UPDATE: Video of Females on Female Characters Panel

Greg Tito

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UPDATE: Video of Females on Female Characters Panel

Which characters go beyond the boobs?

Update: The guys over at Nerd Calibur [http://nerdcaliber.com/blogs/] were awesome enough to record video of the "Females on Female Characters" panel. For those of you who weren't able to attend PAX East 2011 - or those who want to watch it again - you can catch all the hilarity and frank discussion of female characters in the following three videos. Share and Enjoy!




Many thanks to Nerd Calibur [http://nerdcaliber.com/blogs/] for posting these videos.

Original post:



At PAX East 2011, The Escapist's own Susan Arendt led a panel of prominent female gamers to discuss which women characters in games transcend the stereotype of merely being an object of male desire. Journalists A.J. Glasser and Tracey John, Loading Ready Run's Kathleen DeVere and Trina Schwimmer, founder of GamingAngels.com, went through the various characters that they hold as the ideal portrayal of women, as well as the ones that just fell flat, or well-endowed, as the case may be. The panel concluded that writing decent characters of either gender is a significant challenge, but that game developers should continue to focus on creating female characters that portray more than one dimension instead of just "hot." It must also be said that hot isn't always bad either.

"There are some common misconceptions about how female gamers feel about female characters and the first one is that we hate sexiness," Susan Arendt said. "[We don't feel] that if there is a character that is physically attractive - that if she is sexy - then that is automatically sexist."

A.J. Glasser responded that many women she speaks to will complain about a character's breast size first. "Can't I just hate her to hate her? Why do I have to hate her because she's pretty?" she asked rhetorically. The panel agreed that many of the problems that they had with female portrayals in games was inadequacies in game mechanics rather than merely taking offense at the presentation. Fighting games such as the first Soul Calibur did a decent job of having female characters that could be judged on their relative merits - Ivy was difficult to master, but then became eye candy in the sequels - but the Dead or Alive "jiggle" had to be mentioned.

The panel discussed many female characters that just didn't go beyond the stereotype. Much of the cast of Final Fantasy XIII failed because they were written poorly - the main character Lightning in particular, but also Fang because she was originally written as a male character before her gender was switched midway through development. "That makes so much sense," Kathleen DeVere said when she discovered the switch. "She's a cardboard character. This person is gruff and tough. There's nothing in there that makes her male or female."

A second misconception is that female gamers want all female characters to be as tough as the males. "We just want well-developed characters," Arendt said. Ripley from the Aliens series of movies is a great example of a complex female character, because she acts strongly when her children are threatened without losing her femininity, but even a overtly sexual character like Bayonetta has promise.

"It's a silly main premise for a character, and it's supposed to be fun to play and I don't have a problem with that as a female gamer," DeVere said. "[Bayonetta] is a female main character - if they think they can sell a game with a female main character, and make her witty, that's a big step."

Tracey John wasn't sure that Bayonetta was empowering for female gamers, to which Susan Arendt responded, "I think what makes Bayonetta appealing is that she very much owns her sexuality. She's hot, but she ain't hot for you." Bayonetta exists in a world where sex is normal, but that doesn't mean she does it for your approval.

While it is refreshing to have a character that is comfortable with her sexuality, it's important to realize that is only one facet of the human experience. "How many of you spend any amount of time thinking about whether you are sexy when you're playing a game?" AJ Glasser asked.

Other characters were put forth as being excellent or terrible examples of female characters in games - from early Lara Croft to late Lara Croft to the soon-to-be-rebooted Lara Croft - but finally the women on the panel acknowledged that, although steps have been made to create believable female characters, game developers still have a long way to go. Admittedly, all characters in games, both male and female, need to be deeper and more well-rounded. "Gender doesn't define what makes a great character," Tracey John said. "There can be great female characters that don't fall into any of the stereotypes."

"Female characters are hard to write," Glasser said before she was interrupted by Arendt. "All characters are hard to write," she said.

As a writer, I couldn't agree more, but I think that panels like "Females on Female Characters" will empower both the gaming audience and developers to pay attention to crafting well-rounded and authentic female characters. If the packed room of over three hundred strong and the wonderful response from both males and females in the audience for this panel is any indication, gamers would certainly appreciate it.



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Greg Tito

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I have to wonder if 90% of the people who opine on character development have ever tried to develop a character. It really is not that easy.

Not suggesting anything specific, just putting that out there as a hypothetical.
[small]I think it's pretty stupid that I have to constantly make disclaimers to avoid mod wrath.[/small]
 

JEBWrench

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I always think about whether I'm sexy when I'm playing a game. What's wrong with that?
 

Greg Tito

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JEBWrench said:
I always think about whether I'm sexy when I'm playing a game. What's wrong with that?
Nothing I'd say. Taking a fantasy character and indulging a look that appeals to you with the tool available should never be considered a bad thing. It is a fantasy after all.
 

Onyx Oblivion

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Greg Tito said:
even a overtly sexual character like Bayonetta has promise.

"It's a silly main premise for a character, and it's supposed to be fun to play and I don't have a problem with that as a female gamer," DeVere said. "[Bayonetta] is a female main character - if they think they can sell a game with a female main character, and make her witty, that's a big step."

Tracey John wasn't sure that Bayonetta was empowering for female gamers, to which Susan Arendt responded, "I think what makes Bayonetta appealing is that she very much owns her sexuality. She's hot, but she's ain't hot for you." Bayonetta exists in a world where sex is normal, but that doesn't mean she does it for your approval.
Surprising responses, to be honest. I was expecting Bayonetta hate. I just knew she'd turn up in there somewhere.
 

StriderShinryu

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This pretty much touches on the same things that came up in the latest EC episode: step 1 to creating a good female character is to create a good character.

There certainly are aspects to the female experience that can be drawn from to both foster that creative process and also to enrich the surrounding game, but that's no different from creating a well rounded male character by bringing in aspects of the male experience. Characters of both genders, however, fail completely when the only added features are stereotypical ones.
 

ShadowsofHope

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Some valid points in there, for sure.

I'd strongly disagree on the character of Lightning in FFXIII due to actually liking that game (and the character), but I know well I'm in the minority on that opinion (in terms of the game as a whole itself in perspective), so I'll just leave it at that.
 

Truly-A-Lie

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It surprises me that they didn't mind Bayonetta. As a male gamer, I personally felt awkward for pretty much every second of the demo. It felt like her sexuality was being forced in my face, from her poses to her mega-legs to the fact that her clothes kept coming off. If I was meant to find it attractive, I didn't. It just felt like it was trying to sell me the game based on the concept that big moves are rewarded with nudity.
 

Greg Tito

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Onyx Oblivion said:
Greg Tito said:
even a overtly sexual character like Bayonetta has promise.

"It's a silly main premise for a character, and it's supposed to be fun to play and I don't have a problem with that as a female gamer," DeVere said. "[Bayonetta] is a female main character - if they think they can sell a game with a female main character, and make her witty, that's a big step."

Tracey John wasn't sure that Bayonetta was empowering for female gamers, to which Susan Arendt responded, "I think what makes Bayonetta appealing is that she very much owns her sexuality. She's hot, but she's ain't hot for you." Bayonetta exists in a world where sex is normal, but that doesn't mean she does it for your approval.
Surprising responses, to be honest. I was expecting Bayonetta hate. I just knew she'd turn up in there somewhere.
Yet they still focus heavily on Bayonetta's sexualized qualities, which means they are not bothering to look below the surface and see what really makes her tick.
 

LornMind

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
Onyx Oblivion said:
Greg Tito said:
even a overtly sexual character like Bayonetta has promise.

"It's a silly main premise for a character, and it's supposed to be fun to play and I don't have a problem with that as a female gamer," DeVere said. "[Bayonetta] is a female main character - if they think they can sell a game with a female main character, and make her witty, that's a big step."

Tracey John wasn't sure that Bayonetta was empowering for female gamers, to which Susan Arendt responded, "I think what makes Bayonetta appealing is that she very much owns her sexuality. She's hot, but she's ain't hot for you." Bayonetta exists in a world where sex is normal, but that doesn't mean she does it for your approval.
Surprising responses, to be honest. I was expecting Bayonetta hate. I just knew she'd turn up in there somewhere.
Yet they still focus heavily on Bayonetta's sexualized qualities, which means they are not bothering to look below the surface and see what really makes her tick.
You mean a strange motherly-care dynamic she harbors, but is in relation to herself as a child which makes it a strange mix of motherly-care and self-preservation?
 

Susan Arendt

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
Onyx Oblivion said:
Greg Tito said:
even a overtly sexual character like Bayonetta has promise.

"It's a silly main premise for a character, and it's supposed to be fun to play and I don't have a problem with that as a female gamer," DeVere said. "[Bayonetta] is a female main character - if they think they can sell a game with a female main character, and make her witty, that's a big step."

Tracey John wasn't sure that Bayonetta was empowering for female gamers, to which Susan Arendt responded, "I think what makes Bayonetta appealing is that she very much owns her sexuality. She's hot, but she's ain't hot for you." Bayonetta exists in a world where sex is normal, but that doesn't mean she does it for your approval.
Surprising responses, to be honest. I was expecting Bayonetta hate. I just knew she'd turn up in there somewhere.
Yet they still focus heavily on Bayonetta's sexualized qualities, which means they are not bothering to look below the surface and see what really makes her tick.
We actually went into more detail than that, but what we wanted to address was the common misconception was that because she was sexy, females automatically didn't want to play the game. We discussed why her version of sex appeal is so much different than, say, that dumb whore from X-Blades.
 

cainx10a

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Thanks for defending Bayonetta, definitely my favorite female character, and DMC-like game (whatever the genre DMC applies to).
 

Greg Tito

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Female characters are hard to write
... For Guys.
JEBWrench said:
I always think about whether I'm sexy when I'm playing a game. What's wrong with that?
Hell I KNOW I'm sexy when I'm playing a game
Onyx Oblivion said:
Surprising responses, to be honest. I was expecting Bayonetta hate. I just knew she'd turn up in there somewhere.
Bayonetta IS highly sexualized but she isn't a bad character.
 

JEBWrench

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HankMan said:
Female characters are hard to write
... For Guys.
JEBWrench said:
I always think about whether I'm sexy when I'm playing a game. What's wrong with that?
Hell I KNOW I'm sexy when I'm playing a game
Yes, but I think about just HOW sexy.
 

ascorbius

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I'm really surprised not to see Faith from Mirror's edge mentioned much or at all in these things.
She wasn't represented in a physically over emphasized or overly sexual way.
Her character was confident, independent - yet fragile.

For me She was a pretty feminine character, certainly different to the masculine Kill Everything type, She wanted to protect her Sis and bollocks to the rest.. Politician murdered... pah!.. Sis framed... cue against the odds story to get her back and safe again - the world can wait, family first.

If Faith had been written as a man, rescuing the sister would be a side mission, It would have been called Die hard Running.

How many games end in a hug?
 

Greg Tito

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Susan Arendt said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
Yet they still focus heavily on Bayonetta's sexualized qualities, which means they are not bothering to look below the surface and see what really makes her tick.
We actually went into more detail than that, but what we wanted to address was the common misconception was that because she was sexy, females automatically didn't want to play the game. We discussed why her version of sex appeal is so much different than, say, that dumb whore from X-Blades.
Here's the difference, as I see it.

Bayonetta is well-written, well-fleshed out, well-crafted and properly motivated. Ayumi is a poorly-crafted, unlikable prat and a metaphoric manual on how not to create a character. The misconceptions are derived from ultra-feminist dogma and the related assumptions that any female character that attempts to radiate sexuality is automatically labeled as an affront to women. Now that is not me saying that all women think this way. But in this day and age, it is how a lot of women are being instructed to think.

And I always say that a person should draw their own conclusions.
 

Tally LRR

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Curious to know whether female Commander Shepard came up during the panel. I find her to be an excellent video game character, and I believe her strong portrayal is due both the to the writing and voice acting. Also an interesting situation as, to the best of my knowledge, male Commander Shepard has largely (if not entirely) the same diologue options. But I never got the sense that female Commander Shepard was overly masculine. So there's a case where they've taken one character, given it two possible genders, and (I feel) managed to make them both come across well. At least, the female comes across well. I haven't played as male Shepard, so don't really know for sure.
 

Susan Arendt

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Tally LRR said:
Curious to know whether female Commander Shepard came up during the panel. I find her to be an excellent video game character, and I believe her strong portrayal is due both the to the writing and voice acting. Also an interesting situation as, to the best of my knowledge, male Commander Shepard has largely (if not entirely) the same diologue options. But I never got the sense that female Commander Shepard was overly masculine. So there's a case where they've taken one character, given it two possible genders, and (I feel) managed to make them both come across well. At least, the female comes across well. I haven't played as male Shepard, so don't really know for sure.
Yep, she sure did. She's a strong character that doesn't just feel like a man with breasts and eye shadow, which is what female (and many male!) players so fond of her.

ascorbius said:
I'm really surprised not to see Faith from Mirror's edge mentioned much or at all in these things.
She wasn't represented in a physically over emphasized or overly sexual way.
Her character was confident, independent - yet fragile.

For me She was a pretty feminine character, certainly different to the masculine Kill Everything type, She wanted to protect her Sis and bollocks to the rest.. Politician murdered... pah!.. Sis framed... cue against the odds story to get her back and safe again - the world can wait, family first.

If Faith had been written as a man, rescuing the sister would be a side mission, It would have been called Die hard Running.

How many games end in a hug?
We talked about Faith, too. :)

Sir John the Net Knight said:
Susan Arendt said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
Yet they still focus heavily on Bayonetta's sexualized qualities, which means they are not bothering to look below the surface and see what really makes her tick.
We actually went into more detail than that, but what we wanted to address was the common misconception was that because she was sexy, females automatically didn't want to play the game. We discussed why her version of sex appeal is so much different than, say, that dumb whore from X-Blades.
Here's the difference, as I see it.

Bayonetta is well-written, well-fleshed out, well-crafted and properly motivated. Ayumi is a poorly-crafted, unlikable prat and a metaphoric manual on how not to create a character. The misconceptions are derived from ultra-feminist dogma and the related assumptions that any female character that attempts to radiate sexuality is automatically labeled as an affront to women. Now that is not me saying that all women think this way. But in this day and age, it is how a lot of women are being instructed to think.

And I always say that a person should draw their own conclusions.
A big part of that is the American attitude that sex is something to be associated with shame or embarrassment, especially for women. As though having a healthy interest in sex is somehow dirty or perverted - unless it's in a loving monogamous, married relationship with the lights off, under the covers, of course. So we get these juvenile representations of sexuality.
 

The Random One

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My problem with sexy women in games is - how many women you know that are that drop-down gorgeous? Real women are rarely sexy, at least not to video games' inflated standards. If you want to create deep characters start with someone who is at least average looking.

I do agree that the problem isn't so much that female characters in games are poorly written, just that all characters in games are poorly written, and so female (as well as black, gay, Asian, British etc) characters' stereotypes show up more, because it's easier to associate them with their stereotype. Of course 'tough space marine' is a stereotype of its own nowadays. But as video game writing improves, so will everything related to it.
 

mattaui

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Tally LRR said:
Curious to know whether female Commander Shepard came up during the panel. I find her to be an excellent video game character, and I believe her strong portrayal is due both the to the writing and voice acting. Also an interesting situation as, to the best of my knowledge, male Commander Shepard has largely (if not entirely) the same diologue options. But I never got the sense that female Commander Shepard was overly masculine. So there's a case where they've taken one character, given it two possible genders, and (I feel) managed to make them both come across well. At least, the female comes across well. I haven't played as male Shepard, so don't really know for sure.
There have been several articles crop up here recently regarding gender in games, and none of them have really mentioned Mass Effect that I'm aware of. It seems like it would be the perfect study in seeing how Sheppard is portrayed as being masculine or feminine, as opposed to simply being biologically male or female and saying the same lines or engaging in the same sort of conduct.

I do think there's a broader preference among men and women than just 'guys like x, women like y' because I've known guys and gals who like sexy, flirtatious characters and those who don't, those that like revealing armor and clothing, and those that don't.

Also, men are quite capable of writing engaging and believable female characters, just as plenty of woman can write authentic and interesting male characters, I've read plenty of books where that was the case, so there's no reason it can't hold true in games. But bad characterization is bad characterization, and it does happen in games more than it should, for male and female characters.
 

Greg Tito

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I was just thinking before I read this article that, at least theoretically, you could create a voluptuous, sexy female character and not have her just be some eye-candy to sell your game. Breasts are breasts, some women have big breasts, they more or less grow in on their own; it's not like large muscles, where you have to hit the gym/exercise like an obsessive, often at the detriment of other facets of your life... wait I'm getting off my point.
Conceivably, you could create a game with a well-rounded, fully-developed female character that is smart and capable and has big breasts, though whether your character works or not falls to the developers. If your dev team are a bunch of twits that don't know what they're doing, you're likely to wind up with a cardboard action girl that spouts one-liners, the gaming equivalent of Schwarzenegger with tits. Arguably, this is why a lot of games come off as sexist or low-brow, because they feel they need to make their female protagonists into this stereotype in order for them to be "sexy."
 

Raithnor

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From a purely physical standpoint I don't get (and am not attracted to) Bayonetta's design at all. Her legs a freakishly long and she wears massive high heels to make them look even longer. She's the closest thing to an "Uncanny Valley" reaction I've ever had and I have a decent tolerance for that sort of thing.

I've created female characters in City of Heroes and more often than not I usually have to take them to the Tailor because her legs are too long when running about the city.

Female Shepard, which has already been mentioned previously, is a pretty good benchmark.

I do have a question for people who were there: Did Samus from "Other M" come up at all? If so, what was the opinion on her in that game?
 

Greg Tito

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Raithnor said:
From a purely physical standpoint I don't get (and am not attracted to) Bayonetta's design at all. Her legs a freakishly long and she wears massive high heels to make them look even longer. She's the closest thing to an "Uncanny Valley" reaction I've ever had and I have a decent tolerance for that sort of thing.

I've created female characters in City of Heroes and more often than not I usually have to take them to the Tailor because her legs are too long when running about the city.

Female Shepard, which has already been mentioned previously, is a pretty good benchmark.
You frighten and confuse me. Uncanny Valley is something that I find more descriptive of Fallout/Oblivion NPCs or those creepy Japanese gynoids.* And I'm not even sure what you're getting at in regards to CoH character creator. Are you saying you don't like long legs? That's fine and all, I suppose. But why not just say that instead of taking issue with character design?

On the issue of Femshep. Even though Male and Female Shepards work from a similar script, the subtle differences are not only apparent in the voice acting, but also in the motion capture work. Femshep still comes off well because she acts like a woman. A hard-nosed military woman, but a woman nonetheless.

*Damn you, Firefox Spellcheck! That's a real word!
 

GiantRaven

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
I have to wonder if 90% of the people who opine on character development have ever tried to develop a character. It really is not that easy.

Not suggesting anything specific, just putting that out there as a hypothetical.
[small]I think it's pretty stupid that I have to constantly make disclaimers to avoid mod wrath.[/small]
Yeah, but it isn't my job to make a good character. If you are given the task of creating and developing a character, then I don't see why it's wrong to be called out on it if you do a bad job, regardless of how difficult it may be.
 

Raithnor

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
You frighten and confuse me. Uncanny Valley is something that I find more descriptive of Fallout/Oblivion NPCs or those creepy Japanese gynoids.* And I'm not even sure what you're getting at in regards to CoH character creator. Are you saying you don't like long legs? That's fine and all, I suppose. But why not just say that instead of taking issue with character design?
The problem is when I look at her the legs look like they are *at least* 2.5-3X the length of the rest of her body. I do like women with nice legs, but even compared to the women in comic books her design seems unreal to me.

I use the term "Uncanny Valley" because I look at her and I don't see a real person. The Fallout/Oblivion models do look like they're undead but they at least look like something that might be human. Bayonetta looks like she's a Giraffe in black leather, and I thought that before Yahtzee did his review of the game.
 

Wakefield

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ShadowsofHope said:
Some valid points in there, for sure.

I'd strongly disagree on the character of Lightning in FFXIII due to actually liking that game (and the character), but I know well I'm in the minority on that opinion (in terms of the game as a whole itself in perspective), so I'll just leave it at that.
I'm a huge fan of FFXIII (Unlike a lot of people as you mentioned) Lighting had more depth then a lot of people give her credit for, and Fang was my favorite character.

Other then that, good panel, great to see women talking about this. Hopefully the hate on this board will be minimal.
 

ShadowsofHope

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Wakefield said:
ShadowsofHope said:
Some valid points in there, for sure.

I'd strongly disagree on the character of Lightning in FFXIII due to actually liking that game (and the character), but I know well I'm in the minority on that opinion (in terms of the game as a whole itself in perspective), so I'll just leave it at that.
I'm a huge fan of FFXIII (Unlike a lot of people as you mentioned) Lighting had more depth then a lot of people give her credit for, and Fang was my favorite character.

Other then that, good panel, great to see women talking about this. Hopefully the hate on this board will be minimal.
It seems rare these days I actually find another in my minority group of liking FXIII, and Lightning as a character.

Let's be fri- Oh, invite already?

 

The Morrigan

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Susan Arendt said:
We discussed why her version of sex appeal is so much different than, say, that dumb whore from X-Blades.
Oh man, if I had made it up to the mike, I had every intention of asking you about X-Blades. *grins*

The Random One said:
My problem with sexy women in games is - how many women you know that are that drop-down gorgeous? Real women are rarely sexy, at least not to video games' inflated standards. If you want to create deep characters start with someone who is at least average looking.
I think that the problem isn't so much that "real women are rarely sexy" as it is that real women (and men, and everything in between) are sexy in ways that go far beyond physical appearance. I can find someone who is not at all conventionally attractive to be extremely sexy, based on other factors (personality, interest, whether he can recite a plethora of TNG star dates to me, etc). I think it's probably harder to develop that type of charisma, though, for a video game character, which is why most of them are created to conform to our societal stereotypes of sexiness.

Raithnor said:
I do have a question for people who were there: Did Samus from "Other M" come up at all? If so, what was the opinion on her in that game?
Yup, Samus definitely came up. I believe that revulsion could best describe the reaction to her in Other M (correct me if I'm wrong, Susan).

All in all, it was a wonderful panel!!
 

Formica Archonis

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Damn, this is some interesting discourse. Did anyone record (audio or a/v) the actual panel?

The Morrigan said:
Yup, Samus definitely came up. I believe that revulsion could best describe the reaction to her in Other M (correct me if I'm wrong, Susan).
Revulsion works. I once explained the plot to someone and he said parts of it sounded like "bad torture fantasy".
 
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The Morrigan said:
Susan Arendt said:
We discussed why her version of sex appeal is so much different than, say, that dumb whore from X-Blades.
Oh man, if I had made it up to the mike, I had every intention of asking you about X-Blades. *grins*

The Random One said:
My problem with sexy women in games is - how many women you know that are that drop-down gorgeous? Real women are rarely sexy, at least not to video games' inflated standards. If you want to create deep characters start with someone who is at least average looking.
I think that the problem isn't so much that "real women are rarely sexy" as it is that real women (and men, and everything in between) are sexy in ways that go far beyond physical appearance. I can find someone who is not at all conventionally attractive to be extremely sexy, based on other factors (personality, interest, whether he can recite a plethora of TNG star dates to me, etc). I think it's probably harder to develop that type of charisma, though, for a video game character, which is why most of them are created to conform to our societal stereotypes of sexiness.
That's very true actually. I've known women who were borderline "ugly" in terms of aesthetics but the way they carried themselves and communicated made them strangely sexy. Then I've known women who were gorgeous to look at and you'd notice them in any room but were so awkward and ill at ease in their own skin that you wouldn't consider them sexy.

"Sexy" is something that is hard to define in real life, which would make it a nightmare to have to convey in digital form. Big tits and ass doesn't necessarily equal sexy; a couple of my red-blooded hetro friends don't even find that appealing. Hell, even back in the day Eddie Izzard was sexie ;-)
 

The Morrigan

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Nov 23, 2010
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Programmed_For_Damage said:
Hell, even back in the day Eddie Izzard was sexie ;-)
Mmmmm, Eddie Izzard. Definitely sexy, especially in Glorious (also Velvet Goldmine).
 

Wakefield

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ShadowsofHope said:
Wakefield said:
ShadowsofHope said:
Some valid points in there, for sure.

I'd strongly disagree on the character of Lightning in FFXIII due to actually liking that game (and the character), but I know well I'm in the minority on that opinion (in terms of the game as a whole itself in perspective), so I'll just leave it at that.
I'm a huge fan of FFXIII (Unlike a lot of people as you mentioned) Lighting had more depth then a lot of people give her credit for, and Fang was my favorite character.

Other then that, good panel, great to see women talking about this. Hopefully the hate on this board will be minimal.
It seems rare these days I actually find another in my minority group of liking FXIII, and Lightning as a character.

Let's be fri- Oh, invite already?

Just so you know, I highfived the screen. I think we'll make good friends.
 

conflictofinterests

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
I have to wonder if 90% of the people who opine on character development have ever tried to develop a character. It really is not that easy.

Not suggesting anything specific, just putting that out there as a hypothetical.
[small]I think it's pretty stupid that I have to constantly make disclaimers to avoid mod wrath.[/small]
I really enjoy P&P RPG's, and in particular fleshing out a character and figuring out what he or she would do in the situations he or she finds him- or her-self in. Not sure I could do that for all the NPC's that matter in a game in a reasonable amount of time to make said game, and prolly people don't feel like hiring enough "me"s to get the job done, so I see your point... It's just kind of disappointing to see the graphics so fleshed out when the writing isn't.
 

conflictofinterests

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Programmed_For_Damage said:
The Morrigan said:
Susan Arendt said:
We discussed why her version of sex appeal is so much different than, say, that dumb whore from X-Blades.
Oh man, if I had made it up to the mike, I had every intention of asking you about X-Blades. *grins*

The Random One said:
My problem with sexy women in games is - how many women you know that are that drop-down gorgeous? Real women are rarely sexy, at least not to video games' inflated standards. If you want to create deep characters start with someone who is at least average looking.
I think that the problem isn't so much that "real women are rarely sexy" as it is that real women (and men, and everything in between) are sexy in ways that go far beyond physical appearance. I can find someone who is not at all conventionally attractive to be extremely sexy, based on other factors (personality, interest, whether he can recite a plethora of TNG star dates to me, etc). I think it's probably harder to develop that type of charisma, though, for a video game character, which is why most of them are created to conform to our societal stereotypes of sexiness.
That's very true actually. I've known women who were borderline "ugly" in terms of aesthetics but the way they carried themselves and communicated made them strangely sexy. Then I've known women who were gorgeous to look at and you'd notice them in any room but were so awkward and ill at ease in their own skin that you wouldn't consider them sexy.

"Sexy" is something that is hard to define in real life, which would make it a nightmare to have to convey in digital form. Big tits and ass doesn't necessarily equal sexy; a couple of my red-blooded hetro friends don't even find that appealing. Hell, even back in the day Eddie Izzard was sexie ;-)
I, personally, don't really find people physically attractive. Like, ever. People arouse me when they act sexy. I've never been in on the conversation of physical attractiveness anyways, so I don't feel any MORE left out when I don't get the sexy scenes. It occurs to me though that I COULD be aroused by sexy scenes. People don't care to convey them as such, though, I suppose, as it would delve far into the territory you are discussing.
 

conflictofinterests

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Tally LRR said:
Curious to know whether female Commander Shepard came up during the panel. I find her to be an excellent video game character, and I believe her strong portrayal is due both the to the writing and voice acting. Also an interesting situation as, to the best of my knowledge, male Commander Shepard has largely (if not entirely) the same diologue options. But I never got the sense that female Commander Shepard was overly masculine. So there's a case where they've taken one character, given it two possible genders, and (I feel) managed to make them both come across well. At least, the female comes across well. I haven't played as male Shepard, so don't really know for sure.
Male Shepard's voice acting comes across very flat and emotionless. It's kind of painful to listen to. The dialogue options are the same, but the presentation, while I suppose could be construed as more masculine, just lacks dimension. I guess there's a lot more to read between the lines in Fem Shep's dialogue than Male Shepard's, stuff I honestly can't imagine not being there, which makes Male Shepard's performance all the more jarring. Anyways, she's a great example of a female character, of a character in general. She's multidimensional in a way I haven't seen much of outside of good movies.
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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conflictofinterests said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
I have to wonder if 90% of the people who opine on character development have ever tried to develop a character. It really is not that easy.

Not suggesting anything specific, just putting that out there as a hypothetical.
[small]I think it's pretty stupid that I have to constantly make disclaimers to avoid mod wrath.[/small]
I really enjoy P&N RPG's, and in particular fleshing out a character and figuring out what he or she would do in the situations he or she finds him- or her-self in. Not sure I could do that for all the NPC's that matter in a game in a reasonable amount of time to make said game, and prolly people don't feel like hiring enough "me"s to get the job done, so I see your point... It's just kind of disappointing to see the graphics so fleshed out when the writing isn't.
I'm sorry, P&N RPG? I've never heard that term before. Can you embellish?
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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Formica Archonis said:
Damn, this is some interesting discourse. Did anyone record (audio or a/v) the actual panel?

The Morrigan said:
Yup, Samus definitely came up. I believe that revulsion could best describe the reaction to her in Other M (correct me if I'm wrong, Susan).
Revulsion works. I once explained the plot to someone and he said parts of it sounded like "bad torture fantasy".
Our reaction was a collective "I am disappoint."

Yes, various recordings were made, but we're trying to get both the panel and the Q&A...so far we only have the panel.
 

conflictofinterests

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
conflictofinterests said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
I have to wonder if 90% of the people who opine on character development have ever tried to develop a character. It really is not that easy.

Not suggesting anything specific, just putting that out there as a hypothetical.
[small]I think it's pretty stupid that I have to constantly make disclaimers to avoid mod wrath.[/small]
I really enjoy P&N RPG's, and in particular fleshing out a character and figuring out what he or she would do in the situations he or she finds him- or her-self in. Not sure I could do that for all the NPC's that matter in a game in a reasonable amount of time to make said game, and prolly people don't feel like hiring enough "me"s to get the job done, so I see your point... It's just kind of disappointing to see the graphics so fleshed out when the writing isn't.
I'm sorry, P&N RPG? I've never heard that term before. Can you embellish?
Oops, didn't catch the typo. I meant P&P

Pen and Paper Roleplay Games

Dungeons & Dragons and the like, though I'm getting into this Dresden Files one that seems much more roleplay intensive than D&D is won't to be.
 

GeorgW

ALL GLORY TO ME!
Aug 27, 2010
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Wonderful panel, this really needed to be discussed! Now the problem will be actually making a difference.
 

BrotherRool

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I too don't get the hate on Lightning. I think people who hate her tragically misunderstand the character (maybe because of the length of game in which it develops :D) People think she's meant to be a strong female character because she's always lashing out at people and we're meant to like that.

But it couldn't be clearer that that's just her personal flaw. Not a flaw of women, but a woman who can't trust people. Over the course of the game she softens up, loses her war wounds, becomes quite maternal (and in a lovely softly softly manner) with hope and in the end realises that her violence is hurting other people, instead of other people hurting her and comes to terms with it.

So yeah.
 
Jun 11, 2008
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How come people hardly if ever bring up characters from Final Fantasy like Celes, Terra, Beatrix and Freya to name but a few in these arguments. The are arguably some of the best examples of good female characters out there in the industry.
 

unacomn

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I really wish more people would play The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, and take points from it at how to write characters. Hell, if those are too old, Gray Matter, Samantha Everett is a great character.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
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I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.
 

Xanthious

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Where was the hair pulling and/or pillow fights? I kid I kid! Good video ladies !
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
45,698
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Therumancer said:
I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.
Chicks, eh?
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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ShadowsofHope said:
Wakefield said:
ShadowsofHope said:
Some valid points in there, for sure.

I'd strongly disagree on the character of Lightning in FFXIII due to actually liking that game (and the character), but I know well I'm in the minority on that opinion (in terms of the game as a whole itself in perspective), so I'll just leave it at that.
I'm a huge fan of FFXIII (Unlike a lot of people as you mentioned) Lighting had more depth then a lot of people give her credit for, and Fang was my favorite character.

Other then that, good panel, great to see women talking about this. Hopefully the hate on this board will be minimal.
It seems rare these days I actually find another in my minority group of liking FXIII, and Lightning as a character.

Let's be fri- Oh, invite already?

I bought FFXII 5 days ago, mainly because it was on sale and "I should give it a chance". It taught me something: stop listening to the general internet rage. With the exception of Vanilles annoying voice and personality, I cant say I share any of the "general" opinions people have had about this game. Maybe Im just able to enjoy stuff instead of getting annoyed and pissed at every single flaw I encounter. Im probably very different from the average forumer :D

OT: Werent games about having fun? I think its a joy to watch Lightning kick ass, me (and my girlfriend) couldnt care less if she "lacks true female qualities". Same goes with Fang. Seriously, we(at least many of us gamers) are becoming too elitist when it comes to games.

This have only made me confused... Wasnt Samus an awesome character BECAUSE she was tough, cold headed and professional (not very distinct female characteristics in my book...)?
 

Myan

I Want to Go to There!
Dec 16, 2003
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Therumancer said:
I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.
Speaking as someone who actually attended the panel, I can without a doubt say you're incorrect in your assumption that this was about a panel of "average" looking women being put out about being "notties". Outright generalizations of feminism aside (also why should the entitlement of a female's opinion on a gender issue be based on their own attractiveness?), the discussion actually touched on how ALL characters are underdeveloped (male, female, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, etc.)and how the industry could tackle that problem. I would highly suggest actually watching the videos.
 

CrazyCapnMorgan

Is not insane, just crazy >:)
Jan 5, 2011
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Susan Arendt said:
Formica Archonis said:
Damn, this is some interesting discourse. Did anyone record (audio or a/v) the actual panel?

The Morrigan said:
Yup, Samus definitely came up. I believe that revulsion could best describe the reaction to her in Other M (correct me if I'm wrong, Susan).
Revulsion works. I once explained the plot to someone and he said parts of it sounded like "bad torture fantasy".
Our reaction was a collective "I am disappoint."

Yes, various recordings were made, but we're trying to get both the panel and the Q&A...so far we only have the panel.
All of the talk on female characters of the present is well and good, but how about some focus on good female characters from the past?

Say.....Terra, Celes and Relm from Final Fantasy 3? They may not have the graphic edge as some of the other characters you mentioned, but I can almost guarantee they have more depth and heart. Terra's journey of self, the mini story with Celes and Locke and Relm's history. OI!

You don't need to have good graphics to have awesome female characters!
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
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0
Myan said:
Therumancer said:
I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.
Speaking as someone who actually attended the panel, I can without a doubt say you're incorrect in your assumption that this was about a panel of "average" looking women being put out about being "notties". Outright generalizations of feminism aside (also why should the entitlement of a female's opinion on a gender issue be based on their own attractiveness?), the discussion actually touched on how ALL characters are underdeveloped (male, female, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, etc.)and how the industry could tackle that problem. I would highly suggest actually watching the videos.
You have a decent point about the video, as I said I read the summary.

As far as my comments on feminism goes, that isn't a gross generalization. It's one of the major problems with the entire movement, and one that's not easy to address. I'm not saying someone of only average apperance doesn't have the right to have an opinion on the subject, just that on a lot of issues it winds up leading to arguements being made based on personal bias.

The basic point is this. A lot of feminists will go off about how things like video games, fantasy artwork, modeling, porn stars, and whatever else, talking about how they encourage the exploitation of women, and set an unreasonable standard for girls to try and live up to.

On the other hand if you take someone like a model, who gets paid ten thousand dollars an hour to stand around in a bikini while someone takes pictures, they are hardly going to tell you they are being exploited. Their success due to winning "the genetic lottery" being no differant than a professional athlete who exploits their natural gifts. Sure, not every model remains pretty forever, and a lot don't prepare for the future, but that happens with pro-atheletes to as they spend all their money thinking they are immortal, get old, can't compete, and then wind up trying to make ends meet by selling autographed memorbilia out
of the back of their car to nostolgic fans. Someone like Leon Spinhx (who wasn't that good in my opinion) had one moment in his career, he beat Ali. He could have lived his entire life over that, but he wasted all the money, and is now a "where are they now" story. The same kind of thing that feminists argue about when they go on about the exploitation of women, except with a differant kind of industry.

In the end the women argueing such things are ultimatly doing it from the perspective of jealousy, because they don't have those gifts, nobody should be able to exploit them. It's unfair that someone should have that kind of an advantage just due to a twist of genetic fate.

It's not an unfair criticism of the movement, and it's been made by a lot of people over the years.

My comments on the panel are however based on the summary of the things they discussed, and I really think knocking a character like Lara Croft says a lot about the motivations of anyone looking to make an overall statement, no matter what else they might say. Lara has been criticized as a sex object from the very beginning of the character, and been under a lot of pressure for that reason. HOWEVER at the same time she's responsible for the increased presence of female characters since her creation. There is really nothing bad you can say about the character or it's influance on the industry, unless you want to make complaints about the way the character looks and the intended sex appeal.
 

Vrud

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Mar 11, 2009
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A major part of why writing females seems to be difficult for males is that they have such rigid expectations of what "female" is. I've had a man tell me I didn't act enough like a woman (in a chatroom) to be one! And here I thought the only requirement was having a vagina . . .
 

InevitableFate

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I disagree completely with the idea of the option to pursue romance with all characters in an RPG (comes up during the question half hour). In fact, I think it's important that there are some characters you can't do this with.

In the real world, sexuality is rarely all-embracing. People have different tastes, orientations, or occasionally no orientation at all and these attributes hugely affect a person's life. While you as the player should be able to shape that aspect of your character, when it comes to NPCs, which themselves all have pre-written backstories, giving the player the ability to command such an important aspect of their character, in my eyes, devalues them as a whole.

For example, ME2 is mentioned as a specific example for where free romance should be used. Mordin however, is a Salarian. Salarians are an asexually orientated species, it actually says this in the codex entry. It would have made no sense at all for him to be a romance option.

In the end, my favourite characters from ME2 were Mordin, Samara and Legion. All 3 of which are non-romance (Slight question mark over Samara, but ultimatly all attempts are rebuffed by her, thank god). Somehow I doubt this is a coincidence (I am asexual myself, by the way). I think that, as a character, it makes little sense for Samara to find Shepard attractive. She's amongst the oldest Asari in the galaxy, long past her Maiden stage quite literally a matriarch, a mother.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that romance options are fine, but not if they don't make sense as part of that character. The game should be able to turn around and say, "Ok, you want to pursue the romance option with this same-gender NPC, but this NPC is heterosexual. So you can't. Tough luck." Forcing the NPC into a position that makes little sense based on their character backstory is even worse than them not having one at all.
 

InfiniteJacuzzi

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Aren't there a lot of male characters out there that are just bland, underdeveloped objects of female desire, too? Not saying that sexism against women in video games isn't present, just that I feel it might be a double edged sword.
 

Nocturnal Gentleman

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Truly-A-Lie said:
It surprises me that they didn't mind Bayonetta. As a male gamer, I personally felt awkward for pretty much every second of the demo. It felt like her sexuality was being forced in my face, from her poses to her mega-legs to the fact that her clothes kept coming off. If I was meant to find it attractive, I didn't. It just felt like it was trying to sell me the game based on the concept that big moves are rewarded with nudity.
That's what bothered me about her too. I don't care that she's sexy. I do care that I feel like I'm being treated like a horny barely teen.
 

Nocturnal Gentleman

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InevitableFate said:
I disagree completely with the idea of the option to pursue romance with all characters in an RPG (comes up during the question half hour). In fact, I think it's important that there are some characters you can't do this with.

In the real world, sexuality is rarely all-embracing. People have different tastes, orientations, or occasionally no orientation at all and these attributes hugely affect a person's life. While you as the player should be able to shape that aspect of your character, when it comes to NPCs, which themselves all have pre-written backstories, giving the player the ability to command such an important aspect of their character, in my eyes, devalues them as a whole.
Not to mention real world romance can be a very long and rocky process. I'm honestly tired of romance in games that seem to have short time spans. Even if you do form a relationship from being together for work or travel those relationships don't tend to last long. Having true relationships just spring up so easily seems to cheapen the real thing. Maybe short term love blooms are common for a some but they're way too overrepresented. For most it's not that easy. It never was.

Just like my comment on writing different types of women the real problem with real vs fake is that there is barely variety between types of anything. From character traits, natural attraction, and relationships it's way too samey.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Therumancer said:
Myan said:
Therumancer said:
I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.
Speaking as someone who actually attended the panel, I can without a doubt say you're incorrect in your assumption that this was about a panel of "average" looking women being put out about being "notties". Outright generalizations of feminism aside (also why should the entitlement of a female's opinion on a gender issue be based on their own attractiveness?), the discussion actually touched on how ALL characters are underdeveloped (male, female, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, etc.)and how the industry could tackle that problem. I would highly suggest actually watching the videos.
You have a decent point about the video, as I said I read the summary.

As far as my comments on feminism goes, that isn't a gross generalization. It's one of the major problems with the entire movement, and one that's not easy to address. I'm not saying someone of only average apperance doesn't have the right to have an opinion on the subject, just that on a lot of issues it winds up leading to arguements being made based on personal bias.

The basic point is this. A lot of feminists will go off about how things like video games, fantasy artwork, modeling, porn stars, and whatever else, talking about how they encourage the exploitation of women, and set an unreasonable standard for girls to try and live up to.

On the other hand if you take someone like a model, who gets paid ten thousand dollars an hour to stand around in a bikini while someone takes pictures, they are hardly going to tell you they are being exploited. Their success due to winning "the genetic lottery" being no differant than a professional athlete who exploits their natural gifts. Sure, not every model remains pretty forever, and a lot don't prepare for the future, but that happens with pro-atheletes to as they spend all their money thinking they are immortal, get old, can't compete, and then wind up trying to make ends meet by selling autographed memorbilia out
of the back of their car to nostolgic fans. Someone like Leon Spinhx (who wasn't that good in my opinion) had one moment in his career, he beat Ali. He could have lived his entire life over that, but he wasted all the money, and is now a "where are they now" story. The same kind of thing that feminists argue about when they go on about the exploitation of women, except with a differant kind of industry.

In the end the women argueing such things are ultimatly doing it from the perspective of jealousy, because they don't have those gifts, nobody should be able to exploit them. It's unfair that someone should have that kind of an advantage just due to a twist of genetic fate.

It's not an unfair criticism of the movement, and it's been made by a lot of people over the years.

My comments on the panel are however based on the summary of the things they discussed, and I really think knocking a character like Lara Croft says a lot about the motivations of anyone looking to make an overall statement, no matter what else they might say. Lara has been criticized as a sex object from the very beginning of the character, and been under a lot of pressure for that reason. HOWEVER at the same time she's responsible for the increased presence of female characters since her creation. There is really nothing bad you can say about the character or it's influance on the industry, unless you want to make complaints about the way the character looks and the intended sex appeal.
Given that we spent about half the panel saying that sexy is a good thing (and that I personally defended Lara Croft for being a fantastic female character with many admirable traits, attractiveness simply being one), I'd say your assumption about our discussion is pretty off. I may not be a supermodel, but I'm not a narrow-minded dumbass, either, and neither were the ladies on the panel.

You're not wrong that many women who self-identify as feminists seem to think that "feminism" means "rejecting any female attribute that men find favorable," which includes physical beauty. That's not my particular definition, however.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Susan Arendt said:
Given that we spent about half the panel saying that sexy is a good thing (and that I personally defended Lara Croft for being a fantastic female character with many admirable traits, attractiveness simply being one), I'd say your assumption about our discussion is pretty off. I may not be a supermodel, but I'm not a narrow-minded dumbass, either, and neither were the ladies on the panel.

You're not wrong that many women who self-identify as feminists seem to think that "feminism" means "rejecting any female attribute that men find favorable," which includes physical beauty. That's not my particular definition, however.
Point taken, I'll concede your point, as I wrote that based on the summary rather than having seen the video as I explained.

My own fault entirely. I'm actually involved in a number of online discussions simultaneously right now, and responded based on how I read the text.
 

beefpelican

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Nocturnal Gentleman said:
InevitableFate said:
I disagree completely with the idea of the option to pursue romance with all characters in an RPG (comes up during the question half hour). In fact, I think it's important that there are some characters you can't do this with.

In the real world, sexuality is rarely all-embracing. People have different tastes, orientations, or occasionally no orientation at all and these attributes hugely affect a person's life. While you as the player should be able to shape that aspect of your character, when it comes to NPCs, which themselves all have pre-written backstories, giving the player the ability to command such an important aspect of their character, in my eyes, devalues them as a whole.
Not to mention real world romance can be a very long and rocky process. I'm honestly tired of romance in games that seem to have short time spans. Even if you do form a relationship from being together for work or travel those relationships don't tend to last long. Having true relationships just spring up so easily seems to cheapen the real thing. Maybe short term love blooms are common for a some but they're way too overrepresented. For most it's not that easy. It never was.

Just like my comment on writing different types of women the real problem with real vs fake is that there is barely variety between types of anything. From character traits, natural attraction, and relationships it's way too samey.
On the whole, whether romantic or plationic, RPG relationships come down to the same things: Keep the person in your party for a while, agree with them in the chat trees, and do a side quest. This is understandable, as game thus far are nowhere close to replicating real friendships let alone romances. Overall, the inclusion of romance options in a game seems to be used as a vehicle to give the NPCs some back story and let you hear their opinions on things. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I like doing side quests. It just doesn't make me any more immersed in a game to have one of the characters say they love me.
I'm using the KOTOR, Dragon Age, and Neverwinter Nights games as my basis here, which are all Bioware, so if some other company has done things differently, I'd be happy to hear about it.
 

Desavouret

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I just want to say this was a fantastic panel and I'm glad I got to see it. It seems these kinds of topics always hold a lot of interest and I hope that people take this and other discussions with them. It goes to the larger point of bad writing in games for any gender as well as race but hopefully we will keep getting better.
 

Crimson_Dragoon

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Jul 29, 2009
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BrotherRool said:
I too don't get the hate on Lightning. I think people who hate her tragically misunderstand the character (maybe because of the length of game in which it develops :D) People think she's meant to be a strong female character because she's always lashing out at people and we're meant to like that.

But it couldn't be clearer that that's just her personal flaw. Not a flaw of women, but a woman who can't trust people. Over the course of the game she softens up, loses her war wounds, becomes quite maternal (and in a lovely softly softly manner) with hope and in the end realises that her violence is hurting other people, instead of other people hurting her and comes to terms with it.

So yeah.
Thank you. This is true of most of the characters from that game. But no one seems to be able to get over the characters' flaws to see that overcoming those flaws is what drives character development and growth in the game.
 

TheAbominableDan

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I loved this panel. I agreed with everything said with the possible exception of Bayonetta. I say possible because I haven't actually played it so these are just my (probably wrong impressions of it) while I've heard that Bayonetta is a great female character and I have no reason to dispute that. My issue with the game is that they had to resort to hyper sexualization in order to get their game with a great female character.

The game sold well and got lots of attention and they're may be a great character within it, but that was still a game with a character who got naked constantly. And I wonder if the game would have had as much success without that. Which I find a little troubling if I'm right.

Also, Enslaved was one of my favorite games of last year. I'm a man and I thought Trip was fantastic and had no issue with her putting the slave collar on Monkey.
 

Greg Tito

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Sep 29, 2005
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Truly-A-Lie said:
It surprises me that they didn't mind Bayonetta. As a male gamer, I personally felt awkward for pretty much every second of the demo. It felt like her sexuality was being forced in my face, from her poses to her mega-legs to the fact that her clothes kept coming off. If I was meant to find it attractive, I didn't. It just felt like it was trying to sell me the game based on the concept that big moves are rewarded with nudity.
ditto on being male and feeling a bit.. wierd... playing bayoneta.

Mabye wierd is the wrong word, mabye more intimidated (insofar as one can be intimidated by the sexuality of a fictional character).

I think that the fact she was obivously meant to be sexual but as they put it in the panel shes not doing it for 'you'. Personally I like that, I think its interesting that a character has this effect on a male audience..
 

Manji187

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"All characters are hard to write" indeed...so how about genuinely trying ay, gaming industry?

In the case of female characters: if Bayonetta is lauded for advancing female character development (she accepts her sexuality...but doesn't need your approval)...then the road ahead is going to be a long one.
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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TheAbominableDan said:
I loved this panel. I agreed with everything said with the possible exception of Bayonetta. I say possible because I haven't actually played it so these are just my (probably wrong impressions of it) while I've heard that Bayonetta is a great female character and I have no reason to dispute that. My issue with the game is that they had to resort to hyper sexualization in order to get their game with a great female character.

The game sold well and got lots of attention and they're may be a great character within it, but that was still a game with a character who got naked constantly. And I wonder if the game would have had as much success without that. Which I find a little troubling if I'm right.

Also, Enslaved was one of my favorite games of last year. I'm a man and I thought Trip was fantastic and had no issue with her putting the slave collar on Monkey.
The hyper-sexualization in Bayonetta was so incredibly over the top that it could almost be called satirical. Frankly it would have been a run-of-the-mill action game without all the attention to detail, and the superb writing as well as the eye candy stuff. Also the rest of the cast was well drawn out as well. So even though the game centers on Bayonetta, the people around her are also well fleshed out. Except Enzo, who is a fat-assed Joe Pesci wannabe. But since that was the intention of the character, to be parodius comic relief, I'll let it slide.

Fallout NV: Dead Money does the slave collar thing a lot better than Enslaved does. In fact Dead Money is nerve-wracking and creepy at times. Where as Enslaved just seems annoying.
 

Geo Da Sponge

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When I first started watching these videos, my mind was immediately drawn towards what the panel would have to say about Jack from Mass Effect 2. They didn't really cover her much apart from a brief "Good for you Jack, now go put on a shirt". But this got me thinking about how her character would work if she was male. From there I started wondering how the players perception would change when viewing a character who was half scared-little-boy, half psychopath instead of half scared-little-girl, half psychopath. Would the player be less likely to question the characters background if they were a young male mass murderer rather than a female one?

I then went to think about how, if you had a male Jack, he would interact with a female Shepard in the paragon romance option. The scene where Jack runs to Shepard in tears (up until it becomes sex):

Now that scene, if the genders were reversed would create an instant idea of female Shepard as a surrogate mother figure to the male Jack, especially if it remained a platonic relationship. That seems like a really interesting idea to me, and what's strange is that it comes about by carrying out male and female set roles to their logical conclusions, the female is the mother and the male is the destructive aggressor. Not that I'm complaining about the storyline as it is, it's my favourite romance subplot of any Bioware game.

I was just wondering what Susan (or anyone else) thought of this.
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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Manji187 said:
"All characters are hard to write" indeed...so how about genuinely trying ay, gaming industry?

In the case of female characters: if Bayonetta is lauded for advancing female character development (she accepts her sexuality...but doesn't need your approval)...then the road ahead is going to be a long one.
The problem I have with this point of view is that people have been making female characters for several millennia now. So to try to limit this notion to the history of gaming is a bit ridiculous. Even within the scope of gaming we've come quite far. Considering the first widely accepted female gaming character was a copypasta yellow blob with a bow tacked on top of it to suggest it's sudden change of gender.

Writing characters is a difficult process. Anyone who's tried to do it knows how hard it can be, exponentially more difficult when done on a time schedule. And these ideas are made much more difficult when applied to a medium that is fundamentally interactive and needs to hold the attention of it's audience more fervently then traditional media.

Frankly I don't think Bayonetta could possibly be as bad as someone like Snooki from Jersey Shore. And that's a real person...allegedly.
 

vxicepickxv

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Sep 28, 2008
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Wait a second here. Women don't like poorly written or developed characters either.

I'm not really shocked at hearing that.
 

Camaranth

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this brought up some interesting points about characters and perceptions in general.

I think story development and characters are going to become more important and with the ability now to show subtle hints of emotion instead of having the characters just state how they feel. to quote the greatest robot of all "that makes me feel angry!" This was mentioned not to long ago in an article here on the escapist, focusing on the motion capture that was used for Enslaved and how most of Trips' emotions are shown rather than stated.

The name thing was interesting and I think it also a reflection of our society and the snap judgments people make . I have a gender neutral name (well it's certainly common for men) and I've found that by not indicating my gender is actually an advantage.

As for having every member of an RPG party be a possible love interest independent of the player characters gender choice....
I think it's a good idea but what would be better is if there was the flirtatious option and to have your character be Totally Shot Down if the other character just wasn't interested.
My first thought was of a female shepard trying to seduce ashley williams....can't really see Ash being ok with that....
 

Jakale

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Nocturnal Gentleman said:
InevitableFate said:
I disagree completely with the idea of the option to pursue romance with all characters in an RPG (comes up during the question half hour). In fact, I think it's important that there are some characters you can't do this with.

In the real world, sexuality is rarely all-embracing. People have different tastes, orientations, or occasionally no orientation at all and these attributes hugely affect a person's life. While you as the player should be able to shape that aspect of your character, when it comes to NPCs, which themselves all have pre-written backstories, giving the player the ability to command such an important aspect of their character, in my eyes, devalues them as a whole.
Not to mention real world romance can be a very long and rocky process. I'm honestly tired of romance in games that seem to have short time spans. Even if you do form a relationship from being together for work or travel those relationships don't tend to last long. Having true relationships just spring up so easily seems to cheapen the real thing. Maybe short term love blooms are common for a some but they're way too overrepresented. For most it's not that easy. It never was.

Just like my comment on writing different types of women the real problem with real vs fake is that there is barely variety between types of anything. From character traits, natural attraction, and relationships it's way too samey.
I don't have a huge issue with the "quick relationship" stuff because in almost all the games I've played that have an optional pursued relationship (counting things like Harvest Moon as not as optional) allow or force the option of not letting that relationship continue past the final boss (Dragon Age, Mass Effect, etc.) You can even argue some cases that the relationship isn't that fast. RPGs with mostly walking have you going all over the place, and anyone who's played Oregon Trail knows that much travel, without pausing to explore castles and caves, takes a while. Stuff like Mass Effect with starship travel still probably doesn't happen in a week and real life (not to mention movie) relationships have started in less than a month of knowing one another.

Sure you could argue cases where you can do the full range of conversations needed in one sitting by leaving rooms briefly and whatnot, but most games seem to wait til just before the final battle to see the effect, basically making the assumption of progressive wooing.

I agree that it's less real if games made absolutely everyone in your party an option to romance, though I'd argue that it would be more interesting to allow you to try and then, after building up your relationship to the point where you can try to take it down a "more than friends" path, let the NPC refute your advances because they're straight, gay, made of molten rock, etc. It let's you roleplay, while giving the NPC more character depth, and maybe one or two of those characters could have their minds changed by a suitably persistent and charming PC.
 

vxicepickxv

Slayer of Bothan Spies
Sep 28, 2008
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After watching the videos, my only question is how did I miss all the Enslaved hate?

If you're going outside of gaming to webcomics, I find Luna from Dominic Deegan to be a well written female character.

Good writing is hard. Good writing for someone of the opposite gender is even harder. I'm going to go back to an old pen & paper RPG called 7th Sea. I find it interesting that the best written book, both in general and for female characters, was written by the creator's wife.

Even with Kat's scars, she's not an overly ugly character.

Why limit the FFXIII hate to characters? I'm pretty sure that FFXIII can go to hell.

I'm glad that they didn't mention Lineage 2 and how bad that is. The female dwarves look like children.

About the study, adult games are for adults, and comic books aren't really mainstream enough for body image? I'm not really sure I know how to address that area.
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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InevitableFate said:
I disagree completely with the idea of the option to pursue romance with all characters in an RPG (comes up during the question half hour). In fact, I think it's important that there are some characters you can't do this with.

In the real world, sexuality is rarely all-embracing. People have different tastes, orientations, or occasionally no orientation at all and these attributes hugely affect a person's life. While you as the player should be able to shape that aspect of your character, when it comes to NPCs, which themselves all have pre-written backstories, giving the player the ability to command such an important aspect of their character, in my eyes, devalues them as a whole.

For example, ME2 is mentioned as a specific example for where free romance should be used. Mordin however, is a Salarian. Salarians are an asexually orientated species, it actually says this in the codex entry. It would have made no sense at all for him to be a romance option.

In the end, my favourite characters from ME2 were Mordin, Samara and Legion. All 3 of which are non-romance (Slight question mark over Samara, but ultimatly all attempts are rebuffed by her, thank god). Somehow I doubt this is a coincidence (I am asexual myself, by the way). I think that, as a character, it makes little sense for Samara to find Shepard attractive. She's amongst the oldest Asari in the galaxy, long past her Maiden stage quite literally a matriarch, a mother.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that romance options are fine, but not if they don't make sense as part of that character. The game should be able to turn around and say, "Ok, you want to pursue the romance option with this same-gender NPC, but this NPC is heterosexual. So you can't. Tough luck." Forcing the NPC into a position that makes little sense based on their character backstory is even worse than them not having one at all.
You're absolutely right - it wouldn't be at all realistic. I do like having multiple options from a role-playing point of view, but not everyone is going to be ok hopping into bed with someone of the same gender, or a different species. I need to think on this more, to see if perhaps there's some middle ground to be had. I mean, on the one hand, it is a fantasy role playing situation, so you should be able to pursue it as you like. On the other hand, if we genuinely want fully realized characters, then they can't just be robots ready to hop in the sack so long as you tick the right check boxes. You raise excellent points for discussion.
 

GloatingSwine

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Jakale said:
I agree that it's less real if games made absolutely everyone in your party an option to romance, though I'd argue that it would be more interesting to allow you to try and then, after building up your relationship to the point where you can try to take it down a "more than friends" path, let the NPC refute your advances because they're straight, gay, made of molten rock, etc. It let's you roleplay, while giving the NPC more character depth, and maybe one or two of those characters could have their minds changed by a suitably persistent and charming PC.
It's not just that it makes it less "real", it makes the characters less varied if they're all gagging for some Shep (homoshep or heteroshep).

In Mass Effect 2, for instance, Samara was interesting because of the reason she wasn't a romance option (and she will shoot you down pretty fast).

I think there should be an option for a homosexual relationship for either gender, but every hole's a goal just means there are less points of difference between the characters.
 

Cropsy91

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Honestly, in regards to some of the opinions on Bayonetta, I was neither put off by the level of sexualization nor attracted to it. I actually found it fun just because it was just so absurdly over-the-top that it came off as intentionally humorous, perhaps even a spoof on sexuality in modern games in general.
 

DanDeFool

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I'm watching the section where they talk about Princess Peach, and I'm amazed that nobody remembers the Super Mario Adventure comics in Nintendo Power, wherein Princess Peach dresses up as Luigi and threatens to suicide-bomb the Koopas.

Yes, that happened. Check out Issue 7.

I want more of THAT princess peach.
 

Lancer873

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*saw "Females on female," clicked link, was disappointed*

In all seriousness though, I think these gals put it perfectly. Sexy isn't sexist, girls don't have to be tough-and-cold to be well written, all that stuff.
 

Kecunk

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I think the problem people had with enslaved isn't that it was a female character dominate over a male character it's that basicly all she did was hold a gun to his head and "do what i say or i'll kill you" does not make for a likeable character regardless of gender, especially when you're the one with the gun to your head.
 

Palademon

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No offense, go the girls talking sense, but I actually have to facepalm because making this panel was required.

Why can't people have common sense?
"Omg, boobs, SEXIST"
"Omg, personality not complete opposite of woman, SEXIST"

Despite how correct this panel is, I get a bit annoyed with a room full of people with brains patting eachother on the back.
 

Geo Da Sponge

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Palademon said:
No offense, go the girls talking sense, but I actually have to facepalm because making this panel was required.

Why can't people have common sense?
"Omg, boobs, SEXIST"
"Omg, personality not complete opposite of woman, SEXIST"

Despite how correct this panel is, I get a bit annoyed with a room full of people with brains patting eachother on the back.
You mean when one of them says something like:
"We just want well written and believable female characters!"
And then receives a massive round of applause?
 

Palademon

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Geo Da Sponge said:
Palademon said:
No offense, go the girls talking sense, but I actually have to facepalm because making this panel was required.

Why can't people have common sense?
"Omg, boobs, SEXIST"
"Omg, personality not complete opposite of woman, SEXIST"

Despite how correct this panel is, I get a bit annoyed with a room full of people with brains patting eachother on the back.
You mean when one of them says something like:
"We just want well written and believable female characters!"
And then receives a massive round of applause?
Yes, it feels like one of those female talk shows where there's constant applause for doing NOTHING.
 

GloatingSwine

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Kecunk said:
I think the problem people had with enslaved isn't that it was a female character dominate over a male character it's that basicly all she did was hold a gun to his head and "do what i say or i'll kill you" does not make for a likeable character regardless of gender, especially when you're the one with the gun to your head.
"Likability" is not the measure of whether a character is a well written character.

The most detestable bastard imaginable can be a well written character and, indeed, there are many examples where this is the case. Humbert Humbert in Lolita is a complete and utter shit, but he's a well written shit. Likewise the eternal complaints from Americans who have been made to read Catcher in the Rye in school and found it hard to read because of their deep personal animosity towards Holden Caulfield shows that Salinger wrote a pitch perfect antisocial little grot as the main character of his book.
 

Twilight_guy

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I support this kind of a discussion but the problem I have is that nobody every really defined what "well developed" means. A few examples were thrown out and address briefly but there was never a very deep discussion of what traits or characteristics we really want. What is it we're searching for. It always strikes me as a "I'll know it when I see it" thing where we axiomatically say "this is good" and "this is bad." I understand that we want characters that don't sit on their ass and needs rescue and just form a mcGuffin but that's not enough to define a character. I watched the video and now sit here trying to synthesis this and use it develop better more fully realized ideas of what characters and good and bad. In my mind I'm tring to put together a game that would work to empathizes something positive or put together a story with the same goal but I feel no closer to my goal of being able to strip my own male biases and write good females (or males) then I was before. I still feel as if the whole concept of what makes characters good and well developed is just beyond my grasp and any attempt to try and write or design could still very well end up with me falling into the same stupid problem that things had before. This discussion reiterated a number of points that I have figured out and gave me a look at a few other ideas I hadn't considered before but I still feel like it was lacking a deep context. I expected to see something more in depth or more analytical then what it was. Maybe that's just my problem but I still feel like the ability to fully address and realize characters is beyond me. Maybe that's the problem, maybe sometimes we try and come up with something new and fail maybe the games industry is not overtly anti-feminist in its goals so much as dumb and scared. Trying to something new with gender relationship is a hit or miss thing and companies can't spend the time necessary to begin development to realize half way through that the idea just exploded. I don't know, but I do know that that trying to get a firm grasp on what makes characters good can be hard. We all strive for it but its not as easy as saying "make good characters, mkay" its a real struggle even with good intentions.
 

Jakale

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One thing I would have liked to ask them is about good ways to add frailty to women. They sort of talked about the Halo -to- Halo 2 thing with Cortana becoming more hot girl and less see-through using the sexy isn't bad mixed with new console pandering argument. When we got to Samus, they just said that the development was bad, but not quite why, though it seems like it boils to the fact that no one wants to be a whiny, overly dependent person, especially when everyone assumed she was strong willed and independent to start with.

The only non-fighting girl they talked about in a positive way was Yorda from Ico. Oddly enough Zelda and Peach got panned because they've gotten more personal power without getting station changes(we've seen them become more capable as people than their originals, but they've remained "the captured Princess").

So how do you make a good female who isn't an asskicking girl?
 

Nachtmahr

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"For reasons I don't really know but should probably examine more, I always pursue the lesbian romantic interests!"

I seriously laughed at that, because for some reason I do the same. I even started getting annoyed when I couldn't romance the females I wanted to. I think it's mostly because it's such a new thing so it's more exciting to play a romance like that out.

It was a really awesome panel though, and I thoroughly enjoyed the videos. (And I was happy that so many shared my hatred for Vanille XD Her high-pitched laugh still haunts me.)
 

Kecunk

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GloatingSwine said:
Kecunk said:
I think the problem people had with enslaved isn't that it was a female character dominate over a male character it's that basicly all she did was hold a gun to his head and "do what i say or i'll kill you" does not make for a likeable character regardless of gender, especially when you're the one with the gun to your head.
"Likability" is not the measure of whether a character is a well written character.

The most detestable bastard imaginable can be a well written character and, indeed, there are many examples where this is the case. Humbert Humbert in Lolita is a complete and utter shit, but he's a well written shit. Likewise the eternal complaints from Americans who have been made to read Catcher in the Rye in school and found it hard to read because of their deep personal animosity towards Holden Caulfield shows that Salinger wrote a pitch perfect antisocial little grot as the main character of his book.
you're right Likability is not the measure of whether a character is a well written character.

And i never once said she was a poorly written character i was merely offering my thoughts as to why so many people complained.

If you write a character that is a detestable bastard being well written isn't going to stop people from talking about how much of a bastard he is.
 

spartan231490

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She lost me when she said that in this topic: "a lot of the wrong things get said" The only wrong thing that can be said is nothing. Words are merely expressions of thoughts, and you should never be afraid of thoughts that challenge your own, because that's the only way you grow.
 

General BrEeZy

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i liked watching those vids. that was fun!

well its like cracked.com said...and i paraphrase here, but:
"...video games are still at B-level storytelling..."
that was from the article ...reasons its still not cool to admit you're a gamer
and its true, that the developers have to make something worthwhile, and thats one reason its kinda frowned upon, say, if you're a guy and youre out with this girl and you let slip the fact that youre a gamer..im sure she'd find you instantly less attractive..on average anyways, but either way, video games wont be appreciated until they help better us as human beings. and the way to do that is to teach us, help us see life more realistically, maybe even help us learn to cope with our problems by embracing these fictional stories that we can relate to.
thats my view, but still, that was a way fun chain of videos!!!!
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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Im surprised they didn't mention one of my biggest problems with female characters in for example Fallout 3 was that the women seemed to all want to jump into bed with you but the men didn't even look twice (except for Burke) what was that all about rofl. I love! the option to play as a female but at least make the characters respond to that. I can't see Jericho for example reacting the same way towards a guy as a woman *runs in fear*.

If I had been there I would have asked them what they thought about the armour issue. On the Elders scrolls facebook there is a discussion about female characters and sexy armour. Surprisingly the girls all say either that they want sexy outfits or they want something that is practical but feminised (like Dragon Age's leather armour). The guys are arguing that they want realistic practical armour. It's quite an interesting thing I think.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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Jakale said:
One thing I would have liked to ask them is about good ways to add frailty to women. They sort of talked about the Halo -to- Halo 2 thing with Cortana becoming more hot girl and less see-through using the sexy isn't bad mixed with new console pandering argument. When we got to Samus, they just said that the development was bad, but not quite why, though it seems like it boils to the fact that no one wants to be a whiny, overly dependent person, especially when everyone assumed she was strong willed and independent to start with.

The only non-fighting girl they talked about in a positive way was Yorda from Ico. Oddly enough Zelda and Peach got panned because they've gotten more personal power without getting station changes(we've seen them become more capable as people than their originals, but they've remained "the captured Princess").

So how do you make a good female who isn't an asskicking girl?
I think that their problem with Peach is that shes capable of looking after herself or at least appears so. Zelda is also capable in many of the games. They don't have the vulnerability of Yorda so she can actually carry off the helpless princess while Zelda and Peach just look like they are taking the p*ss
 

Jakale

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xXxJessicaxXx said:
I think that their problem with Peach is that shes capable of looking after herself or at least appears so. Zelda is also capable in many of the games. They don't have the vulnerability of Yorda so she can actually carry off the helpless princess while Zelda and Peach just look like they are taking the p*ss
That's what I gathered too. It's why I mentioned those two got flack because their respective brand's popularity has given us more games with them and given them more power in the games that don't require them to be powerless. Peach more than Zelda since Zelda gets to use magic to help Link more than once.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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Ah I see yes I love Princess Peach I think she is really cute but at the same time it annoys me that she acts so helpless. Zelda always comes across as being more intelligent than Link so why on earth can she not break out the castle/whatever herself?

Edit: It might be a nice change to see Zelda and Link working towards each other with Link getting more courage based puzzles and her getting Wisdom and Ganandorf trying to stop them through brute force I think that would fit nicely and make Zelda a bit more fitting to her character.
 

Nocturnal Gentleman

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Jakale said:
I agree that it's less real if games made absolutely everyone in your party an option to romance, though I'd argue that it would be more interesting to allow you to try and then, after building up your relationship to the point where you can try to take it down a "more than friends" path, let the NPC refute your advances because they're straight, gay, made of molten rock, etc. It let's you roleplay, while giving the NPC more character depth, and maybe one or two of those characters could have their minds changed by a suitably persistent and charming PC.
If they actually did that in any rpg/adventure game it would finally bring me one step closer to experiencing true immersion like everyone else talks about so much.
 

Greg Tito

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40 minutes left

Someone tell me if someone asks about the developing relationship between Mayu and Miku in Fatal frame 2? How the whole "sisterhood" thing comes into play

srsly, if no one asked that, someone will be beaten =-="
 

DementedSheep

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I agree with most of this. As a female gamer I am sick of being told I should be offended at various female characters because their...hot? So? There are allot of hot guys in games too is that sexist?
There is a lack of well written female characters but then as said there a lack of well written characters all round. A female character being sexy isn?t a problem and while I don?t like the over the top sexy outfits, where you look at and think how the hell dose that even stay on BUT that?s more because I just don?t like that OOT style in general. With the leather and the hair gel and the giant swords.
Sometimes I actually find it more ?sexist? when I see people making such a big uproar over a female characters appearance. Like for example Miranda from mass effect 2. I will admit to having mixed feelings about this character, mostly due to the tits and ass shots (It's kinda akward for me when they do that and makes me feel alienated I gues) but I hear allot of people going on about her and how she completely over sexualised (well she is meant to be GE?ed), she is only there for sex appeal (which I find odd because she is actually one of the more plot relevant squad mates and most agree she is the most useful in battle on higher difficulties) and how she has this huge boob window (which again confuses me because she doesn?t. Her pants are strangely moulded to her ass but her top isn?t that bad. I wear tops that low.) and how she nothing but a whore and how dare she dress like that. To me that is sexist. I even heard the comment ?she doesn?t have that shy, girl next door thing like a real girl. She is just a slut. Bioware is sexist? WTF? Is a woman not allowed to be sexy and know it? Would her character be drastically improved if she wore a sack, thought she was ugly and was shy? It?s not like she is even hitting on you or throwing herself at your feet if you?re a male shep. In fact she is reluctant to even get in a relationship and is mostly business.

Also I was playing Tomb raider the other day (can?t remember witch one) and my brother saw me and asked ?why they hell are you playing that? There something I should know about?? (implying that I was lesbian) but I don?t play the game to ogle at her ass I actually like the games and believe it or not I like playing as a strong sexy female. There is nothing wrong with that. I think Lara is actually a pretty good character depending on what game you play even if she is somewhat sueish.
That said I have never played bayonetta or even vaguely interested in it because I was completely put off by what she looks like and I had heard allot of bad things about it and how it was aimed at immature teen-age guys. Perhaps I should give it another look?

I also agree that not all female characters need to be strong and badass, you can a more ?soft? female character who needs to be rescued and that?s ok. You can have a female character who is strong but realises she is female and her own limitations (I may be a girl myself but honestly girls in RL are just not as strong physically as guys tend to be. We don?t build up muscle the same. Sorry but its true), you can have a female character with a mix of different traits.
Not all girls are the same; you can?t point to one particular female character and say yes this is what female characters should be like all the time. The 2D anti girl female character is just as bad as the 2D girly girl female character. Its kinda sad that this needs to be said at all.
Personally I would like to see some older scared style female characters (you get that with guys, probably because older scared guys still look hot. Hell depending on your taste it adds to sex appeal), a few Mama Bears because I think that would interesting and some more of the ?normal? kinda characters because I prefer that and there is too much of the same in the game industry (that one goes for both male and female characters).

What I don?t like is when the sex appeal is all the character is or all marketing focuses on, or if every girl in the entire game (not just one) are just weak pathetic things that only dose what the men tell them too.
I also have a particular hatred for the ?innocent? girl sex object thing. You know, where they are meant to be all naive or young and there is nothing but boob, ass and wet T-shrt shots. It less about what they are wearing and more in how they are presented usually.

I also tend to hate it when I play a game and all the male cloths and armour look awesome and practical but the same outfit on a girl looks stupid. I would like to give my character pants please! I don?t want a mini skirt. Ah well, I suspect that is largely a personal taste thing.

There is one of topic thing I disagree with. All characters being romancable and bi. NO! I don?t think all characters should fall for you. To me this makes the characters all feel less real and more like dolls for you amusement. I don?t like kirking and I don?t think all characters should be bi. Sexuality is part of who a person is and part of who a character is.
Just to be clear I have no issue with SS romances and I wouldn?t? have an issue with a strictly gay/lesbian character I just don?t think they should all be bi so you can jump them.

Also on the Enslaved thing. I think the issue was more that...well putting a slave headband on the guy and forcing him to do as you say is kinda a dick move. I mean, given the situation I can see why she did and I would probably do that as well but that doesn?t stop it from being a dick move.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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DementedSheep said:
well putting a slave headband on the guy and forcing him to do as you say is kinda a dick move. I mean given the situation I can see why she did and I would probably do that as well but that doesn?t stop it from being a dick move.
I am a girl and I thought that when I heard about enslaved, I was like urgh :<

I think its the media sexualising game characters like Lara and Miranda that puts us off. Unfortunately I think Bayonetta has been a victim of that too. They are actually really good strong characters, although I personally find Miranda slightly irritating lol. We see these characters being promoted as sex objects and women say I don't think thats for me... when in reality it's actually a really fun game. I'm also going to risk the wrath and say I liked Lightning because she was a moody ***** something I have not seen a woman portrayed as before. The rest of the characters in that game made me want to destroy them with fire though.
 

DementedSheep

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xXxJessicaxXx said:
DementedSheep said:
well putting a slave headband on the guy and forcing him to do as you say is kinda a dick move. I mean given the situation I can see why she did and I would probably do that as well but that doesn?t stop it from being a dick move.
I am a girl and I thought that when I heard about enslaved, I was like urgh :<

I think it?s the media sexualising game characters like Lara and Miranda that puts us off. Unfortunately I think Bayonetta has been a victim of that too. They are actually really good strong characters, although I personally find Miranda slightly irritating lol. We see these characters being promoted as sex objects and women say I don't think thats for me... when in reality it's actually a really fun game. I'm also going to risk the wrath and say I liked Lightning because she was a moody ***** something I have not seen a woman portrayed as before. The rest of the characters in that game made me want to destroy them with fire though.
I actually find Miranda irritating too lol but that?s because she a bit of a ***** not because I think bioware was being sexist when they designed her which is what allot of the hate I have seen is about. Never played FF13(it was 13 right?) so I can't comment on Lightning.

Yeah often it?s the media and how something is first presented that puts me off. You can have great female characters that are sexy and sometimes unrealistic is just fun but if I look at a game and the first thing I see is provocative woman and that seems to be the focus for the marketing I'm not likely to buy it. It looks like it?s aimed at men and its awkward. Which is exactly what happened when I saw Bayonetta and Tomb Raider tho I ended up playing Tomb Raider anyway because I like plat forming and puzzle games and later realised I actually liked Lara. If the game industry wants to interest more females I think they need to work on marketing and first impressions with how a character is portrayed.
 

DreamingMerc

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Speaking about paternal motivations and situations with games the ever becoming go to sample Mass Effect 2 comes to mind with Samara with the details of what's done as her loyalty mission,still not spoiling it for those who have yet to play it or new PS3 players. Anyway with the specifics of what that mission is to that character, I wonder if that qualifies to what was described as a desire for more character motivation mixed with paternal instincts.

Furthermore, to continue praising the game and design choice, with the design choice that while you the player can entertain and pursue a romantic relationship with the character, Samara turn Shepard down, but not before saying she'd all but rock her/his universe which I find interesting on reflection. But what I really like about this isn't that it not built that her character is the naive innocent or the cold and dead, but she's just over that part of her life having been alive for so long and already had those experiences, or at least that's how I saw it. Going back to the specifics of the dialogue, she say's it would be good if not better and I like this idea because it represents a character making a choice out of her convictions suggesting layers of priorities, desires and such. There's at least the illusion of a character who prioritizes that in game world and how the character interacts with that world, although at a very limited extent.

Now coming along a different thought not related to Bioware. I wonder how the panel would feel about tongue and cheek misogyny with a male protagonist game, what with the up coming release of Duke Nukem Forever. How forgiving can gamers and girl gamers particularly be with the style of that game, what with the strippers and triple stacked bikini blonds.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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DreamingMerc said:
How forgiving can gamers and girl gamers particularly be with the style of that game, what with the strippers and triple stacked bikini blonds.
I think we can laugh along with everyone else. :) I don't think anyone takes that stuff seriously.
 

DementedSheep

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DreamingMerc said:
Now coming along a different thought not related to Bioware. I wonder how the panel would feel about tongue and cheek misogyny with a male protagonist game, what with the up coming release of Duke Nukem Forever. How forgiving can gamers and girl gamers particularly be with the style of that game, what with the strippers and triple stacked bikini blonds.
Honestly I don?t think it would really bother me tho obviously I can?t speak for all girl gamers. Duke Nukem is in no way serious, its prettty much a parody. I might even play it for a laugh.
 

Saelune

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Ivy? Crappy? I own people with Ivy in SC4, so I dont know what SHE was talking about.
 

tetron

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I just read the post, didn't bother watching the videos. From what I read of that though it seems that female gamers don't want female characters to change. They just want them to have more prominent roles, and to be their own woman. So more games with female leads that are oversexualized bimbos with "well developed traits and personalities" that you can of course just ignore ? Hell that sounds ok with me, this coming from a guy who plays female characters in MMOs because hey if I gotta stare at an avatar for hours on end while grinding it can at least be a female avatar.

Men: OK we got this new game staring a female character, she's 36-24-36 y'know "the good stuff", and we're thinking of making the camera really focus on her ass and breasts throughout the game.
Women: Grrr
Men: Oh but she's strong, thoughtful, and she's her own woman.
Women: =D Sounds Great !
Men: Sweet.

All in all I was kind of surprised that the rough and headstrong Lightning and Fang were vilified while the nigh sexually overbearing Ivy and Bayonetta were held up as examples of good female characters, not to mention the latter pair have relatively poor motivations and not a lot of depth. Admittedly both pairs consists of an amnesiac and an emo but at least the former pair have more of a reason to fight than "because we're in an action game". Heh, wish that was more of an exaggeration than it seems.
 

Shjade

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HankMan said:
Female characters are hard to write
... For Guys.
Like any creative talent-related challenge, it's really an individual thing. Some folks write amazing characters seemingly without effort but can't plot their way out of a paper bag. We all have our high and low points.
tetron said:
You might want to watch the videos, it'd probably clear up your misconceptions.

For instance, your example character development process would get an immediate halt because of crap camera control if it's stuck on T&A mode instead of letting you see where the hell you're trying to jump - this was the panel complaint about Tomb Raider, not Lara's cup size.

Also, Ivy was held up as an example of a terrible just-eye-candy female character, not a good one.
 

The Madman

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Since the panellists mentions forums a couple times, and The Escapist forums specifically at one point, I'm kinda hoping this gets read:

Kathleen DeVere (Middle panellist with the red hair!) asked for a game with a female protagonist portrayed realistically who interacts with believable and well rounded minority characters as well, there's one out there, 'The Longest Journey'. Old point & click adventure game on the PC. Main protagonist is a female character who as an art student living in a small youthful district interacts with all sorts of characters of various origins. It's just a really well told story with lots of well written and believable characters, and I'm always disappointed when it's never brought up in favour of more mainstream titles.

If players want games with characters like that to become successful, talk about them, give them publicity. Otherwise they'll be continually doomed to failure in favour of retreating more common ideas which are brought up more often; example being the dismal character in FF.

And for the 'romance everyone' comment in relation to Mass Effect also kinda annoyed me. I'm sick of romance in games, I really am, because all too often the romance are the characters main selling points. Miranda is a boring character to me because her explicit purpose is to be a romance option for male players. Period. That's pretty much it. The reason a character like Tali is so beloved is because she was created as a companion rather than a romance option, at least initially. So by saying 'I wanna have the option to screw everyone regardless of gender', wouldn't that have to come at the expense of the characters as well? What if Tali isn't interested in other women, what then? Will players complain? Likely. Frankly I don't think she should ever have become a romance in the first place regardless of gender because I've always been of the belief that before you should try writing any sort of romance plotline, you need to make the character and her interactions not only believable, but appealing. The character needs to be someone you'd want as a friend, and then the 'relationship' should grow from there.

In most cases however it's the other way around. Characters are created a romance first, with likeability added later. And that's just plain poor storytelling. What I want Bioware to do is just forsake 'romance' entirely for awhile and just focus on friendship. Now *that* would be impressive.

And on a side note, screw the haters, Tomb Raider rocks if platforming and puzzle solving are your thing. Tomb Raider: Anniversary was one of my favourite games of the year when I played it!
 

Greg Tito

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What bugs me about this debate is not so much characterization in terms of games with significant story element, as much as it applies to games where the story element is light due to necessity. Fighting games, for instance. Ivy Valentine is constantly criticized as being an example of a "bad female character". But why? Clearly in games such as Soul Calibur where story is not the emphasis so much as the core gameplay. Yes, I realize her latest outfit gives off a strong dominatrix vibe. But characters in fighting games are not subject to deep exposition, and appearance is important if you want to give off a strong idea of the resonant personality. This goes for males and females alike. Dressing Ivy up in the kind of gear that makes her look sadistic is reflective of her personality. Much the same way Seigfreid looks honorable, Amy looks spooky, Mitsurugi looks driven and Tira looks batshit bonkers.

Appearance is a crucial part of character design in any visual medium. Part of what a character conveys to the audience is done through their appearance and mannerisms. If you subject that aspects to needless criticisms so that they become reduced in order to spare the feelings of people who are clearly looking for a reason to be offended. You'll end up with characters that are whitewashed, bland and totally uninteresting.

Like this guy...
 

Greg Tito

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would it be wrong to say Susan Arendt and everyone else on the panel were very beautiful and made excellent points. For both female and male gamers.
 

theprokrastinator

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I heard someone in the video briefly mention the Persona games (I think it was Kathleen.) and I'm kinda surprised they weren't discussed in greater depth. The backgrounds of the characters and their complex reactions to events are well written and some of the women you can develop relationships with are amazing. Naoto Shirogane (Persona 4) is my favourite example and it's also the only example I've found so far which explores gender roles/issues while still being relevant (relateable?) and adding alot to the main story (please tell me if you know of any more RPG's that touch on this issue, I'd love to play them!). I personally would love to see a game where I can play as Naoto outside of that Persona format as I feel she realy is THAT strong a character. She's flawed and has worries and concerns; she's been affected by whats been thrown at her and she's still working it all out while striving to remain in control. It's what makes her so real and so human.

An episode of Extra Credits (the one on sexual diversity in games... Thanks so much for making these videos by the way guys!!) explains her situation a bit better along with the games gay character who manages to confront stereotypes by being a generally kick ass dude. I really can't reccomend Persona 4 enough if you're gaming for the story and for the genuinely relateable characters; as Daniel (Extra Credits) rightly says, just paraphrasing here: Even if these figures aren't totaly relevant to you personally there are still so many issues they bring up which we've all, male or female, experienced at some point or another. So for that, thanks Persona!


lol
 

Ipsen

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The Morrigan said:
I think it's probably harder to develop that type of charisma, though, for a video game character, which is why most of them are created to conform to our societal stereotypes of sexiness.
Interesting that you bring up charisma for a video game character. To speak of charisma, are/(how)should we be led by our characters in games, while we're obligated to control them at the same time? Im tired/lazy, so I also cannot think of any character examples that may display this, male or female.
 

maninahat

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
Onyx Oblivion said:
Greg Tito said:
even a overtly sexual character like Bayonetta has promise.

"It's a silly main premise for a character, and it's supposed to be fun to play and I don't have a problem with that as a female gamer," DeVere said. "[Bayonetta] is a female main character - if they think they can sell a game with a female main character, and make her witty, that's a big step."

Tracey John wasn't sure that Bayonetta was empowering for female gamers, to which Susan Arendt responded, "I think what makes Bayonetta appealing is that she very much owns her sexuality. She's hot, but she's ain't hot for you." Bayonetta exists in a world where sex is normal, but that doesn't mean she does it for your approval.
Surprising responses, to be honest. I was expecting Bayonetta hate. I just knew she'd turn up in there somewhere.
Yet they still focus heavily on Bayonetta's sexualized qualities, which means they are not bothering to look below the surface and see what really makes her tick.
It's hard not to . She's a magical dominatrix. Though an interesting one with maternal tendencies and (as a dominatrix) a lot of confidence. Shame some of her dialogue is utterly awful (deliberate campness, not withstanding).
 

maninahat

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Ipsen said:
The Morrigan said:
I think it's probably harder to develop that type of charisma, though, for a video game character, which is why most of them are created to conform to our societal stereotypes of sexiness.
Interesting that you bring up charisma for a video game character. To speak of charisma, are/(how)should we be led by our characters in games, while we're obligated to control them at the same time? Im tired/lazy, so I also cannot think of any character examples that may display this, male or female.
Manny Calavera is a good example. You can understand why girls would find him sexy. He has an awesome voice and wit, despite his diminuative stature and his massive forehead.
 

Manji187

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
Manji187 said:
"All characters are hard to write" indeed...so how about genuinely trying ay, gaming industry?

In the case of female characters: if Bayonetta is lauded for advancing female character development (she accepts her sexuality...but doesn't need your approval)...then the road ahead is going to be a long one.
The problem I have with this point of view is that people have been making female characters for several millennia now. So to try to limit this notion to the history of gaming is a bit ridiculous. Even within the scope of gaming we've come quite far. Considering the first widely accepted female gaming character was a copypasta yellow blob with a bow tacked on top of it to suggest it's sudden change of gender.

Writing characters is a difficult process. Anyone who's tried to do it knows how hard it can be, exponentially more difficult when done on a time schedule. And these ideas are made much more difficult when applied to a medium that is fundamentally interactive and needs to hold the attention of it's audience more fervently then traditional media.

Frankly I don't think Bayonetta could possibly be as bad as someone like Snooki from Jersey Shore. And that's a real person...allegedly.
I agree that the pool from which inspiration can be drawn is larger than just videogames. Doesn't seem like the industry is tapping it though.

My personal beef with Bayonetta is that it's one of those rare games with a female protagonist that cannot be mentally swapped for a male lead...and what does it do? The game makes it abundantly clear that it doesn't want to be taken seriously (even going so far as to include an unlockable Japanese physical education uniform), all under the excuse of "Well hey...that's just the style of the game. Artistic freedom, you know?" And they're absolutely right...but it's just so bloody convenient.

IMHO it's a damn shame because it could have been done differently/ better. Instead we've got a sassy/ cheeky skank who wears her hair and has disproportional legs. It's like..."All right people...don't bother writing a deep/ complex character...instead let's make her really weird and hope that that will make her interesting. Oh...and lets give her amnesia. And guns...on her stiletto heels."

To conclude my rant: I believe Bayonetta will go down in gaming history as just another wacky experiment. It will not significantly contribute to female character development...because the one thing Bayonetta truly contributes (accepting her sexuality without seeking the player's approval) is diluted by the game as a whole...it's wacky context/ atmosphere/ setting.

In the end, Bayonetta is a missed opportunity. It could have been so much more...but paradoxically it is limited by the game itself. That's why developers should be really careful in choosing their context/ atmosphere/ setting. The very fundamentals do not only enable...they also constrain.

I wouldn't be surprised if the developers would disagree with me...but then again having invested so much time/ effort in their "baby"...I also wouldn't be surprised if they weren't entirely without bias. And the Ego always seeks reasons to be proud.
 

UnknownGunslinger

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I think what is probably the best female character I've ever experienced in a game was Heather from Silent Hill 3 - she was just so real in her characterization that she made the game for me.
 

4173

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Manji187 said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
Manji187 said:
"All characters are hard to write" indeed...so how about genuinely trying ay, gaming industry?

In the case of female characters: if Bayonetta is lauded for advancing female character development (she accepts her sexuality...but doesn't need your approval)...then the road ahead is going to be a long one.
The problem I have with this point of view is that people have been making female characters for several millennia now. So to try to limit this notion to the history of gaming is a bit ridiculous. Even within the scope of gaming we've come quite far. Considering the first widely accepted female gaming character was a copypasta yellow blob with a bow tacked on top of it to suggest it's sudden change of gender.

Writing characters is a difficult process. Anyone who's tried to do it knows how hard it can be, exponentially more difficult when done on a time schedule. And these ideas are made much more difficult when applied to a medium that is fundamentally interactive and needs to hold the attention of it's audience more fervently then traditional media.

Frankly I don't think Bayonetta could possibly be as bad as someone like Snooki from Jersey Shore. And that's a real person...allegedly.
I agree that the pool from which inspiration can be drawn is larger than just videogames. Doesn't seem like the industry is tapping it though.

My personal beef with Bayonetta is that it's one of those rare games with a female protagonist that cannot be mentally swapped for a male lead...and what does it do? The game makes it abundantly clear that it doesn't want to be taken seriously (even going so far as to include an unlockable Japanese physical education uniform), all under the excuse of "Well hey...that's just the style of the game. Artistic freedom, you know?" And they're absolutely right...but it's just so bloody convenient.

IMHO it's a damn shame because it could have been done differently/ better. Instead we've got a sassy/ cheeky skank who wears her hair and has disproportional legs. It's like..."All right people...don't bother writing a deep/ complex character...instead let's make her really weird and hope that that will make her interesting. Oh...and lets give her amnesia. And guns...on her stiletto heels."

To conclude my rant: I believe Bayonetta will go down in gaming history as just another wacky experiment. It will not significantly contribute to female character development...because the one thing Bayonetta truly contributes (accepting her sexuality without seeking the player's approval) is diluted by the game as a whole...it's wacky context/ atmosphere/ setting.

In the end, Bayonetta is a missed opportunity. It could have been so much more...but paradoxically it is limited by the game itself. That's why developers should be really careful in choosing their context/ atmosphere/ setting. The very fundamentals do not only enable...they also constrain.

I wouldn't be surprised if the developers would disagree with me...but then again having invested so much time/ effort in their "baby"...I also wouldn't be surprised if they weren't entirely without bias. And the Ego always seeks reasons to be proud.
You have a point, but even if Bayonetta isn't a triumph for females in games, I think may be viewed in the future as proof of concept. Coming on the heels of X-Blade and Heavenly Swords it points to a different way forward. Investors are understandably risk adverse, and I don't think it's unreasonable to think Bayonetta may in someway contribute to even more well developed female leads down the road.

I would even go as far as saying the setting and atmosphere enhance her...empowerment, for lack of a better word. I recently played Bayonetta for the first time, because I enjoy (and suck at) the spectacle fighter genre and I heard it was more accessible. Frankly I was anxious that constant fanservice would overwhelm any positives the game might have. I found that because her character was played mostly straight, when I expected 20 hours of fan service, it stood out in sharper relief from the game's environment. Only a couple hours into the game I was able to almost completely ignore the fanservice moments and focus on Bayonetta the character, not the cartoon centrefold.

More concisely, as a male I was expecting the game to continually yank me out of the experience to highlight I was playing as a blow-up doll. Instead it (mostly) let me just play as Bayonetta. Frankly, I wasn't sure I could enjoy a game with a highly sexual female lead (as opposed to an attractive female, like Female Shepard) and I think it is a victory for the game that I was able to play it without feeling dirty.

(I realize this my just be post hoc rationalization, or that I'm pathologically unable to appreciate what a female experiences in gaming, but I can't really control that.)
 

roostuf

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man i watched all of it and it was great!

those f-gamers sure do have great wits.
 

Manji187

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4173 said:
You have a point, but even if Bayonetta isn't a triumph for females in games, I think may be viewed in the future as proof of concept. Coming on the heels of X-Blade and Heavenly Swords it points to a different way forward. Investors are understandably risk adverse, and I don't think it's unreasonable to think Bayonetta may in someway contribute to even more well developed female leads down the road.

I would even go as far as saying the setting and atmosphere enhance her...empowerment, for lack of a better word. I recently played Bayonetta for the first time, because I enjoy (and suck at) the spectacle fighter genre and I heard it was more accessible. Frankly I was anxious that constant fanservice would overwhelm any positives the game might have. I found that because her character was played mostly straight, when I expected 20 hours of fan service, it stood out in sharper relief from the game's environment. Only a couple hours into the game I was able to almost completely ignore the fanservice moments and focus on Bayonetta the character, not the cartoon centrefold.
Does Bayonetta the character (as opposed to Bayonetta the fanservice provider) add anything other than empowerment (by accepting her sexuality without seeking approval?) to female character development, according to you? Was there anything that made her interesting to you that was not only external? Does Bayonetta at any point become more than a cheeky/ witty barrel of "fetishist" references?

Was she able to surprise you with her character? Made you think about things? Do you think she will be remembered in 10 years?

Sorry for asking so many questions...just curious.
 

Greg Tito

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Manji187 said:
I agree that the pool from which inspiration can be drawn is larger than just videogames. Doesn't seem like the industry is tapping it though.

My personal beef with Bayonetta is that it's one of those rare games with a female protagonist that cannot be mentally swapped for a male lead...and what does it do? The game makes it abundantly clear that it doesn't want to be taken seriously (even going so far as to include an unlockable Japanese physical education uniform), all under the excuse of "Well hey...that's just the style of the game. Artistic freedom, you know?" And they're absolutely right...but it's just so bloody convenient.

IMHO it's a damn shame because it could have been done differently/ better. Instead we've got a sassy/ cheeky skank who wears her hair and has disproportional legs. It's like..."All right people...don't bother writing a deep/ complex character...instead let's make her really weird and hope that that will make her interesting. Oh...and lets give her amnesia. And guns...on her stiletto heels."

To conclude my rant: I believe Bayonetta will go down in gaming history as just another wacky experiment. It will not significantly contribute to female character development...because the one thing Bayonetta truly contributes (accepting her sexuality without seeking the player's approval) is diluted by the game as a whole...it's wacky context/ atmosphere/ setting.

In the end, Bayonetta is a missed opportunity. It could have been so much more...but paradoxically it is limited by the game itself. That's why developers should be really careful in choosing their context/ atmosphere/ setting. The very fundamentals do not only enable...they also constrain.

I wouldn't be surprised if the developers would disagree with me...but then again having invested so much time/ effort in their "baby"...I also wouldn't be surprised if they weren't entirely without bias. And the Ego always seeks reasons to be proud.
I have bolded that particular sentence fragment because that is the ultimate gaping hole in your position. That and, mind you this is my interpretation, you feel the same as many others. That empowerment of females means de-feminizing them.

All of your arguments point to Bayonetta being a missed opportunity strictly due to appearance. Bayonetta was, of course, not something meant to be taken seriously, which makes it all the more hilarious that people take it way too seriously. This might be due to the fact that she well succeeds in her design, which seems to intentionally be overtly sexualized. How a person perceives that sort of thing is unique to them. I find it comical, some find it a turn on, others will be made uncomfortable by it, others may just not care. Clearly, it's indicative of the fact that Bayonetta succeeded in bringing people out of their comfort zone, even if she wasn't meant to be taken seriously. These kind of reactions alone are evident of the power this character wields.

The only opportunity being missed here if the opportunity to further whitewash female characters. Which is not an opportunity at all, in my opinion.
 

shiajun

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unacomn said:
I really wish more people would play The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, and take points from it at how to write characters. Hell, if those are too old, Gray Matter, Samantha Everett is a great character.
Thank you! For all this uprise in talks about female characters I'm starting to be really confused as to why people are not talking more about April Ryan, Zoë Castillo, Samantha Everett, Jade (from BG&E) and freaking Grace Nakimura. I expect it from the people in the audience since the games are not that know or played, but I'm beginning to find it really unacceptable for the panelists not to draw attention to these games. They're not just great female characters, they are great characters, period. I don't think the conversation is going to get anywhere new if we all keep rehashing the same examples (samus, bayonetta, lara croft, multiple FF characters) when for most of them their development and depth pales considerably when compared to those other characters that keep getting shunt. The examples are there to be used as comparison. Call upon them as the goal to reach over and over again, not to the lower step in the process.
 

4173

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Does Bayonetta the character (as opposed to Bayonetta the fanservice provider) add anything other than empowerment (by accepting her sexuality without seeking approval?) to female character development, according to you? Was there anything that made her interesting to you that was not only external? Does Bayonetta at any point become more than a cheeky/ witty barrel of "fetishist" references?

Was she able to surprise you with her character? Made you think about things? Do you think she will be remembered in 10 years?

Sorry for asking so many questions...just curious.[/quote]

Perhaps nothing else uniquely female, but I found some old cliches more interesting because they were wrapped in a novel (female) package. When she first calls Luka by name, instead of Chesire was heartwarming. In fact their entire arc was at least a little fresh. Luka is obsessed but not in a sexual and/or stalker manner. He isn't a nerd, a James Dean rebel or an angry ex-boyfriend. She taunts him with sexual overtones because that is her nature, but his pursuit is completely gender neutral.

The best part of her relationship with Luka is that though they become friends, and he shows up at her "funeral" they aren't shown to begin a romance, or have fucked. There isn't even the slightest hint of "bad girl is really just looking for a man to set her right."

Evolving some mother-like concern for Cezera is cliche, but not unreasonable, and probably uniquely feminine. But those mothering feelings develop in a manner in keeping with the character. Just like she didn't "just need a man" she doesn't "need a child," there wasn't a buried June Cleaver just waiting to emerge on the sight of a kid. And perhaps what I found most interesting, there wasn't a hidden Sarah Connor either, that did surprise me. She clearly wants Cezera to be self-reliant, but doesn't appear to think that means absolute self-reliance or emotional deadness. I didn't expect her to fix Chesire (the doll).

Even her sexuality is interesting, because her entire world seems to be about 6 people and the Angels. Luka and Cezera I've covered, Enzo is a non-entity and Rodin is a cipher. Did she learn it with the Umbra Witchs, or since she re-awakened? Because we don't even know her real feelings on relationships or physical sex, her sexuality really is only an aspect of her being. Depth!

I think her character is hugely enhanced by that lack of actual sex/love/whatever. In a sense, almost everything she did was surprising because she was a blank slate in my mind [besides the 1 trait].

I think whether or not she made me think about things is answered, and I've tried to be concise. Two last things: the presence of Jeanne is nice because it works to affirm the lifestyle as at least somewhat valid in that world. And though the big bad is her father, there are no daddy or abandonment issues.

Will she be remembered in 10 years; I don't know. I'm not even 100% of some of my own arguments (I am arguing in good faith, just not always 100% certainty). And my perspective on these topics is somewhat limited as a white male. And there's little reason to think many people share my thoughts on the game, so I really don't know. If Lara Croft is still remembered 15 years later, then I suppose yes, I think Bayonetta should be remembered in 10 years. I'm not holding her up as a feminist icon, but she does have enough positives, IMO, to be a step forward.

edit: I suppose part of this goes back to author intent, and maybe this whole post is the same as saying Lord of the Rings is about the Industrial Revolution.
 

Greg Tito

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4173 said:
And my perspective on these topics is somewhat limited as a white male.
I am wholly insulted by this statement. You're stating that anyone who is white an male cannot have more than any perspective outside of their personal bubble. Which is fucking bullshit in every sense of the phrase.

You just demonstrated the inherent problem with this whole debate. Congratulations.
 

Greg Tito

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4173 said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
4173 said:
And my perspective on these topics is somewhat limited as a white male.
I am wholly insulted by this statement. You're stating that anyone who is white an male cannot have more than any perspective outside of their personal bubble. Which is fucking bullshit in every sense of the phrase.

You just demonstrated the inherent problem with this whole debate. Congratulations.
No, I'm saying that white males do not have the same experiences as females, or even white females. Hell, I don't even have the same life experience as many other white males. Or white males from twenty years ago.

Clearly I think I can have some perspective on things outside my bubble, I just wrote a long post about it. However, I don't think I can have complete understanding either.

I would elaborate, but I think I'll just go with the pithy response instead.

You just demonstrated the inherent problem with being an idiot. Congratulations.
Vintage Balderdash!

I guess the next time I write a story it should contain nothing but white males, because that's all I can relate to, right? Or better yet, make sure the story is nothing but one character who is me. The difficulty of writing is putting yourself in the mind of someone other than yourself, it's also the reward of it. However, when you allow stupid shit like political correctness to handcuff your creativity, your writing suffers along with it. People imposing this shit are no better than the censorship advocates they claim to hate so much. And you still don't address how utterly insulting it is that you claim that white males must supplicate ourselves to this viewpoint. Instead you insult me directly.

Stop the world, I want off...
 

Stefan Eriksson

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The only thing that really stood out to me in this panel was, unfortunately, the extreme case of Completely Missing The Point when it comes to Enslaved. Seriously. I could see the point of the hatred flying by a quarter of the inch over the head of Every. Single. Member. Of. The. Panel. and instead they started talking about completely unrelated issues like "it's not usual to play such a commanding female".

I mean, seriously? THAT'S what every one of you think the issue is about???

Other than that... The theoretical discussion is fun, but as usual I have no clue who 90% of the games or characters are. I am from Sweden, wheren JRPGs are not that big to begin with, and I have never owned a console, so if we are talking RPGs it's Bioware and Bethesda. Basically.
 

Greg Tito

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Stefan Eriksson said:
The only thing that really stood out to me in this panel was, unfortunately, the extreme case of Completely Missing The Point when it comes to Enslaved. Seriously. I could see the point of the hatred flying by a quarter of the inch over the head of Every. Single. Member. Of. The. Panel. and instead they started talking about completely unrelated issues like "it's not usual to play such a commanding female".

I mean, seriously? THAT'S what every one of you think the issue is about???

Other than that... The theoretical discussion is fun, but as usual I have no clue who 90% of the games or characters are. I am from Sweden, wheren JRPGs are not that big to begin with, and I have never owned a console, so if we are talking RPGs it's Bioware and Bethesda. Basically.
Everything Enslaved does, FalloutNV: Dead Money does better.
 

Stefan Eriksson

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
Everything Enslaved does, FalloutNV: Dead Money does better.
Quite possibly so; I have only briefly looked at both of them (I don't have time for another RPG). :)

Anyway something else that popped into my head: Regarding Female / Female romances in Bioware games... Over here the female critics go the opposite way: WAY too many lesbian relationships, clearly pandering to the male fanbase, and not at all too many gay male relationships.
 

4173

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
4173 said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
4173 said:
And my perspective on these topics is somewhat limited as a white male.
I am wholly insulted by this statement. You're stating that anyone who is white an male cannot have more than any perspective outside of their personal bubble. Which is fucking bullshit in every sense of the phrase.

You just demonstrated the inherent problem with this whole debate. Congratulations.

I was asked direct questions about my personal feelings. In order to improve communication (because this internet) I included that I was a white male because I felt it will influence how I view these topics.

That's all it was. If this was in person, I would not have said it. I am not saying a woman's perspective is right or more valuable on this topic, just that it may be different.

There is no supplication, unless you take issue with the idea that life experiences influence how an individual thinks, or the idea that white males may have had different life experiences than females?

Sir John the Net Knight said:
4173 said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
4173 said:
And my perspective on these topics is somewhat limited as a white male.
I am wholly insulted by this statement. You're stating that anyone who is white an male cannot have more than any perspective outside of their personal bubble. Which is fucking bullshit in every sense of the phrase.

You just demonstrated the inherent problem with this whole debate. Congratulations.
No, I'm saying that white males do not have the same experiences as females, or even white females. Hell, I don't even have the same life experience as many other white males. Or white males from twenty years ago.

Clearly I think I can have some perspective on things outside my bubble, I just wrote a long post about it. However, I don't think I can have complete understanding either.

I would elaborate, but I think I'll just go with the pithy response instead.

You just demonstrated the inherent problem with being an idiot. Congratulations.
Vintage Balderdash!

I guess the next time I write a story it should contain nothing but white males, because that's all I can relate to, right? Or better yet, make sure the story is nothing but one character who is me. The difficulty of writing is putting yourself in the mind of someone other than yourself, it's also the reward of it. However, when you allow stupid shit like political correctness to handcuff your creativity, your writing suffers along with it. People imposing this shit are no better than the censorship advocates they claim to hate so much. And you still don't address how utterly insulting it is that you claim that white males must supplicate ourselves to this viewpoint. Instead you insult me directly.

Stop the world, I want off...
My claim was people are different. I thought those differences may be more relevant on this topic compared to many others. I provided information as to how I may differ from someone who responds to my post. I used the term "white male" as shorthand for a certain type of life experience. I only included this shorthand because the internet is anonymous.

I feel no pressure to give a female voice more weight on this topic. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to think, I'm explaining (in part) how my thoughts came together.

I used the word limited, because in this context, it is more likely a woman has first hand experience with sexism than I do. If we were having a conversation about urinals, I would say a woman's view was limited. This has nothing to do with right/wrong or valid/invalid.

tl;dr --- Because the discussion was anonymous and in text, I was making certain to portray my writing as my thoughts and not an attempt to tell anyone how to think.
 

Greg Tito

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4173 said:
My claim was people are different. I thought those differences may be more relevant on this topic compared to many others. I provided information as to how I may differ from someone who responds to my post. I used the term "white male" as shorthand for a certain type of life experience. I only included this shorthand because the internet is anonymous.

I feel no pressure to give a female voice more weight on this topic. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to think, I'm explaining (in part) how my thoughts came together.

I used the word limited, because in this context, it is more likely a woman has first hand experience with sexism than I do. If we were having a conversation about urinals, I would say a woman's view was limited. This has nothing to do with right/wrong or valid/invalid.

tl;dr --- Because the discussion was anonymous and in text, I was making certain to portray my writing as my thoughts and not an attempt to tell anyone how to think.
So a poor white male will have the same life experience as a rich one? A white male living in Paris, France will experience the same things as one living in New York? A white male raised by entrepreneurs will see the same life as one raised by soldiers?

Hiding behind internet anonymity doesn't make that statement any less insulting.
 

4173

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
4173 said:
My claim was people are different. I thought those differences may be more relevant on this topic compared to many others. I provided information as to how I may differ from someone who responds to my post. I used the term "white male" as shorthand for a certain type of life experience. I only included this shorthand because the internet is anonymous.

I feel no pressure to give a female voice more weight on this topic. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to think, I'm explaining (in part) how my thoughts came together.

I used the word limited, because in this context, it is more likely a woman has first hand experience with sexism than I do. If we were having a conversation about urinals, I would say a woman's view was limited. This has nothing to do with right/wrong or valid/invalid.

tl;dr --- Because the discussion was anonymous and in text, I was making certain to portray my writing as my thoughts and not an attempt to tell anyone how to think.
So a poor white male will have the same life experience as a rich one? A white male living in Paris, France will experience the same things as one living in New York? A white male raised by entrepreneurs will see the same life as one raised by soldiers?

Hiding behind internet anonymity doesn't make that statement any less insulting.
No, of course they won't. It is simply shorthand; the whole white male 19-45 demographic cliche.

I wouldn't use white female, or black man etc. in the same manner. I wasn't saying I was white and also a male. I was saying I'm a "white male."

I apologize for not being clear enough. Ironic I would create internet confusion while trying to avoid it.
 

Greg Tito

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Sep 29, 2005
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4173 said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
4173 said:
My claim was people are different. I thought those differences may be more relevant on this topic compared to many others. I provided information as to how I may differ from someone who responds to my post. I used the term "white male" as shorthand for a certain type of life experience. I only included this shorthand because the internet is anonymous.

I feel no pressure to give a female voice more weight on this topic. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to think, I'm explaining (in part) how my thoughts came together.

I used the word limited, because in this context, it is more likely a woman has first hand experience with sexism than I do. If we were having a conversation about urinals, I would say a woman's view was limited. This has nothing to do with right/wrong or valid/invalid.

tl;dr --- Because the discussion was anonymous and in text, I was making certain to portray my writing as my thoughts and not an attempt to tell anyone how to think.
So a poor white male will have the same life experience as a rich one? A white male living in Paris, France will experience the same things as one living in New York? A white male raised by entrepreneurs will see the same life as one raised by soldiers?

Hiding behind internet anonymity doesn't make that statement any less insulting.
No, of course they won't. It is simply shorthand; the whole white male 19-45 demographic cliche.

I wouldn't use white female, or black man etc. in the same manner. I wasn't saying I was white and also a male. I was saying I'm a "white male."

I apologize for not being clear enough. Ironic I would create internet confusion while trying to avoid it.
Demographic cliches are at the heart of this problem.
 

4173

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
4173 said:
Sir John the Net Knight said:
4173 said:
My claim was people are different. I thought those differences may be more relevant on this topic compared to many others. I provided information as to how I may differ from someone who responds to my post. I used the term "white male" as shorthand for a certain type of life experience. I only included this shorthand because the internet is anonymous.

I feel no pressure to give a female voice more weight on this topic. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to think, I'm explaining (in part) how my thoughts came together.

I used the word limited, because in this context, it is more likely a woman has first hand experience with sexism than I do. If we were having a conversation about urinals, I would say a woman's view was limited. This has nothing to do with right/wrong or valid/invalid.

tl;dr --- Because the discussion was anonymous and in text, I was making certain to portray my writing as my thoughts and not an attempt to tell anyone how to think.
So a poor white male will have the same life experience as a rich one? A white male living in Paris, France will experience the same things as one living in New York? A white male raised by entrepreneurs will see the same life as one raised by soldiers?

Hiding behind internet anonymity doesn't make that statement any less insulting.
No, of course they won't. It is simply shorthand; the whole white male 19-45 demographic cliche.

I wouldn't use white female, or black man etc. in the same manner. I wasn't saying I was white and also a male. I was saying I'm a "white male."

I apologize for not being clear enough. Ironic I would create internet confusion while trying to avoid it.
Demographic cliches are at the heart of this problem.
Looks like I missed a comma. The white male 19-45 demographic (i.e. the thing advertisers target) is the cliche. We get income thrown in with color and sex, that way.

That doesn't change your point however, which I agree with.
 

WaderiAAA

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Aug 11, 2009
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11:07-11:33 on the second video.

Am I the only one who finds this offensive? They are basically assuming that all the critique towards Trip is because they are sexist and they don't like strong female characters. That's bull shit. People have a legitimate reason to dislike Trip because she ENSLAVED him. It is against human rights and it is a really nasty thing to do to a person. There is a big difference between being someone's assistant and being someone's slave. At least the first option is a choice.

Don't try to tell me that no one would be mad if the roles were switched and a male character put a headband on a female to make her his slave and follow his orders to help him survive. While not everyone would call it sexist, most people would at least consider the guy a massive jerk.

Good panel all in all. I'd say the main thing to take away from it is that the chatacters should be developed better, whether they are male or female.
 

ShadowsofHope

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Nov 1, 2009
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Crimson_Dragoon said:
BrotherRool said:
I too don't get the hate on Lightning. I think people who hate her tragically misunderstand the character (maybe because of the length of game in which it develops :D) People think she's meant to be a strong female character because she's always lashing out at people and we're meant to like that.

But it couldn't be clearer that that's just her personal flaw. Not a flaw of women, but a woman who can't trust people. Over the course of the game she softens up, loses her war wounds, becomes quite maternal (and in a lovely softly softly manner) with hope and in the end realises that her violence is hurting other people, instead of other people hurting her and comes to terms with it.

So yeah.
Thank you. This is true of most of the characters from that game. But no one seems to be able to get over the characters' flaws to see that overcoming those flaws is what drives character development and growth in the game.
Oh thank god, someone actually had the guts on this site to bring that up in the midst of a majority of haters. Thank you.

We need this quoted more often.
 

urahara75

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conflictofinterests said:
Tally LRR said:
Curious to know whether female Commander Shepard came up during the panel. I find her to be an excellent video game character, and I believe her strong portrayal is due both the to the writing and voice acting. Also an interesting situation as, to the best of my knowledge, male Commander Shepard has largely (if not entirely) the same diologue options. But I never got the sense that female Commander Shepard was overly masculine. So there's a case where they've taken one character, given it two possible genders, and (I feel) managed to make them both come across well. At least, the female comes across well. I haven't played as male Shepard, so don't really know for sure.
Male Shepard's voice acting comes across very flat and emotionless. It's kind of painful to listen to. The dialogue options are the same, but the presentation, while I suppose could be construed as more masculine, just lacks dimension. I guess there's a lot more to read between the lines in Fem Shep's dialogue than Male Shepard's, stuff I honestly can't imagine not being there, which makes Male Shepard's performance all the more jarring. Anyways, she's a great example of a female character, of a character in general. She's multidimensional in a way I haven't seen much of outside of good movies.
Agree almost 100% with you on Male Shepard. In addition to generally sounding totally aloof and disinterested during interacting with NPCs during the game, I gradually realized that Shepard's dialogue, while completely convincing on a logical end (thank you, Bioware :p), personally sounded "gender neutral" in overall tone. It's noticeable to me, after a number of play-through hours, that male Shepard doesn't genuinely sound quite like a male human being. In contrast, human NPCs have satisfactory characterization, motivation, and emotional depth. Joker, Jacob, Miranda, Jack, Kelly, Zaeed, Kasumi, Dr. Chakwas, etc., all sound like what we, the human players, can identify as "believable human characters". They all have little "gender tells", emotional, psychological and behavioral mannerisms that the player audiences can consciously, and unconsciously, relate the character as being male or female.

Even being guided to to have the "renegade" demeanor (pragmatic, total villain-protagonist, "I/HUMANZ RULE ALL" player behavior), Shepard is almost a "TNG movie-Picard on Ambien". He has the stark, blind, dehumanized attitude you can relate a person of that character archetype as possessing, but little in the way of gender-specific mental/emotional/psychological qualities. Shepard isn't close to being void of emotion, but those specific "gender tells" that help me ID him as a "male" Shepard are either absent, or so sparsely applied that while it's believable in a butch, seasoned, no-nonsense female "Space Marine" commander, it's jarring after a period of time in a male commander.

--------------------------------------

Oddly, even after several hours contemplating their reasoning behind it, I still couldn't get behind the panel's take on Enslaved and (specifically Escapist) male gamers' hate-rage feedback for the game. On the "forced/coerced slavery" bit -- the fact that the male lead didn't have much of a persistent problem with being "the muscle" of the pair IS NOT what the male gamers were angry about. It's the "slavery" itself that was the problem. Even if both main characters would've eventually suffered a "meaningless" death if they went their separate ways in the storyline, how can female gamers justify what amounted to (at the least or most overtly) slave labor for the sake of escaping captivity, and still be considered an example of a "strong female protagonist"?

Gonna play devil's advocate here, but... how do you think contemporary female gamers... no, hell, gamers in general, would respond to a game where a socially &/or politically under-served male lead has a clearly more physically capable female lead under his thumb to the same extent as Trip, hm? Short Answer: there wouldn't be such a game; or if it did get developed and published, there would be MASSIVE, world-crushing levels of controversy and criticism about it where both the devs and publishers would probably face levels of scorn and persecution previously unseen from both gaming industry and world at large.
 

GloatingSwine

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Saelune said:
Ivy? Crappy? I own people with Ivy in SC4, so I dont know what SHE was talking about.
Ivy has been in 4 games now and most people are used to dealing with her. Also she is massively easier to use than she was. If you could use Ivy in SC1 people would give up before you started because she was so hard to use, so they thought you were the soul calibur god. Protip: This also applied to Voldo, and has done since Soul Edge, and he wears even less.

Anyway, there's something from this panel that I think needs clearing up, and it was addressed in the questions but not particularly well. It's Howl's Moving Castle. It was written by a woman, and it wasn't really about the expectations of a woman in fiction (though there's a part of it that's about the place of the eldest in fiction, if you've read any Discworld you'd be right at home...) as much as it was about the sudden feeling of vulnerability that was brought on by health problems in the author's life.

The book is quite different from the film, and significantly better (srsly, Ghibli is better at original animation than adaptation), read it.
 

Callate

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I feel a little sheepish to repeat what's already been said, but I have to weigh in a bit on "Enslaved" too.

First, I should note that while I've prepared myself to comment on this about as well as I reasonably could without owning a PS3 (read the forums, watched an hour of Let's Play), I haven't played the game.

Secondly, Susan Arendt says a lot of interesting and worthwhile things on the panel, and I don't want for a moment to suggest otherwise.

But the criticism- her criticism- of the Escapist forum's response to Enslaved seems both exaggerated and off base.

In the first hour of gameplay, Trip nearly gets Monkey killed three times- twice in simple callous disregard for his life, and once out of what seems like nothing more than a petulant unwillingness to follow direction from her "slave" despite acknowledging his greater competence in matters of combat.

The first two, one could argue, are human. Yes, she doesn't know Monkey's intentions towards her, and no, she doesn't know him, so putting her life before his is not difficult to understand. That said, he's also a fellow prisoner with a common cause in getting off the ship and escaping the beings who have taken them prisoner, so going beyond "not helping" to "actively endangering" doesn't put her in the best possible light. (Never mind how many unknown others might have been on that ship.) And refusing to retreat out of the line of fire despite the possibility of getting both of them killed? Human, yes, possibly- but not in any sense admirable. Remember that we're not merely talking about her as a deep character, but as an admirable character, a likable character, a protaganist who we're going to be following for the next several hours and someone who's been set up here as an examplar of what more female characters should be like!

All this without even getting into the issue of her forcing Monkey to go with her.

In looking back through the forums- the threads accompanying Arendt's review, Yahtzee's review, and various other news items regarding the game, I don't see anything like a majority of people spewing hate about Trip as Arendt describes. I see a fair number of people admiring and defending the game, wishing it had done better. And yes, a few who hate Trip and/or her actions.

But that's not, in my evaluation, an entirely unreasonable or unjustifiable point of view, nor one that can be casually forced into being about its handling of a dominant female/submissive male relationship. I'm willing to believe that Trip develops into a more likable character over time, and the relationship between her and Monkey has been admired in some of the reviews I've read for its depth and complexity. That doesn't change that her early actions in the game fall somewhere in the spectrum between callous and despicable.

More to the point- I'm sorry to say it- the evolution of female characters doesn't merely demand changes in the thinking of male players and game designers. It also requires female players and reviewers to allow male players to make criticism of female characters without reflexively calling the people who make those criticisms sexist and/or immature. Which feels like what has happened here.

One last point- while I agree that homosexual and bisexual relationships deserve a place in games, making every significant character in every game bisexual to give the players more choices is the exact opposite of creating deeper characters. It's forcing every character into a niche that has nothing to do with how the writer might envision them, and anyone who really values character depth ought to oppose the idea.
 

lleihsad

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Dragon Age 2 recently brought us a new crop of characters to argue over the merits of. It's something Bioware's been very good for. Aveline stood out in particular, I felt.

On another note, the best example of the archetypal "strong female character" I've seen in a game is Uhura from the Quest for Glory series.
 

AyreonMaiden

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I agree with everything but all of this has been said, reiterated, discussed, dissected, argued, debated, and thought about before, so many times. To the point where I can't believe this original-ass issue was worth a whole panel at PAX.

This is just like the "Do games cause violence?" and "Are games art?" bullcrap. Yes, games may or may not be a catalyst for violence in people. Yes, art is subjective, therefore your mileage may vary. And yes, all characters should be well rounded, no matter what the gender.

I'm beginning to think that people only ever talk about these issues just to hear themselves sound intelligent and "conscious" in the face of the people whose validation they seek.

EDIT: I mean, could we at the very least come up with new examples to back up our tired-ass points?

All I hear about is "Alyx, Jade, Bayonetta herp derp Peach, Zelda rah rah rah" with these women. Have they ever played Yakuza 2 and seen Kaoru Sayama, for example? She's the "Yakuza Eater," for God's sake. Manages to be sexy, tough, and endearing enough for Kazuma to fall in love with, all while wearing the most conservative work suit ever.

All I hear is "Limbo, Shadow of the Colossus, Braid, Flower, " with the art crowd. Boo minimalism. Too easy. You're not trying hard enough, hipsters. Can we do something more challenging instead and find the art behind some of the games they (seem to have) so easily throw by the wayside? Call of Duty gets so much hate, but I can't be the only one who thought "No Russian" was a heartrending experiment. Killer7 is a favorite of mine; it really seems to separate the hipsters from the real thinkers, being so easily dismissed as a mindfuck by most everyone yet having a whole scene of people who've written entire dissertations on it. Surely people have played Metal Gear Solid and appreciated the gameplay tricks it employs to draw you farther into the characters? Come on, let's do some legwork here.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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In response to folks saying that they're disappointed that we left out Jade and April (and other characters) - we tried to keep the characters as (relatively) well known as possible. Not everyone who attends PAX is a gamer, and we wanted to keep the discussion accessible for everyone. We also wanted to make sure we left plenty of time for Q&A, because this is a discussion for everyone. Truth be told, we could've made it twice as long and brought up a dozen more characters, but there just wasn't time.
 

SnakeCL

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I actually intended on attending the panel while I was at PAX East, but didn't get the time.

In some ways, I'm rather glad I didn't attend, because I would have been banging my head against the person next to me for most of it.

Most of what I dislike has already been covered (talking about good and bad female characters, without actually defining what is good or bad about them, and even having conflicting hypocritical views on different characters), but mostly, the issue just seems to be "we want well written and crafted characters", male OR female.

There's also a certain double-standard that we see in videogame (and other) media. Namely, women are sexualized, and men are hyper-masculine. In many ways, having male characters who make the argument that you're ONLY a man if you're the object of every woman's desire, you have a chest like paving slabs, and you show no emotion or gallows humor, is just as bad as having shallow female characters devoted to eye candy. They both play on each gender's psychologically sensitive areas. Namely, that women don't want to be viewed as objects with boobs and bum, and men don't want to be viewed as inadequate for showing emotion, or not being strong or fast enough to accomplish a task.

That being said, a smaller complaint is some of the ire thrown at Other M. Namely, while some of story points were questionable, I feel as though its the best characterization of Samus in a game. Honestly, if you have a female character, who exhibits none of the aspects of a female, and when she does, its something blatantly forced, can you use it as an example OF a "strong female"? Its more like "strong automaton", which has been my view of Samus since the NES days.

But I digress.
 

shiajun

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Susan Arendt said:
In response to folks saying that they're disappointed that we left out Jade and April (and other characters) - we tried to keep the characters as (relatively) well known as possible. Not everyone who attends PAX is a gamer, and we wanted to keep the discussion accessible for everyone. We also wanted to make sure we left plenty of time for Q&A, because this is a discussion for everyone. Truth be told, we could've made it twice as long and brought up a dozen more characters, but there just wasn't time.
I understand the need to fit the discussion to a certain audience and a certain time-slot perfectly. My point is that it's precisely because April, Jade and co. are of lesser profile but much more well rounded and better achieved than the more common examples that the spotlight should be shining on them. I feel it does nothing to enlighten the un-enlightened to repeat what almost everyone there already knows. I feel it's the duty of the people in the panel to induce insight in the audience not just echo their thoughts. When I attend a panel about a topic I seek not only to listen to point of views of that which I know but also to learn of things I don't know that may broaden my interests. How many people in the audience would have wondered "April who?, Who's that and why is she being so praised? Might have to track that down." In fact, I believe the reaction would be very similar for gamers and non-gamers because of her being a sort of C-list character. The following is an over-simplistic analogy, but it seems like trying to discuss deep literature based off the current best-seller list rather than the works of art authors have delivered throughout time just because it's popular rather than accurate.

I did enjoy the whole panel. I laughed pretty hard a number of times. And to be fair, the guys from Extra Credits did the same thing as you gals did with more known characters and they have less excuse to do so considering their audience.
 

ironlordthemad

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Its strange that they comment on the Escapist Community reaction to enslaved as being a male instinct, like we aren't used too women taking charge. If you took a poll of the forum members asking if the person giving them orders is male or female you would probably find there are more than a few of us with female bosses. Just about everyone in my work with the right to yell at me is female, women in positions of command aren't as rare as you think.

Did they ever think we had a bad reaction because the woman just slapped on the collar without asking for help first? Which is a bit of a sociopathic reaction to a life or death situation dont'cha think? Maybe we had a bad reaction to bad characterisation, just because she is a woman doesn't mean she has to overcompensate with a death collar, surely a well balanced character could work in that situation without resorting to such extreme measures?

Besides, forum members being upset by a sociopath isn't as bad as the outrage it would cause if a man had put a death collar on a woman...
 

Dhatz

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I couldnt understand over the clapping what Susan said about male character right after she said females are judged by frakkability.
About bisexuality: its a design fault if you cant use the protagonist to refuse homo- or hetero- sexual offers/behavior, period. Playability over character, unless its NPC(exactly why nobody has problems with Alyx).

GrimHeaper said:
No beyond good and evil at all?
No mention of Jade :(
Was disappointed too.
 

Baresark

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This was a good panel. I wish the guys who do Extra Credits had been able to watch this before they did their little blurb on female characters. My girlfriend thought this was great while at the same time thinking that particular Extra Credits was crappola (sorry guys, I agree).

Sir John the Net Knight said:
I have to wonder if 90% of the people who opine on character development have ever tried to develop a character. It really is not that easy.

Not suggesting anything specific, just putting that out there as a hypothetical.
[small]I think it's pretty stupid that I have to constantly make disclaimers to avoid mod wrath.[/small]
Character development is a funny subject. I have taken fiction writing classes and done some writing, so I do have a bit to say on the subject. I don't think people do take it seriously. They seem to confuse gameplay elements with characterization, when they are literally two different things (I'm looking at you Chell). The one thing that video games epically fails at when it comes to writing in general is they utilize such heavy clichés. This is a thing with writing in general, where you should avoid them at all costs. I read an interesting article recently, I'm not sure where, but it pointed out that every vocal character tries to be Dane Cook, and I felt that it hit the nail right on the head.

PS. I'm officially guilty of a first page quote, and out of 5 pages that is pretty bad. But, you posed an excellent question I wanted to put my two cents in on.
 

Gormers1

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shiajun said:
unacomn said:
I really wish more people would play The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, and take points from it at how to write characters. Hell, if those are too old, Gray Matter, Samantha Everett is a great character.
Thank you! For all this uprise in talks about female characters I'm starting to be really confused as to why people are not talking more about April Ryan, Zoë Castillo, Samantha Everett, Jade (from BG&E) and freaking Grace Nakimura. I expect it from the people in the audience since the games are not that know or played, but I'm beginning to find it really unacceptable for the panelists not to draw attention to these games. They're not just great female characters, they are great characters, period. I don't think the conversation is going to get anywhere new if we all keep rehashing the same examples (samus, bayonetta, lara croft, multiple FF characters) when for most of them their development and depth pales considerably when compared to those other characters that keep getting shunt. The examples are there to be used as comparison. Call upon them as the goal to reach over and over again, not to the lower step in the process.
Hear, hear! :D
 

Jbowdown

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BG&E is an excellent game and deserves more exposure into the general market (thanks Xbox Live and, sometime int the near future, PSN)! I believe Jade is an excellent example of a female character that exhibits a maternal instinct. I'm going to quote a guy named Norm Nazaroff from a blog on his website Beyond the Norm [http://beyondthenorm.org/2010/06/games-i-love-beyond-good-and-evil-173] as he writes about it much better than I can:

"Arriv­ing at the island to find all of the chil­dren gone and the light­house itself in ruins was one of the most painful moments I?ve ever had in a game. There was a deep, pro­found sense that what had hap­pened was my fault. That I (and by exten­sion, Jade) had become so wrapped up in my adven­tures and the broader mis­sion to save Hillys that I had com­pletely for­got­ten what got me started: the desire to pro­tect those kids. I won­dered what I might have missed, what inter­est­ing story tid­bits the kids might have had to say that I?d missed because I couldn?t be both­ered to go back home.

The scene that fol­lows is heart­break­ing, with Jade defeated and despon­dent over the loss of the kids. You can see the guilt on her: she knows that this is her fault, and her feel­ings closely mir­ror what the player is feel­ing in that moment. Never mind that this was a scripted event that couldn?t have been pre­vented; in the moment, there?s no thought of that. There?s only a shared emo­tional con­nec­tion between what hap­pened on the screen, what the char­ac­ter is feel­ing, and what the player is feeling."
 

Icehearted

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My blood curdles at the hypocrisy.

I simply cannot fathom the mindset of any group of people that thinks it is simultaneously okay and wrong to exploit sex and sexuality for sales. Maybe if this panel were made up of "booth babes" and anyone that's ever turned a buck on gamecrush at least willing to admit they're as much a part of the problem as we lascivious men, then maybe I'd feel less like throwing up in my mouth.

Or for that matter, I have yet to see a panel on how black people or homosexuals are depicted in games. Can't say I know anyone that thinks a black man with a bird's nest in his afro, or the boisterous token black they shoehorn into games like Gears of War were good ideas. As a black man, these are but a couple of things that have made me cringe in games, and I'm pretty sure there aren't black people endorsing this nearly as much as there are women standing around mugging for cameras to get coverage while they cosplay in outfits so tight they may as well have been painted on. Women deserve respect, women deserve to be thought of as intelligent beings, this I do not disagree with. As long as there are "booth babes" and any sort of "girls of gaming" websites, I just don't see how I'm expected to take the matter even a little seriously.

No offense, but I don't think Lisa Foiles cakes on makeup and shows ample cleavage because she's looking to be respected for her mind.

The only thing more offensive than the hypocrisy are the people that take even a modicum of this even a little seriously. I will never understand this mindset, and frankly, I don't think I want to.
 

Calatar

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Icehearted said:
My blood curdles at the hypocrisy.

I simply cannot fathom the mindset of any group of people that thinks it is simultaneously okay and wrong to exploit sex and sexuality for sales. Maybe if this panel were made up of "booth babes" and anyone that's ever turned a buck on gamecrush at least willing to admit they're as much a part of the problem as we lascivious men, then maybe I'd feel less like throwing up in my mouth.

Or for that matter, I have yet to see a panel on how black people or homosexuals are depicted in games. Can't say I know anyone that thinks a black man with a bird's nest in his afro, or the boisterous token black they shoehorn into games like Gears of War were good ideas. As a black man, these are but a couple of things that have made me cringe in games, and I'm pretty sure there aren't black people endorsing this nearly as much as there are women standing around mugging for cameras to get coverage while they cosplay in outfits so tight they may as well have been painted on. Women deserve respect, women deserve to be thought of as intelligent beings, this I do not disagree with. As long as there are "booth babes" and any sort of "girls of gaming" websites, I just don't see how I'm expected to take the matter even a little seriously.

No offense, but I don't think Lisa Foiles cakes on makeup and shows ample cleavage because she's looking to be respected for her mind.

The only thing more offensive than the hypocrisy are the people that take even a modicum of this even a little seriously. I will never understand this mindset, and frankly, I don't think I want to.
Sex appeal isn't mutually exclusive with intelligence. Why do you think every girl needs to dress conservatively for you to take them seriously?

You're mistaking hypocrisy for your own inability to see a sexy girl as intelligent.

You also fail to recognize that "women" is not a single collective group. The actions/thoughts of individual women does not invalidate feminism as a whole, anymore than racist lyrics in rap songs sung by black people invalidate your claims of inequity.

To sound like you, "How am I supposed to take black people's claims of racism seriously when some of them refer to themselves in racist lingo? The hypocrisy boggles my mind." It's not a perfect analogy, but you take my point: You aren't taking THESE women seriously because they're talking about how women are depicted in games, whilst OTHER women are paid to be attractive to sell games.

Mr0llivand3r said:
my biggest question is how did they fit that whole panel meeting in the kitchen? :p
Sometimes I wonder if tired jokes like these are counterproductive... I get the feeling that people end up believing stupid things like this merely because they're oft-repeated for the lulz.

I think if I were a woman I'd start to find it offensive and annoying after a while. As it is, I just find it annoying.
 

Calatar

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I think Susan Arendt is off-base on the Enslaved commentary too. I'm pretty sure people would be complaining about any character they were forced to carry around endlessly.
Think how irritated people get at Navi/Midna telling you what to do in Zelda games. (Yes they're female, but shush, lets assume that's irrelevant to why they're annoying)
Only instead of suggesting it in an annoying way, they instead threaten you on pain of death to do precisely what they tell you. And you make mistakes, and they kill you. Annoyingly, repeatedly.
Not much fun now, is it? Frustrated? Maybe you'll go to the gaming forums and complain about the antagonistic character riding on your back.

Now I SUPPOSE it's possible that some people didn't like her merely because she was ordering a man around, and she was a woman. But I doubt it. People are just reacting with antipathy towards a selfish and bossy character who enslaves and kills them.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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shiajun said:
Susan Arendt said:
In response to folks saying that they're disappointed that we left out Jade and April (and other characters) - we tried to keep the characters as (relatively) well known as possible. Not everyone who attends PAX is a gamer, and we wanted to keep the discussion accessible for everyone. We also wanted to make sure we left plenty of time for Q&A, because this is a discussion for everyone. Truth be told, we could've made it twice as long and brought up a dozen more characters, but there just wasn't time.
I understand the need to fit the discussion to a certain audience and a certain time-slot perfectly. My point is that it's precisely because April, Jade and co. are of lesser profile but much more well rounded and better achieved than the more common examples that the spotlight should be shining on them. I feel it does nothing to enlighten the un-enlightened to repeat what almost everyone there already knows. I feel it's the duty of the people in the panel to induce insight in the audience not just echo their thoughts. When I attend a panel about a topic I seek not only to listen to point of views of that which I know but also to learn of things I don't know that may broaden my interests. How many people in the audience would have wondered "April who?, Who's that and why is she being so praised? Might have to track that down." In fact, I believe the reaction would be very similar for gamers and non-gamers because of her being a sort of C-list character. The following is an over-simplistic analogy, but it seems like trying to discuss deep literature based off the current best-seller list rather than the works of art authors have delivered throughout time just because it's popular rather than accurate.

I did enjoy the whole panel. I laughed pretty hard a number of times. And to be fair, the guys from Extra Credits did the same thing as you gals did with more known characters and they have less excuse to do so considering their audience.
Well, I'm sorry you disapprove of our methods.

Mr0llivand3r said:
my biggest question is how did they fit that whole panel meeting in the kitchen? :p
Hey, look, this is me not laughing.

To folks commenting about the fact that there's a lot wrong with how minority, homosexual, and male characters are depicted...you're right, but I'm not a minority, or homosexual, or male, so I don't feel like it's really my place to discuss that. I can't in good conscience host a panel about what men really want from male characters, because I simply don't know, not being a man. This was a discussion about a very specific demographic, but by no means is it the only demographic that such a panel could be about.
 

Greg Tito

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Sep 29, 2005
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Icehearted said:
My blood curdles at the hypocrisy.

I simply cannot fathom the mindset of any group of people that thinks it is simultaneously okay and wrong to exploit sex and sexuality for sales. Maybe if this panel were made up of "booth babes" and anyone that's ever turned a buck on gamecrush at least willing to admit they're as much a part of the problem as we lascivious men, then maybe I'd feel less like throwing up in my mouth.

Or for that matter, I have yet to see a panel on how black people or homosexuals are depicted in games. Can't say I know anyone that thinks a black man with a bird's nest in his afro, or the boisterous token black they shoehorn into games like Gears of War were good ideas. As a black man, these are but a couple of things that have made me cringe in games, and I'm pretty sure there aren't black people endorsing this nearly as much as there are women standing around mugging for cameras to get coverage while they cosplay in outfits so tight they may as well have been painted on. Women deserve respect, women deserve to be thought of as intelligent beings, this I do not disagree with. As long as there are "booth babes" and any sort of "girls of gaming" websites, I just don't see how I'm expected to take the matter even a little seriously.

No offense, but I don't think Lisa Foiles cakes on makeup and shows ample cleavage because she's looking to be respected for her mind.

The only thing more offensive than the hypocrisy are the people that take even a modicum of this even a little seriously. I will never understand this mindset, and frankly, I don't think I want to.
Does anyone here remember the outrage that Lisa Foiles was welcomed with on this site? How people called her a "dumb, bimbo *****" amongst other things because what she was doing was "brainless" or "stupid" and clearly she "only got the job for being hot". Yeah, that's the kind of mindset you're dealing with on this site.

If I can state one real imposing problem I have with this panel. It's that we have four members that are games journalists and one member who is a writer/actress for a gaming based comdey webshow. There were no industry insiders on the panel. Clearly there must be at least one woman who works in the gaming industry. Games journalism is not exactly a respected field, considering the fallout of the Gertsmann controversy is still being felt and the most well known games journalist is a foul-mouthed comic with a penchant for yellow. It makes me feel that this is more or less a group of people who have never designed a video game telling people how they should be doing their job. However if I'm wrong on that, please feel free to educate me. But I still feel it would have been a more acceptable panel if someone on it had been an industry insider.
 

Greg Tito

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Sep 29, 2005
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God damn it.

Get over it, people.

Who gives a crap if characters with or without certain genitals behave a certain way or not? Does gender mean that much to you?

We're all human last I checked. What's with this obsession to group everyone by gender, colour, language and sexuality? Can you not see through the genitals? The colour? The choice of partner? Do those things mean so much to you that you feel it needed to spend hours and hours of your life talking about them, pointing them out and comparing them?

Sexism in its worst form.
 

wolf thing

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i was disappointed to see that it wasn't female developers talking, it was okay but it reduced the impact of what they were saying making only really opinion but still good. i do disagree with there point which is they said that the character dont affect on gameplay or something to that effect. this is some thing they we need to get away from character are just as important to gameplay as the ackeal gameplay.
 

Icehearted

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Calatar said:
Sex appeal isn't mutually exclusive with intelligence. Why do you think every girl needs to dress conservatively for you to take them seriously?

You're mistaking hypocrisy for your own inability to see a sexy girl as intelligent.

You also fail to recognize that "women" is not a single collective group. The actions/thoughts of individual women does not invalidate feminism as a whole, anymore than racist lyrics in rap songs sung by black people invalidate your claims of inequity.

To sound like you, "How am I supposed to take black people's claims of racism seriously when some of them refer to themselves in racist lingo? The hypocrisy boggles my mind." It's not a perfect analogy, but you take my point: You aren't taking THESE women seriously because they're talking about how women are depicted in games, whilst OTHER women are paid to be attractive to sell games.
You took my point from a very subjective and very skewed angle. More than that I cannot say, simply because in doing so you've ignored or missed my point entirely.
 

Greg Tito

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Icehearted said:
Can't say I know anyone that thinks a black man with a bird's nest in his afro, or the boisterous token black they shoehorn into games like Gears of War were good ideas.
I think Sazh is a good character. But then I look beyond the afro with the bird in it to see he's actually well written and humanly relatable. You know that whole thing of being a scared father and being prejudiced against something he was always taught to hate.
 

Littaly

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I'm sure it's a very interesting and relevant discussion with a lot of good opinions, but I can't hear a word of what you're saying :-/
 

Susan Arendt

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
Icehearted said:
My blood curdles at the hypocrisy.

I simply cannot fathom the mindset of any group of people that thinks it is simultaneously okay and wrong to exploit sex and sexuality for sales. Maybe if this panel were made up of "booth babes" and anyone that's ever turned a buck on gamecrush at least willing to admit they're as much a part of the problem as we lascivious men, then maybe I'd feel less like throwing up in my mouth.

Or for that matter, I have yet to see a panel on how black people or homosexuals are depicted in games. Can't say I know anyone that thinks a black man with a bird's nest in his afro, or the boisterous token black they shoehorn into games like Gears of War were good ideas. As a black man, these are but a couple of things that have made me cringe in games, and I'm pretty sure there aren't black people endorsing this nearly as much as there are women standing around mugging for cameras to get coverage while they cosplay in outfits so tight they may as well have been painted on. Women deserve respect, women deserve to be thought of as intelligent beings, this I do not disagree with. As long as there are "booth babes" and any sort of "girls of gaming" websites, I just don't see how I'm expected to take the matter even a little seriously.

No offense, but I don't think Lisa Foiles cakes on makeup and shows ample cleavage because she's looking to be respected for her mind.

The only thing more offensive than the hypocrisy are the people that take even a modicum of this even a little seriously. I will never understand this mindset, and frankly, I don't think I want to.
Does anyone here remember the outrage that Lisa Foiles was welcomed with on this site? How people called her a "dumb, bimbo *****" amongst other things because what she was doing was "brainless" or "stupid" and clearly she "only got the job for being hot". Yeah, that's the kind of mindset you're dealing with on this site.

If I can state one real imposing problem I have with this panel. It's that we have four members that are games journalists and one member who is a writer/actress for a gaming based comdey webshow. There were no industry insiders on the panel. Clearly there must be at least one woman who works in the gaming industry. Games journalism is not exactly a respected field, considering the fallout of the Gertsmann controversy is still being felt and the most well known games journalist is a foul-mouthed comic with a penchant for yellow. It makes me feel that this is more or less a group of people who have never designed a video game telling people how they should be doing their job. However if I'm wrong on that, please feel free to educate me. But I still feel it would have been a more acceptable panel if someone on it had been an industry insider.
The perspective of the panel was meant to come from players - this is what we want from female characters, and this is what we are or are not getting. Having a developer on the panel to perhaps explain *why* certain things happened or didn't would have been great, absolutely, but the conversation was meant to come from those of us consuming the content.
 

jawakiller

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Here is the problem with female characters in games. If she's a light character, women say its sexist (even though I know many women that would fit that description perfectly) But if she is powerful they overdo it and then we're left with a ***** that is really difficult to like. So if the gaming industry could make a female that had some substance but didn't shove feminist bull shit down our throats every four seconds... We might actually be going somewhere. So lets make females who aren't porn stars or feminist propaganda.
 

Oro44

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(Apology in advance if some of this has been brought up, but its all alot to read through) Bringing up Dragon Age 2 seems to bring up strong feelings on the forum, but here goes. I have to give them props for having lesbian romance options that didn't feel like pure fan service. Mind you, it was nice to see, but the relationships at least went beyond sex. Secondly, a female character in some sexy little outfit is just fine if the character is well written and not some parody. Being that sexy while remaining a strong and believable character can be very empowering. I suppose its all subjective in the end, though. There are just some people out there, men and women, who are determined to be offended at something. I guess my bottom line here is that character is first, sexiness second. But when they come together in a mature way, its a hell of a thing.
 

aPod

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Sir John the Net Knight said:
Icehearted said:
Can't say I know anyone that thinks a black man with a bird's nest in his afro, or the boisterous token black they shoehorn into games like Gears of War were good ideas.
I think Sazh is a good character. But then I look beyond the afro with the bird in it to see he's actually well written and humanly relatable. You know that whole thing of being a scared father and being prejudiced against something he was always taught to hate.
I happen to agree with Sir John here. Sazh was a good character. He had an afro, big deal. I had an afro once yet i took no offence. Sazh's character and story were about a father doing everything in his power to find his son and protect him. Someone who did not succumb to revenge and shoot, was just an all around good guy.

If you take offence to something i feel that the problem lies with yourself. Even if something is meant to be blatantly disrespectful or mean spirited it's each of our decision to get upset or rise above it.

Anyone can find something to get upset about if they really want to. There are stereotypes every sex, weight, race, creed, and leprechaun.

I like how Susan put it, don't hate the game because of the way a character is, hate it because it's a crappy game. Paraphrasing of course...
 
Sep 24, 2008
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SnakeCL said:
Most of what I dislike has already been covered (talking about good and bad female characters, without actually defining what is good or bad about them, and even having conflicting hypocritical views on different characters), but mostly, the issue just seems to be "we want well written and crafted characters", male OR female.

There's also a certain double-standard that we see in videogame (and other) media. Namely, women are sexualized, and men are hyper-masculine. In many ways, having male characters who make the argument that you're ONLY a man if you're the object of every woman's desire, you have a chest like paving slabs, and you show no emotion or gallows humor, is just as bad as having shallow female characters devoted to eye candy. They both play on each gender's psychologically sensitive areas. Namely, that women don't want to be viewed as objects with boobs and bum, and men don't want to be viewed as inadequate for showing emotion, or not being strong or fast enough to accomplish a task.
This is a point that I think should be stressed. As a non white gamer, it's easy to go to the knee jerk 'NO ONE HAS WRITTEN MY EXPERIENCE IN THE WAY I'D LIKE!!!'. Honestly, I've been playing games since I was 6. I'm 30 now. There are just a handful of characters I can really relate to or even want to dissect more to get what they are about. And a lot of those times, it's more the experience than the person.

Case in Point, I am in love with the Silent Hill series. As with most lovers of the series, the Pinnacle to me was 2. James could not be any more of a bland person. Not if you made him out of mayo. But I would love to see how all these events and the realization of what he suppressed for so long would have done to his mind.

Anyway, back to the original point that most characters are just small stereotypes or caricatures of commonly held ideas. This very thread almost proves the reasons why characters nowadays haven't progressed to where they easily can reach nowadays. We, as gamers, are always going to bring our biases and perceptions to very game we play. Were people coming to FFXIII with the made up mind to hate on Lightning because she comes close to an overdrawn trope? No. But she still set them off regardless, blinding a few to the changing of the character. As far as I remember, the transformation of Lightning was not that subtle.

So why do it at all? Why not just make anime cliche 27 if Lightning will always be held to that and if 4 points out of 10 fit, we'll just call her anime cliche number 27? In this very forum, we have the Brink Trailer thread [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/6.271079-Trailers-Brink-A-Matter-of-Class-Trailer]. Count how many times people liken a class based shooter to TF2. And how many are willing to pass instead of keeping an open mind and ready to try something that is as new as it can be, with everything done under the sun.

As a black gamer, yeah, I KNOW there are horrible stereotypes that people (in this case, game designers) haven't gotten over. But there will have to come a time where we do not lump one for all. Nor overlook and pan a character or series by the 4 points out of 10 method.

If you ever researched Ivy Valentine's character, you would find a woman tortured beyond normal means. A Pawn to a power she dedicated herself to erase. A woman who used her vast alchemic knowledge to create a weapon to destroy what she considered to be true evil. That's not a dumb woman. She has been tortured, hounded, and had her very soul sucked from her, but she continued to fight.

But people see boobs in a dominatrix outfit. 4 out of 10.
 

4173

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Eico said:
God damn it.

Get over it, people.

Who gives a crap if characters with or without certain genitals behave a certain way or not? Does gender mean that much to you?

We're all human last I checked. What's with this obsession to group everyone by gender, colour, language and sexuality? Can you not see through the genitals? The colour? The choice of partner? Do those things mean so much to you that you feel it needed to spend hours and hours of your life talking about them, pointing them out and comparing them?

Sexism in its worst form.
I'm a little confused. That's sexism in its worst form?
 

Synonymous

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Ripley from the Aliens series of movies is a great example of a complex female character, because she acts strongly when her children are threatened without losing her femininity.

I agree that Ripley is a great female character, but I pause at the "without losing her femininity" line here. I'd like female characters to have the range and diversity that male characters are allowed; applying a "but is she feminine?" litmus test is limiting and narrow-minded. We can celebrate both our Ripleys and our Vasquezes. And our Lamberts as well, for that matter.

(Well, perhaps not our Lamberts, as that character was aggravating for reasons unrelated to gender, but you understand what I'm saying.)
 

Voltekker

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my problem with "Enslaved" was 1 horrid game play and 2 why does anyone need to be enslaved to begin with? Change the tittle of the game!
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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4173 said:
Eico said:
God damn it.

Get over it, people.

Who gives a crap if characters with or without certain genitals behave a certain way or not? Does gender mean that much to you?

We're all human last I checked. What's with this obsession to group everyone by gender, colour, language and sexuality? Can you not see through the genitals? The colour? The choice of partner? Do those things mean so much to you that you feel it needed to spend hours and hours of your life talking about them, pointing them out and comparing them?

Sexism in its worst form.
I'm a little confused. That's sexism in its worst form?
Yes.

Sexism is treating sexes differently. It works both ways.

Pointing out gender and acting as if it matters, making a deal of it, spending all this damn time singling out characters who we think have a vagina and assessing their worth as a real person. Equality has turned from 'we are all human beings' to 'I am female. You are male. We are different. That matters.' I couldn't care any less what your chromozones look like. You wanna go around shouting about how pressing the issue of gender is? Well, I guess we better start caring about skin colour again. What about hair colour after that? I mean, when was the last time a character that looked like me behaved in a way I want, damn it?! These things are important!

But seriously, sarcasm aside, let's get the hell over gender. We're all human. No one cares what your downstairs looks like. No one cares what your hair colour is. No one cares what your skin pigment is. Move on. Stop judging and looking at yourself and others in terms of penis or no penis, and start seeing us all for what we are: imperfectly perfect humans. All of us different, all of us brothers and sisters, none of it mattering.
 

4173

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Eico said:
4173 said:
Eico said:
God damn it.

Get over it, people.

Who gives a crap if characters with or without certain genitals behave a certain way or not? Does gender mean that much to you?

We're all human last I checked. What's with this obsession to group everyone by gender, colour, language and sexuality? Can you not see through the genitals? The colour? The choice of partner? Do those things mean so much to you that you feel it needed to spend hours and hours of your life talking about them, pointing them out and comparing them?

Sexism in its worst form.
I'm a little confused. That's sexism in its worst form?
Yes.

Sexism is treating sexes differently. It works both ways.

Pointing out gender and acting as if it matters, making a deal of it, spending all this damn time singling out characters who we think have a vagina and assessing their worth as a real person. Equality has turned from 'we are all human beings' to 'I am female. You are male. We are different. That matters.' I couldn't care any less what your chromozones look like. You wanna go around shouting about how pressing the issue of gender is? Well, I guess we better start caring about skin colour again. What about hair colour after that? I mean, when was the last time a character that looked like me behaved in a way I want, damn it?! These things are important!

But seriously, sarcasm aside, let's get the hell over gender. We're all human. No one cares what your downstairs looks like. No one cares what your hair colour is. No one cares what your skin pigment is. Move on. Stop judging and looking at yourself and others in terms of penis or no penis, and start seeing us all for what we are: imperfectly perfect humans. All of us different, all of us brothers and sisters, none of it mattering.
That wasn't my point. I thought the worst part of sexism would be something like honor killings, or domestic abuse (not uniquely male on female I know) or generally treating women as property to be bartered with. Seriously, complaining about the glass ceiling or Playboy doesn't really measure up.
 

Greg Tito

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Sep 29, 2005
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4173 said:
I thought the worst part of sexism would be something like honor killings
Not sexism. Stupidity.

4173 said:
Domestic abuse
Not sexism. Violence, anger and stupidity.

4173 said:
Treating women as property to be bartered with.
Treating women as property? Why women? Why not 'treating people as property'? Is the need to define people by their genitals that strong?

Sexism - it works both ways.
 

Mr0llivand3r

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Calatar said:
Mr0llivand3r said:
my biggest question is how did they fit that whole panel meeting in the kitchen? :p
Sometimes I wonder if tired jokes like these are counterproductive... I get the feeling that people end up believing stupid things like this merely because they're oft-repeated for the lulz.

I think if I were a woman I'd start to find it offensive and annoying after a while. As it is, I just find it annoying.
And I find people who can't take a joke to be annoying. The fact that people still take anything they see or hear on the internet seriously proves that they are overly-sensitive and whiny.

It's a joke. If I wanted to spread my opinion to an audience who doesn't give a shit, I would write lengthy paragraphs on an internet forum about a subject that's non-concrete and tell myself that what I'm saying is fact. You can't even make a joke anymore without someone getting pissed about it.
 

Greg Tito

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Sep 29, 2005
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Susan Arendt said:
The perspective of the panel was meant to come from players - this is what we want from female characters, and this is what we are or are not getting. Having a developer on the panel to perhaps explain *why* certain things happened or didn't would have been great, absolutely, but the conversation was meant to come from those of us consuming the content.
Awesome, how do I get on one of these panel things? Cause I have a ton of stuff to say about content as a consumer.
 

Calatar

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Mr0llivand3r said:
You can't even make a joke anymore without someone getting pissed about it.
EDIT: You can't even make an overused joke about systemic socially oppressive stereotypes without somebody finding it unfunny and obnoxious.

It was clear you were joking from your emoticon. But it's not funny since it ends up being made practically every time there's a discussion about gender roles. Maybe it would be funny if you were being even slightly original. I can take a joke, you just didn't MAKE one.
 

More Fun To Compute

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I'm not really seeing how making all characters have options to have sex with every other character advances female characterisation in games. It might attract more women who enjoy romance stories but other than that it seems a bit off as a strategy for characterisation in game development. I would like to see more RPGs like Skies of Arcadia that take the more old school interpretation of romance, as in adventure. In that game you can make choices for the male lead Vyse that are either bold and adventurous or sort of timid. It's like, you just have to spot the right option then both the female leads just sort of are like, hell yeah. I think that they missed an opportunity to have an option to flip the lead character from Vyse to Aika so she could have a cool dialogue choice, but hey, whatever. There is no way that the game could have been improved by having some sort of bizarre love triangle between Vyse, Fina and Aika.

I think that Susan is right to say that Yorda is a good character. She is weak, but you get the impression that she always does what she can to help, game AI aside. Is there something about some players that makes them think that she is a "useless *****" because she doesn't hit the shadow with sticks and can't jump far? I don't know. I think that they would react worse if Yorda was a boy. I don't really know, however, why Team ICO don't really consider a female protagonist option in games like ICO or their upcoming game, other than cost.
 

4173

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Eico said:
4173 said:
I thought the worst part of sexism would be something like honor killings
Not sexism. Stupidity.

4173 said:
Domestic abuse
Not sexism. Violence, anger and stupidity.

4173 said:
Treating women as property to be bartered with.
Treating women as property? Why women? Why not 'treating people as property'? Is the need to define people by their genitals that strong?

Sexism - it works both ways.
You're making some fine distinction that I just can't grasp. Absolutely sexism goes both ways, but we are talking about which sex has it worst currently, and throughout history.

As near as I can tell, your claim is complaining about sexy women in video games is worse than denying women the chance to go to school or vote (among other things).

You say sexism is treating the sexes differently, and then handwave away cases of the sexes being treated differently as "stupidity." I really don't get where you're going with this.
 
Nov 5, 2007
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Mr0llivand3r said:
Calatar said:
Mr0llivand3r said:
my biggest question is how did they fit that whole panel meeting in the kitchen? :p
Sometimes I wonder if tired jokes like these are counterproductive... I get the feeling that people end up believing stupid things like this merely because they're oft-repeated for the lulz.

I think if I were a woman I'd start to find it offensive and annoying after a while. As it is, I just find it annoying.
And I find people who can't take a joke to be annoying. The fact that people still take anything they see or hear on the internet seriously proves that they are overly-sensitive and whiny.
Or, you know, we are able of basic human emotions (*gasp* even on the internet *gasp*), and people like you are kind of acting like jerks by making the same tired jokes that are made so often you have to wonder if theyr are still jokes or if people actually believe them.
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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Okay this is only because I am indeed a horrible person. But my first thought was "Oh man. How hilarious would it be if when the crowd left there were trays of sandwiches waiting for them."
Hell, I would make the sandwiches myself and leave them there just for the awesomeness of that joke.

Anyway I have never really cared about everyones hatred of Ivy. She is a sexual character and uses it as a weapon. But it is nice to hear that women are not just hating attractive female characters because they are attractive. Always brings up the point that men in games are totally not realistic as well.
 

Greg Tito

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Sep 29, 2005
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4173 said:
Eico said:
4173 said:
I thought the worst part of sexism would be something like honor killings
Not sexism. Stupidity.

4173 said:
Domestic abuse
Not sexism. Violence, anger and stupidity.

4173 said:
Treating women as property to be bartered with.
Treating women as property? Why women? Why not 'treating people as property'? Is the need to define people by their genitals that strong?

Sexism - it works both ways.
You're making some fine distinction that I just can't grasp. Absolutely sexism goes both ways, but we are talking about which sex has it worst currently, and throughout history.

As near as I can tell, your claim is complaining about sexy women in video games is worse than denying women the chance to go to school or vote (among other things).

You say sexism is treating the sexes differently, and then handwave away cases of the sexes being treated differently as "stupidity." I really don't get where you're going with this.
You're looking at this from a gender aspect; rather than 'person', to you it's 'woman'.

My gripe is with people who see others as their sex.
 

4173

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Eico said:
4173 said:
Eico said:
4173 said:
I thought the worst part of sexism would be something like honor killings
Not sexism. Stupidity.

4173 said:
Domestic abuse
Not sexism. Violence, anger and stupidity.

4173 said:
Treating women as property to be bartered with.
Treating women as property? Why women? Why not 'treating people as property'? Is the need to define people by their genitals that strong?

Sexism - it works both ways.
You're making some fine distinction that I just can't grasp. Absolutely sexism goes both ways, but we are talking about which sex has it worst currently, and throughout history.

As near as I can tell, your claim is complaining about sexy women in video games is worse than denying women the chance to go to school or vote (among other things).

You say sexism is treating the sexes differently, and then handwave away cases of the sexes being treated differently as "stupidity." I really don't get where you're going with this.
You're looking at this from a gender aspect; rather than 'person', to you it's 'woman'.

My gripe is with people who see others as their sex.
I'm really only objecting to what you characterized as the WORST. I really can't see complaining about sexy game art as worse than people being killed or treated as sub-humans because of their sex.
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
12,070
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4173 said:
Eico said:
4173 said:
Eico said:
4173 said:
I thought the worst part of sexism would be something like honor killings
Not sexism. Stupidity.

4173 said:
Domestic abuse
Not sexism. Violence, anger and stupidity.

4173 said:
Treating women as property to be bartered with.
Treating women as property? Why women? Why not 'treating people as property'? Is the need to define people by their genitals that strong?

Sexism - it works both ways.
You're making some fine distinction that I just can't grasp. Absolutely sexism goes both ways, but we are talking about which sex has it worst currently, and throughout history.

As near as I can tell, your claim is complaining about sexy women in video games is worse than denying women the chance to go to school or vote (among other things).

You say sexism is treating the sexes differently, and then handwave away cases of the sexes being treated differently as "stupidity." I really don't get where you're going with this.
You're looking at this from a gender aspect; rather than 'person', to you it's 'woman'.

My gripe is with people who see others as their sex.
I'm really only objecting to what you characterized as the WORST. I really can't see complaining about sexy game art as worse than people being killed or treated as sub-humans because of their sex.
One in the same to me. Treating someone as their sex is just so god damn stupid. An entire panel sitting around talking about what characters with a vagina they like and dislike? Why not 'what charters we like'?

Like I said, it's one in the same to me. Just like murdering a murderer is still murder. Sure, one feels a lot less... major(?) but they are both murder.
 

4173

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Eico said:
4173 said:
Eico said:
4173 said:
Eico said:
4173 said:
I thought the worst part of sexism would be something like honor killings
Not sexism. Stupidity.

4173 said:
Domestic abuse
Not sexism. Violence, anger and stupidity.

4173 said:
Treating women as property to be bartered with.
Treating women as property? Why women? Why not 'treating people as property'? Is the need to define people by their genitals that strong?

Sexism - it works both ways.
You're making some fine distinction that I just can't grasp. Absolutely sexism goes both ways, but we are talking about which sex has it worst currently, and throughout history.

As near as I can tell, your claim is complaining about sexy women in video games is worse than denying women the chance to go to school or vote (among other things).

You say sexism is treating the sexes differently, and then handwave away cases of the sexes being treated differently as "stupidity." I really don't get where you're going with this.
You're looking at this from a gender aspect; rather than 'person', to you it's 'woman'.

My gripe is with people who see others as their sex.
I'm really only objecting to what you characterized as the WORST. I really can't see complaining about sexy game art as worse than people being killed or treated as sub-humans because of their sex.
One in the same to me. Treating someone as their sex is just so god damn stupid. An entire panel sitting around talking about what characters with a vagina they like and dislike? Why not 'what charters we like'?

Like I said, it's one in the same to me. Just like murdering a murderer is still murder. Sure, one feels a lot less... major(?) but they are both murder.
Hmm, I think I see the distinction you're making. I don't think I could agree, but you no longer look insane either. You're only judging a certain type of thinking, and not the outcomes from that thinking, right?
 

Dragunai

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Feb 5, 2007
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You want to start making videogames where the lead females arent walking around in bikini's showing off more flesh than a mall full of butchers?

Take away any and every gaming license owned by the Japanese.
Maybe then we will stop seeing 12yr old looking "19yr old" girls in miniskirts more resembling belts with their panties showing every time you jump on a ledge.

Just to clarify, I like the Japanese, I like "legal" chicks in skimpy clothes.
I was just providing some insight into how to fix the problem ^_^
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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4173 said:
Eico said:
4173 said:
Eico said:
4173 said:
Eico said:
4173 said:
I thought the worst part of sexism would be something like honor killings
Not sexism. Stupidity.

4173 said:
Domestic abuse
Not sexism. Violence, anger and stupidity.

4173 said:
Treating women as property to be bartered with.
Treating women as property? Why women? Why not 'treating people as property'? Is the need to define people by their genitals that strong?

Sexism - it works both ways.
You're making some fine distinction that I just can't grasp. Absolutely sexism goes both ways, but we are talking about which sex has it worst currently, and throughout history.

As near as I can tell, your claim is complaining about sexy women in video games is worse than denying women the chance to go to school or vote (among other things).

You say sexism is treating the sexes differently, and then handwave away cases of the sexes being treated differently as "stupidity." I really don't get where you're going with this.
You're looking at this from a gender aspect; rather than 'person', to you it's 'woman'.

My gripe is with people who see others as their sex.
I'm really only objecting to what you characterized as the WORST. I really can't see complaining about sexy game art as worse than people being killed or treated as sub-humans because of their sex.
One in the same to me. Treating someone as their sex is just so god damn stupid. An entire panel sitting around talking about what characters with a vagina they like and dislike? Why not 'what charters we like'?

Like I said, it's one in the same to me. Just like murdering a murderer is still murder. Sure, one feels a lot less... major(?) but they are both murder.
Hmm, I think I see the distinction you're making. I don't think I could agree, but you no longer look insane either. You're only judging a certain type of thinking, and not the outcomes from that thinking, right?
Exactly.

To me -

Beating a person because of their chromozones = insanely stupid.
Seeing people as their sex (or skin colour, or sexual preference etc.) = insanely stupid.

Beating a person because of their chromozones = brutal, violent, unforgivable.
Seeing people as their sex (or skin colour, or sexual preference etc.) = pointless, silly, inane.

They are both as illogical and silly as the other, but one is obviously much more harmful and devastating.

I find it hard to word things like this at times. Sorry.
 

Jennacide

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Dec 6, 2007
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This was a great discussion, so glad to see so many of my own beliefs being mentioned. I love that they actually defended Lara Croft, since I've personally had someone ask why I don't hate her. I never used to be big on her, but regardless of appearance she's not a bad character. She's the female Indiana Jones, a series I love, and has had some damn fine games. In particular Guardian of Light is a BLAST.

I sorta agree and disagree on the discussion about Yuna though. If you only count FFX, she was a decent character, but FFX-2 screwed that up. But if you want to pull an example from FF, and this one more so shows why Lightning was awful, is Ashe. She wasn't helpless, she wasn't a badass. She had to struggle with what she wanted for herself and what she needed to do for Dalmasca.

As for the discussion about how characters, not just females, need to be characterized better, and someone said they wanted to see a game where it was well done, I can only say this: Half-life 2. Well done females in Alyx and Mossman, and there are OTHER RACES without ever calling attention to it. Yeah, there are no noticeably gay characters, but that's one that's really hard to pull off without being offensive, as if it's done right you have no idea at all. For all we know Barney could be gay, as he seems to have a sort of man crush on Gordon. And if he is, it's never clearly stated, which is one of the best ways to do it.

Oh, and super thumbs up for mentioning Howl's Moving Castle. Easily my favorite Miyazaki film next to Princess Mononoke.