If there were a poster that represented this debate, I imagine it would depict Rosie the Riveter with a Tri-Force tattoo.
I believe in calling things the way I see them. And as you’ve become accustomed to since my time here at CheatCC, I can’t image you’d want it any other way.So here it is: female characters don’t get a fair shake in gaming.
While I could just end the article there (and on a fairly indisputable point I might add), allow me to elaborate. I’ve been around since the days of graphics consisting of two polygons controlled by a black wire and a stick. A f*ck’in STICK! As we evolved from 8-bit (does anyone even know how many bits were in an Atari? Was it like a negative number?), the next-gen of photorealistic visuals have seen women generally represented in one of two ways: T & A or the damsel in distress.
While this has been the norm for years, did it always have to be that way? What about the future? One developer thinks not, as he calls it “…a choice.”
The upcoming Xbox One exclusive Titanfall recently featured a beta where gamers were allowed to choose between male and female genders. While this isn’t exactly ground breaking, it’s an option that we don’t always have. Game developer Mike Bithell was particularly impressed with the move (and expressed surprise that more people don’t take notice of these little details), as he praised this inclusion in a recent interview. “… the Titanfall beta has female avatar options. It has zero effect on the enjoyment of the game for players who don't care, and a massive effect for those who do. Everyone wins."
However, there is an elephant in the room that no one seems to address during such a debate. That elephant is the girl gamer. WOW…that did NOT come out right did it?
What I mean is that while Bithell suggests that the stereotype of the “…standard chiseled beefcake with the big gun” certainly dominates the gaming landscape, would you really want it any other way? I’ll admit there is some serious middle ground here, as the female persuasion certainly has more to offer gaming than just ‘nekkid beach volley ball or the occasional Lara Croft sequel. However, I think the notion that it’s a “choice” to feature men in a leading role more so than woman isn’t completely accurate. While I’m not saying females don’t possess the same strength and leadership quality as men (quite the opposite), the idea that girl gamers prefer their male counterparts take a backseat is a little disingenuous. Speaking to my wife on the subject recently, she expressed that girls want to be strong, but still yearn to be saved at times. They want to feel independent, but also taken care of. While many simply write off the very idea as sexist, could males dominating the heroes role not simply be a reflection of a “knight in shining armor” persona that many site as their “dream guy?”
In an attempt to keep a feminist horde from breaking down my door and taking turns kicking me in the joystick, allow me to reiterate one thing: girls have a place in gaming next to men (notice I said “next to” and not “behind”). I’m simply suggesting that not all scenarios play out the same, as developers shouldn’t treat everything as if there is a 1:1 substitution. That’s over simplifying a very complex dynamic that exists in reality, or in other words, equality for equality’s sake. If the sexes bring different things to the table in the real world, why not reflect that in gaming? We do ourselves a disservice to ignore that fact, in an attempt to pretend human nature hasn’t wired us like this.
However, I’d love to see a female’s no-nonsense attitude applied to say…the Mushroom Kingdom. By the third Super Mario game, Samus Aran would have put her foot down and told Princess Toadstool to go save herself.