wondering when someone was going to bring up MLK. And it shows that you ignored part of my initial comment towards you. I specifically said in discussions of oppression, that you need both the civil debaters, and the rabble rousers. So yes, MLK went the path of peace. But way to forget Malcom X and the Black Panthers that push for their people to not just passive wait for whites to see them as humans. The Civil Rights movement was a collection of both extremes pushing against bigotry.

First of all, let's take a quick look at the definition of what it means to oppress. If you just Google it you get a definition right away

Keep (someone) in subservience and hardship, esp. by the unjust exercise of authority.

A lack of female characters doesn't sound like keeping them in subservience and hardship. I agree that this is a problem, but I feel like you're blowing it way out of proportion.

Second, that's debatable. Considering that I have absolutely no idea who Malcom X and the Black Panthers are, I can't really comment on that, but judging by waht Church185 said, he wasn't a very pleasant man, and kinda sounds like all those people who led revolutions in Mexico, only to become dictators themselves. In the end, being no better than the people they were fighting. I'm just saying, there's probably a reason we don't talk about him in school the same way we do MLK. Because MLK is looked at by many as the man who took the high path and got his people the rights he deserved, while Malcom X is probably remembered as some nut job. Just because people like him existed in the civil rights movements, doesn't mean that they were helping.

Third...just read this quote from Amazing Grace.

When people speak of great men, they think of men like Napoleon - men of violence. Rarely do they think of peaceful men. But contrast the reception they will receive when they return home from their battles. Napoleon will arrive in pomp and in power, a man who's achieved the very summit of earthly ambition. And yet his dreams will be haunted by the oppressions of war. William Wilberforce, however, will return to his family, lay his head on his pillow and remember: the slave trade is no more.

Just think about that. It's the high road, and the high road is rarely the easier one.

Fappy:
snip.

What anime is your avatar from?

OT: I like female protagonists. FF6 and Eternal Darkness which rank up on my list of greatest games have heroines as main characters.

I recently purchased beyond good and evil as well on psn which i still haven't completed. I would have gotten further if it weren't for Disgaea 4 :D

Jimothy Sterling:
The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

The game industry doesn't want female characters. That is allegedly the message publishers have been sending to developers.

Watch Video

There are times, when I wonder if you even play games Jim. Bioware games and pretty much any game and mmo where you can select your character's gender. And there are more women in games than just that one fighting game with large titty'd women with jiggle physics. Just thought I'd let you know. You seem to have a hard time finding the useful, non-retarded female characters who have roles, a story, and are a part of the plot.

I'd blame market pressures by feminist groups that constantly say that there's nothing that women can do that isn't part of some patriarchal hegemony's plans to suppress females. Strong characters, weak characters, it doesn't seem to matter to them. To them, all women characters are oppressed and evidence of oppression. Companies see this coming from well funded groups and follow the lies hook line and sinker.

I'd also like to blame publishers for further homogenizing the game industry with its 'appeal to a wider audience' approach. We had a lot more good female characters before everything was an action shooter.

erttheking:

First of all, let's take a quick look at the definition of what it means to oppress. If you just Google it you get a definition right away

Keep (someone) in subservience and hardship, esp. by the unjust exercise of authority.

A lack of female characters doesn't sound like keeping them in subservience and hardship. I agree that this is a problem, but I feel like you're blowing it way out of proportion.

And when an industry reinforces an idea that women aren't as valued as men, that isn't aiding with overall oppression? Do you think slavery was the only oppression that blacks endured, where profiling and segregation don't count? Because with such a narrow view of what oppression actually is, it's no small wonder you wouldn't see an issue with how games are still treating women.

Second, that's debatable. Considering that I have absolutely no idea who Malcom X and the Black Panthers are, I can't really comment on that, but judging by waht Church185 said, he wasn't a very pleasant man, and kinda sounds like all those people who led revolutions in Mexico, only to become dictators themselves. In the end, being no better than the people they were fighting. I'm just saying, there's probably a reason we don't talk about him in school the same way we do MLK. Because MLK is looked at by many as the man who took the high path and got his people the rights he deserved, while Malcom X is probably remembered as some nut job. Just because people like him existed in the civil rights movements, doesn't mean that they were helping.

The fact that MLK is the most famous of the civil rights leader isn't a sign of how effective he is/was. It's a sign of how effective, and prevalent, racism still is. Malcolm X promoted self defense. he spoke out against the notion that white America simply making laws was good enough. A quote by him:

"You don't stick a knife in a man's back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress ... No matter how much respect, no matter how much recognition, whites show towards me, as far as I am concerned, as long as it is not shown to everyone of our people in this country, it doesn't exist for me."

He disagreed with MLK on many things, but he respected what he was doing, and respected the non-violent way. He didn't push for blacks to go out and attack whites. He just preached that they should have a healthy distrust of a society that still saw them as little better than animals.

As for the Black Panthers, they played a more middle of the road path. Peaceful protesting, and educating their people was their primary focus, but they weren't afraid to fight back when attacked.

You do yourself a disservice by even mentioning MLK, and not actually having a full grasp of what went on during the Civil Rights Era. Because it was more than just MLK working for equality.

Third...just read this quote from Amazing Grace.

When people speak of great men, they think of men like Napoleon - men of violence. Rarely do they think of peaceful men. But contrast the reception they will receive when they return home from their battles. Napoleon will arrive in pomp and in power, a man who's achieved the very summit of earthly ambition. And yet his dreams will be haunted by the oppressions of war. William Wilberforce, however, will return to his family, lay his head on his pillow and remember: the slave trade is no more.

Just think about that. It's the high road, and the high road is rarely the easier one.

And, again, you're only thinking in extremes. As I said numerous times, both methods of combating bigotry are important to have. Niceness/Civility will eventually meet the roadblock of stubborness of oppressors, whereas unflinching harshness will knock that wall down. The methods work in tandem.

Technicka:

erttheking:

First of all, let's take a quick look at the definition of what it means to oppress. If you just Google it you get a definition right away

Keep (someone) in subservience and hardship, esp. by the unjust exercise of authority.

A lack of female characters doesn't sound like keeping them in subservience and hardship. I agree that this is a problem, but I feel like you're blowing it way out of proportion.

And when an industry reinforces an idea that women aren't as valued as men, that isn't aiding with overall oppression? Do you think slavery was the only oppression that blacks endured, where profiling and segregation don't count? Because with such a narrow view of what oppression actually is, it's no small wonder you wouldn't see an issue with how games are still treating women.

Second, that's debatable. Considering that I have absolutely no idea who Malcom X and the Black Panthers are, I can't really comment on that, but judging by waht Church185 said, he wasn't a very pleasant man, and kinda sounds like all those people who led revolutions in Mexico, only to become dictators themselves. In the end, being no better than the people they were fighting. I'm just saying, there's probably a reason we don't talk about him in school the same way we do MLK. Because MLK is looked at by many as the man who took the high path and got his people the rights he deserved, while Malcom X is probably remembered as some nut job. Just because people like him existed in the civil rights movements, doesn't mean that they were helping.

The fact that MLK is the most famous of the civil rights leader isn't a sign of how effective he is/was. It's a sign of how effective, and prevalent, racism still is. Malcolm X promoted self defense. he spoke out against the notion that white America simply making laws was good enough. A quote by him:

"You don't stick a knife in a man's back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress ... No matter how much respect, no matter how much recognition, whites show towards me, as far as I am concerned, as long as it is not shown to everyone of our people in this country, it doesn't exist for me."

He disagreed with MLK on many things, but he respected what he was doing, and respected the non-violent way. He didn't push for blacks to go out and attack whites. He just preached that they should have a healthy distrust of a society that still saw them as little better than animals.

As for the Black Panthers, they played a more middle of the road path. Peaceful protesting, and educating their people was their primary focus, but they weren't afraid to fight back when attacked.

You do yourself a disservice by even mentioning MLK, and not actually having a full grasp of what went on during the Civil Rights Era. Because it was more than just MLK working for equality.

Third...just read this quote from Amazing Grace.

When people speak of great men, they think of men like Napoleon - men of violence. Rarely do they think of peaceful men. But contrast the reception they will receive when they return home from their battles. Napoleon will arrive in pomp and in power, a man who's achieved the very summit of earthly ambition. And yet his dreams will be haunted by the oppressions of war. William Wilberforce, however, will return to his family, lay his head on his pillow and remember: the slave trade is no more.

Just think about that. It's the high road, and the high road is rarely the easier one.

And, again, you're only thinking in extremes. As I said numerous times, both methods of combating bigotry are important to have. Niceness/Civility will eventually meet the roadblock of stubborness of oppressors, whereas unflinching harshness will knock that wall down. The methods work in tandem.

I do see an issue, don't put words in my mouth, but oppression is a very strong word. It's when people don't get payed equally and don't have as much rights, not when an entertainment medium doesn't use them as characters that much. If I think that slavery is the only problem that they faced, then how come my main argument for the peaceful removal of rights was about a man who lived a hundred years after slavery was outlawed.

Yes, I know that he wasn't the only one, but he was the most popular one, and for a good reason. I'm just pointing out that when you bring up a guy and I have no idea who he is, history probably doesn't want to look on him with a very positive light. Especially considering that apparently he was promoting black supremacy, again, being just as bad as the people he was trying to overthrow. Exactly why should we look up to this guy instead of Dr. King? The Black Panthers sound a lot better, but again, they responded when physically attacked...you're not getting physically attacked, or attacked in anyway.

I'm trying to make a point. And the way that you word it, you make it sound like being completely brash and violent is the only way to get anything done. That peaceful protests are pointless and that everyone in America who wants to make gay marriage legal should stop with the peaceful protests and act with as much civility as the WBC. That's what it sounds like when you word it that way anyway.

Desert Punk:

Do4600:

Desert Punk:
Mass Effect was Massively (Pun intended) advertised, a high profile game where you can play either gender, and still. Only 18% of players played as a female...

How does playing as femshep really change the game except superficially? What's the difference? You can sex up Garrus? I don't care! I never cared about the romance in Mass Effect, sex honestly has never sold me video games, so giving me a different romance option is "tits on a bull" useless.

Thats rather the point.

The character is exactyly the same no matter what gender you pick, and so very few people picked to play a female.

The same goes for many games where you can choose to play a female protagonist, hell, I forget what my character even looks like let alone what race or gender they are in Skyrim between changing pieces of armor. Let's face it, most of the time in video games it doesn't matter what the gender of the main character is or lack there of, all that matters is that they kill aliens, or demons or terrorists.

It should be taken into account that a big majority of the people who write, design and direct games are men, and so it is much more natural and easy for them to create a male protagonist than a female.

erttheking:
[snipped

Opression isn't just one thing, though. it's a system. And the system only works when it's reinforced in all aspects of society. If women can't even get a fair shake in entertainment, who can we expect to ge get fair treatment in pay equality? In education? In healthcare? If society can't/won't deal with the small stuff, why would they even bother with the big issues? Simply put, they won't. So the little slights and micro-aggressions (which have been show to adversely effect marginalized groups), get ignored, and the big things just drag on. You don't fix a heavily damaged house from the top down. You have to strengthen the foundation. So games/TV/movies/and the like are a worthwhile fight for women. Gamin is no longer a teenagers field. The age range has widened, and younger and younger people are getting in on the fun. So if we can start with them, and raise a whole new generation of gamers that don't see women in games as simply accessories. Then arguing that they have better parts in movies isn't that much harder, and then fighting to show that women aren't lesser becomes less of a chore. It all adds up.

MLK wasn't the most popular one. Malcom X and the Panthers got as much press coverage as he did. yuou're ignorance of the later two is only a testament to how far from MLK (and Malcom's, and the Panther's) dream we are. Of course a country that still fights tooth and nail to keep white as the group in power wouldn't go out of its way to educate people on who Malcom X was. He didn't play nice. he wasn't trying to make friends. He didn't trust the government (and why should he? They hadn't done anything to warrant it). His so-called black supremacy was for black people to to unite in such a way that white people couldn't oppress them ever again. he wanted equality, but unlike MLK, he wasn't looking to hold hands with whites. Not because he saw them as inferior, but because he didn't see a point in being friendly with a society built off his forefather's blood. Same for the Panthers. They encouraged neighborhoods to ward off police brutality be always moving in groups. They made sure kids in their areas got school supplies and lunches (something many places weren't bothering with in segregated areas). The preached that the the only way to ensure their rights were given, and remained so, was to get into the system; become lawyers and politicians; be the decision makers and policy creators.

Your arguments are ridiculous since you only know of one activist, and what little you do know of the others is hearsay from another person that knows about as little as you. So let's say we lay off of using the Civil Rights Era since there's gaps large enough to fit Asia in with what you don't know on the topic?

I'm trying to make a point. And the way that you word it, you make it sound like being completely brash and violent is the only way to get anything done. That peaceful protests are pointless and that everyone in America who wants to make gay marriage legal should stop with the peaceful protests and act with as much civility as the WBC. That's what it sounds like when you word it that way anyway.

I'm convinced you can't read. Since I keep saying that both peaceful resistance, and aggressive push-back, are needed for lasting change. Just relying on one will never work because not everyone will be effected by kind words or harsh language. Just as some kids can be reasoned with when they act up, others need a swift swat to their bums. And in the end that's what the groups with privilege are: spoilt children.

Technicka:

erttheking:
[snipped

Opression isn't just one thing, though. it's a system. And the system only works when it's reinforced in all aspects of society. If women can't even get a fair shake in entertainment, who can we expect to ge get fair treatment in pay equality? In education? In healthcare? If society can't/won't deal with the small stuff, why would they even bother with the big issues? Simply put, they won't. So the little slights and micro-aggressions (which have been show to adversely effect marginalized groups), get ignored, and the big things just drag on. You don't fix a heavily damaged house from the top down. You have to strengthen the foundation. So games/TV/movies/and the like are a worthwhile fight for women. Gamin is no longer a teenagers field. The age range has widened, and younger and younger people are getting in on the fun. So if we can start with them, and raise a whole new generation of gamers that don't see women in games as simply accessories. Then arguing that they have better parts in movies isn't that much harder, and then fighting to show that women aren't lesser becomes less of a chore. It all adds up.

MLK wasn't the most popular one. Malcom X and the Panthers got as much press coverage as he did. yuou're ignorance of the later two is only a testament to how far from MLK (and Malcom's, and the Panther's) dream we are. Of course a country that still fights tooth and nail to keep white as the group in power wouldn't go out of its way to educate people on who Malcom X was. He didn't play nice. he wasn't trying to make friends. He didn't trust the government (and why should he? They hadn't done anything to warrant it). His so-called black supremacy was for black people to to unite in such a way that white people couldn't oppress them ever again. he wanted equality, but unlike MLK, he wasn't looking to hold hands with whites. Not because he saw them as inferior, but because he didn't see a point in being friendly with a society built off his forefather's blood. Same for the Panthers. They encouraged neighborhoods to ward off police brutality be always moving in groups. They made sure kids in their areas got school supplies and lunches (something many places weren't bothering with in segregated areas). The preached that the the only way to ensure their rights were given, and remained so, was to get into the system; become lawyers and politicians; be the decision makers and policy creators.

Your arguments are ridiculous since you only know of one activist, and what little you do know of the others is hearsay from another person that knows about as little as you. So let's say we lay off of using the Civil Rights Era since there's gaps large enough to fit Asia in with what you don't know on the topic?

I'm trying to make a point. And the way that you word it, you make it sound like being completely brash and violent is the only way to get anything done. That peaceful protests are pointless and that everyone in America who wants to make gay marriage legal should stop with the peaceful protests and act with as much civility as the WBC. That's what it sounds like when you word it that way anyway.

I'm convinced you can't read. Since I keep saying that both peaceful resistance, and aggressive push-back, are needed for lasting change. Just relying on one will never work because not everyone will be effected by kind words or harsh language. Just as some kids can be reasoned with when they act up, others need a swift swat to their bums. And in the end that's what the groups with privilege are: spoilt children.

You're saying that if women can't get equal amounts of characters in video games, then attempting to get them equal pay and rights? If history has shown anything, the civil rights and feminist movement didn't start small, they started big. They didn't go after more spots on television, they went for the right to vote, and they have the right to vote now. They still don't have equal representation in media, but they're making progress in the major fields like education and pay. You start with the big stuff before moving onto the little stuff, it's a trickle down effect.

I'm pointing out that history seems to be pointing towards peaceful...

....was that called for? Was that really called for? You know, I'm getting tired of this argument pretty quickly. You're insulting my intelligence, my nationality and flat out saying I can't read. Why should I put up with this and keep up with the debate? I shouldn't, it's the same reason that I get tired of all the sexism debates, because sooner or later it ends up flying into this territory. I haven't insulted you once in this whole debate, yet you can't extend the same common courtesy to me?

I'm done. Goodbye.

Before voting women fought for the right to be in schools, to be able to keep their maiden names, to wear pants (an arguably minor thing, yes?). And people are able to fight on multiple fronts against oppression. you keep simplifying it as an A -> B -> C situation. Whereas I have been saying that the little things are the gears that keep the big things going. And when the big fights are at a standstill, or regressing (sure women can vote, but we're having agency over our bodies slowly taken away again, and access to adequate healthcare being disputed). So now it's time to start disrupting the little things to shake it up. Again the idea is to attack from multiple sides.

History is written by those in power/the victor. Like I said, those in power aren't going to discuss (and make a hero) out of a man that preaches distrust towards those in power. And it's hardly in favor of the peaceful. Open a US History book and you'll see great chunks of it dedicated to the Revolutionary War. As in, the war were colonists used violence to combat oppression. And one. So there goes the argument that peace is the sure-fire way. And the very government that MLK preached civility towards had no qualms with seeing to his assassination. So, like I said, peace will only get you so far.

And yes, I'm calling your reading comprehension into question. When I've repeatedly said one thing, and continue to ignore half of it to insist I said something else. The only logical solution is that you're missing something. Unless you mean to tell me that you're deliberately ignoring the other half of what I was saying in regards to civility and aggression in order to continue harping on this idea that I was advocating for a violence-only approach. I call your intelligence into question because you bring up a figure from a point in history that you know very little about. Why would you even do that? That'd be like me bringing up Gandhi. Sure I know about him, but I know little else of Indian history, especially during that period..and it'd be a foolish thing to try and come from a place of substantial knowledge on that area. because for all I know, you could be a major in Indian history, or have a wealth of facts on British Imperialism. In any 'debate' you stick with what you know full stop. Anything else, you leave to others that know it. Which is why I didn't jump in when posters were talking sales numbers and percentages.

And this hasn't really been much of a debate, let's be real. You've been tone policing the entire time, which of itself is insulting. And now you're angry because I refuse to placate your demands of flowery speech.

Technicka:
*snip*.

You're just strawmanning everything I say by blowing it completely out of proportion or context. I understand you have an emotional connection to the topic but that's no excuse for flipping out.

Technicka:
But you, a guy, just can't handle the idea of playing a chick. It just short circuits your mind, and ruins the game for you.

Short circuits my mind? Ruins the game for me? Uh, no.

I clearly had no trouble playing Tomb Raider despite acknowledging that the emotional impact of one of the scenes was completely absent for me.

Technicka:
Do you not see how this defense is little more than a backhanded insult to your own mental capacities? Straight white dudes can't get over a potential scene where the female lead kisses a dude.

I said the emotional connection isn't as strong and the scene isn't as immersive, not that people have trouble "getting over it". Regardless of what you think it ruins the impact of the story.

Technicka:
But women have done it for decades. LGBTQ folk have done it for decades. People of colour have done it for decades. We can do it, and you can't.

You can feel empathy for the impersonal because your tendencies to the contrary been trained out of you over an extended period of time, you mean? Isn't that exactly what I said needed to happen?

Not my fault I'm only human, though, and haven't had the same decade long training opportunity as you. Still doesn't justify publishers voluntarily taking a loss funding an AAA IP with a female lead designed to appeal to females and not males.

In any case, I seriously doubt you actually have the level of empathy you claim you have.

Technicka:
Is that really something to brag about?

What the fuck did you read? Because it sure as hell wasn't my post if you got the impression I was bragging.

Gilhelmi:
I arrived at this thread approximately 17 hours after original posting of the video. There is currently 423 posts.

In 17 hours.

What I find sad is that a flame war RIVALING THAT ON GUNS, RELIGION, AND JUSTIFICATION FOR WARS, is still going on and still strong. On a subject that is essentially the same if you replaced word "Female" with "Black person" (I refuse to use African-American because it discriminates against Black Europeans, there found a PC way to end the use of the term African-American). That is right anyone saying that there is no sexism in games is the same as saying, Jim Crow Laws were not racist.

I agree with Jim 100% this time. This does not happen often, usually I agree with him about 70-80% (usually disagreeing on the solution or the severity of the problem). But in this case, he may be understating the problem a bit.

As much as I hate to be off topic, you seem to be under the impression that African-American is a substitute for "Black", in that it's just another means of denoting race. The term references people of the who are descended from African slaves of the USA only; it's more about history and geography than phenotype. Similar terms for other nations and regions are Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Brit, and Afro-Caribbean. In the case of African migrants, terms like Nigerian-American, or even Igbo-American, would be more accurate in the same way we would use Irish-American, Italian-American, or Chinese-American.

Not that there's anything politically incorrect with "Black person", it's just very vague and risks alluding to a global racial monolith that doesn't exist. There are about one billion Black persons living in dozens of countries with vastly different cultural identities and histories, as such we have very different experiences with race and racism.

EDIT: "African-American" is a mouthful, so no one is going to berate you for not using it, well, no one with any sympathy for human tongues.

Treblaine:

Yes but it can't possibly be the "To degrade or demote a person to the status of a mere object" in games where for one they literally ARE objects in the game world, they literally are polygon models. Everything the game designer does turns them from objects into characters, it's not like you are starting with human actors or models and turning them into objects by contrived treatment. If you try to be too ambitious giving them AI controlled agency you risk turning them back into objects when the AI breaks and you can so clearly see it's a wind-up-mechanoid, running around mindlessly in circles... only playing voice recordings of real people.

So I think Jim is taking kind of a cheap shot at the AI comrade in Last of Us, it's not going to behave exactly like a fully fleshed out person... because really, it isn't.

Again, this term is inherently problematic for how it was coined in criticism of media like Film and print ads, it is subverted to the point of losing all significance in games as an art form from how integral the player's agency is in the story acting through the player-character, as an essential design element. It doesn't take account of subjectivity, the importance of player input in the narrative mode.

The "remote control toy" model for player-character in games was outdated when it was introduced and it's always been known to be without basis. People don't say "ahh, my character model died/got-hit/fell-off" they almost always say "aaah, I died/got-hit/fell-off". The term "avatar" for such characters is deliberate, drawing from the concept from Hinduism as a kind of "incarnation" of the player, how they transcend worlds from the real world to the virtual.

There are some games where the players are so detached it's like the "remote control toy" model but that's considered a failure of immersion in design.

The only form of "Sexual objectification" that is relevant is in the sense of how a game might have female characters who can only be defined by their how they are the objects of perspective in sexual terms, because of their sex.

The form of sexual objectification relevant is a game having female characters who are poorly established and so able to be appreciated on the basis of their looks and sexuality only.

Player input is undeniably conducive to objectification. However, it is worth noting that a great deal of the narrative in RPGs takes place in the mind of the player. In other character driven games the character usually exists (in part) beyond the control of the player; there are cut-scenes and dialog which the player does not choose. When playing character driven games I don't consider my character an embodiment myself in any way. I play out the narrative much as I would a gamebook (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamebook) but I suspect I am in the minority there.

To establish for game characters an original position of being objects is to overestimate the differences between games and other representations of life. In a game world characters are not merely pixels. Games are representations of reality; they are often surreal or fantastic but they always have some semblance of real life. This is true of films, novels, and even drawings. How you come to that representation is irrelevant; an end product that contains a woman either sexually objectifies her or it doesn't.

Interesting video Jim, you've come a long way since your first video on the Escapist and got so much better.

I agree that there's an issue here with the lack of female protagonists in games but i think it's a fairly straightforward answer as to why that's the case. The majority of the audience are male, and the majority of the developers are also male. The gaming industry is all about men making games to entertain other men, and publishers are simply interested in selling a game that will maximally appeal to the widest audience with the least amount of risk. It's also why the majority of male protagonists are white and American, because that's their largest customer segment. It all comes down which games the most likely to give you the biggest profits. Hooray for capitalism!

As a gamer i personally don't have any problem whatsoever with playing a female character, sometimes i do it in games like Saints Row just to shake things up a bit, and it's always nice on the eyes to play an attractive female character if you're playing 3rd person. For me playing a female character is like playing as a female-alter ego of yourself in a virtual world. Generally i'd opt my alter-ego to be male because i'm male myself, but playing female spices things up a bit for me. It's good to have a bit of variety.

As for wherever my female avatar having sex or romance with a guy would make me uncomfortable- it depends very much on how it's done. 3rd person romance wouldn't bother me, but i may well feel jealous if if i like the female character enough. 1st person romance through the eyes of a heterosexual female would feel odd to me because- whilst i respect such relationships i can't relate to them on a emotional level. The one thing that would make me uncomfortable i suppose is female/male sex done from a female perspective. I shouldn't need to justify why that would make me feel unconfortable as a heterosexual male, but if it's done from a 3rd person perspective then it doesn't bother me.

I suppose the point is that for heterosexual female romances where a male's roleplaying a female character, you've got be quite careful how you craft it to minimise jealousy and making the male hetero gamer feel uncomfortable. It's possible, but you've got to bear in mind that when you start writing in a female romance focused on a male character, the game quickly becomes a female fantasy rather than a fantasy which equally appeals to both genders, and that makes me less likely to buy it. I don't think Jim appreciates the psychological complexities underlying this and just assumes that if it makes you feel uncomfortable then OMG YOUR A HOMOPHOBE!

Awesome episode - I wasn't sure if going for kissing sound was better than sucking like in "Clerks" but then the end made me realise it was a good choice XD

Technicka:

Treblaine:
snip for length

The industry is inundated with different type of male leads. There's something for everyone. Women aren't given the same opportunities. Our heroes are always sexy and ready to have sex. We don't get unattractive fighters (GoW), or goofballs (classic!Dante), or bitter assholes (new!Dante)or douchebags (Nate Drake) or average joes (Alan Wake)in droves. So when the few leading ladies we do get keep sticking to the same mold, at what point do women start calling out the creators to try something different?

And, yes, you are arguing that because Bayonetta is one of the very few female leads out there, that women shouldn't call out the problems with her/the game. You back it by saying because the industry won't chance another game with a female lead. And yet, we're seeing that already. Even with the critical love that Tomb Raider is getting, with the ferver that BG&E can still command of fans, we still see instances like developers having to fight to have the main female lead on the cover of her own game, or where another is pushed to the back as to not scare of the menfolk. It's self-fulfilling: "Let's not not support this game with a female lead because the audience won't like it because we refuse to showcase it's best features, or fight for it like we do our dozen of other male-led titles!" But then the industry is surprised when obscure-but-entertaining title with a lady under-performs compared to Grizzled White Guy Saves The Day With Guns And Lasers VI: Payback Platinum Edition

If we aren't calling out the mistakes to provide constructive criticism, then how do we expect to reach a point where we'll see a healthy roster of varied female heroes? Are we to just wait until the industry has an epiphany?

And like I said. Bayonetta was fun. I wasn't bothered by it. But that's me personally. My friend, however was bothered by a few aspects. That didn't make her feelings any less valid because they didn't phase me. Because she still enjoyed the game on it's own merits. She just didn't like it when held as part of the industry mindset as a whole.

Well then you need to send the clear message:

"Give me more female characters"

not

"I don't like all these things about this character, or that character, etc"

Because when publishers hear this for every female lead, from alls sots of gamers, they'll conclude they don't want any female leads at all.

Our heroes are always sexy and ready to have sex.

This whole article is how that is not the case.

Marcus Fenix is not "unattractive" he simply isn't "beautiful". He isn't a paragon of rustic handsomeness, he would be known as a "bear" on certain forums. And I point you to The Boss from MGS3. Not a playable character, but still an attractive but not "conventionally beautiful" woman.

And there USED to be average joes as in the Resident Evil series who were female, very ordinary women.

Bayonetta was pretty goofball.

The problem is the message they are not getting is:

"Give us a female hero who is a pseudo-charming douchebag like Nathan Drake or a female badass similar to Marcus Fenix"

The message they are getting is:

"I hate this female character, and that one, and that one"

And they're like:

"Well I won't even bother next time, I put my heart and soul into this game... and they're trashing it everywhere"

You've got to balance it out, tell us what you like along with what you don't, be a fan!

or where another is pushed to the back as to not scare of the menfolk.

I don't think it's "all men" but the specifically the TYPE of men who will literally judge a game only by its cover art. A balance could have been struck but you have to appreciate the "Damned if they do damned if they don't" dilemma here.

If they had put the woman on the front who else would have then said "oh well they needed the woman's sexuality to sell the game".

And on PC, that's not the case. Bioshock Infinite sold on Steam has Elizabeth front and centre of the full page splash and the mini-icon which serves as the Steam equivalent of the "Cover art".

If we aren't calling out the mistakes to provide constructive criticism

Well you have to make sure that is actually IS constructive.

You see the variety you get in male heroes... isn't actually that great, and even then it didn't get there through attacking all alternatives.

And yes, you do wait for THE ARTIST to have his epiphany, just like back in "the supposed bad old days" of the 90's there was such a variety of depictions of female but now every depiction is picked apart with unfair criticism that developers are avoiding then and publishers are paranoid over them.

The way you condition an artist is find what they are doing right and hold it up high.

She just didn't like it when held as part of the industry mindset as a whole.

Well that's the problem. It's not a microcosm, it is the fault of those who DO THE HOLDING that make it part of the industry as a WHOLE.

The reality is that is't just one part. How can there be good balanced progress if things can't be taken one part at a time?

My son and his buddies think it is weird of me to play as a female characters when allowed to do so in a game. I think they invest themselves into the game, that they imagine they are playing as an idealized version of themselves and to imagine that they are women, themselves, is just plain odd. They don't want to do it.

I, on the other hand, while seeing woman as more than just objects, find they are, among those other things, objects that are pleasing for male heterosexuals to view. If I'm playing a game, I'm looking at the character I'm playing a lot, so I enjoy having that character that I'm viewing a lot (Skyrim, Saint's Row the Third, Mass Effect) be female.

This was too large, i had to copy-paste into a word processor to get through it. Two pages!

wolfwood_is_here:

You seem to assert that there needs to be an egotistical sexist, but I don't think it's that complicated. If the Return On Investment isn't there, the game doesn't get made. It doesn't even matter if the "tiny amount" means they end up in the black, if the publisher is trying to gain market share and maximize profits, they don't want niche projects that break even, they want blockbusters that earn big bucks. Whether that's right or not isn't what we're discussing here, but greed is the root of the problem, not sexism.

Video games are not viewed as an expressive form of art by the majority of people who write laws, report the news, and go out and vote. One cannot blame them when the industry is doing its best to exploit base desires and pander to the lowest common denominators. The solution to both issues? Education.

This has not been proven. This is publishers being hysterical and paranoid as usual.

What, you think they are running this like a science?!!? No, they are hedge fund managers who think they can do art by the numbers. They are telling DEVELOPERS how to do their job! That's not the way it should be.

And there is this very nasty and very recent idea in capitalism that big corporations have to do more than make a profit, they have to make as much profit as possible regardless of logn terms sustainability. The cause of this is the way shares are handled these days, they want a quick solid return yet they can easily sell their shares any time but can the developers so easily leave? No.

And it's not greed, it's stupidity. If it was greed then everyone would be happy. It's because the publishers are so stupid, they have no idea how to make games but they think because they are invested they are qualified.

The statement "only Sith deal in absolutes" is itself an absolute, so it can't be true if it was spoken by a Jedi that never deals with absolutes. If it's true, it invalidates the very point it was trying to make. It's a nice sentiment, but it falls apart under any real scrutiny.

I made that joke when I first saw the film.

It doesn't invalidate my point as my point was not that you are a Sith and I am a Jedi.

My point was you were working in absolutes.

I guess the other side of the coin is that you assume that a female lead - alone - will, regardless of all else, so benefit a game's possibility of success that it will profit everyone involved?

Irrelevant to the discussion. We are talking about how they are excluded, not how their inclusion is vital.

There's certainly a difference between a "good" and a "bad" character. Is gender parity alone the goal? Would it be sufficient to say that so long as we had equal numbers of "good" and "bad" male and female characters, at least they're equally represented?

No, artistic integrity is the goal as to spite how low brow it might sometimes be, the art is what makes games worth putting money into.

This cannot be achieved by publishers and their moronic paint-by-numbers approach.

Everyone is in it to make money. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying, or dangerously naive.

NO! If they are in it JUST for the money they should have stayed hedge fund managers.

You put the art first and the money will follow. You discard the art for an idiotically simple approach that is purely looking and money and you'll lose it. Look at EA.

So far as I can tell, I am the only person who appealed to changing the sexual appetites of male gamers, back in my post on page 10. I am also probably the only person who has been attempting to parallel the failed evangelism of faiths and the failing evangelism of sexism in gaming in hopes that they don't make the same mistakes. On all accounts, I am standing by myself in a unique position that doesn't appear to be supported by anyone else in the thread. Pray tell who is the "everyone else" that I would be speaking for?

No, you are still claiming to know what all gamers think and feel!

Sorry people don't buy your theories "standing by myself in a unique position" as if that alone counts for anything. The problem is your arguments are built on your assumptions that others do not accept.

As has already been stated, is this a straw man? I do not understand where I made the argument that the situation you've described is supposed to make sense.

Don't try to deny you haven't repeatedly perpetuated the myth that female player roles destroy the financial prospects of games.

Please explain how someone deserves something they don't want.

You have never established "don't want".
You have assumed "Preference for male player character" equals "actively reject game with female player character"

Things like how 80% of Mass Effect 1 +2 gamers choose male Shep... well considering male-shep is the default, the one that is on box art, one in ALL the advertising (till the very last game) and usually the model used in video reviews... and how people carry over their model from previous saves. That's not so much an equal choice.

Is the call for more female protagonists, good female protagonists, or more good female protagonists?

Any and/or all. There is no reason to delay. Just make the damn games!

You don't seem to have understood the analogy, so I'll put it differently. Companies like EA are the horse whip manufacturers. They've been in business for a (realtive to the industry) long time, and they see new technologies coming along to replace them as a threat, not something to adapt to. In almost every instance where you have an established manufacturing entity, they are extremely resistant to change. Even their new ideas seem like barely more than a new coat of paint on the old ideas. If they don't adapt and change, however, they will eventually die out, because the market to support them has fallen through. This is often because, whether a product really is superior or not, if the tastes of the consumers change, then so does the market.

Indie developers are in a place to meet the needs of female gamers, but in order for them to get support the consumers (male and female gamers) have to be willing to change their tastes and what they are expecting. This doesn't mean they need to expect a worse game, but that they are going to get a different experience than they may be used to. If they don't want that experience, it's not beneficial to call them names and browbeat them, you have to instead educate as to why that point-of-view is relevant. That is why I believe that it's the consumers changing that will lead to a lasting improvement of the industry, because if the consumers are better educated they are better able to then respond to support their hobby when questioned by "outsiders".

This means that some folks are going to have to boycott big publishers, even if they're making games they like, and educate both their neighbors and congresscritters that the consumers of video games are mature enough to keep self-regulating.

That's the biggest insult to injury of all, you see? They aren't just trying to regulate video games because of their content, but because the market has shown that gamer will cave to and revel in the exploitation. They see the problem as not being able to be solved internal to the game industry because none of us are championing maturity in what we're supporting. They see us being unable to help ourselves, so they want to introduce laws and censorship because they don't think we have the maturity to make those decisions. They see us dithering about, contemplating chicken-egg, instead of taking the mature route and just owning our role and making the change in ourselves.

So that is why I would push for education. That is why I blame the consumer. That is why I see banging the gongs of sexism missing the point, because the industry as a whole has bigger problems than gender parity. We're on the brink of losing control of the very medium we love so dearly, and while sexism is certainly a part of it, I believe the solution requires more personal involvement than folks seem willing to commit to.

"Indie developers are in a place to meet the needs of female gamers"

Stop perpetuating this myth that female characters are only for female gamers, or only appreciated by them. It's baseless nonsense. Female player-characters are good for all gamers, not in the pursuit of gender parity, but in and of themselves.

It's just a MYTH, developers have pulled this "fact" out the the ether that a female lead in their game will destroy it's sales due to the majority male market's refusal to consider a game for that above all else.

To hell with boycotts, there is too much interference in the system for those to work, the publishers can't tell if a game is failing because it didn't comply with boycott demands or because they didn't do something else. Again, the problem is the publishers are too god damn stupid, it's not that they have low-IQ, it's that they are wrapped up in their own little detached world of thinking about the situation.

You are pushing for education over an imaginary problem!

Fiairflair:

The form of sexual objectification relevant is a game having female characters who are poorly established and so able to be appreciated on the basis of their looks and sexuality only.

Player input is undeniably conducive to objectification. However, it is worth noting that a great deal of the narrative in RPGs takes place in the mind of the player. In other character driven games the character usually exists (in part) beyond the control of the player; there are cut-scenes and dialog which the player does not choose. When playing character driven games I don't consider my character an embodiment myself in any way. I play out the narrative much as I would a gamebook (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamebook) but I suspect I am in the minority there.

To establish for game characters an original position of being objects is to overestimate the differences between games and other representations of life. In a game world characters are not merely pixels. Games are representations of reality; they are often surreal or fantastic but they always have some semblance of real life. This is true of films, novels, and even drawings. How you come to that representation is irrelevant; an end product that contains a woman either sexually objectifies her or it doesn't.

On "poorly established", I think we should be wary as we don't want to turn games into mini "feature movies" and forget to be games. We've had over 100 years to refine exposition and character development with film techniques mainly by controlling the audience from their passive position. Thousands of years if we include theatre (and I think we should). You can literally buy books on the stuff. But this is trying to be a GAME.

Looks are important, and I don't think most people would seen the little girl in Last of Us is sexual terms.

Player input is undeniably conducive to objectification.

I'm not denying it, I'm refuting it. Of course it's undeniable, such an issue deserves more than a denial. It certainly isn't irrefutable.

That's the thing, games are able to so easily and so EXTENSIVELY transcend between the real world and the fictional. It's not that the real world and fictional are confused, what I mean is we are able to dive into this world through the agency we have with these characters, in a kind of avatar like incarnation. And what the character does independently is like relinquishing inhibitions, as if their sub-consious speaking, just saying things automatically.

Like how it can work for playing an FPS game and your playable character says to an NPC in the game "what is this place", it's something you might automatically ask without actively initiating it.

Yes, they are representations of reality, but they are still - technically - object within a world. I don't think it is fair for Jim to attack developers for struggling to overcome this technical limitation by how they limit what there NPCs can and do do. Like the girl in Last of Us, he takes pot shots at how she has simplistic interaction... but that's a game that strives constantly to make her a real rounded character when in fact it's a polygon model controlled essentially by an unfeeling robot... and if you do the wrong thing s

This is like someone attacking drawing of a woman and a man, then that someone points at at the woman in the picture (but not the man) "why isn't she moving! your drawing has just turned her into an object for your amusement!" missing how that's inherent to a drawing and the man isn't moving either.

Blue Ranger:

Windknight:
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.

Ironic, considering blowing things out of proportion is exactly what you just did. You don't see it happening simply because you don't want to see it. Try taking the blinders of your eyes next time and then you will see it. It happens quite a lot.

please, give me an actual example, and not something some guy said on a forum, or Rush Limbaugh told you on his talkshow or some tv show said they did.

I've seen plenty of examples on this forums where posters have rushed in to declare the feminists are causing trouble when the geuss what - no-one has said anything or made the complaints the bashers have said they did. I've seen several threads where you can see feminist bashers itching to start a fight, but trying to play the evil harpy straw feminist card so they look like victims instead of instigators.

In your original post I quoted, you claimed that female protagonists have to be 'perfect' or the feminists start whining, that they will jump on any point and start screaming 'sexism!'. That is patently not true and I gave an example where your claims are false. You have not provided one example where they are true.

Am I the only one who gets a little uncomfortable when people use the term(s) creepy, creeper and etc.? Like, I just know that looking like I do I get that label even more than I see and hear. Seeing others being judged like that to further an argument just makes my blood boil. Of course, I can't watch the video, but normally even the JQ episodes that seem like they will piss me off end up quite well reasoned, so I'm sure actually watching the video would put to rest my doubts.

Torbjoern Bakke:
It should be taken into account that a big majority of the people who write, design and direct games are men, and so it is much more natural and easy for them to create a male protagonist than a female.

If they wanted an easy job they wouldn't have become game designers now would they?

Besides, writers seem to have no issue writing aliens, are you really saying that women are more foreign and hard to write than say.......every alien race ever.

Women aren't aliens. They're....pretty much indistinguishable in terms of emotions and life goals from male characters.

Like..how insecure does a writer have to be so that writing a female character with emotions and goals is "unnatural"?

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