Jill Valentine, Tifa Lockheart, Lara Croft, Female Sheppard, Asuka Kazama and Female Mercs in Lost planet. These are the characters from the top of my head I have liked playing the most. And they all have one thing in common, they have a form of strength that seems they really worked hard for to obtain, in other words, right off the bat I'm attracted (not in a weird way)to playing if possible the character that seemed like she needed to work hard to get where she is, not because she has tits the size of astroids. Asuka in particular I always use against my friends in two player, I find her the most fun anyway to play with, her and Roger Jr. Varsity re-affirmed one conclusion I've already had about over-sexualization in any medium, and that is when you resort to such measures, you essentially have no confidence in you're audience, granted I've had that problem as well, fortunately for me though my audience isn't large. Incidentally, the only title from this year I have is prototype 2, but the game gives me headaches, so I don't play it anymore. On the other hand I feel that all these bulky male leads is akin to fulfill some gay fetish(nothing against gays, but I don't know what you call straight guys who like the look of straight burly men), I for one don't want to look like some steroids overdosing muscle builder, and neither does any of my friends look like that. On a side not one of my teachers said that men play tough physical sports to get in touch with their feminine side.
I have to admit, I am pretty feminist when it comes to myself, but I also like beautiful women in games. I just hate when they have ridiculous big breasts for no reason. This makes to sense. Sure, the men have their big muscles to be stronger (if there was this logic to it) but there is simply NO REASON for such enormous breasts O.o What I read in the comments below the article is true, women seem to rather go for the "inner beauty" more than men and I also have to say that though not being a lesbian or not even bi, I find women bodies far more appealing than men ones.... just saying... My main opinion in this is in the middle of the post ^
Well, for one that doesn't apply to video-games alone, to different extents it's present in many forms of entertainment, and even real life... You always hear about sexual harasment of women, but I know a few guys who model for a living and they get their junk or ass grabbed all the time, and they hate it... sooo, I find it hard to believe that having an attractive male protagonist is purely coincidental - a good-looking guy is no less of an eye-candy, as shallow as it sounds... However, there are still developers and people who put effort into character design, focusing on things other than sex...
Having said that, lets not dwell too much on this - once in a while I still like my fantasy of a big ripped hunk saving poor lil me, carrying me to his safe place and holding me through the nigh
Hm, makes me miss the days when No One Live's Forever was around. Cate Archer was one of the few female protagonists I've played that I didn't feel awkward while playing it. I can't pick up on any other notable examples because there are so few of them. :/
I mean I don't mind sexulized females if that is their defining nature. What I don't like is when it's retreated time and again, just to attract more sales and audience.
It's not just the outfits and proportions. Heck, most of the time I can even let that pass. It's also how they're treated in the medium. A perfect example is this Devil May Cry 4 snippet: [link] Now compare it to this DMC3 part [link]
Both are quite sexualised. But while there's plenty of female fanservice in the DMC3 bit, it's just nowhere near the same level as the DMC4 cutscene. This is the biggest difference between male and female sexualisation in video games. It's far from equal. Not that the video game medium is alone in this, the problems are more or less present in any medium.
Now, fanservice of this kind can be a lot of fun. But personally I would like to see more serious attempts at writing story and plausible characters in video games. I think the video game medium is still taking baby steps in this regard. Occasionally it takes a few steps forward, but very quickly falls back on its ass.
I think it's a great article with valid points. The thing that stuck out most for me was the lack of female characters in Playstation All-Stars. I’ve been having a problem with that game for a while as it just felt unrealistically lopsided but it might just be a microcosm of the game industry as a whole. An unwillingness to actually put female characters in the front and center.
From a design standpoint I love idealized proportions for both men and women. Gears of War has a distinct style of muscles while Dead or Alive really tries to accentuate the female form. It's something we have done in art for as long as art has existed. Nothing wrong with it. The issue is the lack of quality characters. There need to be more females that can go toe to toe in terms of writing and relatability with their male counterparts. Just designing a sexy woman and calling it a day doesn't work.
I believe women have that sexy view just built into the culture and it will take some work to offset that. I mean I absolutely love Dante fro Devil May Cry and Nathan Drake from Uncharted because they have a relatable cool factor. That likeably awesome extension of what I wish I could be like in a certain way. Few female characters seem to have the same charisma and relatability. If they do, they’re usually not the lead.
TL;DR version. We have to acknowledge that there are real differences in men and women and not get stuck adhering to strict stereotypes such as all women in games are sex objects. Men and women are sexy and cool in different ways. Visuals are important but there are more ingredients necessary.
I feel like gears of war had the right idea of what they did with their women, making them cool and sexy in their own way ultimately making you want to play them and not feel weird about it. Dead or alive had cool and sexy characters but the story was always lacking (like a fighting game really needs a story anyways) so it made the whole game feel like it was only about the girls.
random thought for playstation all stars: I played it and didn't necessarily think it was lacking females but I would love if they added the main character from assassins creed on the vita lol. They are adding kat from gravity rush so that will be awesome
I feel that there is always a place for stuff like Dead or Alive. It's a fighting game with sexy girls and that's cool. I want more cool women or tough women, like what you said about Gears and of course, Mass Effect and Dragon Age 2.
On Playstation All-Stars, I know it's hard to get the rights for characters so it's understandable that Resident Evil and Final Fantasy characters aren't just in there, it just sucks that there are not more shoe-in females for the game. I think that since Crash Bandicoot is now owned by Activision, he doesn't come cheap, you know? Kat is awesome though and i'll probably pick up the game when she releases.
There are tree topics here so brace yourselves I don't mind the outfits or anatomy errors that much (look at Gears of war where they all look ridiculous like little muscle clouds). I don't mind them for games are meant to tackle with our fantasies, by being in a game we can be someone else: dragon slayers, space marines, ultimate fighters, the best soccer players or unicorns. Look at Wow for example a lot of girls choose to run around in skimpy outfits and that's just fine for it's their fantasy and they are entitled to do so if they wish. But what truly disgusts me and offends me is the context of female portrayal: they are either a sexy helper ready to do whatever it takes, a prize to be won at the end of game or just some random eye candy or victim walking around being slutty for no good reason (Duke Nukem - ugh enough said). That's why characters like fem Shepard are right way to go. She is unladylike (especially when she is wearing a tight evening gown in one mission and sits down in it like a lumberjack) because she is a solder and it works with her background story, unlike other games in which female characters are portrayed as solders but hop around the screen like bunny rabbits screaming ohhh and ahhh every time they are hit. That's what bothers me the most about female portrayal in video games. Online harassment (sexism, racism and homophobia) is something completely different and I think it starts from home and manners people learn in it. Gaming industry just enforces this by creating advertising for teenage boys, using booth babes and creating this Olivia Munn-ish type of sexy girl gamer; there is still a lack of ethnic diversity in games but every ethnic stereotype is present, and besides DA how many gay characters we were able to play? The fact that mentioned advertising still works shocks me on daily basis and may indicate the state of mind of gaming majority. But I doubt we are all white straight teenage boys so maybe we should do something about it: speak our minds, boycott the games that insult us and stand up for people who are being harassed online. Thirdly (and finally) I'm working in the gaming industry as a writer and in my studio there is only one other woman working. Whenever me and my male colleague get an assignment it goes like this: they tell him what they want, how they want the script to look like and all the tiny bits; they tell me: do something femaleish you know put some cupcakes in the script and things like that. It really bugs me, but I'm in no position to act out my rage for nobody would back me up. I would look like a hysterical woman on pms and that would be all. Sexism in the industry is a huge problem, and maybe the most visible place to look for the omnipresent "glass ceiling concept". I'm powerless and angry but there's nothing much I can do right now accept to shut up and put those goddamn cupcakes in it and wait for my paycheck.
Sorry for the long rant, but I'm quite passionate on these subject matter.
You know what I hate about women in video games, they're so useless! You'd think they could make a character that doesn't jump into cross fire just so I'll pay attention to them, so clingy. That was the great thing about Ashley(res) she knew her place...in a rubbish bin!
All joking aside, it sucks you're discriminated against at your job, that's not right. However last I checked video games are made for entertainment not realism.
I truly agree with you, especially on the first topic. The problem I tend to have is the lack of female characters and I mean character since far too many game females just aren't written to be a character, but as you said, a prize. I love sexy and think it can be used to great effect but there is a difference between sexy and sexist that I don't think the industry, and from my experience, the gaming community understand that there is one. I've been in these discussions before and they tend to only have two sides; everything is fine as is or everything with a woman is sexist. That ties into your second topic too.
I truly love designing and drawing female characters and hope to actually realize some of my ideas in the industry someday so I hope more respectable characters will come to be as common as the junk is today. I care a lot about this topic and it makes me happy to see someone who I can really share an opinion with. We need more real diversity not just stereotypes and eye candy but real substance to give it impact. More Fem Sheps please.
Also on the last topic, really? That's discouraging.
Excellent point! It seems so ridiculous to me that every debate comes down to these two sides. As if girls will ruin the games as we know it if somebody actually dares to do something about how they are portrayed in them. The games will stay the same bloody, intense, sexy and fun. If we start doing more believable female characters who are consistent with their background story, witty and smart we would add to games diversity, richness and our own experience in it. I hope this ongoing debate will change something and show just how wonderful and diverse gaming community is. Don't get discouraged, my experience is horrific but I don't give up. I love my job and I tolerate the BS for now until I get my chance to move forward. So draw, improve and bite hard for this is a hard industry to get in. I wish you all the best, and who knows... maybe one day we even might work together
Exactly! It's not about taking the sex and violence out, it's about adding more well developed relatable characters. We need the industry to grow to it's full potential the way other industries have. More variety, relatable personalities and more chances being taken. I say relatable as it's become the most important underlining drive for me to get into a character regardless of gender.
I hope we can have more realistic debates such as this and the article in question. I've been in these debates before and if they're not handled well it devolves into pointless bickering.
Now I’m off with renewed vigor to pursue my passion and do something about it! ^o^
Eh, wish I read this before I posted my response... You're right, and one thing I didn't take into account is that it's not so much about the appearance as it is about the fact that appearance is all that's being focused on... Now I'm off with renewed vigor to pursue my passion and do something about it as well, yay
Your OP is brilliant and someone fucking gets it. Sexualization is not just appearance either, but also in "non tangible" ways. Svenovic touched on it. Poor writing. Felicia can be sexy all she wants. The minute she becomes vulnerable, needlessly (as in unnecessary for the plot) sexually assaulted, or a slut, then we have a problem. Look at Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne. Fit, suave, successful, playboys, yearned for by every woman. Extreme standards for young men. Men would kill for that life and many have. Granted, I don't give a shit about having that kind of status and most men don't care about guys who are better, but I get sick of people thinking sexualization is exclusive to women because THAT is some sexist fuck right there.
Giant boobs is fine since it will reel in a large amount of men but when they're around in the game all they do is scream and yell or sit and be useless, it sounds mean but I would love to have a semi attractive main character that I actually want to play to the end. The girl in gears of war was awesome because she got in the field wasnt annoying like Baird and did work like Marcus, even in her bulky armor you could tell she was attractive and had curves. I feel like thats how it should be
I've made some replies below about the topic but I want to say one thing: Samus Aran is not exactly doing great these days. Has this writer not seen Metroid: Other M? Or the Zero-G space suit they keep putting her in? Just look up Samus Aran on Google and you'll find a number of less than flattering images, and not all of them are fan-art...
Considering that the series of Metroid was supposed to be only a closed and neat trilogy, one could simply say its Nintendo's fault directly for reviving the concluded series with Sakamoto's IV.
But the Prime Series, not developed by Nintendo, some of Samus Aran's finest hours are within that trilogy. Could one possibly find more evidence to say that Nintendo has misogynist staff?
Not directly, but many of Nintendo's decisions toward women does raise eyebrows. Perhaps it is culture based, but perhaps Nintendo of Japan fails to realize how much more they could appeal to their strongest markets.
Of course these days, I find myself wondering more about WHO Nintendo is trying to target.
In the end, I don't feel that Nintendo is 'sexualizing' as much as 'lobotomizing' or 'putting on a bus' of potential female characters.
Consider if you will, the most obvious example of Princess Peach. Up until Super Mario Sunshine, she was quite competent. In the RPGs, she was feisty and quite enjoyable as a character. And in every game not directly developed by Nintendo, she has also been an enjoyable character who is quite competent. The only reason she was captured in games up to Sunshine were mostly reasons beyond her control.
Now, one has to wonder what changed between the Princess of old, and 'I have not a single braincell between my ears' Peach.
She was quite a fun character in Super Paper Mario though. We'll have to see how she holds up in the upcoming sticker star for the 3ds. I think she's more a victim of tradition and keeping it simple, than sexism. Her character seem to depend on which part of the franchise she's in.
Nintendo... is an enigma. They need to change a number of things, imo. That said, I kind of have that "utterly brainless" vibe from all the characters besides maybe Rosalina and Luigi in Super Mario Galaxy.
Word. I've always had this design idea where Link, as a far older man, would narrate. That would be preferable to being forced to read mounds of text that are given piece-meal. Plus then Link would have a voice, but not an annoying one. And Link would be able to choose between a few factions and have a character the player could actually define. You know, like they claim players can do just because the guy doesn't talk?
LoZ... so much potential there for a great open-world RPG with deep puzzle mechanics.
Um... I don't seem to ever remember hearing that she actually gets raped, it just nearly happens until she bites off the guy's ear. That doesn't make it in any way better, but I feel I should point that out still.
That's not a video game, that's comic/marvel-ish. And nope, the only game that was ever to become 'sexualized' is an indie game call 'Seduce Me' that was closely about to be 'green lighted' on Steam, but it got rejected. Here's a link of the article [link].