Girls Get to Play in NHL 12

Girls Get to Play in NHL 12

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A letter from a 14-year-old hockey fan has convinced EA Sports to add female avatars to NHL 12.

It's a little known secret that girls like to play hockey. They're not very good at it, what with being girls and all, but they do their best and they have fun and for them, that's what really counts. But when they play hockey videogames, they're forced to play as men; in-game avatars in EA Sports NHL series, for instance, are fully customizable but the base the model has always been a big, burly, bruiser of a man.

But that's not the case in the new NHL 12, thanks to the efforts of 14-year-old Lexi Peters of Buffalo, NY, who wanted to know why girl gamers couldn't create avatars that actually looked like themselves, rather than just Swedes with bad haircuts. Prompted by her father, she wrote a letter to EA Sports, saying, "It is unfair to women and girl hockey players around the world, many of them who play and enjoy your game. I have created a character of myself, except I have to be represented by a male and that's not fun."

EA actually responded to the letter, telling her that it wouldn't be possible to add female avatars to the game because all such decisions have to be approved by the NHL. She was naturally disappointed, but what she didn't know was that her missive had also made its way to the president of EA Sports, who then passed it on to NHL Lead Producer David Littman.

Littman was able to get permission to add female avatars from the NHL and EA's legal department, and also managed the vital step of squeezing the budget enough to make it happen. The company then went back to Lexi with some double-cool news: not only had it decided to add female avatars to the game, but it wanted to use her likeness as the default female player.

"I was so excited," she said. "My dad called my grandpa immediately, who called my Uncle Chris, like a chain reaction."

There has actually been one female player to appear in the NHL, Manon Rheaume, who appeared in a pair of preseason exhibition games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and 1993. More relevant to EA, however, is the growing number of women who are taking up the game at all levels. According to Hockey Canada, roughly 5000 women in the country were playing in 1990, whereas today that figure has jumped to more than 100,000.

"Lexi's letter was a wake-up call," Littman told the Globe and Mail. "Here's a growing audience playing our NHL game and we hadn't done anything to capture them."

EA Sports NHL 12 comes out in North America on September 13 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. And yes, that bit about girls being bad hockey players was a joke. Lighten up, people.

via: The Mary Sue

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Time for a celebration:

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Andy Chalk:
who wanted to know why girl gamers couldn't create avatars that actually looked like themselves, rather than just Swedes with bad haircuts.

Them's fighting words!

OT: Funny, I've actually been thinking about this for a few months now, "I wonder if girls that play NHL or FIFA are bummed about only being able to play as a male?" Turns out someone was and did something about it. Good for her, options are always nice.

Andy Chalk:
They're not very good at it, what with being girls and all, but they do their best and they have fun and for them, that's what really counts.

I'm sorry did you really just write that? Even as a joke that reads as extremely patronising.

I am offended. It offended me. It is offensive.

Trucken:

Andy Chalk:
who wanted to know why girl gamers couldn't create avatars that actually looked like themselves, rather than just Swedes with bad haircuts.

Them's fighting words!

You're right. It's offensive to people with bad haircuts everywhere.

I could have sworn there was a cheat code years ago to have a female avatar as your goalie. Like, NHL 2000 or something, you could totally do that.

Or maybe it was in the 2K sports series. Or....something. Whatever.

Good for her. Proof that speaking up actually make a difference.

Well good for them I guess. Its not something that ever really would have occured to me and it makes sense why EA never thought of it before. Since their isnt actually any women in the NHL why would you think to include the ability to make female avatars. After all the name on the case is NHL.

I am actually really impressed at this. Not because they added female avatars (should have ages ago). However the fact that they thought enough of her suggestion to keep it, and them put HER in the game as the default, that impresses me.

Satsuki666:
Well good for them I guess. Its not something that ever really would have occured to me and it makes sense why EA never thought of it before. Since their isnt actually any women in the NHL why would you think to include the ability to make female avatars. After all the name on the case is NHL.

For the fun of it. You aren't being forced to play as a female, are you?

Also, there was a female NHL player. She lasted about a period in a pre-season game, but it still happened.

Nice to see this happen. I wonder if any other sports games are going to follow?
Will I be able to play as a woman in Fifa a couple of years from now?
How about female leagues and national teams, or even referees and officials?

I'm not going to get hopes up for that, but as a girl who loves playing sports, I'd love to see it.

Frostbite3789:

For the fun of it. You aren't being forced to play as a female, are you?

Also, there was a female NHL player. She lasted about a period in a pre-season game, but it still happened.

Im not sure if you understood my comment. I am saying that this is a good thing. I was also saying how its understandable that they didnt add it in in the past since there are no women in the NHL and it is a NHL game.

Andy Chalk:
who wanted to know why girl gamers couldn't create avatars that actually looked like themselves, rather than just Swedes with bad haircuts.

Hey! That was below the belt man...Uncool dude, Uncool.

OT: Well good for all the female NHL players. Let's just hope that it is a permanent feature and won't be a DLC in the next game...

Satsuki666:

Frostbite3789:

For the fun of it. You aren't being forced to play as a female, are you?

Also, there was a female NHL player. She lasted about a period in a pre-season game, but it still happened.

Im not sure if you understood my comment. I am saying that this is a good thing. I was also saying how its understandable that they didnt add it in in the past since there are no women in the NHL and it is a NHL game.

That I did, apologies sir. I blame my sleep deprived, coffee addled brain.

Now they only need to add female leagues in their sports games

Good to see her letter had convince them to keep up with the times and it's quite awesome to have your face as the default avatar face.

Frostbite3789:

Also, there was a female NHL player. She lasted about a period in a pre-season game, but it still happened.

I find the name of the length of time for which she played to be both unfortunate, and hilarious.
Also, more options, yay. If they don't charge for the options, so much the better. Yes, there are no women on the teams as they currently exist. However, it's the create a character function. By definition, the avatar is of someone who doesn't currently exist on the given teams. Of course, to that end, why stop at humans? Back when NFL Blitz was still a franchise, you could use the character creator to be a whole bunch of things, like a robot or a dolphin. I see no real reason to not allow that in current sports games.

Sweet! In my school the boys aren't actually allowed to play hockey, it's a girl sport (they also play it on hard ground, not ice) but I'm not jealous, we play rugby but even in comparison to that hockey is vicious.

Anyways, this is nice, I see little reason why this shouldn't be the case. I know it's expensive but still.

Satsuki666:

Frostbite3789:

For the fun of it. You aren't being forced to play as a female, are you?

Also, there was a female NHL player. She lasted about a period in a pre-season game, but it still happened.

Im not sure if you understood my comment. I am saying that this is a good thing. I was also saying how its understandable that they didnt add it in in the past since there are no women in the NHL and it is a NHL game.

It's an NHL game yes, but the past few NHL games have had international teams be playable. International teams have women's divisions. There's not really an excuse here.

God forbid you play a character opposite your gender. How can you have any fun unless the character is you?

I don't argue choice is bad, but saying you can't have fun unless the character is your gender is ridiculous.

Eri:
God forbid you play a character opposite your gender. How can you have any fun unless the character is you?

Of course you can still have fun. No one is saying you can't. But I already have to play a character opposite my gender in the vast and overwhelming number of video games I play. They're still fun, of course, but you know what else would be fun? Playing my own gender, too.

I actually have more fun playing a character of opposite gender. But I'm odd like that.

This is an unqualified Good Thing. Why not? It doesn't hurt anyone or anything, and it adds more options. Don't know whether they had time to add more than just a create-a-player option, but maybe next year. I know when I first tried a demo of Football Manager 2011, I was surprised to find out that I could create a female coach. And then even more surprised that it was not only allowed, but that my first press conference was full of questions like "how do you plan to be successful in a male-dominated sport" and "have you experienced sexism in the sport". A pleasant case of the dev team Thinking of Everything.

Perhaps we'll have licensed women's teams in a few years' time? That could be fun, even if it's just the Canada and USA national teams.

orangeban:
Sweet! In my school the boys aren't actually allowed to play hockey, it's a girl sport (they also play it on hard ground, not ice) but I'm not jealous, we play rugby but even in comparison to that hockey is vicious.

Anyways, this is nice, I see little reason why this shouldn't be the case. I know it's expensive but still.

They play grass hockey? you're very lucky. I played it in school and it's a vicious fucking game. Defending against a corner is the closest many of us will ever come to being put in front of a firing squad.

Grey Carter:

orangeban:
Sweet! In my school the boys aren't actually allowed to play hockey, it's a girl sport (they also play it on hard ground, not ice) but I'm not jealous, we play rugby but even in comparison to that hockey is vicious.

Anyways, this is nice, I see little reason why this shouldn't be the case. I know it's expensive but still.

They play grass hockey? you're very lucky. I played it in school and it's a vicious fucking game. Defending against a corner is the closest many of us will ever come to being put in front of a firing squad.

One of my friends got the school to let her stop playing after she lost her two front teeth. Then there was the girl who got knocked out, the one who broke her leg... and so on.

orangeban:

Grey Carter:

orangeban:
Sweet! In my school the boys aren't actually allowed to play hockey, it's a girl sport (they also play it on hard ground, not ice) but I'm not jealous, we play rugby but even in comparison to that hockey is vicious.

Anyways, this is nice, I see little reason why this shouldn't be the case. I know it's expensive but still.

They play grass hockey? you're very lucky. I played it in school and it's a vicious fucking game. Defending against a corner is the closest many of us will ever come to being put in front of a firing squad.

One of my friends got the school to let her stop playing after she lost her two front teeth. Then there was the girl who got knocked out, the one who broke her leg... and so on.

I saw a guy shatter his shinbone, it was awful. It's a lot of fun though. The game that is, not shattering your shinbone.

Personally, even though I'm female, I'd rather play as a guy rather than a chick any day. But I'm sure this will make some male fans very happy. Oh, yeah, and those females that don't like looking at dudes.

Besides...ugh...I can't say that is a very flattering picture...

This is officially awesome. I was already excited about the game and was going to pick it up on Tuesday anyway, but this just makes me even happier about my decision. Way to go, EA.

It's cool that they actually listened to this suggestion and added it into the game. It's always nice to see a developer do something like this, especially EA.

I understand why different genders are in games but it always baffles me how many people make an issue out of playing or not being able to play a specific gender. It's not like in most games I can check in between my legs and use what makes my gender different from the other and when you can its either just lame scripted events or something like the lady killer or black widow perks.

Perhaps it's just me though because I can't really get into games deep enough that I like or dislike different personalities because I constantly pull myself out of the experience because I know they are just pixels/sprites and fabricated personalities.

And thus, in the span of a day, the amount of innovation in EA's yearly sports releases was almost tripled. It doesn't stop here though. Next year, in addition to copy pasting the same game with a roster update, I hear they're planning on adding additional polygons to the coaches faces to make them more realistically pissed off at calls.

And with the inclusion of female avatars i would firgure their stats and stamina to be that of a woman playing against men correct. I mean we are goin for realism correct?

orangeban:
Sweet! In my school the boys aren't actually allowed to play hockey, it's a girl sport (they also play it on hard ground, not ice) but I'm not jealous, we play rugby but even in comparison to that hockey is vicious.

Anyways, this is nice, I see little reason why this shouldn't be the case. I know it's expensive but still.

Pssh your school (or perhaps you) needs to get with the times. Allow me to educate you.

The type of hockey the girls will play at your school is known as field hockey. It's played with an entirely different stick, with a hooked, rather than flat end. It also uses a dimpled ball, similar to a large golf ball, instead of a puck. It uses 11 players a side at one time, just like football. It is seriously good fun.

I've seen broken bones and severe head injuries from such hockey, and at a male level, defenders rushing out from goal to save a short corner often wear masks as a temporary measure, as even with the obligatory gum-shield in, a hockey ball can do serious damage to your mouth, not to mention your face. My old captain once lost several teeth in such an incident. Interestingly, some schools play a term of rugby and a term of hockey, and can often dominate other hockey teams just in being much bigger and more aggressive.

Get involved, it's a seriously good sport. And I'm from England by the way - this isn't some alien American sport not really played in the UK!

And it only took years and years of the same game with revamped graphics to do it.
Still not buying the game, but hey. Go women I guess.

 

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