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  • Avatar ImageKatie D, a level 7 monster with 11 posts — 1 year, 3 months ago:

    This is one experience that frustrates me with games: when I cannot choose a female character that I like and with whom I identify.

    I know not all women are bothered by it, and I can get over it if the game is good enough, but I get cranky when I can’t choose what looks like a strong female character to play. In fact, in games where I build a party of characters, I inevitably gravitate toward putting as many women in the group as I can. Something about that just makes me happy, like, here is an example in storytelling where a group of women are making something great happen!

    My advice to developers who want to make me, personally, be interested in their game:
    - Include several female characters.
    - Let at least one or two of them be “normal” in appearance, or as evidently interested in the goals of the game as the male characters, rather than primarily interested to bag a man at the earliest opportunity (yes, I’m saying, give me options with a higher neckline).
    - Don’t make either rugged manliness or huge cleavage the largest focus of your main advertisements and cover art.

    Personally, I don’t mind if there are a few more traditionally “sexy” characters, as long as they don’t make up the whole female cast.

    I’m curious what other women gamers or game developers think, or if anyone with industry knowledge/experience thinks this is too impractical in some cases.

  • Avatar ImageLorraine Hopping, a level 7 monster with 190 posts — 1 year, 3 months ago:

    I am bothered by it and second your suggestions. Ditto comic books.

    Maybe a little off-topic but this reminds me of a dilemma for a Shakespeare board game I developed (The Play’s the Thing). The playing pieces were famous actors of the day, as the game was intended to be realistic. in the era, all the actors were male, white. (Males played female roles.) One teacher told us, flat out, that he couldn’t use the game in his classroom unless we had an equal balance of females and people of color. What to do?

    • Avatar Image
      Katie D · 1 year, 3 months ago· REPLY · Flag

      That’s part of why I like science fiction and purely fantasy stories, sometimes — there’s no inherent quandary between historical accuracy and including strong women in the story.

      I think the solution depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. To brainstorm…

      For teaching history as accurately as possible, you could possibly mitigate the effect by having an explanatory blurb in the instructions/introduction, like, ”Back in those days, they hadn’t figured out that women are capable people, and since nobody had cars, they didn’t know anyone from other cultures.” Or something to that effect. Tell the history, but spin it as outdated.

      If your goal is making everyone exposed and enabled in getting into theater or an appreciation thereof, perhaps it is better to change the story. You could have the explanatory blurb in the introduction, but this time explaining why it’s not quite historically accurate. Possibly make spoofy names that resemble the original actors if you’re still wanting to form a degree of name recognition.

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        Lorraine Hopping · 1 year, 3 months ago· REPLY · Flag

        Thanks, Katie, for your input. We initially chose door #1 (disclaimer, maintain accuracy), which included the game board art and cards, along with the playing pieces. Prototype testing and feedback led us to reconsider and, in retrospect, I think I made an unsatisfactory compromise. We couldn’t change the board/cards (too deep into production), but we made the playing pieces actors of the Restoration, a generation or so later, and included real male/female actors (with explanation in the guide, still no minorities).

        Now, I wish we had stuck with door #1 or (hadn’t considered), your door #2–just get satirical.

        It’s an interesting issue that comes up, again and again, in publishing. I’ve done a lot of science writing, and there just aren’t enough women and minority scientists out there.

  • Avatar ImageNick Nielsen, a level 7 monster with 4 posts — 1 year, 3 months ago:

    I think that you make a point that has been said before yet is worth saying again and again till the devs listen. Basically, developing for the hyper-masculine (in belief structure, at least) alienates feminine and even less masculine market shares.

    That said, I think its also important to honor those who do well. Jade from “Beyond Good and Evil” was an very empowering female figure in gaming, and the game just got an HD remaster and release to Xbox marketplace. Also, Bioware tends to follow the pattern of having one unnecissarily sexy (at least in appearance) character to “sell the game” (Morrigan, Miranda for example) then having mature, well rounded characters for the rest of the game (Aveline from Dragon Age 2 seems like a great example).

    I feel its important to open dialogue with developers to let them know not just when they do something that displeases you, but also something that pleases you. And if all else fails, be the change you want to be (or in this case, make the kind of game that you would want to play!)

    • Avatar Image
      Katie D · 1 year, 3 months ago· REPLY · Flag

      Agree! Jade is awesome, and Bioware does a good job in providing a selection of different characters, as well as letting you customize your protagonist.

      I also like Lucca in Chrono Trigger, and hence the borrowed fanart from for the group icon. Who better than a brilliant female inventor character, to represent women in games, and a community for game development? (Of course, when I was younger, I always loved Marle best. What was I thinking? Darn princess syndrome…) That was also the first game I can remember playing where you can eventually choose to run around with an all-female party, which was fantastic.

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      Tabby · 1 year, 3 months ago· REPLY · Flag

      You know, I have a small beef with Bioware in particular. They are good in that they let you design your main character to be female and look however you like, and act (somewhat) however you like. BUT – have you EVER seen an ad for Dragon Age or Mass Effect where they portray the Grey Warden or Shepard as a woman? I haven’t, and it always feels like such a deep blow, knowing that Bioware doesn’t actually consider my demographic important enough to market to commercially.

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