Are mainstream devs deliberately discouraging women from gaming?

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Does Karan S'Jet counts as a strong female lead? She's one of about three characters in the whole game, and certainly the only one you see on a regular basis or is one your side.

The video game industry is still a young industry when compared to books or films, but unfortunately video games have had a lot of influence from these medias: Stories trying to create emotion like films, sound techniques from films, emphasis on writing from books, realistic avatars that may delve into the uncanny valley, etc. I know that games haven't done well with being appealing towards women (or any minority figure, such as Hispanics, Blacks, or Jews), but that might be due to the influence of other medias being targeted toward white heterosexual male.

I remember a survey being given to Black children on what they thought was a beautiful person, and the majority of them thought it was a White person because each film or video game shows this. Other games like BioWare's "Mass Effect 3" might allow you to modify the color or gender of Shepard to fit your image, but the marketing and box cover doesn't remind people walking by Wal-Mart of this feature. Part of the problem is lack of understanding these cultures or relying on stereotypes that may be offensive; like all women like "pink" or Native Americans only care about casinos or pagan-like beliefs.

The OP here stated that female avatars/protagonists don't have a love interest in these games/stories because it would make the male audience uncomfortable. I think the reason behind that is that it would clash with the tradition of one reward for going through a hero's journey is to get the girl. Lois Lane in the original "Superman" comics was only there to be saved and swoon over Superman, and a suggestive message about that seems to state that only men could acquire the ones they love. Other cultures are a little hesitant in believing women are capable of this; such as how some Japanese committee members are concerned that fictional women who take the sexual initiative toward men might turn them gay.

Krantos:

omega 616:

Plus it's easy to please guys but it might be tricky to please girls. Guys basically want gears of war, ultra masculine men, with big loud guns etc

No. No we don't. I hate Gears of War for that very reason.

omega 616:
I think we need more Morrigan's and Jack's!

Um, more strong female characters? Yes, we do. But not those two. Of the two Jack is more interesting, but still. Morrigan is a royal Bitch who insults you for doing anything "nice" even when it directly benefits you. And Jack is, well, psycho. And neither one is apparently able to wear a shirt.

If you want a good example from BioWare games, check out Wynne. She's old, so obviously not sexualized, can kick ass with the best of them, is basically a Zombie, and yet still flirts with both Ohgren and Alistair. She's one of the best examples breaking the female stereotype in gaming. She's strong, not a pin-up, yet still very much a woman.

I think a lot of the problem with females in games is due to the image the industry has of gamers. They perceive us as greasy nerds, hiding in our parents basement, so they think any woman has to have DD cups to keep our attention. I think if the developers realize there is more call for true female characters they'll start showing up more. Good example is FemShep finally making into Mass Effect's Marketing.

I completely agree with this. I think out of all the female party members in DA:O Wynne was the most interesting. Just through talking to her you could see how she was an example of a woman who was strong and assertive without having to take her top off. She isn't a romance option because she doesnt need to be and to me that just makes her character stronger. She is able to resist that Grey Warden ass where everyone else, from the Elves to the Priestesses, clearly wants it.

On topic. As a man, it's difficult to see how women are treated differently when it comes to games. As stated earlier in this thread though, no matter how I see it, it's unlikely to change until the message gets through to the devs.

In some cases the reasons for this are legitimate. In many they are not, rather, they are excuses for poor/neglectful game design. Eventually we and the industry will realise this and take action to remedy the situation.

Constructive posts like this are good.

Nope, women are potential customers too, so discouraging them would be counter productive.

I dont see why this is such a big deal with people lately, seems some wont rest until everything in the world is politicaly correct, and how dull it would be. Does a character have to have the same gender or sexual preference as you for you to identify with their story or problems? If so then you are probably focusing on the wrong things. Games are mainly targeted at males, bang out all the statitics you want about how there are many female gamers but the fact remains the main core audience percieved by the public and devs is males between 16 and 25 be that the real situation or not. So over sexualised women and tough male leads are going no where.

Hixy:
I dont see why this is such a big deal with people lately, seems some wont rest until everything in the world is politicaly correct, and how dull it would be. Does a character have to have the same gender or sexual preference as you for you to identify with their story or problems? If so then you are probably focusing on the wrong things. Games are mainly targeted at males, bang out all the statitics you want about how there are many female gamers but the fact remains the main core audience percieved by the public and devs is males between 16 and 25 be that the real situation or not. So over sexualised women and tough male leads are going no where.

I think if you read further into the discussion you will find that the OP doesn't feel she "needs" to play a character of the same sex or sexual orientation. She just wants the fairer half of our species to be treated as useful and intelligent beings apart from sex appeal and reproduction purposes.

Well, they haven't done a good job of discouraging women from buying games so far. I remember on the official Thief series forum the gender split of the fans (done in an actual poll) was around 40 women to 60 men - that's almost 50% either way.

As a female, I prefer to play games with female protagonists simply because it's something different. And lord knows we need some diversity in our AAA titles these days, what with the hundreds of sequels and prequels that get churned out yearly.

We're still a young world coming to terms with equality and tolerance. There's a long way to go yet. But if games need to lead the way, fantastic - it'll get Fox News off of our backs.

1) I serriously doubt it they're doing it on purpose
2) Why should they bother catering to women? They're still the large minority in hardcore gamers. What if they can't write for a female main character, but they can for a male? They should go out of their way to please the 1% who might buy their game?

barbzilla:

Hixy:
I dont see why this is such a big deal with people lately, seems some wont rest until everything in the world is politicaly correct, and how dull it would be. Does a character have to have the same gender or sexual preference as you for you to identify with their story or problems? If so then you are probably focusing on the wrong things. Games are mainly targeted at males, bang out all the statitics you want about how there are many female gamers but the fact remains the main core audience percieved by the public and devs is males between 16 and 25 be that the real situation or not. So over sexualised women and tough male leads are going no where.

I think if you read further into the discussion you will find that the OP doesn't feel she "needs" to play a character of the same sex or sexual orientation. She just wants the fairer half of our species to be treated as useful and intelligent beings apart from sex appeal and reproduction purposes.

And quite rightly, but as I said above I think the major issue is who games target. All the triple AAA titles are good examples (Gears, COD, BF, Halo) except Bioware games but that was already mentioned.

Hixy:
I dont see why this is such a big deal with people lately, seems some wont rest until everything in the world is politicaly correct, not sexist and how dull nice it would be.

Fixed.

Soxafloppin:
Nope, women are potential customers too, so discouraging them would be counter productive.

You'd think that, but then game designers continue to shoot themselves in the foot at every turn.

JohnDoey:
I barely see any black people in games.

Another legitimate problem.

ilovemyLunchbox:
This is where I love(d?) BioWare, particularly in Mass Effect. If your Shepard was a woman... No one really cared. Not even the Krogan. When I headbutted Uvenk, the Shaman thought I was awesome, and this is from a tribal species that keeps its women separated from its men. No one was surprised that I could do awesome things even though I played as a woman, no one talked down to me, no one got all feminist on me and praised me for being the alpha female the galaxy needed, no one ever said, "You go girl!" and no one ever turned on "Bad Reputation" while I was being Renegade FemShep. It was the first time I really felt like a female character was being treated as a perfect equal instead of being looked down upon, patronized, or over-praised because she was a woman.

Actually, I'd argue that they *should* have made something of it if their backstory has such a culture.

For example, Fallout: New Vegas handles it very well. If you play as a female character and interact with Caesar's Legion then your experience is different than if you have a male character. The quests are the same and so on, but the responses you get specifically highlight that faction's extreme sexism.

If they were simply to ignore it and treat you as a gender-neutral character then I would read that as the devs simply allowing you to pick male or female at the start just to keep people happy, and not have it affect the game play at all. The fact that it does have an impact is what makes it interesting.

To go further with that, F:NV also features strong female characters (often in positions of authority) as NPCs, which demonstrates that the devs themselves aren't falling into the typical trap that says "we're being sensitive to women, since you can choose your gender, but if you pick female you'll never see anyone else in the whole game world with XX chromosomes".

I have not played ME3 (or any of the ME franchise), so I can't speak to how women were treated as a whole, but I would feel slightly jarred out of the experience if I was playing a female character and the fact wasn't mentioned when interacting with a misogynistic group (eg, Krogan, Caeser's Legion, Klingons etc), even if it is to point out that they have contempt for you for being "inferior" and then proceed to hand you the quest reluctantly.

(disclaimer, I'm male, but often play female characters).

I don't think any developer deliberately would discourage anyone from buying their game.

Even if they design a game "to appeal to males", that's because they have the misguided belief that males will be more likely to buy games with tits in them (as opposed to, as most men I know who play video games would approach the subject, simply finding nice tits to be a bonus on top of a gaming series they like for other, less retarded reasons) and that women just don't buy the kind of game they make.

Choosing to target a specific demographic does not always mean discriminating against other demographics, at least not on purpose.

Sexy women in games aren't sexy to discourage female players who might be turned off by the ridiculous sexualization, but are simply there to look pretty for adolescent boys who, most likely, won't look at them for that long since they have internet access and can just look at tits online if they need to fap.

I suppose all in all, just an unfortunate coincidence, yes?

It always striked me as extremely strange that the entire "racist"/"sexist" stuff is usually brought first, and not last, which it really should be.

Not doing what most of your customers want to see is a suicide.
Providing extra "options" is resource-consuming.

Simple stuff really. If you provide a game fully comfortable for males (in case they are your major demographic) you only risk to "piss off" only the persons(usually females) that find the absence of female main character "offensive", which usually is a minority in already minority .

So in case where you need to apply a lot of extra resources(lite x2 times the VA, x2 LIs, so forth) to please insignificant(numerically) part of customer base may be FAR less cost effective than to simply ignore the issue. Again simple maths.

It is same every ware. It is like airlines, they provide direct flights only for flights where significant enough number of pasagers to fill planes, and the small number of pasagers will have to change planes multiple times to get to where they need.

Again if devs deliver good experience for most they can legitimately get away with "we had to prioritize our resources" argument which is true in general.

You can get away pretty fine with the "we didn`t include female/gay/lesbian LIs, because we were focused on the main game".

Trying to get away with "our ending(hello ME3)&parts of story sucked because we were putting our limited time and resourses into pleasing small minorities(hello again ME3)" is by FAAAAAR
harder.
Granted BW doesn`t do that, but you probably would get that a quite chunk of their fans are thinking "they bothered to put as may options for females,gays,lesbians, but they didn`t bothered to make a proper ending? what a kind of BS is that?!".
Which kinda makes it worth for the entire "equal representation" motion picture.

OP there's a lovely game called The Arkh Project that I think has everything you're looking for.

A fun game to play while playing, er, games is to count the ratio of men to women. It's almost always heavily balanced in the favour of men, which is very strange, since women make up more of the population than men. Doesn't matter if the game is set in the past, the future, now or in a different universe altogther, this is almost always the case.

And I'd blame that, and the issue with female protagonists, on the fact that society still sees male as the "default". In general, when game developers make protagonists, they automatically make them male. They have to put in concious thought and effort to think of making a female protagonist.

What I'm saying is, in a lot of cases developers don't even consider making a female protagonist, they just automatically make a male one and only later, when it's too late, do they think of making a female one.

This is why when you actually get a female protagonist, they usually make a massive deal out of this, either by making a story or at least sub-plot around the idea of a female in a male-dominated area (which is quite a cool little story actually), or by over-sexualising the women crazily (I'm thinking Lara Croft). They don't really just make a normal game where the protagonist happens to be female, not normally.

Ok I have had some sleep and am ready to cannonball into this potential minefield. I'm actually going to stick up for Geralt here. I only made it through maybe a 3rd of the first one, but from what I saw his actual character isn't a misogynist. The T+A trading cards are a bit crude, not denying that, but the sex scenes are just kinda there. He never talked down to a woman or acted like a playboy. I admit my exposure was incomplete, but I saw enough to make a reasonable estimate.

As for Amalur, in a gigantic game with a create your own mute main character like that I hardly think a little recycled dialog and one awkward quest is enough to accuse the devs of actively discouraging women.

dont

Fr]anc[is:
Ok I have had some sleep and am ready to cannonball into this potential minefield. I'm actually going to stick up for Geralt here. I only made it through maybe a 3rd of the first one, but from what I saw his actual character isn't a misogynist. The T+A trading cards are a bit crude, not denying that, but the sex scenes are just kinda there. He never talked down to a woman or acted like a playboy. I admit my exposure was incomplete, but I saw enough to make a reasonable estimate.

As for Amalur, in a gigantic game with a create your own mute main character like that I hardly think a little recycled dialog and one awkward quest is enough to accuse the devs of actively discouraging women.

you dont even need to play the game to know that if you were mutated with special powers and had become sterile, of course you would be trying to get with all the women its what every guy would do in real life.

As for the whole sexual equality thing. Woudnt mind a few main characters that were women and would be a real nice change. Even better if it wasnt something so cliche like a red sonja type or elf female mage. Maybe some sort of 17th Century clothing style female admiral would be pretty cool.

Oh and I am tired of games boosting the females breast sizes up 5x and having annoying barbie voices that sound as if they have an I.Q of 10.

Deliberatly trying to discourage women? No. Fucking stupid concept art for females and males in a lot of games? Yes.

Women who dress like sluts and/or has gigantic tits are (to me, atleast) not attractive in the slghtest. Just as a lot of women aren't attracted to huge muscles and growling voices.

Kahunaburger:
The issue is that female characters tend to be designed to appeal to a male audience as a sexual fantasy and that male characters tend to be designed to appeal to a male audience as a power fantasy. Trust me, if male characters were objectified to the same extent as female characters, you'd know.

Maybe we just play very different games, but I see a lot of games full of male characters designed to appeal to female sexual fantasies. It's the whole reason games like Sengoku Basara even exist (the director explained it in an interview, you should be able to find an English translation online somewhere). That said, I definitely see a lot less of that in mainstream Western gaming than in games from Japan and other parts of Asia, and I don't think a lot of the games focused on those aspects get much of a marketing push in English speaking countries if they get released there at all.

Although it's not true, anymore at least, gaming is still considered a male's world by the majority of developers. They don't hate women, they are just doing what they assume will get the most amount of purchases.

It's not acceptable though and hopefully given enough time things will change and we can get more games like Mass Effect where you can choose between which gender, race and personally you want for your character.

Hixy:
I dont see why this is such a big deal with people lately, seems some wont rest until everything in the world is politicaly correct,

*sigh*...the apeal to political correctness..favorite little ploy of some people

this has NOTHING to do with political correctness..I have no friggen Idea when that came from

and how dull it would be.

dull?.........let me tell you what dull is...dull is games and other mediums taking the "safe" opion every time...EVERY protagonist being white male brown haired and utterly boring because its just the general "everyman" of protagonists

I mean Mass effect wouldnt be my favorite game by a long shot if I had to play as blandy mcbland male shep

I'vre always imagined an assasins creed with a kickass main charachter who happens to be female..who has to work TWICE as hard to prove her worth as an assasin, who has to endure the sexism of her era and the stress of..well being an assas..god that would be awsome

Does a character have to have the same gender or sexual preference as you for you to identify with their story or problems? If so then you are probably focusing on the wrong things. Games are mainly targeted at males,

No. Hence.....why.....you should have no problem playing as a female? if the protagonsit happned to be one?

bang out all the statitics you want about how there are many female gamers but the fact remains the main core audience percieved by the public and devs is males between 16 and 25 be that the real situation or not. So over sexualised women and tough male leads are going no where.

core Audience or not...thats just a way of saying "eh..whats the big deal? we shouldn't bother trying anything new" anyway true..sexualised females and "strong" PC's going anywhere, and thats fine...but decent female charachters I dont thinka are too mcuh to ask..hell they are not even that hard to do

I don't really think that girls don't get games cause they can't play as a girl.

I mean, it's not like girls were randomly all over tomb raider.

Though for RPGs I can see it being an issue.

joe-h2o:

I have not played ME3 (or any of the ME franchise), so I can't speak to how women were treated as a whole, but I would feel slightly jarred out of the experience if I was playing a female character and the fact wasn't mentioned when interacting with a misogynistic group (eg, Krogan, Caeser's Legion, Klingons etc), even if it is to point out that they have contempt for you for being "inferior" and then proceed to hand you the quest reluctantly.

).

generally speaking women are treated very well in the ME...if only buy there sheer presanse in all facents of galactic life

and who says the Krogan would be mysoganistic to femshep?

I imagine a Krogan understands femsehp is "female" but doesnt apply the ame cultrual attitude to her..becayse she is "human" first and formost..a very competant human at that

in fact the Krogan arnt even mysoganistic to their own females..in a asense the females are the ones holding the cards

I think the sexism thing in the ME universe is not like it is today..

I don't think they're trying to discourage half their potential audience from playing.

I think it's more related to what most people think of when they think of a blank slate default character.
Unfortunately, since it's been so ubiquitous in most forms of popular entertainment, people still default to white male when trying to come up with a character, and even if the character's not white, he'll still probably be male. So, I guess the reasoning behind it is that in many aspects of pop-culture entertainment, men are still seen as protagonists while women are still seen as supporting characters. And if they are supporting characters, they'll probably get relegated to the role of love interest/eye candy, because the writers can't think of another role for her.

At least, I think that's the reasoning behind it; I don't think there's any malicious intent with it, just people still stuck in the past.
It does suck though, as it means we've gotten very few stories that are told from a woman's point of view. Even in games where you can choose your character's gender, often times the story is still tailored to a more masculine perspective.

Westaway:
1) I serriously doubt it they're doing it on purpose
2) Why should they bother catering to women? They're still the large minority in hardcore gamers. What if they can't write for a female main character, but they can for a male? They should go out of their way to please the 1% who might buy their game?

its not about "catering to women"

I hate to see entertainment broken down into "this is for this person" and "this was perfectly design for that kind of person"

its more about lets have some variety here

OtherSideofSky:

Kahunaburger:
The issue is that female characters tend to be designed to appeal to a male audience as a sexual fantasy and that male characters tend to be designed to appeal to a male audience as a power fantasy. Trust me, if male characters were objectified to the same extent as female characters, you'd know.

Maybe we just play very different games, but I see a lot of games full of male characters designed to appeal to female sexual fantasies. It's the whole reason games like Sengoku Basara even exist (the director explained it in an interview, you should be able to find an English translation online somewhere). That said, I definitely see a lot less of that in mainstream Western gaming than in games from Japan and other parts of Asia, and I don't think a lot of the games focused on those aspects get much of a marketing push in English speaking countries if they get released there at all.

Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if Japan had more of that kind of games than the anglophonic world. Incidentally, the fact that several dudes in the West hate playing bishounen characters is arguably the perfect demonstration of what I'm talking about re: male protagonists in most western games.

xXxJessicaxXx:
Lately I have noticed that female gamers are being discouraged for all sorts of reasons.

Assassins Creed 3 said that a female protagonist wouldn't fit into the period of the game (yet a Native American would be acceptable and wouldn't rouse suspicion wherever he went?).

The Witcher of course has Geralt whose misogyny is accepted because of the books. Meanwhile if developers made a Conan game would he be portrayed as a racist?

Kingdoms of Amalur treats the female character like she is a man (constant flirts from female characters) to the extent where she is forced to marry a women if she wants to complete a quest line, there is no option to just say 'No' and complete the quest that way.

Risen 2 has dismissed a playable female out of hand even though their protagonist is 'The nameless hero' and plenty of women were involved in piracy.

I don't mean to go into tin foil hat territory here but as someone who has been gaming for a very long time it almost feels like we are going backwards with gender acceptance in games (outside of Bioware.) and the mainstay excuse of devs seems to be that mistreatment of women is part of their universe or time period and so must be accepted out of hand. These are often in games where there are giant bug monsters or other fantastic occurrences.

Sometimes I wonder whether we will ever be accepted as part of gaming or the very excuse of 'men are our main demographic' is going to discourage women from playing games and therefore not allow the demographic to balance out.

I know that I'm in the minority here and I'm probably going to get shouted down pretty badly but please think about what it's like to grow up loving a past-time that no one seems to want you to be involved in.

Actively discouraged? No. But women definitely do not get much fan service from the video gaming industry (outside of Bioware, as you note), because of a (somewhat outdated) perception that young men still make up the vast majority of their target audience. I'm sure game developers and publishers would love for more women to come into the fold, but with few exceptions they haven't shown much marketing savvy in terms of making that happen. Many games are still aimed right at the pleasure centers of thirteen year old boys.

A few notes from your post...

1. I think a lot of times the lack of a female option, or the absence of quality dialogue that reflects and recognizes your choice of female as a protagonist, is just sloppy design. Adding a female option requires lots of extra writing, and extra voice acting, and a different model, potentially with different animations. Sometimes they just don't want to bother. Maybe they had a tight budget. Maybe they figure most of their target audience is male, and would prefer a male, so it's wasted time. I prefer a female protagonist in my games, so it's annoying to me as well when it happens. It's part of why I put off playing The Witcher as long as I did.

2. Regarding The Witcher, I don't find the game particularly sexist, nor do I find Geralt to be misogynistic. The women I've encountered in the game thus far...Shani, Triss...while poorly written and under developed, have demonstrated strong backbones and plenty of aptitude and agency. They seem like strong, competent women. This is the antithesis of sexism. There is plenty of PANDERING though, a lot of highly juvenile sexualization of said women, the pinnacle of which is those hilariously skeevy trading cards. And Geralt, while not misogynistic, is definitely a lech. And a poorly written, poorly acted lech, so he comes off as tone deaf and creepy instead of charming. This is probably what you're reacting to.

3. I have to agree with the "excuse" that if sexism is part of a universe, it should be portrayed. There's a difference between a UNIVERSE being sexist, and a GAME being sexist. Mad Men might be the LEAST sexist show on television, but the characters and world its portraying are deeply sexist. A sexist world is actually a positive step, as long as it's handled and explored intelligently. Games can and should tackle challenging and divisive social and ethical issues. Fantasy games are dipping their toes into racism quite frequently these days, with mixed results...Sexism should be no different. What I want from the game is the ability to play, or meet, nuanced female characters who have volition and agency, and who aren't just there as props with tits. They don't have to be good people. They don't have to be wise or strong or heroic. I don't want a legion of Mary Sues. But I want them portrayed with the same complexity and respect that the male characters are. That's all I need. If they're treated badly in-universe because in-universe is, say, a fantasy realm modeled after feudal Europe, that's alright. That's world building.

i guess the problem guys have with playing women is that on some level we all project ourselves onto the character(s) we're playing, and guys generally don't like 'playing as a girl,' at least when we have a choice in the matter.

games like metroid or perfect dark have female protagonists, but in both cases it isn't problem due to the nature of the games (samus's suit covers her up and you rarely see joanna as its a FPS). its not that the women aren't 'sexy,' but neither the presentation for most of the game or the gameplay are feminine. even when the protagonist is purposely a sex object, if the gameplay isn't feminine, then guys don't have a problem with it (lara croft and bayonetta as examples). that doesn't exclude RPGs either, as it isn't a problem in a game like final fantasy to play as female characters. i actually thought lightning and fang were quite attractive, but i had no problems playing as them.

however, games where the player has the choice to be male or female and personalize the characters, most guys choose to play as a male (all other choices being the same, if its tied to a class then i think guys don't mind as much - see sorceresses, amazons and assassins in diablo II). i've encountered this myself, even though i think of myself as fairly gender neutral in my thinking, i can't seem to get into a character where i choose to be female. i played a super hero MMO for 7 years, and in that time i had 15 or so max lvl characters and only 1 was female. i couldn't get into playing her at all and subsequently only power lvled her up. i always think about how i'd play a female character in fallout 1 or 3 and then choose male instead.

i do think that games need to be more willing to have an equal devotion of time and effort into the 'female' side of gaming. more games should have a choice of male or female protagonists that are on equal footing. its hard though to create two matching story lines in a complex story where motivations and characters actions are dependent on which gender you pick, not to mention 2 sets of voice overs (1 for each gender) plus additional gender specific lines. i don't think it necessarily has to be every game, some games have gender neutral characters, or some games just work better with a male protaganist, but i think female characters should be included more when the character is generic anyway. i do think its changing for the better in gender equality for women in gaming, but its happening slowly.

I've been poking around gaming for a while, and I'm just stopped giving a damn. I don't believe devs are TRYING to discourage females, but crap just kinda happens. Men are still the majority of the "hardcore" audience, and naturally they're also the loudest. I'm more weirded out than offended by half-naked swizzle-sticks with bowling balls on their chest.

I don't really see how you WOULD cater to women. Is it about having female protagonists? Is it about dealing with woman-related issues? Is it about having fleshed out characters that lack a Y-chromosome? I agree that the reason why most of them are white males (most likely American-ish) is that they're somewhat of the default blank slate. I mean, how many older (45+) main protagonists are there played seriously without satire? Only one I can think of off the top of my head is Ezio, and that's only in Revelations (and even then he still looks and moves uncharacteristically for his age).

Bayonetta is an interesting case, and she's been mentioned a few times already. She's a very sexual character, with some rack and ass, but she's also empowered by her nature. Not only that, but it's reflected in the gameplay (gold star there, Platinum). Bob did a video, and whether you agree with him or not, there are a few interesting points made on how she isn't lumped with the said swizzle-sticks.
But then again, the game just plain doesn't give a shit about anything. It's crazy and wacky and it just...doesn't care lol. It almost makes fun of those stereotypes.

Zhukov:

While we're on the subject, I've never understood why female protagonists are so important to female players. As a guy I have no problems playing those relatively rare games with female leads. Hell, sometimes I play as a female in games that allow you to choose. Or does it go a bit deeper than merely the protagonist's gender...?

You said it yourself, female protagonists are rare. It's not that women have a problem playing as a male character; it's that they are forced to do so most of the time.

It can make it feel like you are not a part of the intended audience.

I'm a woman, and I'm cabable of identifying with a male protagonist. But I'd like to have more female characters, especially ones that aren't just for fanservice.

Raggedstar:
Is it about having female protagonists? Is it about dealing with woman-related issues? Is it about having fleshed out characters that lack a Y-chromosome?

All of these would be nice.

while i dont like the assassins creed games they are seriously limiting themselves.. heck japan has a specific term Kunoichi for female ninja

If gender of the main protagonist is stopping you from playing a game . You are doing it wrong . I guess authors who write books with a male protagonist hate women also . Oh not to mention movies with guys as the protagonist , they hate women also .

I mean really ... Why do people look for things to nitpick . I actually find you're claims rather sexist against men .

I don't really see any reason to not have more female protogonists, just because, like Extra Credits say, it means you open up a whole new load of stories to tell: overcoming sexism, motherhood, ect. Obviously if all female characters had those stories that would be sexist as well, so there should be games where female characters are just there...you know, like in pretty much all movies and books and plays ect ect.

Also as a man I like having a female protagonist just because well...it's nice to look at :P. Actually that last comment just undermined the rest of my points, but screw you, I like looking at attractive women (keep in mind, when I think attractive, I don't think stupidly big boobs and barely there outfits)! Why aren't there more women in games!

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