Jimquisition: The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

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I read a little bit of the discussion on this matter. Like anything online, there seems to be two dominating camps.

Camp One: I am a man and I want to play games as a man. Nothing wrong with this point at all. To be honest, many people can agree with that. It makes total sense, you like to play as what you are used to. I admit, when playing Skyrim and the like, most of the characters I will make are men. First off I always do a run through of any RPG playing as myself, I make a character that looks like me (Which is hard with most character creators, Skyrims was particularly weak in this. I am one of the gamer archetypes, stupidly thin. Its almost impossible to make a weedy looking character in an RPG, which is annoying if you want to be a mage that doesnt look like it could headbutt its way through a brick wall. But I digress).

Camp Two: I am a man and I like to play games, regardless of what the protagonist looks like as long as it is a good game. I would like to see more gender diversity and the gender of the protagonist doesn't bother me. I agree with this point of view wholeheartedly.

You see, Camp One is making a colossal error. The sex of a character doesn't really matter, as long as it works within the story. You are more comfortable playing as a man? Well, thats good for you. But there are a lot of people out there who want the choice to play as something other then a man. And if a female character is done well, its still fun to play as one. Been through both Dragon Ages as a woman, been through Skyrim as a woman, you get the idea.

Games are about having fun, first and foremost. After that, games are about telling stories (Which IMO should always come second to the whole having fun aspect.). Both of those things can be had, regardless of the sex of the protagonist.

You might not want to ever play as a woman in gaming and that is fine. Nothing wrong with that, honestly. All people like me want is more games and more choice! Everyone can get behind that. I am not saying that the Witcher is bad cause you cannot be a woman, or that the game would be better if it was a woman. I am saying that more games with female protagonists is a good thing though.

As for the whole "But nobody minds that there are books for girls and books for boys" argument? The problem with using that argument is it tries to indicate that gaming is for boys. And its not. Gaming is for everyone. And even with that argument taken as true, the problem there would be there are not enough "Games for girls". And as for the whole books argument?

The "Confessions of Georgia Nicolson" series is one of the funniest I have ever read and I can admit that as a dude. The best forms of entertainment are UNIVERSALLY HELD TO BE ENTERTAINING and can be entertaining for EVERYONE.

I would much rather play an FPS that was designed to be fun for EVERYONE in the FPS loving demographic then one designed just for the Dudebros.

JarinArenos:

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.

But the publishing industry is safe in the knowledge that it's products are relatively cheap to produce, and there is a more even balance between the genders when it comes to who is consuming their media. I believe Partezan is bringing an interesting point to this conversation by making that comment about books. Games are incredibly expensive to produce now, at least the AAA titles are. While the 46% statistic has been thrown around, that doesn't take into account that half of that 46% are just playing social games and iOS games. Only 25% of console players are women, and console players are the ones buying up all of the mainstream AAA titles. I know female PC gamer is a little more generous at 39%, but I'm willing to bet that a lot of that percentage are still playing smaller titles, instead of expensive to make blockbuster games. This leads to publishers aiming at the larger demographic of male console/pc gamers so they can at least gain back the initial amount of money that they put forward to invest in developing the game. Shaming male gamers for playing how they want to play or playing the games they want to play will get the movement towards more female protagonists nowhere. In some cases like myself it will just make male gamers defensive and less likely to do what it takes to help your cause in the future (ex. purposefully purchasing a good game with a female lead, hoping to get publishers interested). What really needs to happen, is women need to make up a larger portion of the player base, so the publishers will feel safe releasing more diverse titles.

EDIT: forgot to add the sauce

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_and_video_games#Female_gamers_as_a_demographic

GrimHeaper:
Some gibber jabber

1. There's more women than you seem to think that play typically "dudebro" titles. We just don't use voicechat because of the shit we get heaped on us when other players here our voice.

2.Having the existence of a female character does not make a game magically free of being sexist. People had valid claims against Bayonetta because she fell into the trope of the oversexed vixen. Not to mention her creator is pretty well known as being a bit of a creep. But there is just as much an argument to be made that her over-the-top behavior made her right at home next to a character like classic!Dante. Neither side of the Bayonetta debate were wrong; it all came down to where the individual drew the line.

As for Skullgirls, people did argue about it being sexist. The game features an all female starting roster, yes. But Much like the DoA franchise, we're told they're strong females because they can fight. Well, it's a fighting game, of course they can fight. So that's a flimsy bit of argument to make. And most of the criticism for the game came from the constant panty shots. In a fighting game (a genre not heralded for its deep plot) visuals are the best ways a player van get a sense of the fighters' personality. In a game like Street Fighter, or Tekken, or Virtua Fighter, or Mortal Kombat you see the male fighters in an assortment of attires. Johhny Cage goes shirtless because he's vain like that. Lee Chaolan dresses like he's ready for a GQ shoot, because he's a bit of a fashion whore. Ryu doesn't care, and just rocks his gi. Yoshimitsu wears armor. And yet women are left in skirts and heels, skin tight bodysuits, short skirts, low zipped jackets (sans a shirt). All made to appeal to a straight dudes libido. Variety for a female character is little more than how risque they can be clothed. So it's easy to side-eye a claim that a game is pro-female when it still enforces the mentality that women can only be scantily clad when fighting.

Kopikatsu:
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.

That would be using Occam's Razor, which paints a picture that we don't like. It's much easier to believe that we are a more advanced culture, yet we see arguments keep popping up about how we're "programmed", as if we're still just slaves to our base natures. We see folks decrying explanations of why people act the way they do, because the result doesn't align with their paradigm.

I mean how hypocritical are the two following statements when put together:

Treblaine:
...snip...Just because people have a tendency to act irrationally doesn't mean such irrationality should be indulged...snip...

Treblaine:
...snip...I don't give a damn if gaming is 100% +/-0.0000% males that's no reason to exclude depiction of women from video games, even from lead roles...snip...

Video games are entertainment. Businesses are interested in making money, so if they make more money with male leads, it is irrational to expect them to include female leads if the folks buying the games don't find them entertaining.

Publishers aren't interested in being the "starving artist" so they can remain true to some ideological vision. They make what they believe will make money. Trying to force publishers to make things because of ideologies is no different than the oppression that faiths are accused of when it comes to sexuality and/or sensuality. Censorship is censorship, and we either will accept it for any reason, or reject it for all reasons.

This same reason the faiths have lost their voice and influence on culture is the same reason that these folks are losing their voice and finding it harder to be taken seriously - they're focusing on the wrong problem but are being extremely vocal and polarizing about it regardless. Ideologies aren't sufficient by themselves to justify action where few issues are as simple as a single *ism.

Publishers are at best a lagging indicator of the market as a whole. They don't care about what might do well tomorrow, they want to do what worked well yesterday to minimize risks today. We accuse them of this regularly when they recycle the same crap and throw a new number on it, or homogenize the experience to market to a wider audience. Why then is it reasonable to expect people who are stuck looking at yesterday to make tomorrow better?

The permanent solution is to change what people want, because we aren't the ones enslaved to profits. We're the ones in control of what we spend our money on. It's easy to blame someone else for a problem, and much harder to own the fact that we're the issue. Businesses just want to make money and don't care about ideologies. Add to that with how much information we have on people's spending habits, we should be less and less skeptical of the statistics they trot out explaining how our mouths and our wallets aren't sending the same message.

There was a time when horse whips were a much bigger industry, but it wasn't the horse whip makers that ushered in the new era of automobiles. If anything, industry has shown that given the choice, it would rather not innovate and just keep making the same product and sell it for the same price forever, or even better to sell it for more each time around. Business just want to make money, and a lot of folks are intentionally failing Hanlon's Razor because they're embarrassed that their fellow humans can be so easily exploited.

saintdane05:
Oh, no. Not more gender. I thought we were done with this months ago!

It's not "done" until the problem is solved.

i feel this is the reason why we haven't seen a new beyond good and evil title in years. the industry has to stop this bullshit way of thinking about its audience and understand that most of us are fully functional adults that understand gender equality and politics in games. i for one do not care who im playing as. female or male, as long as the story and game play are interesting and don't overly throw gender stereotypes in my face. there are plenty of male protagonist out there for young men to get there manly rocks off, i should know, i own most of them.

maninahat:

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.

Tomb Raider has currently sold significantly less than MoH: Warfighter (A series which, may I remind you, is considered to have done so horrifically badly that it straight up killed the IP as well as receiving super awful scores from user and critic reviews alike) and Portal 2 doesn't count. How can it? Chell isn't a character. She's barely a plot device. You could stick a pair of tits to a tree branch and nobody could even tell the difference. Chell's not an example of a female character for the same reason that Gordon Freeman isn't an example of a male character.

Also, the point that people keep missing when I make these comparisons...DMC didn't have a fanbase when it was just DMC. How could it? It was a brand new IP, too. The difference is that it sold, and Bayonetta didn't (despite Bayonetta being the superior game, if only because it's about seven years newer than DMC is). And this is just my opinion talking, but I think Platinum makes much better action games than Capcom does as a whole.

When given the choice between playing as male or female, I'll pick male most of the time (unless the female has abilities that I REALLY like, see both borderlands games)

If the game is ABOUT the woman as the protagonist, then I have absolutely no problem, I'm down with that. Never had an issue with it.

Why is that still an issue these days? Seriously?

--
Also, about that scene from Bioshock infinite at about the 6 minute mark... Did they really just....did they try to......Does that actually happen in the game?! If so and I get to that point (whenever I get the game), I am probably going to jump off the slippery slope and open up a can of mass murder on anyone in the area, indiscriminately. For some reason that kind of thing tends to trigger my berserk button. Anyone who pushes it, beware, and run if you want to live.

Except for ONE notable exception in a recent game. I had my gun out, pointed, switched to grenade launcher mode with my finger hovering on the R1 button......And then I asked myself the armor piercing question. "Can I blame them?". That was a pretty profound moment for me.

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.

Remember Me looks intriguing, I think I might buy that.

Zydrate:

saintdane05:
Oh, no. Not more gender. I thought we were done with this months ago!

It's not "done" until the problem is solved.

The reason having more sexism threads won't help is because the issue has been exhausted on the escapist, we've had several thousand posts in the past two weeks on multiple threads.

Anybody who had something to say has said it, anybody who was going to change their minds already has and those who are staunchly on either side won't move and are only getting more frustrated with the other side. Shouldn't we have time to reflect on what's been said before we raise the issue again?

Well, as a woman and a gamer, it makes me laugh when I read certain self-entitled males saying "dhu of course, I only want male protagonists, how else am I supposed to enjoy the game?". If I managed to play and enjoy videogames all my life even though nearly about all of them have a male protagonist, male gaze and male point of view, I'm pretty sure male players can enjoy a few videogames with a female protagonist who's not just fanservice. Otherwise why would Samus (the ORIGINAL Samus) and Lara (the ORIGINAL Lara, not the reboot) be so popular? Good games that just happen to have a female protagonist and would work the same way if it weren't.

So, it's annoying that the protagonist is always a white male. It's not even just about equality. It's about freedom of originality.

EDIT:

I finally got to actually see the video, and here's some food for thought:

1) The woman is always the one you must protect.... see Bioshock Infinity, see The Last Of Us. This is still playing from a male point of view no matter how "relevant" the female character is.

2) Even when the woman is the protagonist, she HAS to be sexy just for the male audience. Look at how damn tight those pants are on the protagonist of Remember Me. It seems like they just made "we have a female protagonist" a publicity stunt.

3) Half of the Escapist banners that were reeling while I was watching the video were about halfnaked chicks.

The point is that it's difficult for males to empathize with a romance from the female perspective, and thus presenting one disturbs player agency and can ruin whatever emotional effect you wanted it to have on the story.

Just as a disclaimer: I admit that you can say everything I'm about to say when a female gamer plays as a male, but they're in the minority for AAA purchases. Hence the reason for caring about the perspective of male gamers when making AAA games.

In any game the player generally needs to feel a connection between themselves and whomever they are playing as in order to feel any emotional impact from any of the things that happen to the protagonist. This is generally accomplished by making the protagonist relatable to the individual. A female protagonist itself doesn't significantly impact that process for male gamers, because the difference between a female Hero and a male Hero is the sound of their voices and some visual differences.

That said, it is considerably harder for a male to relate to a female with, as Jim says, "an actual life, and a relationship with a man" because males don't know what it means to live as a female. A hero is just an ideal that both genders can aspire to, but a regular Joe (or in this case, Jane) is considerably harder to empathize with if you aren't of the respective gender.

In regards to the male love interest angle and how that impacts the story, you have to look at what you're trying to accomplish with the romance and whether it will have the same effect on male gamers.

For example, the stereotype of the damsel in distress being rescued by the male hero is a form of emotional manipulation on the male gamer that uses their protective, Big Brother instincts or the romantic appeal to motivate the desire to play the game and reach the conclusion of the story.

If you wanted to flip gender stereotypes and have the female go and rescue the male out of romance or love, then because your primary audience often can't empathize with that relationship the effect is lost. You could better accomplish that effect by making the individual a parental/role model figure or establish the individual as a friend, because in that case people don't have a problem rescuing friends or role models of either gender. It's when romance is involved that the immersion is threatened.

My recent experience with Tomb Raider confirmed this: I felt far more motivated to save the father figure (Conrad Roth) and friend (Sam Nishimura) than the romance figure (Alex Weiss). Similarly, the emotional impact as those different relationships were resolved was much different; I was brought out of the moment completely when

, but maintained my immersion when . Even while playing Mass Effect as solely a female protagonist I could not immerse myself in any of the heterosexual romance options.

Ultimately you have to ask what the purpose of the romance is. If at any point you rely on the fact that the audience will need to feel any sort of love toward the male love interest, then you won't get that from the heterosexual males that dominate AAA purchases and your story fails outright. I can't read Twilight for the same reason. Your story either needs to frame the male character as a companion or friend for the males playing it, or as a traitor or villain that they can hate for hitting on/betraying the female protagonist.

Or you have to target your game to a much different audience than the average gamer.

DjinFor, your post basically implies that me, and all women, shouldn't play videogames because we can't immedesimate since they have a strictly male point of view.

Don't you see it's WRONG?

You know, this is why I don't like sexism threads. Should women have more main roles in gaming? Sure. Is the industry unfair sometimes? Sadly. Does it need to be addressed? Without a doubt. But the thing is, we can never talk about it in a civil, polite manner. It always boils down to bitter sarcasm, insults, strawmen, and just plain anger. If we can stop this, then I think we can confront the issue much better.

rhodo:
DjinFor, your post basically implies that me, and all women, shouldn't play videogames because we can't immedesimate since they have a strictly male point of view.

Don't you see it's WRONG?

Not sure what "immedestimate" means. Did your post get cut off?

And no, I'm not arguing that you shouldn't play games. I'm arguing that the emotional impact of the games will generally be reduced under certain circumstances and that this inability to empathize is a massive elephant in the room that all publishers have to keep in mind when looking at their bottom line.

I didn't note this, but this inability to empathize with people dramatically different from you is an inherent part of being human and generally has to be trained out of you if you ever want to get rid of it. Calling it sexist, like Jim does, is missing the point.

You can play games all you want as a girl, you just can't expect AAA publishers to pander to what they feel is a minority. You can't expect them to produce a big budget game targeted to a female audience with the hopes that not only all of the AAA female gamers buy it, but that also enough casual gamers and male AAA gamers do as well; you'll continue to see games with female leads relegated to smaller budgets as befitting the smaller market for them.

DjinnFor:

rhodo:
DjinFor, your post basically implies that me, and all women, shouldn't play videogames because we can't immedesimate since they have a strictly male point of view.

Don't you see it's WRONG?

Not sure what immedestimate means. Did your post get cut off?

And no, I'm not arguing that you shouldn't play games, I'm arguing that the emotional impact of the games will generally be reduced and that this inability to empathize is a massive elephant in the room that all publishers have to keep in mind.

Ehm, English isn't my main language.... in Italian we say "immedesimarsi", it means "to identify with the character".

You basically described what is the issue. And another reason why there needs to be videogames with female protagonists.

GrimHeaper:

What think Bayonetta is sexist down to her core? You seem to be implying it...

I said nothing about Bayonetta, and implied nothing about Bayonetta.
So either you have the wrong post, or you're trying to put words in my mouth.

Either way, it doesn't warrant any further commentary from me.

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

I think this post sums up the Escapist forums better than anything else I've ever seen!

rhodo:
You basically described what is the issue. And another reason why there needs to be videogames with female protagonists.

Which reason are you referring to?

Fucking A Jim, though ironically EA who usually get a big dose of shit for their actions are probably one of the better companies for allowing female protagonists to have hetero relationships (Dragon Age, Mass Effect etc). Though i guess that might be a side effect of the fanbase for the whole RPG genre tend to be people who enjoy exploring all kinds of different roles.

I guess this allows me to feel smug and superior because (hetero guy here) seeing Jade on the cover of Beyond Good and Evil was what made me pick the game up, thinking "She looks pretty cool" and when i won the top hovercraft race and Hub yelled "well done miss Jade, i could kiss you!" i remember thinking "you and me both, buddy"

Hearing Remember Me has the main character in a hetero relationship is just so awesome and its tragic that its so rare that its awesome. But tragic, awesome or both i'm def getting that game.

I sometimes wonder, am i weird because i enjoy playing a female character to the point that i might purchase a game that i'm marginal on just because the protagonist is female?

DREAMFALL WAS MENTIONED! ::Gives Jim virtual hugs::

I really enjoyed the shit out of Dreamfall, and not because it was a good game -- it was really mediocre, IMHO -- but it was the first game I played with a female protagonist (two, IPOF), where I really stopped and asked myself what I would do and how I would act if I really was Zoe. The relationships in particular, stood out for me -- she has an ex named Reza at the start of the game, and we are left to wonder how he became an ex, so I decided it's because he's a selfish jerk who doesn't care about me enough. Then there's a new guy, Damian, later on, who's clearly the hero of his own story but teams up with you to your mutual benefit. Just about everyone in that game, with the exception of the annoying sidekick, is well-written. ::Nostalgia smile::

erttheking:
You know, this is why I don't like sexism threads. Should women have more main roles in gaming? Sure. Is the industry unfair sometimes? Sadly. Does it need to be addressed? Without a doubt. But the thing is, we can never talk about it in a civil, polite manner. It always boils down to bitter sarcasm, insults, strawmen, and just plain anger. If we can stop this, then I think we can confront the issue much better.

What your doing is tone policing, a common tactic in derailing marginalized people from their right to be angry at being treated as lesser beings. That does nothing more than keep the debates and arguments from continuing. An oppressed person does not owe niceness to a person that is defending the system that disenfranchises them. Just look at the madness that happened with Sarkeesian. Her series is informative without being confrontational (beyond the fact that she's calling out sexism). And yet, she had to deal with accusations of fraud, death/rape threats, and constant harassment. So you'll forgive me for not side-eyeing the notion that being nice about this issue is somehow the better option.

You need both those that will calmly educate, and those that will get in your face and call you out for being a bigot.

DjinnFor:

rhodo:
DjinFor, your post basically implies that me, and all women, shouldn't play videogames because we can't immedesimate since they have a strictly male point of view.

Don't you see it's WRONG?

Not sure what "immedestimate" means. Did your post get cut off?

And no, I'm not arguing that you shouldn't play games. I'm arguing that the emotional impact of the games will generally be reduced under certain circumstances and that this inability to empathize is a massive elephant in the room that all publishers have to keep in mind when looking at their bottom line.

I didn't note this, but this inability to empathize with people dramatically different from you is an inherent part of being human and generally has to be trained out of you if you ever want to get rid of it. Calling it sexist is missing the point.

That is such a lazy argument. Especially when you have this thread here where a number of us very female gamers are pointing out that we've been playing with male leads nearly all our lives, and have no issue with that. 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.

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. 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. Is that really something to brag about?

Technicka:

erttheking:
You know, this is why I don't like sexism threads. Should women have more main roles in gaming? Sure. Is the industry unfair sometimes? Sadly. Does it need to be addressed? Without a doubt. But the thing is, we can never talk about it in a civil, polite manner. It always boils down to bitter sarcasm, insults, strawmen, and just plain anger. If we can stop this, then I think we can confront the issue much better.

What your doing is tone policing, a common tactic in derailing marginalized people from their right to be angry at being treated as lesser beings. That does nothing more than keep the debates and arguments from continuing. An oppressed person does not owe niceness to a person that is defending the system that disenfranchises them. Just look at the madness that happened with Sarkeesian. Her series is informative without being confrontational (beyond the fact that she's calling out sexism). And yet, she had to deal with accusations of fraud, death/rape threats, and constant harassment. So you'll forgive me for not side-eyeing the notion that being nice about this issue is somehow the better option.

You need both those that will calmly educate, and those that will get in your face and call you out for being a bigot.

You do know that I'm calling both sides out on this right? People on both sides of the debate need to calm down and explain what they're talking about calmly and rationally, so that actually progress can be made, because frankly there's so much rage and anger going on, I honestly have no idea what both sides are even talking about anymore. The countless flame wars, shouting and insults on this website have accomplished nothing, I don't see what another one will do. Also, I thought that a lot of people's general opinion on Sarkeesian on this was that it was kinda bland and rather "well...duh" And I'm talking about the Escapist here, not the entire population of the Human race, the Escapist, where we're supposed to abide by a code of conduct.

We have an oversupply of the second and none of the first. Also, since when has gotten in the face of people and yelling at them ever solved anything?

Ertheking, sorry but heated discussion is unavoidable in an internet discussion. You're doing it right now, yourself.

rhodo:
Ertheking, sorry but heated discussion is unavoidable in an internet discussion. You're doing it right now, yourself.

There is a difference between a heated discussion and a flamewar. There's nothing wrong with a heated discussion so long as people can maintain a certain level of civility. Heck, debates can be rather nice when both sides are willing to be polite, I had a rather pleasant chat with Phasmal earlier in this thread.

Well, and since we're not having a flamewar, let's discuss about the topic at hand instead of discussing a potential flamewar.

rhodo:
Well, and since we're not having a flamewar, let's discuss about the topic at hand instead of discussing a potential flamewar.

Sad to say, but this thread has devolved into a flamewar, too many insults just being thrown around. This always happens.

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.

Remember Me looks intriguing, I think I might buy that.

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.

And for myself, I think Remember Me looks rather bleh, I am much more looking forward to Watch Dogs.

Personally, I don't see the logic in why box art or any other video game art featuring girls would be unappealing to gamers. I'd say having a female on the front of the game I'd buy would not matter at all to me, or if it did, it would make me want it more. In my opinion, females on the front of games boxes should be a wise marketing tool. Do note this applies no matter their clothing.

Concerning the fact that males playing as females having romantic relationships with men would feel awkward, well I can just say that personally, when I will play through Mass Effect 3 for the second time, I will play as FemShep, and she will be a straight female romancing a male. I don't have an issue with seeing "myself", in the form of a female character, kissing or having sex with a male. Personally I like to experience things from different perspectives, and this doesn't make me homosexual, though if it did, well, alright.

What I also think is that wanting all characters in a game, male or female, to be as sexy as possibly possible, is not in itself a bad thing. I like girls, I like seeing sexy girls in video games too. And I don't mind if my role would be a sexy male in the game. Me, I think beauty or sexiness is always in itself a positive thing. Now if you want to draw the conclusion that females exist only as eye candy for males, that's your own issue. Having watched countless hours, we're probably talking at least hundreds here, of hardcore pornography, having bought an issue of Playboy as late as today, I can say that I don't understand the least a conclusion saying sexy girls make me think of them only as eye candy. They are eye candy, but a lot more than that. Consequently there is nothing saying sexy girls in games can't be interesting, intelligent characters. Just look at the aforementioned Mass Effect series. The girls there are in my opinion all pretty strong, intelligent, and very sexy.

erttheking:

You do know that I'm calling both sides out on this right? People on both sides of the debate need to calm down and explain what they're talking about calmly and rationally, so that actually progress can be made, because frankly there's so much rage and anger going on, I honestly have no idea what both sides are even talking about anymore. The countless flame wars, shouting and insults on this website have accomplished nothing, I don't see what another one will do. Also, I thought that a lot of people's general opinion on Sarkeesian on this was that it was kinda bland and rather "well...duh" And I'm talking about the Escapist here, not the entire population of the Human race, the Escapist, where we're supposed to abide by a code of conduct.

We have an oversupply of the second and none of the first. Also, since when has gotten in the face of people and yelling at them ever solved anything?

Yes. You're policing tone. You don't get to tell a person that their anger is a bad thing when they're talking about their own oppression. This is hardly a flame war. I'm going to assume you've never seen a true full stop flame war, because this is nothing close. This is people passionately disagreeing.

You claim that everyone was going duh about what Sarkeesian was saying...and yet, here we are. Still having to read a bunch of dudes complain about how they might have to be a female in a game. Because reasons. If it's such a no brainer, then this thread wouldn't exist.

I'm not sure how you're confused about what the discussion is. Some posters are claiming that there's nothing wrong with their refusal to see beyond their own personal bits affecting an entire industry. And some of us are rolling our eyes and pointing out how that makes no sense when the marginalized groups have always been doing that very thing. The topic is still about sexism, but has now also touched on the prevalent issue of privilege.

Technicka:
What your doing is tone policing, a common tactic in derailing marginalized people from their right to be angry at being treated as lesser beings. That does nothing more than keep the debates and arguments from continuing. An oppressed person does not owe niceness to a person that is defending the system that disenfranchises them. Just look at the madness that happened with Sarkeesian. Her series is informative without being confrontational (beyond the fact that she's calling out sexism). And yet, she had to deal with accusations of fraud, death/rape threats, and constant harassment. So you'll forgive me for not side-eyeing the notion that being nice about this issue is somehow the better option.

You need both those that will calmly educate, and those that will get in your face and call you out for being a bigot.

The virulent people harassing women online for their opinions will never be able to be reasoned with, not saying what they do is ok, but they will forever be stupid, vile, ignorant people and no amount of shouting or lack of "niceness" is going to change it. So after you have learned to ignore the stupids, you are left talking with level headed people who either want to be a part of the solution or don't understand why it is such a big deal because they can't see the problem from your perspective. Being antagonistic with either of those groups is going to burn bridges, turning away the helpful people because of all the negativity (like @erttheking) or putting people who don't understand your view of the problem on the defensive. You will lose the opportunity to change people's minds about your problem because they will no longer be willing to work with you, and everything will boil down to the same old flame war. Publishers will still be making money like they always have, and your shouting angry voice will change nothing.

There are a ton of people on this forum that would like to discuss and solve this problem peacefully, but they are driven away from discussions by ignorant rage, or people who want to make a difference sinking to the level of a common troll.

Make a stand, be civil.

Treblaine:

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.

Reading around, this is what the artist (Torukun) had allegedly said:

"[sic] There is always a huge complain from Asian gamers whenever Western developers design Asian female characters..." As Torokun continues, this is mainly because many Westerners' definition of what is considered as "Asian" beauty is very different from what Asians consider beautiful." [taken from Kotaku]

There are a couple of ambiguous grammatical errors, but if that is what the artist said, then I don't think there was any assumptions, loaded statements or misrepresentations. Japanese commentators had a lot to say too.

Technicka:

erttheking:

You do know that I'm calling both sides out on this right? People on both sides of the debate need to calm down and explain what they're talking about calmly and rationally, so that actually progress can be made, because frankly there's so much rage and anger going on, I honestly have no idea what both sides are even talking about anymore. The countless flame wars, shouting and insults on this website have accomplished nothing, I don't see what another one will do. Also, I thought that a lot of people's general opinion on Sarkeesian on this was that it was kinda bland and rather "well...duh" And I'm talking about the Escapist here, not the entire population of the Human race, the Escapist, where we're supposed to abide by a code of conduct.

We have an oversupply of the second and none of the first. Also, since when has gotten in the face of people and yelling at them ever solved anything?

Yes. You're policing tone. You don't get to tell a person that their anger is a bad thing when they're talking about their own oppression. This is hardly a flame war. I'm going to assume you've never seen a true full stop flame war, because this is nothing close. This is people passionately disagreeing.

You claim that everyone was going duh about what Sarkeesian was saying...and yet, here we are. Still having to read a bunch of dudes complain about how they might have to be a female in a game. Because reasons. If it's such a no brainer, then this thread wouldn't exist.

I'm not sure how you're confused about what the discussion is. Some posters are claiming that there's nothing wrong with their refusal to see beyond their own personal bits affecting an entire industry. And some of us are rolling our eyes and pointing out how that makes no sense when the marginalized groups have always been doing that very thing. The topic is still about sexism, but has now also touched on the prevalent issue of privilege.

Two things. One, this a lack of female representation in video games isn't oppression. Is it unfair and stupid? Yes, but they're not oppressing the female gender. Two, Martin Luther King Jr. took the peaceful route to solving injustices towards blacks, and that was when they were on the receiving end of fire hoses and attack dogs. But it still worked out just fine for him.

Is that what people are talking about? I didn't know that, because everyone was getting so angry and yelling at people so much I had no idea what the Hell people were talking about. Also, the quality of her videos really wasn't that great, that's what I meant. It was duh because it basically just said "did you know that video games have damsels in distress? Because they do."

Yeah, I kind of have a hard time buying that, although maybe that's because there's so much shouting I have no idea what people are saying anymore. I could've sworn some people were just trying to say that they preferred playing as a man in games and that there was nothing wrong with that and getting into fights over it. Seems kinda petty and not related to the point, which is why I think we all need to stop fighting and start talking.

Just calm down, stop treating everyone that doesn't automatically agree with you like the enemy, and try to calmly explain your view to them. Phasmal and I did that and it went very well.

I remember seeing a bit of news from Bioware saying that 85% of ME and ME2 players choseto play a male character, based on their own datamining. Sounds like it might be an argument that folks want male characters by wide majority, right? But the info didn't take into account two things. One, the default character choice was male in both cases. More importantly, all of the promotional material, box art, and screenshots showed a male Shepard. So you have to wonder: maybe there was a wide preference for male Shepard because the audience that would have selected a female character took a quick look at the marketing material and written the game off as another SPESS MAHREEEN brofest.

Im a 27 straight male thats been playing video games since I was 2 and I switch between male and female characters all the time and could care less what sex they are. When they say males only play males they must be talking for themselves cause even with my other male friends who game this has never been a topic because we never felt it needed to be. I think people these days are too sensitive and need to calm down for real.

Yeah thanks Sterling the forums needed more of this.

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