Heroes Who Look Like Us: A Call for Diversity in Games

At GDC 2013, Halo: Reach writer Tom Abernathy argued that when games are more diverse, everybody benefits. Carolyn Petit thinks the time for such increased diversity is now.

'

Now, I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth here. When Cliff Bleszinski blogged recently in defense of Feminist Frequency's Tropes vs. Women in Video Games project, I was glad to see an undeniably important industry voice taking a stand on an issue that I care about a great deal. His primary focus was on taking to task those who had responded to the Feminist Frequency project with vitriol, those who seemingly felt so threatened by the idea of someone critically examining the representation of women in games that they lashed out with slurs and threats.

Addressing those trolls specifically, he wrote, "Heaven forbid a woman actually take a magnifying glass to our beloved hobby and actually try to unravel and figure out why things are the way they are in the effort that somehow she might change things? Why aren't there more female protagonists? Are you protecting Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider or are you empowering her? And god dammit, where's my Buffy game? Shame on all of you." I'm with him on this. The hostile reactions elicited by the Feminist Frequency project and other attempts to thoughtfully examine portrayals of women in games are embarrassing; they are a sign, as Bleszinski puts it, of "a deeper cancer plaguing our business."

But I do need to take issue with just one thing Bleszinski states in his blog. Before launching into his spirited rebuke of haters and defending the value of examining representations of women in games, he asserts his own positive impact where women in games are concerned, writing, "I'd… like to remind everyone out there that I went out of my way in working with our team, the writers, and Epic's artists to make sure that female characters are represented well in that franchise. By the time we got around to Gears 3 the female soldiers were kicking butt right alongside the men in outfits that weren't drastically different than the men's, and with a restrained depiction of hair and makeup."

It's time for the heroes games give us to become more diverse, not in baby steps that coddle those who so adamantly oppose the idea of a gaming landscape that offers a wider range of heroes, but now.
I'm sorry, but the fact that, by the time Gears of War 3 came around, there were a few playable female characters doesn't make that series an example of enlightened, progressive portrayals of women in games. Don't get me wrong; I'd rather there be women in Delta Squad in that third game than not. But why did it take so long? Why were women so marginalized earlier in the series, relegated to being, in Anya's case, mostly a voice in an earpiece or, in Maria's case, a victim of a horrific fate, more of a plot device to trigger emotions in one of the male protagonists than a character in her own right? On the whole, where women are concerned, the Gears of War series is pretty disappointing. Women have been so underrepresented in games for so long that there's a tendency to view minor gestures like the inclusion of a playable female character or two in the final game of a series as something praiseworthy, when really, the question we should be asking ourselves is, why weren't they there, as equally important, equally fleshed-out members of the cast from the series' inception?

It's time for the heroes games give us to become more diverse, not in baby steps that coddle those who so adamantly oppose the idea of a gaming landscape that offers a wider range of heroes, but now. Sure, the cancer Bleszinski referred to may respond to gradual treatments; over the course of the next 30 years or so, gaming could slowly continue to offer greater diversity in the gender, the racial and cultural backgrounds, and the sexual orientations of its heroes. But why wait? Let's just cut the cancer out right now.

You see, the trolls and the anger they spew are not the cancer itself. They are a symptom. Having grown up with games that overwhelmingly feature heterosexual white men as heroes, some members of that group have grown comfortably accustomed to the status quo. Whenever there is a systemic imbalance that favors members of a certain group in any facet of society--voting rights for men and not women, for instance, or college admission policies that make it harder for students from low-income backgrounds to earn acceptance--some members of the benefiting group will not take kindly to attempts to wrest away their special status and make things more equitable. Whether it's done slowly or quickly, there will be resistance to the process of diversifying game characters from those people who not only like things the way they are, but feel like they are entitled to have things the way they are. But the reality is that this is not a zero-sum game in which there must be winners and losers. The straight white male video game hero is not going to go the way of the dodo; he's just going to have more company, and then, everybody wins. Straight white males of the future won't long for the overwhelming majority of games to focus on straight white males any more than most men today desperately wish that women had never been given the right to vote.

This week at the Game Developers Conference, Tom Abernathy, a writer at Microsoft Studios whose credits include Halo: Reach, gave a talk in which he espoused the notion that greater diversity in games would be good for everyone. Now, as a straight white male himself, he grew up with no shortage of heroes who looked like him, in films, on TV, and in games. And he never had much reason to stop and think about how many others didn't similarly have plenty of examples in media of heroes who looked like them.

In recent years, however, that has changed. Raising a daughter who, understandably, wants to read books, watch movies, and play games featuring girls has brought this issue into his life in no uncertain terms. We all want to see heroes who look like us, Abernathy asserted, and his daughter, who is also multi-ethnic, has as much right to such heroes as she grows up as he did when he was growing up. Unfortunately, Abernathy's quest to find games that would offer his daughter such heroes turned up scant results.

The straight white male video game hero is not going to go the way of the dodo; he's just going to have more company.
Abernathy's talk was hopeful, but he acknowledged that diversifying the medium isn't as simple as just starting work on games with more diverse casts. He referenced a recent Gamesindustry.biz article about Remember Me, in which the developers stated that publishers told them they were unwilling to take on the game because of its female protagonist, and Abernathy said that he has heard similar conversations many times. You will face resistance, he said. But he hoped that his argument could give developers the leverage they needed to start fighting for greater diversity in the games being developed at their companies.

Abernathy's argument in favor of greater diversity in games was three-pronged. First, there was the moral argument. It is, he said, the right thing to do. There's no good justification for not doing it; everyone should have heroes who look like them.

Abernathy's second argument was about creativity. Diversity benefits creativity, he said, opening up opportunities for richer, juicier narratives. Looking at television, he compared the relative simplicity of the TV landscape of the 1970s to that of today. He argued that television is a richer, stronger medium now than it was then and that this was attributable in part to the presence of complex female characters like Homeland's Carrie Mathison, Scandal's Olivia Pope, and the numerous women of Game of Thrones. Why, his argument implied, would the creators of games want to deny themselves the potential for richer narratives that a more diverse cast of characters can offer?

But ultimately, the only thing that matters to businesspeople in a business setting is a business argument, Abernathy said, and if those businesspeople believe the core audience won't embrace diversity, they will counsel against diversity in games. So it was his third argument that was the most important: that greater diversity in games is smart business. He cited data that indicated that women and nonwhites make up a massive percentage of gamers. "Women are not a special market on the fringe of the core," he said. "Women are the new core."

Looking at the data, he said that it's not hard to see these trajectories moving forward, suggesting that the makeup of people who play games isn't going to get less diverse anytime soon. The audience is leaving us behind, he said; the market is changing faster than we are.

It was Abernathy's third argument that was the most important: that greater diversity in games is smart business.
But his closing suggested that it doesn't have to be this way. An increase in diversity can lead to increased sales, he said, because games will be more relevant to their increasingly diverse players. As he made these statements, photos of his daughter kept his argument from being a purely intellectual one; it was a poignant call for a very important change our industry needs to make.

So let's do that now. Let's not put a woman or two in the third chapter of a male-dominated, woman-marginalizing series and call it progress. Will some people freak out if games suddenly get significantly more diverse? Sure, but they'll get over it. And those who don't, well, to hell with them. You don't coddle cancer.

'

Written By

Want the latest news about Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Discussion

524 comments
Karjah
Karjah

I wonder what the author's thoughts would be on the Mass Effect series.  I hate to say it but reading this article all of my thoughts can't help but come back to how much I actually enjoyed Mass Effect even more when I saw how diverse and engaging the crew was.  Almost every stripe of person you can imagine is on the ship.  

I think even if I wasn't watching for it the experience felt more engaging because the diversity made me want to connect with each crew member. 

gurkagunner
gurkagunner

Would love to see more diversity in games away from the amercian market at the same time this is where the 'stronghold' is.

macca366
macca366

Blahblahblah diversity in games would be good yes I agree.

But is the problem the majority of gamers who seem content to play with whatever protagonist developers come up with as it is now? Or is the problem developers who are either repeating implicit patterns that have worked time and time again, or not brave enough to branch out from the norm? If gamers unanimously expressed "We don't much care for playing caucasian dudes who body build or are soldiers, in fact it might be fun to see diverse heroes!", would developers work to do so? If developers aren't likely to be coloured, does that make it more likely they will create un-coloured characters? Should they then consciously create a character with a gender or race in mind for the sake of diversity? Or should they just know the avenues are open and let creativity flow naturally? I think those are questions worth discussing.

Personally, I'm all for diversity in characters, but I'm more concerned with the quality of the writing of characters 

Dirk_McHardpeck
Dirk_McHardpeck

So is this the new Gamespot thing where every week there's another "poor neglected women in the game industry" article? 'cause I feel like I've seen this before.

SteveTabernacle
SteveTabernacle

If my characters looked like me, I would lose all interest in them.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

equality is still in the dark ages and games are just a representative of that. the only way to combat this is having women in power of game studio's and creative departments. If its a male dominated industry, its hard to tell them to concentrate on women because of it may be a little harder for men to want to play as a woman. If games gives you a chance to play as what they want, i think being a female isn't on too many guys wish list. this isn't to say that women are mere objects, but that men want to play a better of a man and that leaves females in less prominent roles. now if women become more prominent in the industry, then we will see more diversity and women in more prominent roles

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

"A call for diversity"! Basically you're whinging because games are not as you'd want them, and you're using this invented problem in the gaming industry to justify it. And the only justification you came up with for making the changes towards what you want, was the potential of 'increased sales'? If there really was an issue in the gaming industry that is akin to real life issues like sexism, wouldn't they require more serious justification/persuasion than that?

None of the articles you've ever written, have ever encouraged me to think about the issues you bring up, largely because the issue is nonexistent. And you keep raising these topics time and again in the most banal-like manner. You come across as an amateurish journalist who blows up events and stories like this to claim attention for cheap points and petty sympathies. You pretend, and you pass it off as though game developers go to work everyday purposefully limiting female roles, making sure they get no more airtime than the voice inside a forgettable "earpiece". These sort of pressures being placed on developers are pathetic and baseless. I can bet, that in the near future, any game with a lack of diversification will be slandered by people like you as being racist, sexist, prejudice. Thus, games will stop being games and will become socio-political spheres that will be associated with real-life past human issues, like slavery, racism, sexism--as if they had anything in common; as if that was the place for such a thing!

I can see that this is an issue that is close to your heart--which I can understand--but you come off as militant in your views as narrow minded feminists. Why is the portrayal of white macho-men characters a statement against diversification, and not a statement solely to do with male sexism? Well, someone might take offense to white men being portrayed in such a way--but no one would take that side seriously, would they? Your character is evident in your writing, just as the character of feminism is--let's solve the issue of gender inequality by focusing on the issues of only one of them. It's not like game developers are the only ones who have not had their awareness on women's rights raised to the same level as everyone else. 

You're creating an issue where there is none! Let the developers make the games they want without this unneeded pressure. Let them choose which type of protagonist they want without being forced to specifically choose one, or have one exempted because "there's too much of that character". Why should a developer scrap a narrative to accommodate your wants and your wishes! Grow up and get over yourself.

vatorus
vatorus

Everyone is ignoring the fact that corporate directors have a duty and an obligation to maximize shareholder value and that means making games that make the MOST amount of money.  SO in a choice between a lead character that appeals to 50% of the population and a lead character that appeals to 25% of the population, the decision goes to 50% of the population.

vatorus
vatorus

Who's the dude in the author's picture?

vatorus
vatorus

EVEN THE JAPANESE ONLY USE WHITE MALE CHARACTERS!!!!  WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW AN ASIAN IN FINAL FANTASY?? NINJA GAIDEN HAS A WHITE NINJA!!! DANTE OF DMC IS WHITE!! THEY ARE ALL WHITE!!!

vatorus
vatorus

"An increase in diversity can lead to increased sales" This statement assumes that if you make a game with a non-white character, it will appeal to ALL non-whites.  So an African-American lead will be embraced by the Chinese? Or Indians? And a Japanese lead character will be embraced by Mexican people?  NO....the African-American lead character has more appeal to the African-American, the Japanese lead to the Japanese consumer, and so on.  SO making a game meant to appeal to a small section of the population (any minority) will increase sales....really?  How dumb is the author and the guy she is quoting?

vatorus
vatorus

SO where is this data showing the great diversity in gamers and that "women and nonwhites make up a massive percentage of gamers".  Everyone says it and no one cites a source, or shows the data.  Female gamers are in the minority, no matter how you slice it. 

vatorus
vatorus

Because it's so convincing to see a woman beat up a man, or toting a gun with a chainsaw on it that probably weighs 25 pounds like in Gears.  Girls in games are stupid and I never play a game with a female lead because it's DUMB.  Take Gears for example, you got these big, burly, 6 foot something 200 and something pound mountains of men carrying serious armor and a gun that, like I said, would probably weigh about 25 pounds.  But the 5'8" 125 pound girl can do everything they can do....riiiiight...


It's plain stupid. This doesn't mean all games with women are dumb, it has to make sense.  Give her special powers, make the story support what she's doing in the game.  Storm of the X-Men is super cool, Supergirl is great, Jean Grey, Rogue, etc... are fine.  But a regular, run of the mill, human female doing all the physical stunts of a man....come on, DUMB.

This has nothing to do with female ability, they can do anything we can that's NOT PHYSICAL. A woman will never bench press 300 pounds, never beat up a man.  Lucy Lawless got her ass kicked in a boxing match against Joey Buttafuco ina Howard Stern sponsored fight.  That's a woman in peak physical condition against some fat, old loser that probably never worked out a day in his life.

So seeing them do physical stunts in games, for me, kills the immersion.  I can only roll my eyes. 

HAL5000
HAL5000

Every computer game has been developed to make a profit for the parties involved and for the gamer to enjoy the overall experience. Becoming politically correct in game development would violate and overstep the one place where gamers truly enjoy going to when gaming. Their own imagination creates a venue when playing a game that distracts them from the bullshit of the everyday politics and stress. Let the gamer choose what game to buy and play and not demand from developers what ought to be developed for any specific gender.Really take a back seat and just buy the games that you enjoy playing. Demanding equality in a dam computer game makes no sense.

 

TBear7130
TBear7130

Some people look at inequity and say...


"Look how far we have come" - ie we have made strides, given plenty to help.

others may see it

"Look how far we have to go" - ie the fight is not over, no matter what you gave, we are not there yet.

Rie_BooM
Rie_BooM

And looking through the comments I see now why I hate these articles.

It's not fair to play the sexism card in the gaming industry because its male majority get defensive. And too right they should. I've been playing games for a long time and never got upset because the characters were male or white - why should I? 

Why should it matter that the protagonist in a game about war is male? How would it be realistic if the main character was female? Ok, so it wouldn't hurt to have more female characters in games, but only if the character is relevant; don't just throw them in to make up the numbers.

And since when has race been an issue? Because the Cole Train doesn't look very white to me. Ok, so there could be more non-white characters, but to be fair I didn't really notice it too much until I read this article.

Females have recently discovered that they enjoy something that up until recently only males really did. Give the industry a little time to catch up. Screaming for immediate and complete change takes away from the good changes that have happened.

Carolyn, you need to lighten up, chick.

Axlerzero
Axlerzero

Congratlations, Ms. Petit, you've just written an aricle that'd make the most radical communist jealous! With your use of propaganda, extreme usage of political correctness, and the way you cherry pick facts. Kudos on using the age old "women. couldn't vote" narrative, too. :D

I mean, pfft, it's really not worth mentioning that men who didn't own land, which was the majority, didn't have the right to vote either before 1920. It's really isnt worth mentioning that men that fought and died in wars, before and after 1920, where forced to fight by the government and state. It's REALLY not worth mentioning The White Feather Campaign. A campaign where women and feminist would shame, mock, verbally abuse, and threaten men and boys, boys as young as 14, if found out they where not enlisted or out of uniform..   We must keep quiet that women not only got the right to vote, but a BETTER right to vote for close to 100 years now. No need for women to sign up for enlistment when turing 18 ^_^. We'll let the men sacrifice himself, get blown apart, and become psychologically damaged in protection of country and women.

Excellent use of the gender and race narritive also. I mean, it's always fun to "fight" sexism with sexism, and racism with racism xD. Ignoring data, using biased stats and cherry picking facts is the name of the game! Thank you, Carolyn, thank you for showing me that I'm not alone. It's so fun manipulating people. (-_^)

urmomridesmydik
urmomridesmydik

Honestly I don't mind playing as a female with 40-50% less upper body strength than males on average, 30% less lower body strength, a far weaker grip to their palms, a far slower processing mind and reaction set, 15-20% smaller brains on average, and in real life, do not rank up there with the best of the men talent wise in almost any field you can think of, whether it's athleticism, be it setting world records, or simply being a cook or fashion designer (a female dominated field yet not female dominated talent wise), as long as I have fun with it. It's funny how some of us do not base our perspective on meritocracy but instead base it on placating what some minority consumer wants. Look if you have a desperate need to see more female protagonist in video games, take up writing, and write sometime worthwhile, and that make sense, and good enough for the story to be told in games , go create an all female programming team and see how you hold up to the men. Do it instead of whining for the mostly all male team of coders and engineers to cater to your every whims. 

lance_7
lance_7

@Smokescreened84

You make yourself sound just as sexist as those you complain about if you are refusing to play games based on the fact that there is a male lead and you don’t think you can relate to them.

If that is the case then you are proving the point of the industry in saying the majority of the gaming population is male and I won’t make a character that the majority of the market won’t be able to relate to, hence hurting sales potential.

Truthfully, and don’t take this the wrong way, but if you are a female gamer and you play games like COD, BF4, GoW, and GTA, then you are in an extreme minority.  It isn’t an issue of yelling until devs hear you or making the male gamers hear you; the devs are trying to find the best way to serve you.  Look at games like Heavy Rain and the upcoming Beyond Two Souls (which Ellen Page is the lead), the devs are trying to find out what it will take besides dance/music games and exercise games to get the majority of females, those who consider themselves gamers and those who don’t, to open their wallets.


Myst17
Myst17

@jsmoke03 I don't think women as game directors is the cure-all for it, but I certainly think more women (and diversity as a whole) in game companies would help the issue a lot. My take is there's very few women preparing for game development. Maybe there should be more programs aimed at women to show them the benefits and possibilities the game-designing careers can bring (like engineering and IT).

cowkiller321
cowkiller321

@Devils-DIVISIONFunny thing is, if there's any "feedbackula" or anything alike on this entry, it will show all the comments against the author as dumb, bigoted and sexist, when the 90% of the comments against the author simply state that diversity for the sake of diversity is pointless, and like in your case, are well explained arguments.

 Anyway after all this I'm started to be confused... I am a white non-muscled man. Should I demmand VGs to have a smaller quota of muscled main characters? Well... should I demmand TV, movies and music videos to stop portraying muscled people? Please, you're setting the bar too high for those who cant waste hours away in the gym like apes. You know I'm not fat at all, but I can't spend my days working for that 6-pack, neither I want to, but I'd like to see some diversity as well. I mean, seriously, muscled people everywhere, even movie characters that wouldn't need to be muscled are muscled!!

Myst17
Myst17

@Devils-DIVISION I agree and disagree with some of your point. First you say that if sexism/discrimination in the industry is an issue people would have to be more persuasive, then you say that the author is trying to persuade developers into making something about it. So you want more or less persuasion? Maybe I misunderstood you.

I see this article as a way of persuading developers into diversifying their characters (not forcing them, of course), just showing them three reasons why it would be advantageous for them. I find that very valid. Probably he article also aims to persuade gamers to be aware of this issues when buying games, so gamers can pressure developers with their wallets. Also valid in my opinion.

I do see games as another medium where sociopolitical issues can be addressed. Sure they're fun, like TV, but we can have fun while discussing real life issues (not to say that all games should be dead-set serious, or that I don't enjoy a gaming escapade of life for a while). I just say that games are a very valid place to talk about things, even if they can be upsetting. So yes, I think Games can be a place for such a thing.

I think that sexism and discrimination is indeed an issue in our society and it reflects on the videogame industry. So I wholeheartedly agree on talking and discussing these issues either in game or in platforms like Gamespot. So when you say let's do without sexism as a whole before talking about it here, well... this IS a videogame site, so it's only natural to talk about this issues in the videogame frame set.

Now, on the topic of Carolyn's unique way of addressing this issues, I have come to be more in an agreement with you. I love that Gamespot covers this issues for they are very important to me, but I have gradually become weary of Carolyn's writing. I like her enthusiasm, but perhaps she is not channeling it in the most helpful way. Her articles have become (in my opinion) more inflamed than informed and fair.

In cocnlusion, articles like aim to help people be aware of this issues and reminds developers that diversity is something gamers want. So I think they're pretty swell. Just maybe not this particular article.

As a side note, I want to congratulate you for expressing yourself like this. I can see you're passionate about the issue and yet you choose to express yourself quite clearly and civilized. Hope commentators like you become more prominent in this site.

Myst17
Myst17

@vatorus They do but, as argued in the article, the gaming core is shifting, and as the gamer number grows so (arguably) does their desire for more diversity. Gamers are already demanding more diversity (I know I am). So maybe it IS in the shareholders best interest to accommodate them, us. Maybe they just haven't realized more diversity could mean more money, perhaps.

Myst17
Myst17

@vatorus Yes. I take that fact to mean that even Japanese developers feel the pressure to modify their product in order to sell more worldwide. I wouldn't mind playing a Japanese person in a Japanese game. I bet they would sell just as well now if they had an Asian cast... mhhh... or maybe not.

DiamondSlicer
DiamondSlicer

@vatorus You are the one who isn't able to grasp the idea here; which is variety. Millions of people have played The Walking Dead and nobody ever complained about the protagonist being black. I was pleasantly surprised when I actually saw him at first and thought 'wow, I'm going to be a black male in the game!'. People don't need to have Asian characters to appeal to them just because they are Asians themselves, as long as a character is good no matter how he/she looks then it's a job well done. 

xRoYx
xRoYx

@urmomridesmydik This "urmomridesmydik" is trolling blogs and articles related to this haha. I can't believe people are taking the bait.

padavid10
padavid10

@urmomridesmydik Wow!  What a message from somebody with the sign in name, 'urmomridesmydik'.

I don't care at all what gender, sexuality or race my protagonist is.  Honestly in most character creators I create better looking and fitter versions of me but that's just because it's what I know.  To say that an athletic and well trained woman wouldn't be as fit or strong as most men is total nonsense.

Can't we just have characters that are fit for purpose?  If it's a soldier in an Irag/Afghan style war zone then it makes sense to have a fit, young man.  If it's a football game then your character creator should probably be male.  If the story doesn't call for these things then who cares what the character looks like.

I do notice that much of the argument here is for gender issues but where are the elderly, overweight white men in video gaming?  Not nearly enough of those.  I don't want characters that look like me, I want characters that fit the genre and setting.

QueerGamersXist
QueerGamersXist

@urmomridesmydikbecause we don't live in meritocracy. that would imply the economic playing field is level, which is certainly is not and it never has been (see: 300+ years of racial discrimination alone).

not that after that spew of sexist trash i think you'll agree in any way, or even read sh**...http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/unmasking-the-meritocracy-myth/

and how are you still not banned? will someone else plz flag this obviously inappropriate, graphically misogynist username: "ur mom rides my dik" c'mon GS, seriously?

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

@cowkiller321

Heh--I agree! It's best to write up a huge wall of text, so if they do want to put it on feedbackula, they'll be forced to take it out of context. I'm happy to hear you saw some clarity in my argument.

I happen to be the average height of 1.8m and average weight of 80kg, I've not once ever thought. gee I'd like to see myself represented in a game! When I create a character in any RPG, they're always female characters. Quite frankly, I'd be very unimpressed to see someone of my build in a game, and that's coming from someone with a pretty high opinion opinion of himself. (: 

(It would've been very awkward and confusing to watch Captain America: The First Avenger, without Chris Evans' character taking the shot. But hell! bring on diversity!)

My point about the muscled white man is more sarcastic than anything. I happen to believe that game developers have the right to create a game without any external pressures imposed upon them by some opinionated exhibitionist, hah!

Anyway, thanks for reading it.

Cheers!

cowkiller321
cowkiller321

@B00GIEL0VE Your posts are disturbing to say the least, please stop bullying people around just because they have a different opinion.

Gravelord_Nito
Gravelord_Nito

@B00GIEL0VE "THAT SHIT DON'T FU¢KIN' MATTER" oho but it matters. you think developers make games to appease you? no, games made for money, and that is the only reason for it.

vatorus
vatorus

@padavid10@urmomridesmydik "To say that an athletic and well trained woman wouldn't be as fit or strong as most men is total nonsense."  Are you an absolute idiot or just half of one?  What woman can bench press 300 pounds?

Myst17
Myst17

@B00GIEL0VE No, I haven't heard of SoD, I will look it up (I don't have an Xbox so I don't think I'll be able to play it soon though), it sounds interesting.

About children in games I'm all for it. They tend to add realism to open-world games (the new ACIII now has kids  though you can't harm them). GTAIV had Ricky Gervais, I think, doing a stand-up routine where he noted that there are no kids in all Liberty City nor dogs. It was funny.

What I think happens in the industry is that they're just trying to cover their asses. I mean look at all the noise and the lever it gave some people, when they complained that you could beat prostitutes with a stick in GTA. Imagine the headlines when a game came up where you could injure children. Jeez! So I understand them, if you can have a game withoutkids and not affect the core game experience, that would be the easy way out of the problem.

But surely there can be more game with children as characters, provided they're handled tactfully. It's just harder right now. The more (diverse) the merrier, I say.

Myst17
Myst17

@B00GIEL0VE Agreed. My point is not that developers should be forced into diversifying for the sake of itself. What I want is that the industry do not censor games, characters, plots,  because they will "not sell well". A good game is a good game, regardless of the genre of the protagonist. (I do have to mention though, that a diverse cast of interesting characters, in my experience, is usually reflected in the diversity of the game characters).

Myst17
Myst17

@B00GIEL0VE @Myst17 @vatorus Thank you for your comments! :)

I really like that I can choose ME's Shepard's gender to suit your style, but I don't think it could work for every game. For one, you have to cast two actors, rewrite a lot of lines and do double programming, which could be not very cost effective for smaller game companies. And secondly, but most importantly, some game just don't need it. I want to play Tomb Raider because Lara is a character I really like. I don't think it would make sense to have a Liam Croft character just for the sake of it. If it fits the story the writer wants to tell then they should just go for what you want. What I don't like (like I said in another comment) is big game distributors censoring or not backing games just because they believe (erroneously, imo) that games with women or diversity won't sell well.

Thanks for keeping the (civiliced) debate going. :)

Gravelord_Nito
Gravelord_Nito

@B00GIEL0VE don't care don't care don't care ^^ the issue at hand isn't good gameplay, but carolyn's bi*ching again. i buy only the games i first rent out and see for myself what's it all about :) money is hard earned to simply throw away 

QueerGamersXist
QueerGamersXist

@B00GIEL0VE  no don't apologize! it's good. i tried for a quite awhile but got buried under misogynerd troll weight. see... the above comments i have to fight the urge not to bite... ;)

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

@NeverM0re7 

It's as you said, fulfilling the desires of one. 

It's also an opinionated journalists craving for attention.

And it's wanting to (indirectly and possibly directly) turn the game world into a parallel domain for solving real world issues, and/or transporting these issues into the game world for f*** knows what reason.

NeverM0re7
NeverM0re7

  @B00GIEL0VE @QueerGamersXist

Well, if you're posting an article at an open site you have to be ready for disagreements and critisism, don't you now?

'Just because games are "mostly played by men" DOES NOT mean there should only be male characters.'

If the developer WANTS to include "ONLY" male characters they're free to do as they please just as you're free not to play/buy their game! Simple? And usually the biggest crowd get it their way but that's another issue.

You can express your opinion as a review or suggestion or if they ask you to (much more like with Kickstarter and other open projects) or back up original ideas that you like but you can't call them out for something you had no involvement with. Big publishers are not the only thing out there. Just let them know there may be need or demand for something different. You can support indie developers, whatever. You can make your own games. Plus, as long as their model works, they have no reason to change it. You can express yourself and they can listen (especially if there are many of you) but you can't expect them to enter your own microcosm universe and predict what you want to see! They go by what's known to work and may not be willing to risk. (Which is what I suppose a healthy traditional business would try to do) You can do wonders with experimenting but you can also fail big. Go out and look for or make it for yourself or support a group. You never know. You may succeed. I know it's a bit more complicated than that but that's just how it is.

"Everyone should have heroes that look like them"

Says who? Is that a god-given right? Something you can't live without? Something is offered. You can choose to take it or look for something else.

Is Superman my next door neighbour? What exactly defines that model of being that one could look up to or enjoy spending time with? So, it may be more about values or emotions or ideas. And yes, even appearance. One can admire that too. Games can be depictions of fantasy and thoughts. Playing as yourself would be rather boring, wouldn't it? I'd firstly look for a well developed character or some element of the game I could be drawn or relate to. And those are more than gender or appearance. You may have a hard time with that but you have to put up with it. I almost never like something 100%.

I want to have a nice experience, not just fulfill my one-sided ego. We have all these games where you can play as an animal, an elf or whatever but somehow females are not shown enough or to their full potential. I can think of numerous games where you can play as a female character. What is this really about? Is it about the industry or about fulfilling some people's wishes? Or more likely calling on "wrong-doings" based on our perception and imposing our beliefs if I judge from this. This is certainly not just "creating buzz".

I could also say "Men are not maniacal gun-wielding beasts" or "Men are not suppressive assholes who like to 'add_word_here' women" or "Men are not only into sports"

Some things just seem to work better for women and some for men, being closer to their nature or what they've been taught. There are stereotypes, yes, but you can't just change them overnight. And whether they'll change or not is not really entirely your call. At most times people will try to cater to what they know. How can you be discussing this for games - which don't even have to be realistic - like an already resolved issue, when such issues are not even completely resolved in our every-day life societies? But I could agree it's a good time for new ideas and dialogue. It's a new stepping stone. May be. You can't expect everyone to like it or accept it though. You can always support a purpose. I'm not sure about the perspectives and persistence on certain issues.

This could be a very open topic. They could consider all types of crazy things but sexuality sells these days.

"to hell with them", "cancer"

Yeah, let's not characterize. 

Anyway, I'll leave you to your ass-kickin'. I'm out.

padavid10
padavid10

@vatorus @padavid10 @urmomridesmydik And can you bench press 300 pounds?  I'm a 6'4'', 33 year old man and I can't bench press 300 pounds.  I can't run as fast as Jessica Ennis, swim as fast as as Allison Schmitt, jump as high as Anna Chichirova, run a marathon as quickly as Tiki Gelana or lift as much as Meng Suping.  In fact, until the 1950s, no man had bench pressed over 400 lbs (on record).  

I think a fit and athletic woman would be as strong and fast as many men, particularly the overweight, aged and nonathletic slobs that I see around London day in and day out. Any woman would be as fit for purpose as Lee Everitt in the Walking Dead.