Jimquisition: The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

templar1138a

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I hadn't really thought about this, but I know I had some sort of awareness. These days, I only buy games which I can create a custom character (or simulators where there's no visible protagonist). Admittedly, it's pretty rare for me to play a female character in said RPGs. I'm a role-player and a man, and as such I have a better instinctual sense of how to role-play a man than a woman.

However, on one playthrough of Dragon Age: Origins, I played as a human warrior who was a woman and got romantically involved with Alistair. Admittedly, it was a little strange at first, but once I got into the role, I felt a sense of attachment to him that comes with a relationship. He was an anchor in the all-over-the-place life the protagonist lives and was a source of comfort and safety as such. It wasn't all that different than how I felt about his being my best friend when I played as a male character.
 

gigastar

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Daystar Clarion said:
It's 2013 and we still can't have woman in video games because of homophobic neckbearded manchildren.
Shouldnt that be heterophobic?
 

AgedGrunt

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I think the hypocrisy is lost on everyone that having female protagonists just for the sake of having female protagonists is little more than political correctness, an exercise of gender regulation in an art form. It's the token minority character getting pushed into the spotlight to say "You see, we are inclusive!".

Pissy rant ahead, because really, enough is enough.

This incessant whining, pissing and bemoaning the issue really appears as nothing more than guilt-spiraling, and the damn parade of media beating the industry (and the community!) over the head with delusion and tirade is just right obnoxious.

Nobody ran from Tomb Raider because it was a girl and nobody quit Metroid when it was revealed that the player was female. Female Shepard was on the cover of Mass Effect 3. The female option was very popular in the series and female characters were very strong. Final Fantasy has had plenty of strong female leads. Plenty of people play females in RPGs and MMOs where the story revolves around each individual. In racing games there is no gender at all. Those have been my experiences.

I'd suggest a female lead in Grand Theft Auto but the industry would probably implode from sexist-bashing incompetents that would think all the violence perpetrated is an affront to women (as if the male leads up to that point haven't been par for the course).

And that's precisely the problem here, that no matter what happens or what is implemented, people will never be satisfied. It's like those people that lean over you and point at the computer screen what they want to see, all but shoving you out of the way so they can do it, because they know what they want.

It's not a conspiracy to serve a male-dominated community housing impulsive, psychologically predictable consumers. The product you hate is the result of proven marketing, and in a world where a game like Aliens: CM and Sim City can pull the wool over everyone's eyes and slap them across the face on launch day, what do you people honestly expect from these money-grubbers? It's really no different from the music industry in some ways.
 

The Great JT

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I don't mind playing in the other end of the gender pool. In fact, at times it can be quite refreshing. As for the thought that guys don't want to play a game where they're the female in a male-female relationship, you can't honestly say that, as a guy, you're curious about how the mechanics work on the other side. If nothing else, it's a simple hypothetical. The thought that someone can't play a game because the main character is female is absurd. Publishers, we're not going to withhold buying a game based on the presence or absence of a Y chromosome. We ARE going to withhold buying a game based on its quality and/or how fun it is.

Kind of makes me sad that people still think this way. I know that's just how they're hardwired, but please just try to see that not everyone thinks the same way, there is a market for games with non-white male main characters. There is, in fact, a market for a game whose main character is a woman, or black, or homosexual, et cetera, et cetera.

Now, if you ARE one of those guys who think, "I don't want my fictionalized representation of myself as a woman interacting with a male character's genitalia, I don't have a sexual attraction to that," there's a simple mantra you can use to cope. Repeat after me: "It's just a/an (insert medium of entertainment), I should really just relax."
 
Dec 14, 2009
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gigastar said:
Daystar Clarion said:
It's 2013 and we still can't have woman in video games because of homophobic neckbearded manchildren.
Shouldnt that be heterophobic?
Technically speaking, yes, but a lot of people self insert as the protagonist.


So even if it's a woman doing the dirty with a dude, it's the 'player' and if that player is male, then that's totally gay, bro.
 

Casual Shinji

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The only thing I can say is, I'm not one of them. I choose FemShep in most of my playthroughs in Mass Effect, and I even romanced Alistair as a female dwarf in Dragon Age: Origins. How's that for kinky?

All I can assume is that these male gamers not wanting to play as a female protagonist are still going through that teenage "that's so gay" phase. Where simply mentioning the word 'gay' sends them into a snarling frenzy.
 

rembrandtqeinstein

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Heh I'm a white guy and always play black guys in games because when I get the chance. Not sure what that says really.

Also the only thing I came away with is publishers suck. Which is why I'm happy kickstarter/minecraft style funding is becoming more and more popular.
 

Sir Shockwave

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Chessrook44 said:
Would Samus really count outside of her armor?

I mean I don't know sexy so I can't really comment, but it really seems that's what they were going for when they put her in a ponytail and the skintight blue bodysuit.
I suppose "not really" comes into this.

I must admit though I'm a little pressed to name a Female Character that isn't an object, at least intentionally. Part of it isn't helped with thanks to the whole Chainmail Bikini trope. The only charecter I can really say with absolute confidence that isn't a Sex Object that comes to my mind right now would be Major Sarah Parker from the original Ground Control and Dark Conspiracy. Bonus points for being one of the (if not the) main protagonist in both games.

Otherwise, the only examples I can think of might be wandering into T&A territory. FemShep for example I think is open to debate. Anastasya and Irina Griffin from Might & Magic VI might follow suite, but I never got to the end of the game so I can't really comment there.
 

MetricFurlong

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Yeah, this is a problem. The story with Remember Me should really be enough on its own to show just how fucked up the games industry's attitudes to gender can be. I mean, I know the film industry has problems in this regard as well, but not to this extent. Even if we were to disregarded the social and gender issues side of the matter entirely, surely we can all agree that it would be nice to have some more female protagonists for variety's sake.


Daystar Clarion said:
It's the mullet of facial hair
That would be the Soul Patch. The Neckbeard is closer to the comb-over: it clearly sucks, and the only reason people grow it because they aren't willing to do without the hair.
 

Stryc9

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Krantos said:
I has to be said that a lot of games with female protagonists don't sell well simply because they're not that good.

Lets take a look at the big games in recent years featuring female protagonists:

-Metroid: Other M (Was critically panned for having shitty writing that demeaned Samus)
-Mirrors Edge (Had a lot of gameplay issues that held it back)
-Hydrophobia (The game was just downright shit)
-Tomb Raider (I don't think all the numbers are quite in yet on this one)
-Amy (The game was shit, again, just look at the reviews. It had serious flaws other than the protagonist's lady bits.)
-Final Fantasy XIII (...)

...I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones off the top of my head. Notice anything about them? Aside from Tomb Raider, they panned by critics and audiences alike. Not because they had a female lead, but because the games themselves were of questionable quality at best.

If publishers and developers want female protagonists to sell well, for gods sake put them in good games.

Also, if someone is honestly wierded out when their character kisses a guy, grow up. How do you think women have felt all these years playing as big burly men saving the princess of the day?
I would say that all of the games you listed had problems OTHER than a female protagonist. Other Metroid games sold well even though everyone knew that the protagonist was female.

I don't think the new Tomb Raider has been out long enough to call it's sales a failure and take a look at the sales of past Tomb Raider games, for a long time they sold quite well until people got tired of the series and stopped buying them. I think there were a couple of stumbles for the series toward the end as well.

Unless you're saying it's a subconscious decision to not buy a game because the protagonist is a woman I'm going to call that argument bullshit. All of these games have other flaws that hold them back, reviewers call them out on their flaws and the games don't sell as well as a result. That and like Jim said, the publisher don't market the games as well as they could because they're afraid no one will buy the games because THEY THINK that people are uncomfortable playing as a female character. Maybe if a good game with a female protagonist got the marketing it deserved then we'd actually see if the publisher's thinking is correct.
 

Danny Ocean

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I think it'd be really interesting to play a female character written by a female writer (who isn't trying to exaggerate or highlight an issue). It's so hard to get the genuine female perspective on so many things.

I mean almost everyone will tell you they'd like to be the opposite gender for a day just out of curiosity. Surely a game would be the ideal way to do that?
 

gigastar

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Daystar Clarion said:
gigastar said:
Daystar Clarion said:
It's 2013 and we still can't have woman in video games because of homophobic neckbearded manchildren.
Shouldnt that be heterophobic?
Technically speaking, yes, but a lot of people self insert as the protagonist.


So even if it's a woman doing the dirty with a dude, it's the 'player' and if that player is male, then that's totally gay, bro.
Heterophobic can apply in other ways too. For example, i imagine most Call of Duty development meetings end with Activision going "Its slightly different? PURGE IT."
 

fix-the-spade

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TheSniperFan said:
Talking about female characters...
WHERE IS MIRROR'S EDGE 2??????????
I'd say it was killed off around the time millions of people didn't buy Mirror's Edge and EA quietly killed any funding for DICE that didn't have the word Battlefield attached.

Seriously, Mirror's Edge made it to just over a third of it's projected sales, whilst that equated to two million plus sales in two years, it's not enough for a sequel to ever be green lit.

For the record, I'd like a sequel too, but less gun combat and more exploration...
 

jmarquiso

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Mr.Tea said:
Well, just before I saw Jimquisition had been posted, I said this about the fact that a whopping 82% of Mass Effect playthroughs were Male Shep:

Me said:
God people are boring... Of course the vast majority played a Soldier Male Shep! They need to "identify" and shit!

Very seriously, from the bottom of my heart and with all due respect (none): Fuck anyone who somehow won't play female characters. Fuck them up the arse with a rake.
And I stand by it even more after this video.

Also, it's quite funny how the first few replies are all "Oh no! Not more sexism debate! Stop talking about it!"
To be fair that's all the defaults as well. Shows more laziness than anything else.
 
Dec 14, 2009
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MetricFurlong said:
Yeah, this is a problem. The story with Remember Me should really be enough on its own to show just how fucked up the games industry's attitudes to gender can be. I mean, I know the film industry has problems in this regard as well, but not to this extent. Even if we were to disregarded the social and gender issues side of the matter entirely, surely we can all agree that it would be nice to have some more female protagonists for variety's sake.


Daystar Clarion said:
It's the mullet of facial hair
That would be the Soul Patch. The Neckbeard is closer to the comb-over: it clearly sucks, but people grow it because they aren't willing to do without the hair.
Correcting me on not quite thought through beard to hair comparison?

Fuck you and fuck all the things you like!

[HEADING=1]Raaaaaaage![/HEADING]


I guess you have a point :D
 

Proverbial Jon

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Nov 10, 2009
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Because I'm tired of this attitude towards woman in games I'll just post what I put in another thread:

Proverbial Jon said:
I'll always play as a female in games when given the choice. I never feel like "I am the protagonist", I never try to put myself in their shoes and mentally "be" that person, it's just not how I play. I prefer to make my mind up about who the character is, as a separate entity, and how they would approach the situations they face. This is escapism after all, I want to be as far away from normal and acceptable as possible! So if that means I play as a woman romancing dudes... so be it!
Give me MOAR women, damn it!
 

Legion

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Sir Shockwave said:
Chessrook44 said:
Would Samus really count outside of her armor?

I mean I don't know sexy so I can't really comment, but it really seems that's what they were going for when they put her in a ponytail and the skintight blue bodysuit.
I suppose "not really" comes into this.

I must admit though I'm a little pressed to name a Female Character that isn't an object, at least intentionally. Part of it isn't helped with thanks to the whole Chainmail Bikini trope. The only charecter I can really say with absolute confidence that isn't a Sex Object that comes to my mind right now would be Major Sarah Parker from the original Ground Control and Dark Conspiracy. Bonus points for being one of the (if not the) main protagonist in both games.

Otherwise, the only examples I can think of might be wandering into T&A territory. FemShep for example I think is open to debate. Anastasya and Irina Griffin from Might & Magic VI might follow suite, but I never got to the end of the game so I can't really comment there.
You do understand what objectification is, right?

Objectification is about a lack of agency or control. On it's own it has absolutely nothing to do with sexualisation. If a character is incapable of making any decisions or actions for themselves, then they are an object.

The reason Peach and Zelda are described as being objects is because they do not do anything for themselves. Their reason for being in the game is purely to be saved by the playable character.

If Lara Croft wore a bikini throughout the latest Tomb Raider, she wouldn't be objectified. Sexist? Sure, you could argue that, but sexism and objectification are not synonymous.

Being sexy =/= being an object.

If you honestly can't think of any, then you are either lying, playing games without any women in them or are (which I think is likely the case) not aware of what the term actually means.
 

Erttheking

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jmarquiso said:
Mr.Tea said:
Well, just before I saw Jimquisition had been posted, I said this about the fact that a whopping 82% of Mass Effect playthroughs were Male Shep:

Me said:
God people are boring... Of course the vast majority played a Soldier Male Shep! They need to "identify" and shit!

Very seriously, from the bottom of my heart and with all due respect (none): Fuck anyone who somehow won't play female characters. Fuck them up the arse with a rake.
And I stand by it even more after this video.

Also, it's quite funny how the first few replies are all "Oh no! Not more sexism debate! Stop talking about it!"
To be fair that's all the defaults as well. Shows more laziness than anything else.
That's less laziness and more wariness of flame wars.