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Old June 5 2012, 06:50 AM   #1
Kelthaz
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Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Anita Sarkeesian from Feminist Frequency, who you may know for doing a video on the Bechdel Test, is creating a new series focusing on women in video games. She has created a kickstarter project to fund this series that has already raised more than $20,000, so this should be an interesting series to keep an eye on.



Tropes vs. Women in Video Games
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Old June 5 2012, 10:48 AM   #2
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Very cool. Will tweet forthwith.
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Old June 14 2012, 08:57 PM   #3
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

There are already games focused on the female audience - social media games on Facebook - which are now migrating to stand-alone (zynga.com, etc) because they're all sick of Facebook taking a huge chunk of their profits. Those games often feature female protagonists simply because that's the target market, and just as you'd expect, they tend to have maybe B-cups at the most. They're generally helpful and blandly heroic, but nobody invests much effort in their personalities. The player, after all, is the personality.

I've tried to start discussions about this just due to my interest in social media games as a business. I'm actually not very impressed with their gameplay (well, the Dash series is pretty addictive, I'll admit), but I'm extremely impressed by the way they're taking over while traditional packaged-good games are becoming a mere niche in the overall games business.

Doesn't seem like this forum is much interested in those types of games, but I'm just pointing out that the notion that "games aren't for women" is woefully outdated. There's a case to be made that women are taking over the games business. Certainly the existing business trends are towards more of the social media style games, because they are easy to get into and free to play (they make their $$$ off virtual goods and subscription upgrades, plus some ads). Those style of games are going to become ever more predominant as the global game industry expands.

Anyone who's interested in what female characters look like in games that are pitched to women, check out one of the most popular protagonists, the spunky waitress, Flo, of the mega-popular Dash series. You can download free one hour demos at a lot of sites, but I like Big Fish Games for whatever reason. Going by their stats, the real big sellers are adventure/hidden object games, which also usually feature female protagonists (unseen except in cut scenes). The whole genre is basically a dumbed-down version of Myst.
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Old June 15 2012, 12:28 AM   #4
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Don't forget Chell from Portal.
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Old June 15 2012, 01:21 AM   #5
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
There are already games focused on the female audience - social media games on Facebook
That's exactly the problem. At the risk of sounding elitist, social games are to video games what Big Brother is to television. Female gamers would be insulted to be told that their games are on facebook. Yes, most gamers are women if you include social games, but that's not what the discussion is about.

The problem is with the core gaming industry. Games such as Halo, Call of Duty, Skyrim, Bayonetta, Team Fortress 2, Dragon Quest, God of War, etc. are terrible when it comes to the portrayal of women. I can't even imagine how uncomfortable it must feel to be a female hardcore gamer.
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Old June 15 2012, 02:28 AM   #6
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

You know what's funny? Stereotypical portrayals of black people are considered deeply racist and embarrassing, and virtually unheard of in modern media. And yet stereotypical portrayal of women is seen as barely worthy of mention, much less criticism: big breasted, long-legged bimbos; damsels in distress; women who exist only to be prizes for men to claim. They just get taken for granted and hardly anyone seems to care, and yet they are such awful stereotypes.

Apparently, the woman doing this series has also been getting rape/death threats over this, too. Just great.

Sometimes I am ashamed to be a man.
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Old June 15 2012, 03:12 AM   #7
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
You know what's funny? Stereotypical portrayals of black people are considered deeply racist and embarrassing, and virtually unheard of in modern media. And yet stereotypical portrayal of women is seen as barely worthy of mention, much less criticism: big breasted, long-legged bimbos; damsels in distress; women who exist only to be prizes for men to claim. They just get taken for granted and hardly anyone seems to care, and yet they are such awful stereotypes.

Apparently, the woman doing this series has also been getting rape/death threats over this, too. Just great.

Sometimes I am ashamed to be a man.
That's why I like Chell in Portal. A realistic looking woman who is the hero and solves problems using intelligence.
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Old June 15 2012, 04:01 AM   #8
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
You know what's funny? Stereotypical portrayals of black people are considered deeply racist and embarrassing, and virtually unheard of in modern media. And yet stereotypical portrayal of women is seen as barely worthy of mention, much less criticism: big breasted, long-legged bimbos; damsels in distress; women who exist only to be prizes for men to claim. They just get taken for granted and hardly anyone seems to care, and yet they are such awful stereotypes.

Apparently, the woman doing this series has also been getting rape/death threats over this, too. Just great.

Sometimes I am ashamed to be a man.
That's why I like Chell in Portal. A realistic looking woman who is the hero and solves problems using intelligence.
And Portal was a smashing success, as was its sequel. Hopefully that has a positive effect on the portrayal of women in video games, but things like that take years to really sink in.
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Old June 15 2012, 04:34 AM   #9
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Alex what's-her-butt from Half-Life 2 as well. Valve does okay with this trope sometimes.

The numbers of vapid, large-breasted placeholder characters vastly outnumber the cast of strong, realistically-proportioned females in videogames and that's something I'd really like to see changed. For example Mai Shiranui's two defining character traits are having huge boobs and being really obsessed with her husband or fiance or whatever (Only played a few KOF games a long time ago), and that's not an attractive reflection on the hobby/industry/etc. as a whole IMHO.
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Old June 15 2012, 06:18 AM   #10
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
And yet stereotypical portrayal of women is seen as barely worthy of mention, much less criticism: big breasted, long-legged bimbos; damsels in distress; women who exist only to be prizes for men to claim. They just get taken for granted and hardly anyone seems to care, and yet they are such awful stereotypes.
The players expect their games to have good looking female characters. After a long day of work/school they don't want to be looking at average females. That's just the way it is because there are so many male gamers. Sex sells.

It is the same way with movies. Why are all the main heroes in Avengers played by good looking actors? It helps sell tickets to woman that might not otherwise be going.
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Old June 15 2012, 08:34 AM   #11
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Tiberius wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
You know what's funny? Stereotypical portrayals of black people are considered deeply racist and embarrassing, and virtually unheard of in modern media. And yet stereotypical portrayal of women is seen as barely worthy of mention, much less criticism: big breasted, long-legged bimbos; damsels in distress; women who exist only to be prizes for men to claim. They just get taken for granted and hardly anyone seems to care, and yet they are such awful stereotypes.

Apparently, the woman doing this series has also been getting rape/death threats over this, too. Just great.

Sometimes I am ashamed to be a man.
That's why I like Chell in Portal. A realistic looking woman who is the hero and solves problems using intelligence.
And Portal was a smashing success, as was its sequel. Hopefully that has a positive effect on the portrayal of women in video games, but things like that take years to really sink in.
Chell is hardly flat chested, plain or dumpy. She is curvy (though not outrageously so), pretty (though not ridiculously so), and clearly fit (out of shape, fat people, male or female, will not be able to accomplish the physical feats she does).

I don't see the controversy about characters in ANY medium being physically attractive, male or female.
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Old June 15 2012, 06:48 PM   #12
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Kelthaz wrote: View Post
The problem is with the core gaming industry. Games such as... Skyrim... are terrible when it comes to the portrayal of women. I can't even imagine how uncomfortable it must feel to be a female hardcore gamer.
I can sort of see it with the others on that list, but Skyrim?

Cortana aside, I don't see a lot of sexism in Halo, either. Halo fans, definitely, but the games themselves shouldn't be faulted for the quality of the people that play them.

Last edited by -Brett-; June 15 2012 at 07:09 PM.
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Old June 15 2012, 08:38 PM   #13
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

I for one will always opt for a female character when the choice is given. And hell, I have no probably at all with sexy characters. But sometimes its goes to the level where its uncomfortable to play. Dead or Alive Volleyball was a classic example, where a big chunk of the games processing power was devoted to breast physics.

Tera is the current worst offender.



If you've watched a female character creator on Youtube you know what I mean. Its hard to not make an elf character that doesn't look like Paris Hilton.

Honorable mention for Lollipop Chainsaw. http://www.gamezone.com/products/lol...tfits-in-japan

I really wish if a game is going to go down this route, they'd offer a choice between putting your characters in the standard battle bikini, or realisitic combat gear.
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Old June 15 2012, 08:59 PM   #14
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

to be fair to COD, they don't feature a hell of a lot of women because they're fricking war games and the majority of soldiers are, y'know, MEN. the few women they HAVE featured haven't been ridiculous stereotypes. there's a few NPC Soviet soldiers in United Offensive, MW1 had Captain Pelayo who was a Cobra pilot and c'mon, the fact you have to rescue her is solely because she's shot down (no fault of her's) and trapped in her helo. that character was exactly how a woman should be treated in a game: as a person, not as their gender. It could've just as easily been a guy in the Cobra. there's also a female newscaster off-screen. MW2 only has women in it as civvies in the airport massacre, whilst MW3 has several women, the British MI5 Director (obviously taking a cue from the real world female directors of MI5 and MI6), Alena Vorshevsky, the daughter of the Russian president (okay, she's a damsel-in-distress who has to be rescued, but again, it could've easily been a son), a female secratary/PA type on the Russian President's plane (not a babe and not an unreasonable female character role, to be fair) and then there's Mrs Davies and her daughter, victims of the London Chemical Weapon attack - clearly made female for maximum shock value. the other female character is the AC-130's female Fire Control Officer, which is a non-stereotypical female role. all right, i admit, the head of 'Five' and the FCO are off-screen characters, but still...

the only real complaint i'd make is that there aren't more women in the Washington DC medical station at the start of "Of Their Own Accord".

there are other female characters in BlOps and COD3, but not having played them, I can't really comment...
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Old June 16 2012, 01:49 AM   #15
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Re: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

-Brett- wrote: View Post
I can sort of see it with the others on that list, but Skyrim?

Cortana aside, I don't see a lot of sexism in Halo, either. Halo fans, definitely, but the games themselves shouldn't be faulted for the quality of the people that play them.
I never played Skryim, so I probably jumped the gun on that one. Feel free to take Skyrim off the list.

The problem with Halo is that your guy is a dude. Not a problem in itself, but when 99.99999999% of games have you play as a male character it's a problem. It's the Bechdel Test turned up to 11.
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