Jimquisition: The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

Brad Gardner

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Jun 5, 2012
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Personally, I feel uncomfortable with any romantic relationship. But I'm asexual, and I don't feel like I should be forced to make a dission in a game I wouldn't do in real life. This is why I never play games with romantic relationship that are more than hinted.

That stuff said and kind of irrelavant. All this white male being the hero in everything is BS. I mean how many black leads did you have when you don't have a choise on creation. I seem to play female when I have a choice but no one asked me about the covers. Also, one thing who the hell did they ask anyway. I mean I could ask 3000 drunk frat boys what they think and most likely get the same answer. I just believe things are skeiwed.
 

Seneschal

Blessed are the righteous
Jun 27, 2009
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This might be sexist (in the sense that it's shaped solely by the character's gender), but I found playing as FemShep to be slightly more interesting than playing as MaleShep, because it subverts the stereotype of a male figure in a position of military authority. It's especially cool with Hale's no-nonsense Honor-Harrington-like demeanour and even better that I made mine look like a more gruff & scarred version of Captain Janeway.

What I mean to say is, "Without a warped perception of women as weak and passive, my Femshep would be boring" - Seneschal, 2013

Ok, in all seriousness, I have to cast a little shadow of doubt over all the supposedly wronged studios that were championing women's rights and getting rejected by patriarchal publishers - it strikes me as a bit too hard to verify, as no publishing house is ever named, no fingers are pointed, and it's the devs who get to wear the egalitarian crown for defending rights that, as far as we know, weren't even contested in the first place. Just saying. They wouldn't lose anything if they invented the whole thing, it would only net them +PR points.

But I do admit that this might be, unfortunately, true. And regardless of whether devs are fishing for attention, publishers are alienating women and minorities. Helping their case are the hordes of gamers out there fighting to maintain this illusion that gaming is a perfect egalitarian hobby, that everybody's welcomed with open arms, and anyone implying introspection or discussion is necessary is a traitor. It doesn't matter how many EEDAR stats you throw at them.
 

SinisterGehe

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May 19, 2009
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I just want to put this out there.
I was working on a game project as a branch of outsourced 3D work - (I am 3D Environment designer) I did my work. But the guy next desk over was Character artist and was doing a statue of female warrior(s). But few of the designs got rejected over the designing meeting because... and this is direct quote from the E-meeting we had, said by the lead director "The breast plates weren't supposed to hide the breasts, just cover them", he and the lead designer were furious. (And so was kinda I since I had to redo some indoor areas).

I am going to leave names out of this, mainly because of NDA and the fact that if I name anyone - I might spend the next 14 lifetimes skooping reindeer poop in Siberia...

I thought this was a good spot to get this out of my mind and get past the anger I have towards that particular development house.
 

1337mokro

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Dec 24, 2008
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Challenge accepted!

Which condom flavour would you like Mr. Sterling?

Though I disagree with the homophobic angle. It has way more to do with objectification, desire, sexual interest and a man stepping into the arena to claim all that was previously yours. In other words the cave man effect.

Woman on screen hot. Woman on screen hot for me. Woman on screen engage with other man. KILL OTHER MAN!

I have no problems with gay relationships or women engaging in relationships with men in my games, however where I draw the line is where I am asked to BE the character. Then given no choice but to engage a man sexually. I am that character now, I have no sexual interest in that man so why can't we just be friends? To dichotomize female-male relationships to Sex Partners or Complete Strangers is just as equally narrowminded as the stance that a teenage girl standing 4 feet closer to the camera on the box art will somehow reduce sales.

Oh and better start oiling them jaw joints, it's a big one.
 

Little Duck

Diving Space Muffin
Oct 22, 2009
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Desert Punk said:
cyvaris said:
I wish to god we had more non-sexy, single (?), female protagonists in the vein of Ripley or Samus just because it would add something different to the endless amounts of "Dude-bro" protagonists.
You honestly think they dont try to make Samus sexy?



And then theres Other M, which has a number of fan service shots of her in her zero suit.
To be honest samus only really started zero suiting frequently in recent years (however weirdly, they showed pin up shots of her as 'rewards'). Before 99.999999% of any of her games saw only her armour (and occasionally the glare of her face in the visor).

Samus is interesting though. A few years back came the 25th anniversary of zelda and mario, In 2011 it was the 25th anniversary of metroid. It's not as if these games were bad, they're not, they're fantastic, metroid prime is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite game of all time. But I don't know of why they didn't send this one through into a 25th anniversary celebration. I think other m may have been available fresh round then though. That may have something to do with it.

edited for a small addition.
 
Jun 23, 2008
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I remember as a teen in a suburb of Los Angeles that when my English class read fiction out-loud (especially if they were cross-reading lines, like a script) there was tension and tittering if one character professed to love another. Regardless of the sexes of persons and characters involved, at that. But between this, what is nothing short of self-censorship in the name of profit, and the ESRB's fear of games nudging us into our panic zones, I find myself ashamed of the cowardice of our industry. Maybe, as Extra Credits suggests, we need our version of the Oscars to drive us back to artistic visions.

I suspect that every constructed tower of censorship has their Behind the Green Door. Ours may take a few such titles to topple, but we have the indie community willing to do that.

Suddenly, I have a strange urge to, next time you're in San Francisco, buy you a beer...Daddy[footnote]Myself, I'll probably be having a milquetoast latte, so...or whatever.[/footnote]

238U
 

cdemares

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Jan 5, 2012
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I'll play as a woman in games, and I project, too. I'll inhabit the character and give it a voice because I have this thing called an imagination that makes me want to play these games in the first place. Give me some credit, publishers. We play as aliens and robots all the time. Would I be creeped out by such a makeout session in my game? Very possibly, if I'm pretty immersed. But how do I know that? Who is confronting me with that difficult question but Jim and lonely Bioware? Meanwhile, if I want mass murders of innocent virtual people, I have choices, so many choices in the market.

What if Bioshock was a series of charming trysts and hookups, and then you get to Ryan, and he's like, "Would you kindly...". And you're like, "Woah, what is agency in the games!?". Would that game be the "Highest rated shooter of all time" or just not able to be sold anywhere?
 

NathLines

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May 23, 2010
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"You can't make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that's going to feel awkward."

Yeah, that just made me pause the video and grimace for a minute. That's just downright creepy. *sigh* Watch out kids, vidja games gon' make you gay.
 
Mar 9, 2012
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Well, to be fair, the kissing scene in Dreamfall is actually quite awkward. But that is more due to 2006's computer hardware having shortcomings when it comes to rendering animated faces.

Sometimes... emotions are polygons. :david cage smirking evilly:
 

ConanThe3rd

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Jul 3, 2012
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Here's a thought; the sailor moon manga has been reissued since the arse end of 2011 and, predominantly, has women in non sexualised poses (YMMV on that) on the covers. I can tell you here and now that every time a volume has been issued, it's hit the top of whatever book chart ANN cares to report about it.

Every, last, One.

The AAA games industry needs to grow a fucking pair already. Though I might exposit that it might just be too late for it by and large.
 

Smeatza

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Dec 12, 2011
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NathLines said:
"You can't make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that's going to feel awkward."

Yeah, that just made me pause the video and grimace for a minute. That's just downright creepy.
Made we wonder if they'd heard of the Mass Effect series at all.

Anyway, I blame it on Call of Duty. It got too ridiculously successful and now all the suits in the video game industry think every gamer is an American, male, homophobic teenager.
 

Raioken18

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Dec 18, 2009
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I... don't play games for the romantic interactions of anyone... Like I think the only game I can recall participating in romantic relationships would have been Vampires The Masquerade Bloodlines, and even calling that romance is a stretch. It's also dualistic as you can play as either a man or a woman, and the beginning scene is your lover being executed.

Mirror's Edge... it was alright... It contained 2 things I feel were ahead of it's time. Gameplay based around something other than killing enemies in droves and a non-sexualized woman as the lead. (I had to stop playing halfway through because my computer hates PhysX...

In RPG's I usually play a mix, but like a few gamers I create my own back stories for my characters.
 

lord.jeff

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Oct 27, 2010
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Novan Leon said:
I feel like all these people vehemently decrying rampant sexism in videogames are just now waking up to realize that the industry is largely marketed towards the uninhibited, teen-to-college age male. It's like complaining that Playboy, Maxim or the latest spring break movie are sexist. Guess what? When the dominant demographic begin to ask for something more than scantly-clad women in their games, then that's what the industry will provide. As it stands, the product this demographic demands is one that enables them to act out their masculine fantasies. This whole thing just feels like much to-do about nothing.
The difference between Playboy and the game industry is that Playboy is just one company that represents the whole industry and is balanced out by the likes of Playgirl or [link]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_women%27s_magazines[/link]. Gaming as a whole lacks anything regularly focused at women.
Also, I think it makes perfect sense that a guy playing as a girl character would feel awkward when their character begins kissing a male character. The entire purpose of these games is to immerse you in the experience, meaning that I, a straight male, am projecting myself onto the main character that I control. The moment my character, me, regardless of whether the character is male or female, begins to kiss a guy, I lose some of that immersion. That's not sexist, that's just a natural result of immersing myself in a character. (I hope that makes sense)
I don't have that issue myself but I respect that you do, so I think it fair that you should respect that other people share that same feeling when the roles get reversed, that a women may not like kissing another women in game.
 

Callate

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Dec 5, 2008
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For the record: I'm perfectly willing to play a female protagonist. I'll admit that in games where there are gender options, the female character is usually my second play-through rather than my first, but a game with only a female lead is nothing like a deal-breaker. I just want to see the options that are tailored to someone more like me first, if there's a choice and a significant difference.

I agree that it's utterly sad and ridiculous that "Remember Me" should be finding this issue to be a hurdle. If nothing else, the "generic sepia-toned dudebro hero" has led to many games that barely bother developing their generic characters at all; the presence of considered female characters is often a flag that a game may have actually put some thought into their script and storyline.
 

Darken12

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Apr 16, 2011
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Moonlight Butterfly said:
This subject was brought up in the 'should Lara be gay' thread. My problem there was that my sexuality ie 'straight female' is ignored just as much as gay men and women but it seems people just want to skate over the top of that and ignore straight women because apparently we aren't a minority and the only good female protagonist in video games just has to be gay.

I hope that lady in Remember Me has a big sloppy snog with some Tom Hiddleston lookalike right up in in the camera.
I personally think that the problem isn't that lesbians have it worse or straight women have it worse, I think the problem is that there are such few female protagonists that both lesbians and straight women have to fight over the scant few that do exist and neither thinks they have enough (which is true! neither side, nor bisexual, asexual, pansexual, etc. women, have enough female protagonists to admire and play as!).

Just trying to clarify if you thought my position in the Lara thread was antagonistic or dismissive. I definitely agree that we should have more straight female protagonists with agency who actively enjoy a romance with a male character in front of the camera (fuck the haters), but I also don't think we should dismiss lesbians who want the same, because it's actually pretty hard for them to find examples of lesbian characters that aren't there solely for the enjoyment of the straight male audience (much like straight women, too).
 

direkiller

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Desert Punk said:
Actually I think Bayonetta sold like shite, the only reason it is getting a sequel is because Nintendo is resurecting it for +1 exclusive that appeals to 'hardcore' gamers. And Metroid has a built in Nintendo fanboy base.

And who the hell is raiding Tom? Those bastards!
Bayonetta sold about 1.4million copy
which is not bad, it's not amazing, but it's not bad.
 

The Funslinger

Corporate Splooge
Sep 12, 2010
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Ashoten said:
Especially when you are someone like me with thick gorilla hair that needs to shave twice a day just to maintain a clean look. I go through disposable razors like candy cause they cannot handle my mutant man hair.
I know that feel, bro.

Worst thing in the world when I'm shaving and then "oh fuck, the blade's fucking ragged again!"

My friend once turned to me and said "aw, I haven't shaved in a couple of days, it's getting a bit annoying."

"I can't see anything," I replied.

"No, but trust me, I can feel it."

"Mate, I shaved last night and look at me."

"Oh fuck! I can see it from across the room!"
 

Rad Party God

Party like it's 2010!
Feb 23, 2010
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Well, on RPG's, I'm guilty of always making a male protagonist, but that's always because I kinda project myself on them and I don't plan on suddendly changing to female characters and as for games with female characters, I'm all for it and I'd definitely wish the industry could make more games with female leads.