Sexism in Video Games- Part 2

Note: This blog is a continuation of Sexism in Video Games- Part 1, although at this point I believe “Depiction of Women in Video Games” would have been a more appropriate title. Still, there’s nothing that can be done about that now.

In Defence

 This doesn't have to be the extent to which games explore sexuality.

There are a considerable number of people who seem to find certain depictions of women in games off-putting or offensive but I believe there’s nothing wrong with creating works which some people may find offensive or uncomfortable, as long as you’re getting peoples consent before they experience the potentially offending content. I’d honestly feel rather uncomfortable around a game that repeatedly and heavily sexualised men, but people have a right to make such content and it’s not something that we should be aiming to completely eradicate.

It must also be remembered that a character expressing their sexuality or acting in a sexual manner doesn’t have to be something shallow or something which objectifies that character. Sexuality is a very core human component and can be dealt with on a level which isn’t all chainmail bikinis and ridiculous breast physics. What’s more, even when a character is particularly overtly sexual, we must remember that promiscuity and deeper character traits are not mutually exclusive. Over time I’ve seen a lot of people acting like once a female character is heavily sexualised that they are somehow ruined, or deeming all sexualised characters to be by default sex objects, as though because they were sexually overt and/or had a sexually pleasing appearance, that they couldn’t have a personality beyond that. This is rubbish.

Generalisation

When it comes to the topic of whether women might find a character empowering or not I’ve often seen far too wide a brush been painted of women’s opinions. Back when the whole debate about the sexualisation of Bayonetta was going on, it seemed like a worrying number of gamers were speaking about whether she was empowering to women or not as though it was a question with a binary answer. There was little regard for the idea that different women might have different opinions, some people were just waiting for a straight “yes” or “no”. Not all women are going to feel that the same characters are empowering or relatable or cool, everyone has their own personal likes and dislikes. Additionally, as with everyone, there are going to be some aspects of characters that women like and some that they don’t. In the Bayonetta debate many female gamers took the position they have traditionally done with video game heroines, that they liked the fact that she was powerful but didn’t like her sexualisation. Despite this, when looking at individuals within the female gaming demographic most people were again, just looking for an overly-simplified “yes” or “no” on whether they were okay with Bayonetta.

The Issue

 Eye-catching? Yes. But sometimes I want more.

Of course, for as many holes as can be poked in these arguments, we have to face up to the fact that video games as a medium do have a problem in depicting females, to the extent that the way they do it has in some cases become an unintentional self-parody. Some industry figures even seem to be preventing games from having female protagonists with the belief that just having a female lead is enough to damage sales of the game.

The way women are depicted in games feeds into the wider societal problem of emphasis being put on the looks and sexuality of women, and I think it’s also very arguable that as video games do have a sizeable female audience, developers and publishers have a responsibility to provide them with at least some games where the majority of them are not completely off-putting or offensive in the way they depict female characters. I certainly doubt that the way video games often depict women now helps games look more approachable to a new and wider audience. Even if you don’t agree with this though, I think we can agree that deeper and more human female characters would certainly be an improvement in terms of entertainment value.

By Men, For Men?

When asked why video games depict women in the way they do the answer that I seem to see coming back surprisingly frequently, even from male gamers, is “They’re made by men for men”. As a generalisation this is of course true, but I think some use it as a more literal statement than it should be and I find that somewhat insulting. The safest bet when pandering to the interests of the traditional video game demographic is certainly to feature women who are sex objects and little more, but I find the idea that because I’m a man, that by default that’s all I want, a little ridiculous. Yes, pretty women in my video games are very nice but I don’t think I’m part of an entire sex who only wants their female characters to be subjects for them to gormlessly drool over.

What I find worse though is the implication that despite the abilities of professional developers when it comes to design, artistry, writing, etc. that because they are men they are inherently doomed to this dull-witted tendency of creating bland hyper-sexualised female stereotypes. I believe that given the chance character designers, 3D artists and writers could do a much better job when it comes to female characters and just because they’re men doesn’t mean that the female cast in their games all have to be large-breasted, revealingly-clothed women with all the character depth of a cardboard box. Video games deserve much better than this.

Solving the Problem

 More female protagonists and more sidekick characters like Vance would be great to see.

So, how is the industry meant to solve this one? In general I just couldn’t begin to offer a complete answer at this point. It’s that old issue of cracking the problem with the games we play being confined to solely pleasing the young male demographic, and there are people with a much better understanding of the situation than I who don’t seem to have the first clue about how we do that. What’s more, the problem of females’ appearances being far more focused on than those of males, and females being more often treated as sex objects than males is part of a societal problem way bigger than video games, one that it could take a long time to overcome.

None the less, we still do have a small handful of games coming out each year which are genuinely interested in advancing video games as an entertainment medium and/or providing interesting new experiences, and for them one of the many challenges ready to be tackled is creating good female characters. That being said I think the phrase “good female character” is somewhat misleading. Specifically creating characters that appeal to the majority of women gamers out there right now or working out how to portray the average female in games is one thing, but in general I think the future is looking at good characters that happen to be female, as opposed to “good female characters”.

Depicting Females in An Interesting Way

If males and females are truly equal then a female character can be given any traits a good male character would have. This means that making good female characters is more about the industry working out how to make good characters full stop, which is in turn part of the industry better learning how to pull off narrative in games.

However, if a game is setting itself in a realistic world then one thing it can do with females characters (just as it can with minorities), is accurately reflect the way the world treats females. No matter if your female character is strong, weak, smart, dumb, pretty or ugly, the world as a whole is going to have certain expectations of them and certain assumptions about them purely because they are female. Here I think there’s also a lot to be explored. For games that are not trying to depict realistic worlds, there’s really the opportunity for developers to fit female characters into their games in any way they like. In worlds where characters can fight dragons and shoot beams of ice from their hands or display super-human reflexes and skills with a gun, is it really that ridiculous of a leap to have females occasionally assume a different social position in this world?

Duder, It’s Over

Sadly I think we’re far from this kind of deep exploration or seeing the wide-scale inclusion of more interesting characters in games. Like a lot of other major issues in video games, bad depiction of female characters is one we’re likely to be saddled with for a long time to come. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing more examples of great characters in video games, be they male or female. Once again I'm not saying that all games should have deep characters or characters which are just sexualised, but I think collectively we could all benefit from greater variety in the way females are depicted in games. Thank you for reading.

-Gamer_152

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Posted by Gamer_152

Note: This blog is a continuation of Sexism in Video Games- Part 1, although at this point I believe “Depiction of Women in Video Games” would have been a more appropriate title. Still, there’s nothing that can be done about that now.

In Defence

 This doesn't have to be the extent to which games explore sexuality.

There are a considerable number of people who seem to find certain depictions of women in games off-putting or offensive but I believe there’s nothing wrong with creating works which some people may find offensive or uncomfortable, as long as you’re getting peoples consent before they experience the potentially offending content. I’d honestly feel rather uncomfortable around a game that repeatedly and heavily sexualised men, but people have a right to make such content and it’s not something that we should be aiming to completely eradicate.

It must also be remembered that a character expressing their sexuality or acting in a sexual manner doesn’t have to be something shallow or something which objectifies that character. Sexuality is a very core human component and can be dealt with on a level which isn’t all chainmail bikinis and ridiculous breast physics. What’s more, even when a character is particularly overtly sexual, we must remember that promiscuity and deeper character traits are not mutually exclusive. Over time I’ve seen a lot of people acting like once a female character is heavily sexualised that they are somehow ruined, or deeming all sexualised characters to be by default sex objects, as though because they were sexually overt and/or had a sexually pleasing appearance, that they couldn’t have a personality beyond that. This is rubbish.

Generalisation

When it comes to the topic of whether women might find a character empowering or not I’ve often seen far too wide a brush been painted of women’s opinions. Back when the whole debate about the sexualisation of Bayonetta was going on, it seemed like a worrying number of gamers were speaking about whether she was empowering to women or not as though it was a question with a binary answer. There was little regard for the idea that different women might have different opinions, some people were just waiting for a straight “yes” or “no”. Not all women are going to feel that the same characters are empowering or relatable or cool, everyone has their own personal likes and dislikes. Additionally, as with everyone, there are going to be some aspects of characters that women like and some that they don’t. In the Bayonetta debate many female gamers took the position they have traditionally done with video game heroines, that they liked the fact that she was powerful but didn’t like her sexualisation. Despite this, when looking at individuals within the female gaming demographic most people were again, just looking for an overly-simplified “yes” or “no” on whether they were okay with Bayonetta.

The Issue

 Eye-catching? Yes. But sometimes I want more.

Of course, for as many holes as can be poked in these arguments, we have to face up to the fact that video games as a medium do have a problem in depicting females, to the extent that the way they do it has in some cases become an unintentional self-parody. Some industry figures even seem to be preventing games from having female protagonists with the belief that just having a female lead is enough to damage sales of the game.

The way women are depicted in games feeds into the wider societal problem of emphasis being put on the looks and sexuality of women, and I think it’s also very arguable that as video games do have a sizeable female audience, developers and publishers have a responsibility to provide them with at least some games where the majority of them are not completely off-putting or offensive in the way they depict female characters. I certainly doubt that the way video games often depict women now helps games look more approachable to a new and wider audience. Even if you don’t agree with this though, I think we can agree that deeper and more human female characters would certainly be an improvement in terms of entertainment value.

By Men, For Men?

When asked why video games depict women in the way they do the answer that I seem to see coming back surprisingly frequently, even from male gamers, is “They’re made by men for men”. As a generalisation this is of course true, but I think some use it as a more literal statement than it should be and I find that somewhat insulting. The safest bet when pandering to the interests of the traditional video game demographic is certainly to feature women who are sex objects and little more, but I find the idea that because I’m a man, that by default that’s all I want, a little ridiculous. Yes, pretty women in my video games are very nice but I don’t think I’m part of an entire sex who only wants their female characters to be subjects for them to gormlessly drool over.

What I find worse though is the implication that despite the abilities of professional developers when it comes to design, artistry, writing, etc. that because they are men they are inherently doomed to this dull-witted tendency of creating bland hyper-sexualised female stereotypes. I believe that given the chance character designers, 3D artists and writers could do a much better job when it comes to female characters and just because they’re men doesn’t mean that the female cast in their games all have to be large-breasted, revealingly-clothed women with all the character depth of a cardboard box. Video games deserve much better than this.

Solving the Problem

 More female protagonists and more sidekick characters like Vance would be great to see.

So, how is the industry meant to solve this one? In general I just couldn’t begin to offer a complete answer at this point. It’s that old issue of cracking the problem with the games we play being confined to solely pleasing the young male demographic, and there are people with a much better understanding of the situation than I who don’t seem to have the first clue about how we do that. What’s more, the problem of females’ appearances being far more focused on than those of males, and females being more often treated as sex objects than males is part of a societal problem way bigger than video games, one that it could take a long time to overcome.

None the less, we still do have a small handful of games coming out each year which are genuinely interested in advancing video games as an entertainment medium and/or providing interesting new experiences, and for them one of the many challenges ready to be tackled is creating good female characters. That being said I think the phrase “good female character” is somewhat misleading. Specifically creating characters that appeal to the majority of women gamers out there right now or working out how to portray the average female in games is one thing, but in general I think the future is looking at good characters that happen to be female, as opposed to “good female characters”.

Depicting Females in An Interesting Way

If males and females are truly equal then a female character can be given any traits a good male character would have. This means that making good female characters is more about the industry working out how to make good characters full stop, which is in turn part of the industry better learning how to pull off narrative in games.

However, if a game is setting itself in a realistic world then one thing it can do with females characters (just as it can with minorities), is accurately reflect the way the world treats females. No matter if your female character is strong, weak, smart, dumb, pretty or ugly, the world as a whole is going to have certain expectations of them and certain assumptions about them purely because they are female. Here I think there’s also a lot to be explored. For games that are not trying to depict realistic worlds, there’s really the opportunity for developers to fit female characters into their games in any way they like. In worlds where characters can fight dragons and shoot beams of ice from their hands or display super-human reflexes and skills with a gun, is it really that ridiculous of a leap to have females occasionally assume a different social position in this world?

Duder, It’s Over

Sadly I think we’re far from this kind of deep exploration or seeing the wide-scale inclusion of more interesting characters in games. Like a lot of other major issues in video games, bad depiction of female characters is one we’re likely to be saddled with for a long time to come. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing more examples of great characters in video games, be they male or female. Once again I'm not saying that all games should have deep characters or characters which are just sexualised, but I think collectively we could all benefit from greater variety in the way females are depicted in games. Thank you for reading.

-Gamer_152

Moderator Online
Posted by Commisar123

Largely I agree with you. I think that turning women into a sexual object is far more of a societal problem then a video game one. I also agree that being "sexy" doesn’t ruin a character or make them sexist by default. That being said, I do think that the bigger problem is women being portrayed often as helpless or sidekicks and very rarely as a competent main character. There are exceptions of course, but sometimes it almost seems like game designers think that sexy is a character trait. In a lot of ways it’s kind of insulting that designers or PR people think that this is the best way to sell me on a game. I tend to like games with good characters, male or female, regardless of how they look. I wish more companies focused on making interesting characters that I can relate to on an emotional level. I’ll find that much more appealing than BOOBS!!!!!!! Great blog as always.

Online
Posted by Gamer_152
@Commisar123: Thanks for the comment. You might well be right about women appearing as sidekicks being the greater problem than them just repeatedly being given "overtly sexual" as a defining character trait, I find it kind of hard to call it one way or the other.
Moderator Online
Edited by SoldierG654342

I never quite understood all the love for Alyx Vance. Perhaps it's a situation where people hold up something as an example higher than it rightfully should be simply because it's all they have, but, and this is really an issue with Half-Life in general, the way she interacts with Gordon Freeman makes her seem like a total crazy person. Far be it from me to assume what human interaction would be like under a dystopian alian regime, but she certainly warmed up to that hyper-violent mute in a haz-mat suit pretty quick.

And that's really a problem with characterization in video games in general. The harder developers try to make characters believable, the quicker they fall a part, so they have to rely on caricatures to avoid that kind of narrative dissonance.

Posted by Sparklykiss

Oh this topic. :<

You know, a leading lady with a strong sexual prowess is perfectly fine with me and I don't mind it. Like with Bayonetta. That's how she is supposed to be and that's part of the humor in that game and I think it was executed rather well. I can't stand when overtly sexual women are brought into games and their purpose makes absolutely no sense and they way they dress as if to scream "Look at my tit-tays!" can be really grating. A glaring example that comes to mind is Ivy from Soul Calibur. I can't help but view her as some sort of cheesecake dominatrix eye-candy whose sole purpose is to be incredibly over the top fan service. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that they went in and put a lot of thought into why and how she became that way (I actually sort of feel like that with the entire Soul Calibur franchise now to be completely honest, but that's beside the point.). At least when making Bayonetta provocative it seems like some effort was put into all of it.

That generalization of games being "by men, for men" is something I can get and understand but I don't think I can see that being a factor/excuse/claim/what-have-you for very much longer. I mean, the audiences who are playing these games is gaining more variation and while it is a small amount, females are creeping up and trying to become a part of the industry. It's just a matter of our opinions, values, and viewpoints being taken into consideration and evaluated at the same level of our male-counterpoints. ...Then again, women have been trying for years to get that sort of equality everywhere else and it's been moving at a crawl, almost like we've plateaued at a specific point, even. D: It's stressful when this sort of thing is basically an exaggerated version of the issues/stereotypes that have been faced in our society... If that makes any sense. (In my defense, I'm super tired and there is a pair of waterfalls that leak out ick on my face right now.) It's definitely a gigantic step backwards when people in the industry think they're being funny with super offensive jokes hidden in their code. (Remember Dead Island's "Feminist Whore" text? I sure do.) Not getting anywhere at this rate if people are going to be crude like that. Then again, this issue also goes hand-in-hand with the problem of sexy girl gamers in the media. Projecting these physical "ideals" of what a typical girl gamer/geek girl should be like (Looking at you, Geek and Gamer Girls video. I like you, Team Unicorn. I really do. But sometimes... D: ) isn't really assisting in make this all fade away. Fixing that so that those women reflect more of their audience would be grand. Or even spotlighting the women who deserve it for being sincerely interested in this medium. Not ex-models.

But that's a different subject and I'm going to shut up and start my week long diet of DayQuil and Advil. Fuckin' fall weather... >:|

Moderator
Posted by Trylks
Posted by captain_max707

Great read. Thanks for doing these!

Edited by TheGorilla

@SoldierG654342 said:

I never quite understood all the love for Alyx Vance. Perhaps it's a situation where people hold up something as an example higher than it rightfully should be simply because it's all they have, but, and this is really an issue with Half-Life in general, the way she interacts with Gordon Freeman makes her seem like a total crazy person. Far be it from me to assume what human interaction would be like under a dystopian alian regime, but she certainly warmed up to that hyper-violent mute in a haz-mat suit pretty quick.

OH THANK GOD!!! Someone I can finally agree with about the Half-Life series.

I find Alyx Vance kind of gross and still sexist in a more hidden kind of way. Her primary narrative purpose seems to be telling the player how wonderful he (assuming a male player) is doing. I can't get the sound of Alyx saying things like "Gordon, help!" "thanks Gordon," and other phrases referencing the players wonderful and infallible ability out of my head. Not to mention her constant creepy smile. It all comes down to her not acting like a real human being. People criticize the way characters in Call of Duty games seem to be constantly yelling at each other, yet that interaction makes sense given the context. Alyx never yells or gets angry at Gordon. She's consistently happy with his actions. That's not the way real relationships work. In the real world people get angry, pissed off, and annoyed with others, even those they care a great deal for. Alyx seems to lack all these basic human emotions which seriously bothers me.

@Gamer_152 Great blog. I like your balanced discussion. I think, as you said, the real issue is just the industry's inability to create good characters at all. I love entertainment that's just dumb fun and is aware of it, which most games are, however, many developers are still trying to create meaningful and emotional experiences without getting rid of The Dumb. Look at high quality television like Mad Men (not saying games need to be anything like Mad Men but they can still learn from it); it's characters aren't designed to look cool, they're designed to tell you something about that character. The clothes they wear, the car they drive it all feeds back into the character's personality. In most games there is a complete disconnect from visual design and personality. This of course isn't the biggest problem with game characters, but I think it does illustrate the lack of maturity in them fairly well. I assume every damn character dressed in a chainmail bikini is either a model from a photoshoot that got sucked into a crazy dimensional portal, or a crazed serial killer prostitute.

EDIT: I was just thinking that maybe the best female characters aren't that noticeable at all. It's been a while since I played Conviction or Alan Wake, but I remember both those games as having female side characters that seemed interesting in that their existence didn't focus on their sex. Of course Enslaved did a great job of depicting a male-female relationship that developed over time.

Posted by Brodehouse

One thing that really concerns me is the reverse of 'games as usual'.  Games as usual is hyper-sexualized women and hyper-masculine men.  What concerns me is that a lot of games appear to believe the way to break this is by bending it as far as possible the other way, and making their women as gruff and stoic as any stock male character.  This is almost worse, because now rather than write a bad female character, you've written a bad male character with breasts.  Games are either ready to shout "THIS IS A CHICK CHARACTER" to their audience, or pretend that men and women are exactly the same in every way.  It's the rare game that gets it right.
 
As for their appearance... you're just going to have to get used to that.  It's a medium that relies heavily on visual flash.  And it's a clear part of human genetic makeup that we prefer to look at attractive people.  Men in video games might not be depicted as pretty, but they're depicted in a way that makes them appear powerful and sexually virile.  You'll find the occasional game that lets you play as an old, overweight private detective... of course, I'm sure somebody found that attractive, so we're back at square one.

Online
Edited by Still_I_Cry

I seem to remember rolling my eyes at Sonya(I think that was her name) from Ninja Gaiden II with her overly large, jiggly anatomy. I realize that Ninja Gaiden is probably a series known for being ridiculous and over the top but really now? She could use things those as clubs.

That is one of the worst offenders that I have seen so far.

I also think this was a great blog and I agree with most of what you're saying.

Women are beautiful to look at when they don't have exaggerated anatomy. (Artsy diatribe about the beauty of a woman's body)

Well, now that that is done with, I find female characters in games far less appealing if they don't have a personality to match their "sexiness". This is probably the general consensus among males so I don't know why I felt the need to say that. But there you go, it is out there now. Even then, I don't need a sexy female protagonist in order to want to play a game as her or with her in it. Need more well-developed women folk in games.

I would prefer more relatable characters as a whole in video games. I don't find the overly muscular macho guy or the hyper sexualized woman very relatable at all. Maybe this is just me wishing that I could find more characters to connect to and care about because I has no life.

The personality meter is fairly low in games it would seem (from what I have played thus far).

This is not to say it isn't there but it does not seem as prevalent as I would like. (Yeah, that is an opinion no need to start raging about it)

Posted by BoG
@Still_I_Cry said:

 She could use things those as clubs.

I think we could make some money with that idea. 
 
Anyways, I agree with most everyone who has responded so far. When I was 15, I was all in favor of hot chicks in games. With age, I prefer a realistic female character over a highly sexualised one who has zero depth. Well-developed character is more important than well-developed breasts. 
 
Also, @Gamer_152: I once thought playing games with highly sexualised men would be uncomfortable, too. You should go play Cho Aniki. Let go of all your inhibitions. ;)
Edited by Still_I_Cry

@BoG said:

@Still_I_Cry said:

She could use things those as clubs.

I think we could make some money with that idea.

Ha, I bet it would sell well too :P

You can find the programmers and everything, I will take the credit for coming up with the idea.

Edited by SoldierG654342

@Still_I_Cry said:

I seem to remember rolling my eyes at Sonya(I think that was her name) from Ninja Gaiden II with her overly large, jiggly anatomy. I realize that Ninja Gaiden is probably a series known for being ridiculous and over the top but really now? She could use things those as clubs.

Funny you should say that, because Sonya in MK was the first instance of overly sexualized character design that truly bothers me. For the most part, I can rationalize those types of things in a manner that makes them palatable, such as all the other women in the game being from another dimension and therefore having a diffrent culture. But Stryker looks like a regular (bike) cop and Kung Lao and Liu Kang look appropriately monk-ish. What the hell is going on with Sonya?

Posted by lockwoodx

"Well-behaved women seldom make history." -Ulrich

Posted by AlphaZro

Well done...couldn't have put it better

Posted by Trylks

After the long debate in the previous post, I think it's pointless. The only way to go is to vote for the games with our money, developers will get the message, either it's good or bad to have these sexualised characters. Actually it's kind of offending that some people seem to think that they have the right to judge what others should do (developers), buy or even like (other gamers), isn't it?

Posted by Gamer_152
@SoldierG654342: I don't agree with your last statement and while Alyx Vance always seemed friendly to Gordon, the things I like about her are; A. She's a likeable character without being sexualised in any way, B. She's a hell of a lot more human than most characters in video games, and C. There's some tension between Gordon and her but it's kept relatively low-key. In fact if Vance was a character in a game now I'm sure she'd be well-received, but the fact that she existed at the time she did is even more impressive. Thanks for your comment.
 
@Sparklykiss: I can see exactly why you'd find Ivy grating, she's pretty much the go-to example for ridiculous sexualisation. I feel a big problem that Soul Calibur has though is that due to the way it's structured, like many other fighting games, there's little opportunity for it to flesh its characters out in a meaningful way. I mean the delivery of backstory for the characters in Soul Calibur IV literally consisted of one huge pre-game text dump, it was terrible. I hear a lot of people say "More women in the industry is going to naturally translate into more games with women in mind" and I think this is true to some extent, but it also must remembered that the driving force behind the mainstream games industry is cash, and despite the growing female audience, for the kind of games we play, I think publishers are probably still going to make a lot more money pandering to young white males than any other group.
 
As for Dead Island I think serious mistakes were made on the part of the developer and publisher but it must be remembered that the "Feminist whore" reference was probably never something intended to be left in, and with the nature of it could well have been a placeholder name in the code that a programmer just chucked in there and never changed. As for stuff like the Geeks and Gamer Girls video, I think the people putting that out have every right to make it but I do wonder if some outlets think about how they're snubbing a certain section of their audience when they do that, it's very probable they gain more traffic than they lose though. I think more than anything it's just sad to see the way some gamers and games journalism outlets treat women.
 
@Trylks: The link was just to my last blog which you commented on. Sorry it's not working, there seems to be a bit of a glitch where sometimes I'll be able to click through to stuff but other people won't. I'll take a look at that link if I have time but I assure you I am not someone with a lot of free time, these blogs went up about a week late because I was too busy to finish them. I think the way some people do try and command that the industry should be exactly they way they prefer it is pretty sad and obnoxious.
 
@captain_max707: Thank you.
 
@TheGorilla: I dunno, I think if a character is going to be a major component in a game then they have to be noticeable. I thought Alice Wake was a fairly good character but she wasn't a character there to be around a lot, she was basically half-dead for most of the game. That didn't make her any better or worse, that was just the role she was filling. Still playing through Enslaved myself but I like what I've seen so far.
 
@Brodehouse: I think with any form of entertainment, when breaking away from a stereotype, you risk going too far in the other direction and caricaturing your characters in another way, but I can't really think of a ton of games that have done this. I don't think there's such a thing as a male character with breasts, like I say, I think if even on the whole women tend more towards a certain set of traits, and men towards another, an individual man or woman can have basically any personality that anyone from the opposite sex can have and I think there's a big difference between making a butch female character and declaring that men and women on the whole are identical.

@Still_I_Cry: I largely agree. I'm not adverse to exaggerated female body types but Team Ninja have rather uniquely managed to take their depiction of women to a level where it makes me a little worried. I think I'd be more at ease if there was some sort of indication that they knew what they were doing was really over-the-top or that they really understood the way in which they depicted their female characters.
 
@BoG: I've seen some pictures and footage of Cho Aniki before. I don't think there's any way I'd be able to get hold of that game now but I'd be interested in trying it just to experience the unbridled weirdness that it seems to flaunt.
 
@AlphaZro: Thank you.
Moderator Online
Posted by Virago

I dunno, this doesn't seem to be such a huge issue these days. Maybe I'm not playing the right games, but I'm pretty pleased with the majority of female representatives in video games. At least, the games that try to have strong female characters, achieve a decent, strong female character. It's not like the only option is either no-nonsense, double-D Lara Croft or head-in-the-clouds, helpless Princess Peach.

Until the media as a whole - from commercials to the fashion industry - decides that sexiness is brains and self confidence and not large breasts and tight outfits, and more importantly can convince the average consumer to be attracted to the former and not the latter, which would require changing the human genetic makeup, we're going to have sexed-up ladies in video games. I think the only fair solution is to objectify dudes in the same manner.

Posted by Mageman

There is no sexism in video games.

Posted by w00ties

Unfortunately, for every strong and decently dressed female character that fits the mold of HL2's Alyx Vance, there will almost certainly be a variety of modifications geared towards that youthful male demographic which resemble the efforts of Fakefactory.

Posted by calcuseless

"I’d honestly feel rather uncomfortable around a game that repeatedly and heavily sexualised men" lol nice one.

Posted by AndyMacneil

How long did it take for people to start making movies about female empowerment and stuff like that? I don't think video games are sexist, by any standard, but they do rehash all the same types of women that are in the games.

Also, there are quite a lot of women that play video games nowadays. I think most would probably say that the people who oppose the "sexism" in video games are looking too much into it.

I say give it time.

Posted by Cretaceous_Bob

Alyx Vance is one of the least interesting characters in a game that isn't overburdened with great characters to begin with, who becomes even more shallow by doing the video game thing of instantly and without reason wanting to bang the crap out of Silent Creep.

I think the beginning and the end of strong female characters in video games is Zoë Castillo. Best female video game character, nobody played the game.

Posted by Trylks

@calcuseless said:

"I’d honestly feel rather uncomfortable around a game that repeatedly and heavily sexualised men" lol nice one.

That depends on the clothes, doesn't it? Sorry, non-native English speaker here.

Posted by Trylks

@Virago said:

Until the media as a whole - from commercials to the fashion industry - decides that sexiness is brains and self confidence and not large breasts and tight outfits, and more importantly can convince the average consumer to be attracted to the former and not the latter, which would require changing the human genetic makeup, we're going to have sexed-up ladies in video games. I think the only fair solution is to objectify dudes in the same manner.

Actually "brains" is more attracting than "breasts" to me. But that's real life. In a set of polygons there isn't brain, to start with.

Fanservice is a service to the fans...

And I'd be happy if you get your object males and enjoy them, in games or IRL. Damn, many guys would be happy to be a "object male"...

Posted by w00ties

@Cretaceous_Bob: I don't think you're appreciating the quality of Half-Life 2's roster. Perhaps looking back upon the series we may notice certain aspects that could be improved, but it was a great experience for its time. A lot of thought went into how the player perceived and experienced the dialogue and I believe it all paid off. After walking through all the developer commentary segments I've come to a better understanding of how Valve direct their games. It's wonderful, at least in my opinion.

As a side note, I've always viewed Alyx's demeanor towards Gordon as one of admiration. You know, because he played a central role in the world-changing Resonance Cascade, which her father surely never stops speaking about.

Posted by Sparklykiss

@Gamer_152: The fact that you say that the Dead Island thing was a mistake for being left in is a bit saddening. I think it was a serious mistake to be even put in at all whatsoever. The person who did it knows it was in bad taste and obviously didn't care enough to go back and correct it. But that's just me.

I also left out how the typical role of a damsel in distress can really be a bugger as well, but that's got little to do with sexism at all.

I've already rambled off all of my silly opinions about this stuff anyways, you're probably sick of hearing it!

Moderator
Posted by BoG
@Gamer_152: I think it's on PSN. You have no excuse!
Posted by Faint

Gaming for the most part is targeted at a wide demographic. One thing 'the masses' really dig is a generic action film. Generic Action Film: Schwarzzeneger kicking ass and lots of beautiful women dressed suggestively, wanting him. Ladies and gentleman, I give you mainstream video games. 

Posted by Slag

Interesting post(s) gamer_152

This is an issue I doubt will ever completely go away for a variety of reasons.

Despite how complex people make it out to be, it really is a simple to address one in my opinion.

Devs just need to depict and write Female characters as people with all the flaws and amazing features that make humanity so fascinating to all of us. It doesn't need to be anymore complicated than that. Hopefully we will keep getting closer to that. Looking at games when I was growing up compared to now, the range of depictions of female characters have gotten a whole lot better.

FWIW I think the depiction of race in games is even weirder than the depiction of women. Lookin at the game world, it seems like the world is 95% white dudes.

I honestly thought by 2011 there would be many more lead male non-white characters in AAA games than there seems to be.

Posted by Gamer_152

Once again, thanks for all the comments people.
 
@Virago: To be honest when it comes to both male and female characters I think video games could be doing a better job. I also don't think the way women are currently looked at in society is purely the product of human biology.
 
@Mageman: I wouldn't say that, but my argument is less about sexism and more about there being a greater number of good female characters.
 
@w00ties: Mods like that certainly happen but I don't think they're as wide-spread as you're suggesting. I've seen a mod or two that does sexualize Alyx but it must be remembered that she's a very prominent female character and that the Source Engine lends itself very well to modding. I do completely agree with your opinion on Half-Life 2's character roster though.
 
@AndyMacneil: As I said to Mageman my argument here is less about games being sexist and more that there should be a greater number of good female characters. I don't think that the argument that because the movie industry had an influx of films about female empowerment, the games industry will too, holds up. I mean I can definitely see things getting better from where we are now, but there just aren't the same number of females playing games as there are watching films.
 
@Cretaceous_Bob: Personally I thought Vance and the rest of the characters in Half-Life 2 were very good and as I said to another user I really didn't get the sense that she was had this huge insatiable lust for Gordon. One of the things that I liked about that game is that she was a major female character who showed some level of interest in the male protagonist without being all over him or being a flat-out love interest.
 
@Sparklykiss: Not sick at all. I think the whole damsel-in-distress thing is absolutely part of this discussion and is one of those sad female stereotypes in games, and yeah, the "feminist whore" thing in Dead Island should never have gotten out there, but I don't think that's just the fault of the person who implemented it to begin with. Other people on the developer, publisher and console manufacturer end should be checking that kind of thing and they also all failed in making sure that bit of code didn't get out into the public.
 
@BoG: Still have an excuse! I have no money and no PS3.
 
@Faint: It depends what you mean by "wide demographic". If you mean that there are a lot of people in the specific demographic video games have traditionally targeted then I agree with you, but if you're saying that video games (at least outside of the casual market) are generally aimed at lots of different kinds of people then I absolutely have to disagree. You say that one thing the masses enjoy are action thematics and that's very true, but within the world of video games that's not just one thing that gets put out, that's almost the only thing that gets put out.
 
@Slag: I still don't think it is a simple issue. To some extent it's a product of much larger and rather complex issues in society, but it's also not as if devs can just put pen to paper, write a good female character and all the problems are solved. A big part of why females are depicted in games the way they are now seems to be because it's far more economically viable to depict them this way, considering the demographic for games, I think it's arguable that to some extent we may not see things in this regard until video games get a new audience, something that would take a revolution on the part of the games industry. Really though, building good characters full stop is something that developers still struggle greatly with. Games aren't like story-focused mediums such as books or movies where writers have a blank slate to work on, video games have the problem of trying to create a meaningful narrative and likeable characters when about 95% of what happens in them is just gameplay and 5% or so is narrative. I'd also bet you that creating good characters often plays second fiddle to making sure the game is designed well, programmed well and looks good.
 
I agree that the lack of variation of race in the major characters of games is rather interesting though. It's something that people seem to rarely being up as well.

Moderator Online
Posted by Harkat

I'm getting very contradictory messages regarding sexism in pop culture. On one hand I hear "Portray women as equals!" on the other I hear "Now you just made a female character who acts like a man! This solves nothing!". I don't get it. Isn't equality the whole goal of this movement? It seems hypocritical to first complain that women are being portrayed as inferior, then complain again when they they are portrayed just like the men.

What do people want women to be portrayed as? "Strong characters" is not an answer.

Posted by Trylks

@w00ties said:

Unfortunately, for every strong and decently dressed female character that fits the mold of HL2's Alyx Vance, there will almost certainly be a variety of modifications geared towards that youthful male demographic which resemble the efforts of Fakefactory.

How is that unfortunate?

Posted by Slag

@Gamer_152 said:

@Slag:.....A big part of why females are depicted in games the way they are now seems to be because it's far more economically viable to depict them this way, considering the demographic for games, I think it's arguable that to some extent we may not see things in this regard until video games get a new audience, something that would take a revolution on the part of the games industry.

See I disagree with you there. I think it's the reverse, the good product will expand the audience (and is the only way to expand it) not vice versa. e.g. Nintendo expanded the audience with the Wii helping to popularize the casual channel of gaming, not vice versa.

I think people will buy a quality product if you make it for them. And since women in nearly every consumer market are controlling more and more of the financial decisions/purchases, there is a market opportunity there. Frankly it's just good business to make games with better female characters and as alluded to better characters in general. My suspicion is there is literally billions of untapped revenue to be had from additional female gamers as well as male gamers

I don't know if it would come in the current most popular genres such as FPS and Action Adventure (and the legacy genres may continue to do what they currently do), but I don't think it's an accident that as we've seen some new genres arise such as MMORPGs that allow the players to have greater control over their own depiction that we've seen more female gamers.

If you wait for consumers to demand better depictions of women you are going to be waiting a very long time. The only thing they will is continue to not buy games as they already are.

@Gamer_152 said:

Really though, building good characters full stop is something that developers still struggle greatly with. Games aren't like story-focused mediums such as books or movies where writers have a blank slate to work on, video games have the problem of trying to create a meaningful narrative and likeable characters when about 95% of what happens in them is just gameplay and 5% or so is narrative. I'd also bet you that creating good characters often plays second fiddle to making sure the game is designed well, programmed well and looks good.

I agree that the lack of variation of race in the major characters of games is rather interesting though. It's something that people seem to rarely being up as well.

good points. I think what you said here is right on.

Edited by medacris

I avoid most games/movies/what have you with fanservice because it doesn't appeal to me at all, unless the character being sexualized makes up for it by being smart, funny, badass, really lovable, or useful in battle. Having a character who's entirely fanservice, to me, just screams "We are unoriginal and can't figure out how to progress the story, so here's some boobs". Alyx Vance, to me, is what's the ideal of sexiness in a woman. Very little, if any skin showing, badass, funny, smart, and lovable, no makeup or nitpickiness about her personal appearance. Sometimes the most attractive thing is to just be yourself and not try too hard to be sexy.

I wouldn't mind a game that intentionally pointed out that the main male character was sexy, though. I think a lot of gamers want the same thing, regardless of who they're attracted to, but if you're into men, or more into men than you are women, I don't think you'd mind leveling the playing field a bit, with a little more hot guys and a little less hot women. Just don't make him a lifeless, brain-dead cardboard cutout in a game with horrible level design and etc.

Posted by Gamer_152

@Harkat: I think there are some out there who just want to kick up a fuss and I think part of the answer may be that you're not going to please all of the people all of the time, but I do wonder if that for a lot of women out there, they're going to find relateable characters to be ones which strike a balance between being stereotypical girly-girls and hyper-masculine females. People rarely identify well with characters that are taken to extremes. Personally what I want to see is just more depth and variation in female characters, a stereotypical female is fine, a female taken to the other extreme is fine, but you can't build an interesting character purely out of a stereotype and if you only have one or two types of female character to throw out there it's going to get boring pretty fast.
 
@Slag: I think you're absolutely right about the capacity for female character creation in MMOs being a strong factor in the size of the female audience they have and I think that actually extends out to RPGs in general. The problem is the female audience for video games is comparatively small and I think it's going to take a lot more than good female characters in some games to change that. In fact I think the Wii is a great indicator of just how far from the norm some things need to be taken to appeal to the casual crowd. What's more the Wii was a huge risk. For those who can figure out how to tear video games away from their male-oriented roots there probably is a whole load of money ripe for the taking but that's far from the safe financial option. With most video games, the way the huge 18-35 male demographic weighs up against far smaller audiences makes the choice for who to aim their games at an obvious one for investors. Of course that's not to say they're always right trying to play things quite as safely and generically as they do.
 
@medacris: When asked who their favourite female character is or even who the sexiest female character is I've seen a lot of gamers say Alyx Vance. I think it's the fact that she appears as a genuinely human character that does it. It's good to see.

Moderator Online
Posted by Slag

@Gamer_152 said:

The problem is the female audience for video games is comparatively small and I think it's going to take a lot more than good female characters in some games to change that.

I'm with ya 100% on that. No doubt it will help, but you're right it wouldn't be enough on it's own

I think it's going to take whole new genres as well. What they are , I don't know since they likely don't exist yet. But that can only be a good thing for everybody. These it seems we have less dominant genres than we used to and I personally wouldn't mind more variety.

either way I'm kinda getting off your topic here. I do think having better written/depicted female characters would go a long way to improving sexism issues in games. It may not get women to start playing games enmasse, but if it helps repair video games' image among the public on the sexism issue that alone would be a huge benefit.

@Gamer_152 said:

In fact I think the Wii is a great indicator of just how far from the norm some things need to be taken to appeal to the casual crowd. What's more the Wii was a huge risk. For those who can figure out how to tear video games away from their male-oriented roots there probably is a whole load of money ripe for the taking but that's far from the safe financial option. With most video games, the way the huge 18-35 male demographic weighs up against far smaller audiences makes the choice for who to aim their games at an obvious one for investors. Of course that's not to say they're always right trying to play things quite as safely and generically as they do

Sure the Wii was a risk, but I think you may be underestimating how strong competitive pressures are on dev/publisher companies to take risks. Someone like EA is never going to take the lead on this. Like you alluded to they can just cash checks from madden and battlefield aimed at the 18-35 male market all day long. They have no reason to take any risks. So i agree there that some houses wouldn't ever touch this.

But consider this with the Wii, if Nintendo had just spat out another nes/snes/64/gamecube decedent using their old strategy of a straight up game only device (and with inferior graphics to boot) instead of adding motion controls what do you think would have happened to them? I personally don't think they would have survived in the console business. It would have been riskier for them to stay conservative I think.

It will likely be either a marginal player who is danger of bankruptcy, an old company losing market share or someone new who can't get noticed without doing something drastic.

In fact it's so hard for new games to get noticed on smartphones, the cost of software is so inexpensive, and so many women already have them, I'm 90% certain that's where any progress on this issue will show up there first. And if it works there, you can bet eventually a AAA dev will steal the new concept.

maybe I'm too optimistic, but I just really think it will eventually happen. :)

Posted by lockwoodx

This is sexist to both men and women yet it is considered a classic masterpiece.

Sexism, is something that should be tolerated across all mediums. You judge the creator on the quality of his work. Let personal taste, demand, and category dictate what is and isn't acceptable. If "sexism" wasn't acceptable then titles that feature it wouldn't be in demand, or be so outlandish they land in an ESRB category out of reach of most consumers. That just leaves personal taste which is a reflection of our character. That's not a decision we can take out of the consumers hands in a free country. You have to let them decide, instead of the smug trying to decide for the "good of all". Let us think for ourselves please and like anything in economics... if there's a demand for it, someone will exist to meet it. Sexism sells.

Posted by wickedsc3

This is not an issue for the game industry, this is a issue for society. Any given day I can go out and see over sexual women in real life. Women with large breast implants, low cut tops and short skirts, butt implants, lip injections, plastic surgery, bottom line not all women dress down so why can't video games have sexy women? I can go out and see them everyday and in all other forms of media. How many ugly women do you see on TV? Not very many. How many over weight women do you see advertising stuff? Not many. Hell there are places in Vegas where you can go buy a hooker legally............a sexy woman in video games is not the problem. Women can and do dress sexy so they can be portrayed in games that way too.

Posted by WizardlySquid

circle jerk alert

Posted by RuthLoose

Giant Bomb's White Knights assemble!

Posted by Gamer_152
@Slag: I completely agree that we're going to in some way need some huge revolutions in games for them to appeal to a wider audience but I don't think the Wii analogy entirely applies here. Nintendo was in a very specific position pre-Wii which can only really befall a console manufacturer, when games publishers and developers are in a tight spot they have a lot more options, many of them that are way less revolutionary and way more guaranteed to make money than what Nintendo did with the Wii. I also doubt that we'd see amazing new games coming out of a company on the edge of bankruptcy, I don't know a ton about economics but when you're about to go bust doesn't seem like the perfect time for a gamble. I think if it's going to come from anyone it may come from one of the more middling companies you're talking about, but we're really heading into a territory here where things are getting very hard to predict. When it comes to the iOS devices these are basically platforms that have brought a whole new audience into video games that we've never seen before, but I really don't think it's this kind of platform where we're going to see anything like highly relateable video game characters on. These platforms are great for simple pick-up-and-play games, but they just can't provide the depth of a traditional entertainment experience and aren't really meant to fit into peoples' lives in that way.
 
@wickedsc3: I think the idea that because something happens in real-life that it's okay for it to happen in a video game doesn't really hold up. Despite that, as I wrote, like you I think this issue is much bigger than just the games industry, and as I also wrote there is nothing wrong with sexy women in video games. I don't mean any disrespect but I'm not entirely sure you read my blog before commenting.
 
@anvesta: In what sense is this a "circle jerk"?
 
@RuthLoose: Actually I don't think anyone here is "white knighting". There are certainly some people here who I don't agree with but I think people in general are bringing some rational, well thought-out and differing opinions to the table.
Moderator Online
Posted by RuthLoose

@wickedsc3 said:

This is not an issue for the game industry, this is a issue for society. Any given day I can go out and see over sexual women in real life. Women with large breast implants, low cut tops and short skirts, butt implants, lip injections, plastic surgery, bottom line not all women dress down so why can't video games have sexy women? I can go out and see them everyday and in all other forms of media. How many ugly women do you see on TV? Not very many. How many over weight women do you see advertising stuff? Not many. Hell there are places in Vegas where you can go buy a hooker legally............a sexy woman in video games is not the problem. Women can and do dress sexy so they can be portrayed in games that way too.

@gamer_152 This is my stance on this issue. True, video games represent a more powerful entity now than they have since their inception, but you won't see sexism pulled out of games until it stop permeating other parts of our society. Fortunately, there are a number of good indie games that explore the concepts of gender inequity and masculinity. The more attention these games find the sooner you will see more characters like Alyx Vance or Jade from Beyond Good & Evil pop up.

Posted by Gamer_152
@RuthLoose: I still don't see how this pertains to white knighting, but I agree with you that this is an issue that goes way beyond the video game industry and I said that in these blogs. Still, I do think video games as a whole take their depiction of women to an extreme that other mediums don't for obvious reasons. There are certainly some great female characters out there and video games in general do seem to be slowly getting better about the way they do characters and story, but I can't say it's the indie games that I've really seen exploring sex, gender and inequality that much. Can you give a few examples of indie titles that have done this? I'd be interested in seeing them.
Moderator Online
Edited by RuthLoose

@Gamer_152: Sure.Three examples to start it all off:

Façade (PC Game)

The player interacts with a couple, Grace and Trip, that is undergoing growing tension in their relationship during a visit to their apartment before going out to dinner together. The scenario is fairly dynamic in nature as the situation plays out depending on how you speak to the couple. It is scripted, but if you roleplay it well enough Grace and Trip's troubles can be reconciled or made much worse.

Together (Flash Game)

A man and woman take the sky as a couple to collect hearts and overcome obstacles. Why the couple is able to fly and what their end goal is not entirely clear. Each element of the game is metaphorical for love and what elements make up a relationship.

Digital: A Love Story (PC Game)

A computer text adventure game set in the world of 1988. The player interacts with a mysterious Emilia through local and international BBS messages. Hack your way through this cybernetic love story filled with conspiracy and emotion.

While sexism or feminism isn't a topic that pops up as much in the latter two games, it is interesting to find non-stereotyped interactions with women and deeper thoughts on what constitutes a relationship in both of those games. There are plenty more but these are the standout titles that come to mind when looking at games that explore relationships and telling stories rarely encountered in more mainstream video games.

~Fin

Posted by jorbear

I just want to play GTA V as a female protagonist.

Posted by Slag

@Gamer_152 said:

@Slag:. I also doubt that we'd see amazing new games coming out of a company on the edge of bankruptcy, I don't know a ton about economics but when you're about to go bust doesn't seem like the perfect time for a gamble.

ever hear of this game? :)

Desperation is the mother of invention, as they say.

I'd actually say going bust is the very best time to take a gamble. After all you're already going bankrupt and what you were doing was obviously not working, thus you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Might as well lay it all out and hope for a miracle.

OTOH the risk/reward ration for risk taking is not nearly as favorable for cash machines like Blizzard and EA. I luv me some Starcraft II, but it didn't exactly break the mold.

you are probably right about the iOS platform being sub-optimal for robust character development.

Edited by Vinyl

@Harkat said:

I'm getting very contradictory messages regarding sexism in pop culture. On one hand I hear "Portray women as equals!" on the other I hear "Now you just made a female character who acts like a man! This solves nothing!". I don't get it. Isn't equality the whole goal of this movement? It seems hypocritical to first complain that women are being portrayed as inferior, then complain again when they they are portrayed just like the men.

What do people want women to be portrayed as? "Strong characters" is not an answer.

Speaking as a lady gamer here, the problem is you can't conflate "portray women as equals" with "female character that acts like a man", because that implies that women would behave the same way a man would. Which is patently untrue, and leads to a phenomenon The Wire David Simon called "men with tits" - men's voices coming from women's faces.

Some portrayals get it right - I'd cite Jack from Mass Effect 2 as a perfect example of a highly aggressive, rage-fueled personality, she never once comes off as anything but a woman, but that's rather because her performance and writing were such that she was given range, which many, many female characters in media are missing, and simultaneously serves as the basis for the ubiquitous "strong female character" goal. She could be pigeonholed as a bitch for the same reasons that her character can be considered strong, because the way society reacts to aggressive men is different than how it reacts to aggressive women, but it's fairly undeniable that Jack leaves an impression, good or bad. Strong female characters (a phrase which needs to die btw, and be replaced with "strong characters"), equality begins with writing a real character with fleshed out motivations instead of relying on on tired, lazy archetypes and exposed boobs and ass to sell the character.

Posted by Harkat

@Vinyl said:

@Harkat said:

I'm getting very contradictory messages regarding sexism in pop culture. On one hand I hear "Portray women as equals!" on the other I hear "Now you just made a female character who acts like a man! This solves nothing!". I don't get it. Isn't equality the whole goal of this movement? It seems hypocritical to first complain that women are being portrayed as inferior, then complain again when they they are portrayed just like the men.

What do people want women to be portrayed as? "Strong characters" is not an answer.

Speaking as a lady gamer here, the problem is you can't conflate "portray women as equals" with "female character that acts like a man", because that implies that women would behave the same way a man would. Which is patently untrue, and leads to a phenomenon The Wire David Simon called "men with tits" - men's voices coming from women's faces.

Some portrayals get it right - I'd cite Jack from Mass Effect 2 as a perfect example of a highly aggressive, rage-fueled personality, she never once comes off as anything but a woman, but that's rather because her performance and writing were such that she was given range, which many, many female characters in media are missing, and simultaneously serves as the basis for the ubiquitous "strong female character" goal. She could be pigeonholed as a bitch for the same reasons that her character can be considered strong, because the way society reacts to aggressive men is different than how it reacts to aggressive women, but it's fairly undeniable that Jack leaves an impression, good or bad. Strong female characters (a phrase which needs to die btw, and be replaced with "strong characters"), equality begins with writing a real character with fleshed out motivations instead of relying on on tired, lazy archetypes and exposed boobs and ass to sell the character.

Still confused. Would an Alan Wake or a Niko Bellic that just happened to be a woman be good?

Is the issue simply that of the few really good characters in videogames, even fewer are women?

Is there a need to portray character traits that are distinctively feminine in order to make them more than "men with tits"? In that case, it would be a minefield to create "strong" female characters, because the notion of what femininity is or should be is divisive as all hell.

Posted by GiantsizeManThing

Whoever came up with the word "duder" needs to be shot.

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