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#1 | Back to Top02-19-2013 06:10:49 PM

Nova
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Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

(Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Hi IRG! Has anyone else been dismayed or put off by the lack of a female option for the protagonist in some video games?

For example, I've got in my Steam account Crysis (which is a gorgeous game) and Spec Ops: The Line, and despite the latter being a very short game and the former being very fun to play, I have lost all momentum and never bothered to finish either one. They sit in my installed games list, taunting me, yet I can't muster the will to click on them and continue. In each game, somewhere along the way I simply got tired of being Dude Broguy, man among men. I lost all ability to identify with the character, and lost all desire to carry on.

Does this happen to anyone else, or am I just too demanding? Seriously, how hard would it really be for the developers to go into Maya and make a model for a female nano suit (Crysis) and have the voice actors do a second reading of their lines for those situations where they address the protagonist by name or refer to gender? It's not twice as much work and twice as many lines of dialogue. It's just a little more 3-D modeling and a few more lines. And yet so many software companies don't even bother. It's so lazy.

What brought this to mind is that Steam are selling the Deus Ex titles on a steep discount, and as much fun as the game looks, I just can't be arsed to step into the cybernetically-augmented boots of Adam Jensen. Not even for five measly bucks.

Anyone else?


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#2 | Back to Top02-19-2013 06:25:59 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6031
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Dude Broguy is a crappy name for a male protagonist anyway. Sounds like they didn't put a lot of thought into their games.



...okay, serious answer, yes I get sick of it too, but it seems a bit less prevalent in the sword and sorcery-ish games I tend toward. Also, I'm playing loads of indie games lately, and so far it seems like their protagonists lean more toward female unless there's a story reason why it has to be a male.


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#3 | Back to Top02-19-2013 10:46:53 PM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4412

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Team Fortress 2.


LOVE IT.


But despite a respectable chunk of its fanbase being female, all nine classes are male.  You could argue that the homoerotic subtext that results from the all-male teams may play a part in why there is such a sizable female presence in the fandom, but I don't think it explains why so many girls love the game.  As in, female fans participate heavily in the fandom aspect of the game due to teh slash, but just as with any game, they gravitate towards the game itself because, CRAZY, they like the game.  Would it be such a big deal to have a female class? 


Weird how this all makes Pokemon look progressive.  HOW TEH FUCK.

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#4 | Back to Top02-19-2013 10:56:27 PM

Valeli
Thorn of Death
Registered: 12-05-2006
Posts: 481
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Reminds me of that article i saw on (nbc? tv? somewhere?) awhile back of this dad who programmed subtitles into one of the zelda games he played as his infant daughter watched along, and turned link into a she through them since his daughter was under the impression that's what s/he was, and he wanted her to be able to identify better for more father-baby girl quality (i guess) bonding time. It was pretty cute.

As far as games I play, I don't play too many now but when I did - and the ones I did - usually had female characters/classes, if in somewhat cliched and stereotypical ways. This is mostly because the only game I ever spent much time on back in college was an MMO, and character customization in those is fairly required. Even before that though, way back with Diablo I and II, there were female classes around. So I guess I'm with Yasha on this, and it's less prevalent in fantasy-ish games. The only other game I ever spent much time playing was Goldeneye on the N64, and the lack of a female lead there was, well, sort of a given.

Just in general though, I agree with you. I find the whole Dude Broguy thing a bit off-putting. Or at least, that's how the characters appear to me as someone who doesn't really get involved with the games. Partly because I don't find the characters appealing (but mostly because I have no free time ;;). I don't think it would take a lot of effort to get better characters in terms of gender, but in other meaningful ways as well. Actually... maybe it would take effort to make them more meaningful in other ways. But gender options are a fairly easy fix.

Last edited by Valeli (02-19-2013 10:57:39 PM)

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#5 | Back to Top02-19-2013 11:28:24 PM

Rosesareawesome101
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
From: Brisbane
Registered: 10-31-2012
Posts: 194

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Its the same for me in regards to shoujo manga/anime, Shoujo kakumei Utena was the only shoujo anime I was able to get into.

The Gaming industry these days thinks that most of it demographics is 13-30 year old males, it rare to find a video game out there that appeals to a female and even if they tried to appeal to female, it ether trash that try's way too hard to appeal to a female demographic like Barbie games or if the game has a female protagonist, they objectified the shit out of her to the point that its completely sexist like Samus(Metroid other M) or Lara craft(2013 reboot); Even when games have a female, it does't have a huge impact on her dialogue in game so it for female and male gamers to be invested in the story from a female perspective.
And that my perspective on the gaming industry's view on the demographic(from a male perspective).

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#6 | Back to Top02-19-2013 11:45:35 PM

Nova
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Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Rosesareawesome101 wrote:

And that my perspective on the gaming industry's view on the demographic(from a male perspective).

Well first off, cheers for being annoyed at the portrayal of Samus in Other M. That was some weaksauce bullshit for sure. The way her character of a badass bounty hunter was discarded and a stereotypical "Japanese story-telling"* insecure/conflicted female character was put into her place was, to put it mildly, disappointing.

Of course, it's Team Ninja, so what should anyone expect? emot-rolleyes

Sexism hurts men, too, so I'm aiming this follow-up question at you. If you don't want to answer, that's cool. What's your take on the stereotypically macho male characters, particularly the sort in shooters? I feel like it's an insult to men to assume that the men best suited for combat are necessarily chest-pounding one-dimensional grunty types, and it sells men short. The most elite special operatives in our military, for example, are the opposite of that stereotype: they're cautious, plan carefully, and do their job--admittedly a job where bullets are placed inside heads--with the precision and focus of a team of surgeons. Brash thrill seekers are frowned upon, because they tend to attract the wrong sort of attention to themselves and their squad mates. So, long question short, when you encounter a game where the protagonist is Dude Broguy, the model of a modern major musclehead, does it alienate you as much as it does me?




(* Oh come on, you know it's true. Anyone who's into anime or manga should have noticed the abundance of this particular sort of character by now.)

Last edited by Nova (02-19-2013 11:46:58 PM)


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#7 | Back to Top02-20-2013 12:25:44 AM

Rosesareawesome101
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
From: Brisbane
Registered: 10-31-2012
Posts: 194

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Nova wrote:

Rosesareawesome101 wrote:

And that my perspective on the gaming industry's view on the demographic(from a male perspective).

Well first off, cheers for being annoyed at the portrayal of Samus in Other M. That was some weaksauce bullshit for sure. The way her character of a badass bounty hunter was discarded and a stereotypical "Japanese story-telling"* insecure/conflicted female character was put into her place was, to put it mildly, disappointing.

Of course, it's Team Ninja, so what should anyone expect? emot-rolleyes

Sexism hurts men, too, so I'm aiming this follow-up question at you. If you don't want to answer, that's cool. What's your take on the stereotypically macho male characters, particularly the sort in shooters? I feel like it's an insult to men to assume that the men best suited for combat are necessarily chest-pounding one-dimensional grunty types, and it sells men short. The most elite special operatives in our military, for example, are the opposite of that stereotype: they're cautious, plan carefully, and do their job--admittedly a job where bullets are placed inside heads--with the precision and focus of a team of surgeons. Brash thrill seekers are frowned upon, because they tend to attract the wrong sort of attention to themselves and their squad mates. So, long question short, when you encounter a game where the protagonist is Dude Broguy, the model of a modern major musclehead, does it alienate you as much as it does me?




(* Oh come on, you know it's true. Anyone who's into anime or manga should have noticed the abundance of this particular sort of character by now.)

Well in regards to Dudebro characters(Neogaf term), I Don't personally care about it from a male perspective but I think the stereotype is ruining a lot of western games these days, I can't find a game made in the west these day that attempted to move away from this modern archetype; plus they almost look the same:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e … ar_III.jpg
http://img.vidaextra.com/original/23248.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9Vmychl1Yds/T … rd%2Ba.jpg
Marcus fenix probably has the worst and most uninspired character design out of the 3 examples I showed.
*Shounen anime had this kind of problem too, in most anime adapted from shounen manga, most male protagonist are Dense, Idealistic, Marcho and kind of a idiot: what I'm describing is essentially every shounen jump protagonist since Dragon ball Z*, I'm bloody glad Revolutionary Girl Utena deconstructed this archetype.

(*you don't really reply to this part of the post, it just some I want to mention in relation to the subject)

Off-topic: I want to get into sailor moon S and the other seasons directed by Kunihiko Ikunara, Should I watch the first season just for backstory or should I just skip to Sailor moon S where Ikuni started directing because I'm watching it as a fan of Utena and Penguindrum?

Last edited by Yasha (02-27-2013 12:49:05 PM)

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#8 | Back to Top02-20-2013 03:44:03 AM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6031
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Rosesareawesome101 wrote:

Images

Hey there, please make sure those images are on your own hosting, like a photobucket account or something. Leeching images gives you bad internet karma.


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#9 | Back to Top02-20-2013 04:10:40 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

I dunno, Roses; is it fair to call out Mass Effect on this one?  Unlike the industry standard male shooter guy, Mass Effect protagonists are expressive and have emotions other than "angry" and "bored."  Moreover, everyone knows that Shepard is a girl.  emot-rolleyes

Likewise, Nova, I'm not sure if Spec Ops: The Line is the right example for the (totally valid) point you're trying to make.  I haven't played it, but its reputation is unusual: it masquerades as a genre shooter, but is actually intensely deconstructive.   If you want to use a game to critique a genre, you start by inhabiting that genre.  You can't deconstruct Dudebro unless Dudebro is in your game -- so naturally you don't let the player pick a female character.

I also would like to see more video games that allow you to choose your character's gender.  In fact, I would like that to be the default way games are designed -- as it already is in MMORPGs and western RPGs in general.  But I'm willing to give deference to a developer who feels that denying the player this choice is appropriate for some artistic reason or other.  (Besides deconstruction and parody, there is also the kind of character-centered game where you are trying to tell a specific person's story, and that person's gender is part of that story.)

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#10 | Back to Top02-20-2013 07:44:03 AM

Pinchi
Miki Molester
From: Santiago, Chile
Registered: 02-12-2013
Posts: 30

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

I also get annoyed about the lack of female protagonists in games. Also, whenever I play a game that satisfy this condition, the female isn't realistic or isn't well developed and I can't connect with her at all (either she's too easy to get scared or she's too girly or idiot, etc). However, there are (fortunately) some games with exceptions like Final Fantasy XIII, Resident Evil, Valkyrie Profile, etc.

Rosesareawesome101 wrote:
Its the same for me in regards to shoujo manga/anime, Shoujo kakumei Utena was the only shoujo anime I was able to get into.

That's entirely true for me too.

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#11 | Back to Top02-20-2013 09:41:55 AM

Valeli
Thorn of Death
Registered: 12-05-2006
Posts: 481
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

What's your take on the stereotypically macho male characters, particularly the sort in shooters?

I just want to clarify my earlier post by saying that, while I find the ubiquity of these characters a bit off putting, I don't have any problem with them here or there as such. They may be sterotypes, but they're real people too. And they make can make for amusing stories/action in their own right now and then. I mean, I've saw my fair chunk of 90's action movies back in the day, and had no problem with those.

Based on the one special ops guy I know plus common sense, I'll agree with your assessment of them. But a game called Command Control and Communications probably won't be quite as much fun to run through as a more sterotypical shoot-em-up. Not that you couldn't make an interesting game but.... if you just want some quick "light hearted" fair, there's nothing wrong with that. I never played CoD or any of those, but they seem popular, so they must be delivering well in some regard.

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#12 | Back to Top02-20-2013 11:53:07 AM

Nova
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Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

satyreyes wrote:

I dunno, Roses; is it fair to call out Mass Effect on this one?  Unlike the industry standard male shooter guy, Mass Effect protagonists are expressive and have emotions other than "angry" and "bored."  Moreover, everyone knows that Shepard is a girl.  emot-rolleyes

I think Roses is using the marketing version of the male Shepard in his example, and that's valid. The guy on the front of the tin, in the demo videos, on the website, and so on, are all that guy. (When they use the male Shepard, that is.) In the marketing material, there's never a male Shepard who looks like Dan Ackroyd, Will Smith, George Clooney, Christopher Walken, or Satyreyes.

Likewise, Nova, I'm not sure if Spec Ops: The Line is the right example for the (totally valid) point you're trying to make.  I haven't played it, but its reputation is unusual: it masquerades as a genre shooter, but is actually intensely deconstructive.   If you want to use a game to critique a genre, you start by inhabiting that genre.  You can't deconstruct Dudebro unless Dudebro is in your game -- so naturally you don't let the player pick a female character.

That's a valid point, and it dovetails with the design choice in games where the story is about one particular person, so it has to be that person. That said, that person is a guy way too frequently.

Which is what you say here:

I'm willing to give deference to a developer who feels that denying the player this choice is appropriate for some artistic reason or other.  (Besides deconstruction and parody, there is also the kind of character-centered game where you are trying to tell a specific person's story, and that person's gender is part of that story.)

The developer has to be comfortable with alienating a large chunk of their potential audience in this case, and as I mentioned before, this artistic choice is overwhelmingly male-biased. For every female-only protagonist game you can name, I can easily reel off ten male-only games.

Yasha wrote:

Rosesareawesome101 wrote:

Images

Hey there, please make sure those images are on your own hosting, like a photobucket account or something. Leeching images gives you bad internet karma.

When I had my own domain, I would watch for leeched images, then replace the file with an identically-named shock image. After a few days I would follow the referral back to the source, usually a forum thread. Hilarity almost always had ensued.

Last edited by Nova (02-20-2013 12:46:37 PM)


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#13 | Back to Top02-20-2013 01:33:08 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Nova wrote:

I think Roses is using the marketing version of the male Shepard in his example, and that's valid. The guy on the front of the tin, in the demo videos, on the website, and so on, are all that guy. (When they use the male Shepard, that is.) In the marketing material, there's never a male Shepard who looks like Dan Ackroyd, Will Smith, George Clooney, Christopher Walken, or Satyreyes.

Strictly on the basis of marketing, I agree, but it seems to me that that's a different discussion from whether there are too many (or too macho) male protagonists in games.  As games, the Mass Effect series is a pretty progressive franchise, though not totally without problems.  You have a protagonist who can be male or female, gay or straight or bi (with multiple relationship choices for each by the last game), callous or sensitive -- and any one of these people can save the galaxy from mass extinction.  If the problem is that video game protagonists are always the same dude, Mass Effect is part of the solution, not part of the problem.  The fact that a game like Mass Effect can be published by EA gives me hope for the future.

That said?  Yeah.  One reason my Shep is a woman is that I related to the female character model better than I related to the male one.  I don't hold this against EA; there is only one torso for each gender, and it seems acceptable to me that if there is only one male torso for a game in which the protagonist is a soldier then it should be beefy.  But it would be nice, without shaking my fist at Mass Effect in particular, to see male bodies in games that I could inhabit.

I wrote:

I'm willing to give deference to a developer who feels that denying the player this choice is appropriate for some artistic reason or other.  (Besides deconstruction and parody, there is also the kind of character-centered game where you are trying to tell a specific person's story, and that person's gender is part of that story.)

Nova wrote:

The developer has to be comfortable with alienating a large chunk of their potential audience in this case, and as I mentioned before, this artistic choice is overwhelmingly male-biased. For every female-only protagonist game you can name, I can easily reel off ten male-only games.

Yes, the asymmetry is pronounced, especially in certain genres.  And it would be naive for me to say that a developer decides what "specific person's story" to tell in a vacuum; if the developer team is predominantly male and they think their target audience is predominantly male, they are much more likely to tell the story of a man or boy than of a woman or girl.  I would give deference to them nevertheless.  The problem is that, while I can criticize the body of games as a whole for not having enough female protagonists in character-driven stories, I can't point at a specific game and say "here, this one should have been about a woman instead of a man."  The artistic vision of any particular game belongs to its developer.  If I've got a great idea for a game, I don't want to abandon it because it requires a male protagonist and there are too many of those already.

The flip side of this is that, if a developer team actually did sit down and say "hey, starting from scratch, can we write a game about a woman?", then they could discover an enormous and rich set of compelling stories that haven't been told yet.  In fact, often, all that would be required is for a team to ask the question -- at any point in development! -- "does this character really have to be a man, or should it be a woman, or could we let the player decide?"  It's easy for me to imagine that there was some dev version of the Portal design document where it was assumed that the protagonist would be male, and then someone asked that question, and realized that the relationship between the protagonist and antagonist would be funnier and more involving if she were female instead.  Or that it seems symbolically interesting for the protagonist of a game where guns shoot doors instead of bullets to be female.  Developers should ask this question for every game they write, even if the answer turns out to be that the protagonist really ought to be male.

Last edited by satyreyes (02-20-2013 01:34:29 PM)

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#14 | Back to Top02-20-2013 02:31:17 PM

Nova
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Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

satyreyes wrote:

The flip side of this is that, if a developer team actually did sit down and say "hey, starting from scratch, can we write a game about a woman?", then they could discover an enormous and rich set of compelling stories that haven't been told yet.

You're an optimist. Frankly, I don't trust developers as a group to do this. I don't want a bunch of men who have been writing games about men for men to suddenly write a game about a woman for women, because I think they'll fuck it up miserably. I present Metroid: Other M as just one example. Team Ninja were all about making games for men, as seen in their rich heritage of making fighting games which feature women with spectacular boob physics, and then building on that rich heritage of storytelling and model-building to make a beach volleyball/dating sim. With spectacular boob physics.

Baby steps, man, baby steps. Let's start simple: In Crysis, make a female protagonist. It's not hard. Make one more 3-D model in Maya, and record a handful of lines of dialogue in the booth. Don't even bother to change the story. The story of an elite soldier stranded all alone behind enemy lines on a mission that went tits-up, and then fighting an alien menace that provides an existential thread to humanity doesn't have to be a guy story-- especially since the protagonist's main feature is an exo-suit that makes the soldier faster, stronger, stealthier, more resistant to pain and bullets, and so on. A woman would be just as stealthy, tough, and shooty in such a suit.

Or Call of Medal of Battlefield of Black Ops Honor Duty, 5: the various multiplayer mode models are just a bunch of interchangeable men in digital camo, body armor, face paint, and a helmet. Aside from having real-looking locations and gear, the multiplayer games are absolutely not realistic in any meaningful way. Real soldiers don't regenerate health by crouching behind a waist-high wall, respawn after being killed, or quick-scope with the sniper rifle. (Or get points for standing within 15 feet of a blue flag.) So why not have one (or a few even!) female characters in digital camo, body armor, face paint, and a helmet? There's no story to be told, so there's literally no worry about the narrative. Again, it's so simple and obvious. (Edit: this is a pre-emptive response to those who say women should not be in military-skinned shooters because in the Amurrican Army, women are not allowed to be 11B infantry.)

I don't think a third or fourth or ninety-third example is necessary, so I'll limit myself to two for now.

In fact, often, all that would be required is for a team to ask the question -- at any point in development! -- "does this character really have to be a man, or should it be a woman, or could we let the player decide?"  It's easy for me to imagine that there was some dev version of the Portal design document where it was assumed that the protagonist would be male, and then someone asked that question, and realized that the relationship between the protagonist and antagonist would be funnier and more involving if she were female instead.  Or that it seems symbolically interesting for the protagonist of a game where guns shoot doors instead of bullets to be female.  Developers should ask this question for every game they write, even if the answer turns out to be that the protagonist really ought to be male.

The question's not being asked, and it should. It should be asked every time.

Last edited by Nova (02-20-2013 02:38:56 PM)


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#15 | Back to Top02-20-2013 02:57:25 PM

purplepolecat
Atlantean Singer
From: Vancouver, B.C.
Registered: 03-26-2007
Posts: 570

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

I agree with the general premise of this thread. I can't say I'm really that upset when I get forced to play the BroDude character, but I really appreciate it when I get a choice. I also like to play as a female character whenever possible, because a) I play a guy IRL and it gets boring, and b) on-screen eye candy.

So, combining my PS3 and Steam games, I have attempted to categorize my collection:

Games that are good at giving the player choices, and/or have strong female playable characters:

Resident Evil series
Valkyria Chonicles
Mass Effect series
Borderlands (1 chick, and a choice of guy characters ranging from wiry to hulk)
Rock Band
Left 4 Dead series
Tekken series
Folklore
Portal series
Bayonetta
Fatal Frame series
Sports Champions
Mirror's Edge
Siren & Siren: Blood Curse

Games that don't have a lot of choice, but are BroDude-free:

Silent Hill series
Ico/Shadow of the Colossus
Tokyo Jungle
Catherine
Heavy Rain
Flower
Katamari series
The Walking Dead
The Binding Of Isaac
Limbo
Amnesia TDD

Borderline BroDude:

Bioshock series (?)
Metal Gear Solid series
Yakuza series
The Darkness II
Red Dead Redemption
The Chronicles of Riddick
Deus Ex: HR
Half Life series
Batman AA/AC

100% BroDude :

F.E.A.R. series
God Of War series
Doom series
Wolfenstein
Dead Space series
DeathSpank (parody)
Unreal Tournament
Just Cause 2 (parody)
Day Of Defeat
War of the Roses

So although I probably have an atypical taste in games, it's not looking too bad.

Last edited by purplepolecat (02-20-2013 03:08:38 PM)


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#16 | Back to Top02-20-2013 03:06:10 PM

Nova
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Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

purplepolecat wrote:

So although I probably have an atypical taste in games, it's not looking too bad.

It's not looking too bad for you. etc-love However, there's a problem with selection bias-- specifically in this case, the list is literally games that you have selected as those you like. Your library is only representative of your preference in games, but it's not a cross-section of gaming in general. If gaming in general were more like your personal library and less like, er, the way it is, we'd be a hell of a lot closer to what I'm looking for.


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#17 | Back to Top02-20-2013 03:22:58 PM

Riri-kins
World's End
From: Cloud Nine
Registered: 09-22-2008
Posts: 2354

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Oh noes, male marketers are ruining this for women on purpose! emot-rolleyes Um, no. There are few female protagonists in video games because most girls don't play them and it's pretty fucking childish of you to whine about a character's gender.  Can't you just enjoy playing something without nitpicking? I swear this is why I hate hardcore gamers.


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#18 | Back to Top02-20-2013 03:24:10 PM

Stephen
Rose Bride
Registered: 02-19-2011
Posts: 102

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Fable 2 and 3? 3 also has a pleasantry of basically letting you save or ditch the assigned love interest very early on. The plot itself tended to being fairly gender neutral, so I didn't find any enormous plot-holes coming out of a play-through as a woman.

Also, same-sex love interests errywhere in the villagers. Not exactly a big deal, but a pleasant enough touch.

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#19 | Back to Top02-20-2013 03:25:21 PM

Nova
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Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Riri-kins wrote:

Oh noes, male marketers are ruining this for women on purpose! emot-rolleyes Um, no. There are few female protagonists in video games because most girls don't play them and it's pretty fucking childish of you to whine about a character's gender.  Can't you just enjoy playing something without nitpicking? I swear this is why I hate hardcore gamers.

Reported.


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#20 | Back to Top02-20-2013 03:32:29 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Riri, you're free to express your opinion.  If you think that gender in video games is not an important thing to worry about, you can say so and explain why.  What you're not allowed to do is to try and silence other people's opinions -- which is how you come across when you say Nova is "whining" and being "fucking childish."  This is in the rules for being offended on IRG, which I hope you have read by now.  Do not let me see this again.  You are a clever person who I know is able to talk about how she feels without telling other people that they should shut up.

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#21 | Back to Top02-20-2013 03:42:56 PM

Nova
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Satyreyes has mentioned Mass Effect a few times, and I'd like to say a word or two about it, because I've been thinking about it in between posts and some other things. Mass Effect is, in my opinion, an outstanding example of a game where the protagonist's sex really doesn't matter, and where the developers (for the most part) did not try to craft a "man's story" and a "woman's story" depending on which one the player chose. Shepard's story is the same whether Shepard is male or female. In 99% of the spoken dialogue, the two Shepards are saying the exact same words, even. Whether male or female, Shepard is strong when necessary, ruthless when necessary, tender when necessary, and so on.

The only place it falls down is Bioware's ham-fisted approach to human sexuality, but I'm willing to forgive that because they tried their best, and they have shown improvement over time. They've put thought into it and they are learning, and we see the fruits (no pun intended!) of that effort over time.


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#22 | Back to Top02-20-2013 04:09:45 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Nova wrote:

purplepolecat wrote:

So although I probably have an atypical taste in games, it's not looking too bad.

It's not looking too bad for you. etc-love However, there's a problem with selection bias-- specifically in this case, the list is literally games that you have selected as those you like. Your library is only representative of your preference in games, but it's not a cross-section of gaming in general. If gaming in general were more like your personal library and less like, er, the way it is, we'd be a hell of a lot closer to what I'm looking for.

And this reminds me that I probably am less exposed to the BroDude issue than many people, since my library looks a lot like Polecat's.  We could instead look at the bestselling games from the last couple of years.  Here are the ten bestselling games of 2011 and 2012, alphabetized on one list.  There are only nineteen because Modern Warfare 3 made both lists.

Assassin's Creed II: Revelations
Assassin's Creed III
Batman: Arkham City
Battlefield 3
Borderlands 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
FIFA Soccer 13
Gears of War 3
Halo 4
Just Dance 2
Just Dance 3
Just Dance 4
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Madden NFL 12
Madden NFL 13
NBA 2K13

Let's organize.

Games With Male and Female Protagonists
Batman: Arkham City
Borderlands 2
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Just Dance 2
Just Dance 3
Just Dance 4
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Games With Specific Male Characters In The Role Of Protagonist, Who The Developers Pretty Much Had No Choice About
FIFA Soccer 13
Madden NFL 12
Madden NFL 13
NBA 2K13

Games With A Specific Male Character In The Role Of Protagonist, Who Could Have Been Female If The Developers Had Wanted Him To Be
Assassin's Creed II: Revelations
Assassin's Creed III

Games Starring DudeBro
Halo 4

Games I Don't Have Enough Knowledge Of To Make An Informed Judgment
Battlefield 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Gears of War 3

So out of nineteen bestselling video games, I see seven where the character on the screen can be a woman (not to excuse Arkham City's Catwoman from being problematic in her own right), and four where the developers have a non-negotiable excuse for why the character is a guy (because the main characters are real-life pro athletes who are male).  The two Assassin's Creed games could have had female protagonists -- indeed, you can recruit and deploy female assassins -- but in fact the main character happens to be a guy, and has enough social interactions that letting the player put him in a female chassis would probably have required quite a lot of extra work for the developers.  That is at least thirteen games out of nineteen, by my count, where there is either a female option or a reasonable excuse for why there is no female option.  (And even Halo 4, honestly -- I mean, it stars Master Chief.  He's always been male.  It's hard to switch the main character's gender in a direct sequel.)  I can't speak to the shooters at the end of the list.

That's the good news.  The bad news is that I think it's fair to say that male protagonists clearly predominate in every game on this list except the Just Dance franchise, Skyrim, and Borderlands 2.

Tangentially, nineteen out of nineteen of these games are sequels, which is certainly one way to slow the progress of the industry. emot-mad

Last edited by satyreyes (02-20-2013 04:13:56 PM)

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#23 | Back to Top02-20-2013 04:20:15 PM

Nova
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Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

satyreyes wrote:

Games I Don't Have Enough Knowledge Of To Make An Informed Judgment
Battlefield 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Gears of War 3

These are all DudeBro.


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#24 | Back to Top02-20-2013 08:57:28 PM

Ragnarok
Caption Captor
From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Nova wrote:

[...] I've got in my Steam account Crysis[...] and Spec Ops: The Line, and [...] I have lost all momentum and never bothered to finish either one.

[...]

What brought this to mind is that Steam are selling the Deus Ex titles on a steep discount, and as much fun as the game looks, I just can't be arsed to step into the cybernetically-augmented boots of Adam Jensen. Not even for five measly bucks.

On this tangental note, I don't recommend buying Deus Ex even on sale. I did many months ago and had a similar lack of interest in finishing the game as you did for the two previously mentioned. For me it wasn't that Jensen is male nor that he's too much of a dudebro, the plot and characters simply weren't compelling enough to interest me in the story; the gameplay was too repetitive on its own to continue on, even though it was enjoyable for a little while.

Moving onto the actual topic.

Nova wrote:

Baby steps, man, baby steps. Let's start simple: In Crysis, make a female protagonist. It's not hard. Make one more 3-D model in Maya, and record a handful of lines of dialogue in the booth.

I happened to, coincidentally, see a commercial for Crysis 3 earlier today. Have a look!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM2pT9N9KQM

They need more than baby steps. The character model could be replaced with a female version and, with nothing else altered, it's still going to be blatantly marketed as a dudebro game. This isn't the game series that's going to take those necessary steps.

"Games are popular with males aged 13-30" is the common belief, so games are marketed to that demographic. Sure, if games were marketed to other demographics then it would sell more games to them, but big companies don't often go that route; they stick with the ones they 'know' will buy their stuff.

On the topic of team based FPS games like CoD and Battlefield and etc. There's no reason why female characters can't be included, Planetside 2 allows for female characters. It's just that the video game industry in general is heavily geared towards male characters for male players, it will change in time and is actually doing so. But it does take time and the only way to actively make a difference is to either have a hand in creating a game or writing a lot of emails in the hopes that some people who may read them might also take it to heart.

But really, as with most mass media it's about voting with your wallet. If a bunch of female players support a game, it could potentially, maybe, possibly, encourage that developer and/or publisher to include more for female players. And then if that works, other companies might follow suit.

A great game I didn't notice mentioned in the thread so far, where the gender of the protagonist can be either male or female is Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines which is an excellent game. Unfortunately it was also a very buggy game on release and the company which made it went bankrupt.

Now, (to have people throw out everything I said with another incidental,) I got tired of Mass Effect very early on in the first game and never bothered to play it again. Shepard's gender had no bearing on that.

[ETA] - Although it's arguably more important for someone to immerse themselves into a video game to get the full enjoyment, as compared to other media, by no means is it the only one with a lack of strong female characters. This pretty much goes without saying, especially in a place like IRG. So, you know, there's a lot of work to do.

Last edited by Ragnarok (02-20-2013 09:06:35 PM)


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#25 | Back to Top02-21-2013 02:34:35 PM

Nova
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Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Ragnarok wrote:

On this tangental note, I don't recommend buying Deus Ex even on sale. I did many months ago and had a similar lack of interest in finishing the game as you did for the two previously mentioned. For me it wasn't that Jensen is male nor that he's too much of a dudebro, the plot and characters simply weren't compelling enough to interest me in the story; the gameplay was too repetitive on its own to continue on, even though it was enjoyable for a little while.

For five bucks, particularly five bucks that were already in my Steam wallet as the result of selling a load of Vintage TF2 gear on the market, I took a flyer and bought it anyway. Then I came here and read your words.

emot-gonk

Moving onto the actual topic.

Nova wrote:

Baby steps, man, baby steps. Let's start simple: In Crysis, make a female protagonist. It's not hard. Make one more 3-D model in Maya, and record a handful of lines of dialogue in the booth.

I happened to, coincidentally, see a commercial for Crysis 3 earlier today. Have a look!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM2pT9N9KQM

They need more than baby steps. The character model could be replaced with a female version and, with nothing else altered, it's still going to be blatantly marketed as a dudebro game. This isn't the game series that's going to take those necessary steps.

I just watched that video. Yeah, wow. That's . . . definitely a thing that happened. I guess we'll have to look to someone other than Crytek for leadership on this one. emot-rofl

Although it's arguably more important for someone to immerse themselves into a video game to get the full enjoyment, as compared to other media, by no means is it the only one with a lack of strong female characters. This pretty much goes without saying, especially in a place like IRG. So, you know, there's a lot of work to do.

It's true of the media in general, you're right. How much so in a particular medium is just a matter of degree.


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