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#51 Edited by ElixirBronze (356 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac said:
@elixirbronze said:
@SpaceInsomniac: 18% of players chose to play a female character? That's great. Again, I don't care why someone would want to play a certain character. But if 18% of video games had a female main protagonists, that would be an infinitely huge step up in terms of variation from what we have now, which is 99.99% crew-cut white dudes with 5 o'clock shadows.

You're looking at that statistic as 18 percent of players want female protagonists, so 18 percent of games should feature female protagonists. From a business standpoint, that's simply wrong.

Hypothetically, let's say that 18 percent of gamers would rather play as a female lead character, and 82 percent of gamers would rather play as a male lead character. We'll forget about the actual percentage of female gamers for a moment, which I would guess would have be somewhere under 18 percent, if the ME2 stats are to be believed. Note that I'm only including "traditional" 60 dollar retail games here.

Now, knowing this about your potential audience, why would you go with a choice that is preferred by 18 percent of potential customers, over a choice that is preferred by 82 percent of potential customers? This is even more true when making a female character too sexualized could lead to accusations of sexism (Tomb Raider, Bayonetta), and not sexualizing a female protagonist enough could cost your game sales (Mirror's Edge, Beyond Good and Evil). Not to say that THE reason those games didn't sell more is because of their non-sexualized female protagonists, but come to think of it, I am struggling to come up with a game that featured both a non-sexualized female protagonist and was a fairly large success. Anyone happen to know of some?

Believe me, I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying it's a sad truth. Don't get me wrong, I love when games allow a choice between genders, and I would also personally like to see more female protagonists in games. With that said, I think it's a bit telling that I've recommended Mass Effect to a few male friends now, and despite my recommendation of going with fem Shepard, they've all played as men.

So not enough men want to play as women, and not enough women want to play video games. To borrow and reverse an old urban phrase, don't hate the game, hate the player.

But you have to consider -how many people buy games solely based on what gender the main protagonist is? Probably not a lot right?

Also while we're talking about "sexualization". I think that entire concept is just an invalid one invented by media. What defines "Sexualized"? A certain cup size? A certain degree of clothing? Where do we draw the lines? Why should we have to draw lines? I think I have yet to hear a single woman getting genuinely offended because a female character in some game showed to much skin. The characters actions is a different story, but let's be honest, in how many games outside of Duke Nukem and Leisure suit Larry do female characters actually act like sluts?

#52 Edited by Humanity (7945 posts) -
#53 Posted by EXTomar (4121 posts) -
#54 Posted by GnaTSoL (778 posts) -

Dead Space has had numerous, drawn out, excruciating death scenes for Isaac since the first game and everyone, including the Bombcrew, thinks they're awesome.

Tomb Raider does it and it's gross and gratuitous.

The GB crew needs to respond to this and should stop duckin and being hypocrites.

#55 Posted by Humanity (7945 posts) -

@extomar: my stance on picnic baskets is quite clear

#56 Posted by Ares42 (2442 posts) -

Dead Space has had numerous, drawn out, excruciating death scenes for Isaac since the first game and everyone, including the Bombcrew, thinks they're awesome.

Tomb Raider does it and it's gross and gratuitous.

Dead Space is a horror game in space with aliens. Tomb Raider is an action adventure game about being lost on an island filled with bandits. If you can't see the thematical differences between the two you're pretty much just denying the truth.

#57 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (3325 posts) -

@elixirbronze said:

@spaceinsomniac said:
@elixirbronze said:
@SpaceInsomniac: 18% of players chose to play a female character? That's great. Again, I don't care why someone would want to play a certain character. But if 18% of video games had a female main protagonists, that would be an infinitely huge step up in terms of variation from what we have now, which is 99.99% crew-cut white dudes with 5 o'clock shadows.

You're looking at that statistic as 18 percent of players want female protagonists, so 18 percent of games should feature female protagonists. From a business standpoint, that's simply wrong.

Hypothetically, let's say that 18 percent of gamers would rather play as a female lead character, and 82 percent of gamers would rather play as a male lead character. We'll forget about the actual percentage of female gamers for a moment, which I would guess would have be somewhere under 18 percent, if the ME2 stats are to be believed. Note that I'm only including "traditional" 60 dollar retail games here.

Now, knowing this about your potential audience, why would you go with a choice that is preferred by 18 percent of potential customers, over a choice that is preferred by 82 percent of potential customers? This is even more true when making a female character too sexualized could lead to accusations of sexism (Tomb Raider, Bayonetta), and not sexualizing a female protagonist enough could cost your game sales (Mirror's Edge, Beyond Good and Evil). Not to say that THE reason those games didn't sell more is because of their non-sexualized female protagonists, but come to think of it, I am struggling to come up with a game that featured both a non-sexualized female protagonist and was a fairly large success. Anyone happen to know of some?

Believe me, I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying it's a sad truth. Don't get me wrong, I love when games allow a choice between genders, and I would also personally like to see more female protagonists in games. With that said, I think it's a bit telling that I've recommended Mass Effect to a few male friends now, and despite my recommendation of going with fem Shepard, they've all played as men.

So not enough men want to play as women, and not enough women want to play video games. To borrow and reverse an old urban phrase, don't hate the game, hate the player.

But you have to consider -how many people buy games solely based on what gender the main protagonist is? Probably not a lot right?

Also while we're talking about "sexualization". I think that entire concept is just an invalid one invented by media. What defines "Sexualized"? A certain cup size? A certain degree of clothing? Where do we draw the lines? Why should we have to draw lines? I think I have yet to hear a single woman getting genuinely offended because a female character in some game showed to much skin. The characters actions is a different story, but let's be honest, in how many games outside of Duke Nukem and Leisure suit Larry do female characters actually act like sluts?

It's hard to tell how many would skip a game just because of the protagonist's gender, but I doubt most publishers care to do anything that might risk them any sales. To them, if 82 percent of players would rather play as a male, and those players have to choose between their game with a female lead, and another game with a male lead, that might be the slight push that it would take to cause customers to purchase your competitor's product.

Of course this is all just guess work, but you can be darn sure that publishers spend a lot of money on market research, and it's kind of stupid to suggest that they don't know what they're talking about when they shy away from female protagonists.

I find it humorous that Patrick berates those who would dare question the amount of money it costs to add another character to a fighting game, and in the same article link to a story that basically says publishers don't know what they're talking about when they say that games featuring female protagonists don't sell. Seems kinda hypocritical.

As for sexualization, I don't think it's invalid or invented by the media, but you're absolutely right that it is hard to draw lines. I would define sexualization as anything that causes a character to be more sexuality attractive, either through physical appearance, attire, or personality.

It's very much a sliding scale, and it's not a one-sided issue. I've already given female examples, but it's not hard to see that the Ezio from Assassin's Creed and Drake from Uncharted are far more sexualized than Master Chief from Halo, or Marcus from Gears of War.

You can call the sexualization of female characters offensive to women if you want, but I think that's missing the point. How many romance novels have you ever seen with skinny looking nerds on the cover? Sex sells, and it's a two way street. When the vast majority of your market is men, it's foolish to ignore their buying habits or preferences.

#58 Edited by Humanity (7945 posts) -

@ares42 said:

@warlordpayne said:

Dead Space has had numerous, drawn out, excruciating death scenes for Isaac since the first game and everyone, including the Bombcrew, thinks they're awesome.

Tomb Raider does it and it's gross and gratuitous.

Dead Space is a horror game in space with aliens. Tomb Raider is an action adventure game about being lost on an island filled with bandits. If you can't see the thematical differences between the two you're pretty much just denying the truth.

The thematic difference between these two titles has no bearing on the argument. You die in both games. To say that gruesome, graphically detailed death is completely acceptable in a horror game, yet is gratuitous and exploitative in an adventure one - sounds at the least ignorant, if not hypocritical.

#59 Edited by ElixirBronze (356 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac: You're right in that "sexualization" exists as a thing where you apply "sexiness" to something, i get that. But the reason the word exists within the context of being offensive, I don't get. A case could have been made if every single female character ever was just super stupid and slutty and close to naked all the time, but I think that's simply not the case. Calling a character with perfect proportions (a subjective term by the way) "sexuallized" doesn't cling right with me, however if the character is horny all the time and never wears anything but underwear, I'd buy it. I would argue that most female characters aren't sexualized by that definition (not counting weird Japanese ecchi and porn games).

And you're right, there are sexualized male characters that nobody gives a second thought about.

And finally, you are also right in that publishers probably knows best. I wont claim I am the super armchair analyst to end all professional analysts ever. But I still think that the controversies surrounding female characters is at least a factor in the decision, maybe on a subconscious level... hell I don't know. If I was EA or Activision I'd feel more comfortable creating a male character because of it anyway.

EDIT: Holy shit I just found this article: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RyanCreighton/20130101/184227/White_as_a_Sheet.php and I haven't read it yet but I read the "Do Not Go Gently Into That Non-White" And it makes me even more convinced that I'm at least partially on to something.

#60 Edited by Ares42 (2442 posts) -

@humanity: So you're saying it's ok for anything you see in a horror game to appear in any other game ? Isn't that sorta what makes it a horror game ? I mean if I'm playing Ratchet and Clank and when I die I get presented with a horrifically realistic death of these characters I would find that quite out of place and a tad disturbing. If you wanna deny that context matters that's good for you, but I can't say I quite agree with that sentiment.

#61 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4282 posts) -

@ares42 said:

@warlordpayne said:

Dead Space has had numerous, drawn out, excruciating death scenes for Isaac since the first game and everyone, including the Bombcrew, thinks they're awesome.

Tomb Raider does it and it's gross and gratuitous.

Dead Space is a horror game in space with aliens. Tomb Raider is an action adventure game about being lost on an island filled with bandits. If you can't see the thematical differences between the two you're pretty much just denying the truth.

Incorrect. Tomb Raider has more in commong with survivalist fiction like Jack London novels or more recently, The Grey. These stories depict nature as a harsh, unforgiving beast that is just looking for the chance to kill you. The only real difference between Tomb Raider and Dead Space in a thematic sense is that Isaac bombs around outer space and Lara Croft bombs around a jungle.

#62 Posted by Humanity (7945 posts) -

@ares42: Ratchet and Clank is not a mature game meant for a mature adult audience, so I wouldn't expect brutal death scenes there. Both Dead Space and Tomb Raider are mature games with gritty mature content - so yes context does matter just not in the way you're presenting it. Is Gears of War a horror game? Because chainsawing doods in half seems to be quite excessive. Is Assassins Creed a horror game? Because theres a variety of explicit death animations there. Or is it that as long as were killing enemy AI the brutal deaths are justified but when it happens to our playable character thats too much? How many games featured a move where you can throw a baddie onto a spike to impale them? Tons. Just recently it was Sleeping Dogs, a game that is full of extremely gruesome kill animations. No one said anything about any of those games, so why should they speak up now?

#63 Edited by Ares42 (2442 posts) -

@humanity: I've discussed this in another thread but the bad part of that death animation is not the fact that she gets impaled, it's the lingering shot of her desperately trying to stay alive. It's a difference of gore and horror. We see gore in many games, but we very rarely see the desperation of people dying portrayed in a realistic manner other than in horror games. That is what makes them horror, the psychological part of it.

#64 Edited by EpicSteve (6438 posts) -

Getting offended is evidence of weak parenting. I've never heard anyone I would consider a strong human being say they're offended by something that doesn't directly impact their daily life. There are genders that are part of different demographics. You sell boys the Hotwheels Happy Meal and girls the Barbie one. I got responsibilities in my life that precludes me from worrying about words someone uses or someone possibly excluding a demographic.

#65 Posted by Humanity (7945 posts) -

@ares42: I think you're over-dramatizing it honestly. I have the game (because a store broke street date) and I actually just played through that part and died on one of those spikes. It's hardly realistic and she doesn't "desperately struggle to stay alive" as the camera lingers and pans over her last moments. A big spike clips through her characters neck in a completely unrealistic manner as most video game penetrations are. The screen fades to black and white as she reaches out and goes limp - bam Lara is dead - BUT WAIT! The game loads up in about 2 seconds and you're at it again. There is no consequence, and zero impact. Tons of games have had similar looking death screen with the protagonist diyinh in some sort of staged vignette. Dead Space is even worse as Isaac will usually fight throughout the entire ordeal struggling as some monstrocity mutilates him piece by piece.

Everyone is entitled to their own feelings on the matter of course. I'm not saying you don't have a right to be offended, just simply stating the fact that this death scene is hardly anything new or anything extremely grotesque or even realistic in the world of gaming. At the same time if seeing this sort of stuff deeply disturbs someone then I'd recommend staying away from M rated titles as they are all pretty much like this one way or another.

#66 Posted by guiseppe (2833 posts) -

The only reason any of this even bothered me is the fact that it bothered people. It baffles me.

#67 Edited by EXTomar (4121 posts) -

I wonder why this thread exists. Who is saying the "DOA girls are not okay"? It has never been that people feel "violated" by stuff that is going on in video games but that it is "noise and total nonsense". That doesn't necessarily mean we can't be disappointed with what is going on in the industry but I am not sure who is saying "we can't make those games!"

This topic seems to be "manufactured controversy". We need more women in video game production. We need better female characters in video games. That doesn't mean something like Skullgirls is bad or wrong either.

#68 Posted by Dagbiker (6898 posts) -

I have started using a tagging software to tag games on my HD, and just today I tagged the games and giantbomb movies i have with strong females, female protagonists and ones that have females as sex objects. Here are some results, this is just what I have so far, and just what I have on my hard drive, and so is not statically viable, but look at the games you play, or the types of games you play, and perhaps you will find your answer.

First the games with female protagonists and no memorable instances of females as sex objects
Second, instances of females as sexual objects, and no strong females in the game ( or video, Im going to have to check borderlands ).
Third, instances of strong females, this includes playable characters and appearances ( the same criteria for sex objects )

Im not saying my word is definitive, everyone has a different definition of a strong female, and a sex object. I have no doubt that people will have Issue with this list. But, perhaps females are not as absent from games as you might think.

#69 Posted by psylah (2153 posts) -

Yeah, purple is for girls.

Real manly men carry neon pink handhelds:

Modded it myself. Get on my level.

#70 Posted by Ares42 (2442 posts) -

@humanity: This is getting way off-topic, but anyways, I think you're projecting a bit here.

I saw it for the first time like a week ago and my reaction to it was nothing more than "oh, that's a bit much". I'm not overly offended or anything, all I'm trying to do is explain why people reacted to it. In the days after I've actually checked out compilations of death animations from the game and that one is a particular unfair example to portray the game. The Conan clip didn't help much either as it accentuated the problem with the animation.

As I already said I have talked about this in other threads, so I'm not really interested in discussing that aspect anymore. My original point was (as I also talked about in other threads) that context matters. Just because one game does something doesn't mean it ok that every other game does the same.

#71 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3325 posts) -
#72 Posted by Ravenlight (8033 posts) -

@bishna said:

Let me experience something I can't in real life. I really wish it was an option in games.

Like using the ladies' room.

#73 Posted by Veektarius (4139 posts) -

I'm not crazy about the way you conjugate the verb 'to have', but I think you made pretty decent points that reflect my thoughts on the issue in a more articulate way than I have expressed them.

#74 Posted by DaMisterChief (628 posts) -

Get Patrick Klepek on the linile

#75 Posted by mrfluke (4835 posts) -

@dagbiker said:

I have started using a tagging software to tag games on my HD, and just today I tagged the games and giantbomb movies i have with strong females, female protagonists and ones that have females as sex objects. Here are some results, this is just what I have so far, and just what I have on my hard drive, and so is not statically viable, but look at the games you play, or the types of games you play, and perhaps you will find your answer.

First the games with female protagonists and no memorable instances of females as sex objects
Second, instances of females as sexual objects, and no strong females in the game ( or video, Im going to have to check borderlands ).
Third, instances of strong females, this includes playable characters and appearances ( the same criteria for sex objects )

Im not saying my word is definitive, everyone has a different definition of a strong female, and a sex object. I have no doubt that people will have Issue with this list. But, perhaps females are not as absent from games as you might think.

tagging @patrickklepek to this thread and this post, just so he can get some more perspective

#76 Edited by Mrsignerman44 (1100 posts) -

@gnatsol said:

@warlordpayne said:

Dead Space has had numerous, drawn out, excruciating death scenes for Isaac since the first game and everyone, including the Bombcrew, thinks they're awesome.

Tomb Raider does it and it's gross and gratuitous.

The GB crew needs to respond to this and should stop duckin and being hypocrites.

Damn, I haven't heard any of the recent complaints surrounding Tomb Raider death scenes on the bombcast but if they said that, that's pretty hypocritical to say the least.

I for one, don't have a problem with either game having descriptive death scenes because it's to be expected from a gritty mature game regardless of the protagonist's gender, and in the case of Tomb Raider, nature don't care, yo.

#77 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (3325 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

Third, instances of strong females, this includes playable characters and appearances ( the same criteria for sex objects )

Im not saying my word is definitive, everyone has a different definition of a strong female, and a sex object. I have no doubt that people will have Issue with this list. But, perhaps females are not as absent from games as you might think.

tagging @patrickklepek to this thread and this post, just so he can get some more perspective

While that list is interesting, I feel that some of the other points being made in this thread are far better examples to suggest why we don't see more female protagonists.

First my own point about how Mass Effect stats give us a good idea that less than 18 percent of gamers are likely to be female. Just as importantly, the stats show that when given the choice, the overwhelming majority of people would rather play as a male character rather than a female. Like any other company, game publishers do a lot of market testing, and that sort of knowledge about your customers preferences would do a lot to lower the number of female protagonists.

Then there's the point that @elixirbronze made, suggesting that some of the white males that currently make up the majority of the gaming industry--mostly due to a lack of female interest in STEM fields--have reached a point where they're afraid of writing characters outside of their own race or gender, because they know that their work will be heavily scrutinized. Go read the article that he linked to, it's really quite informative.

Put some white guy in a game, and who cares what he's like, or what he does. Put a women or a minority in a game, and suddenly they become representational for the writers opinion of an entire race or gender.

Of course, none of that means that writers and game developers should shy away from female and minority characters just because it's hard, but it does certainly help explain why some people would want to avoid the situation entirely. For crying out loud, look at all of the people who freaked out over the latest Tomb Raider game, and that was actually written by a woman!

Combine these two issues, and I'm honestly surprised that there are as many female protagonists as there are.

#78 Edited by ElixirBronze (356 posts) -

About @patrickklepek: I think he's a good journalist and I usually don't mind him. But it's kind of ironic that the reason I found that article was from his worth reading where he linked to an article at Gamespot UK, which, in turn, quoted that very article. The Gamespot article for the record was about roughly the same thing. I find it ironic because I view Patrick as part of the problem in a way (honestly, most of the crew is, kind of). I feel like they're all very quick to say "ugh" and "gross" when there's a sexy moment in any game or when talking about those Tomb Raider death animations (morally gross, that is - getting grossed out by gore in general is a different story).

This wasn't always the case, they did that Onichanbara (?) quick look a long time ago, and they said specifically that they didn't find it "offensive". Whereas now, I don't think they would even get close to things like that, least of all Patrick. Maybe I'm wrong, this is just my perception of it without knowing any of these guys in real life.

Let me be clear, the stuff he did regarding the #1reasonwhy and that Capcom scandal, I think did good to some degree, and those didn't necessarily have much to do with games at all, but rather casual sexism in general, which IS a problem.

#79 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3325 posts) -

About @patrickklepek: I think he's a good journalist and I usually don't mind him. But it's kind of ironic that the reason I found that article was from his worth reading where he linked to an article at Gamespot UK, which, in turn, quoted that very article. The Gamespot article for the record was about roughly the same thing. I find it ironic because I view Patrick as part of the problem in a way (honestly, most of the crew is, kind of). I feel like they're all very quick to say "ugh" and "gross" when there's a sexy moment in any game or when talking about those Tomb Raider death animations (morally gross, that is - getting grossed out by gore in general is a different story).

This wasn't always the case, they did that Onichanbara (?) quick look a long time ago, and they said specifically that they didn't find it "offensive". Whereas now, I don't think they would even get close to things like that, least of all Patrick. Maybe I'm wrong, this is just my perception of it without knowing any of these guys in real life.

Okay, I just watched a fair amount of the Onechanbara quick look, and the stance that they seem to be taking is that it's not offensive because it's so over the top and exaggerated. I should watch the much more recent--but similarly themed--Lollipop Chainsaw quick look and see if their opinion is about the same.

At any rate, that would explain the hypocrisy.