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Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Kickstarter -- and the hate it's received


Video Games

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LazarX wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
... and apparently they don't want our money. Personally I always thought, if someone walks up to you and says, "Hey, I want to give you money!" then you do what you can to encourage them to keep giving it to you, but apparently marketing doesn't work like that. It is a world I admit I fully do not understand.
Publishers who think in that way are refusing to take the money of one woman because to make the changes to accomodate the issues the one woman brings up, they feel that they'll lose 100 or more men. So yes'll they'll refuse your buck, because they consider themselves 99 bucks ahead by catering strictly to male gamers. It's a self-fulfilling and self-feeding process.

And my point is if they stop using outdated marketing tactics that frankly many people of both genders find uncomfortable if not offensive, they could have both 100 men and 100 women buying their product (again noting the stats I listed above) and double their profits.

I think maybe we're actually agreeing here, but just wanted to clarify that.


One thing I've noticed with media in general is that most companies would rather stick to what they know is going to make them a profit rather than take a risk. They could try to create a game that will cater to 100 men and 100 women, but doing so risks the chance that if they miss their mark, they might only get 30 women and 20 men. With such a focus on ever-increasing profit in most corporate structures, there's not a lot of room to take a gamble. Ideally, a failed game should give a company a chance to analyze why it failed and learn from their mistakes. In reality, it costs people their jobs and doesn't give them a chance to bounce back from the failure.

That's definitely not the way it should be, and I think it leads to a general lack of innovation in a lot of areas. However, that's the way it is - aspiring for something slightly better than mediocrity carries with it less risk than trying for something great and taking on a greater chance of failure.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Charlie Brooks wrote:

One thing I've noticed with media in general is that most companies would rather stick to what they know is going to make them a profit rather than take a risk. They could try to create a game that will cater to 100 men and 100 women, but doing so risks the chance that if they miss their mark, they might only get 30 women and 20 men. With such a focus on ever-increasing profit in most corporate structures, there's not a lot of room to take a gamble. Ideally, a failed game should give a company a chance to analyze why it failed and learn from their mistakes. In reality, it costs people their jobs and doesn't give them a chance to bounce back from the failure.

That's definitely not the way it should be, and I think it leads to a general lack of innovation in a lot of areas. However, that's the way it is - aspiring for something slightly better than mediocrity carries with it less risk than trying for something great and taking on a greater chance of failure.

One of the major reasons I'm liking kickstarter right now.

Cheliax

DeathQuaker wrote:

WOO! I'm an outlier!!! And damn proud of it!

Now, I agree that there are a lot of Christian traditions that encourage patriarchal structures. But, for the record, I think the Christian religious left is bigger than perceived--not majority, but not tiny either (Quakers are tiny though, without a doubt. Well, not physically, but I mean as a group. Plus we have a universalist faction where many members do not identify as Christian. But anyway.).

We (collective religious left) just really suck at getting press (seriously, have you seen our press releases? They're terrible). Anybody can shoot an abortion doctor and get a news camera on them, but standing up and saying, "Actually, I just agree with Jesus when he said go and love one another and try to do that" just isn't going to boost ratings or earn ad revenue.

Okay, that's a bit hyperbolic, but there are more people who are Christian and feminist and so on than I think a lot of people realize. It's just that the extremists are really good at getting non-Christians to think that they represent all of Christianity when they really so very don't. I wish I knew their secret. Well, besides going out and...

Spoilered because, while it's a response to DeathQuaker's earlier post, it is off-topic from the initial premise:

Spoiler:
I think it's more than just being incapable of getting press. Unlike The Religious Right, the religious 'left' isn't so much a movement as a loose conglomerate of smaller Christian groups that have narrower focus and smaller associations. Green Evangelicals, Pro-Gay Ministries, Red Letter Christians, Liberation Theologians, the aforementioned Society of Friends. It has no focus and no appointed leaders.

The Religious Right, however, is well organized and narrowly focused (Anti-reproductive rights, anti-gay rights, electing Republicans.) with well-known leaders like Bryan Fischer, D. James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, et al.

This is much less an issue of the media ignoring or favoring anybody. (Every notice how desperately they go out of their way not to ever mention the person's religion when talking about terrorists that kill Abortion Doctors? Unrelated, but also, their reluctance to use the word terrorism?) The religious right isn't well known because of its outlying extremists. It's well known by the respected talking head millionaires and pundits in its employ.

As an outsider looking in I would say it's also that there is more likely a lot more conservative Christians than vice versa. There is a direct correlation in America between church attendance and political conservatism, particularly on social issues relating to gender politics and heteronormativism. There may be a lot more nominal liberal Christians despite the statistics, but religion plays a much less central role in their worldview, and they would most likely label themselves with other identifiers first.

Considering that every religious revival in America was a protest of modernizing influences on society, it would be impossible to separate Christianity from the 'traditionalist' mindset that distinguishes it from the rest of the developed world.

You can take some heart, outliers, that in Western Europe---Great Britain in particular---this trend is reversed, with greater religiosity correlating with liberalism and greater tolerance.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

The Rock-Paper-Shotgun article on this skewered the bad behavior on YouTube and expressed gratitude that the RPS community was so blessedly civil.

The comment section for that article is currently actually busted due to the following vitriol and reactions to said vitriol. This may be mostly due to that article getting linked in a lot of places, but still...

Also, somewhat on-topic, Metroid: Other M sucked. That's what you get for trusting Team Ninja to handle strong female leads I guess.


Mikaze wrote:
Also, somewhat on-topic, Metroid: Other M sucked. That's what you get for trusting Team Ninja to handle strong female leads I guess.

This is an interesting (and sad) story. Team Ninja had no role in writing the story of Other M. They were the ones to portray that story, but the author was none other than Yoshio Sakomoto, creator of Metroid.

For a long time, Samus has been known as a strong female lead not because of any characterisation, but because of a lack of characterisation. In none of the previous games did she have any lines. She represented the player, and since the player wanted to be awesome, Samus was awesome. She was a blank slate onto which the gaming community projected a desire for a badass woman.

As soon as her own creator put a story to her, she was destroyed.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Also, somewhat on-topic, Metroid: Other M sucked. That's what you get for trusting Team Ninja to handle strong female leads I guess.

This is an interesting (and sad) story. Team Ninja had no role in writing the story of Other M. They were the ones to portray that story, but the author was none other than Yoshio Sakomoto, creator of Metroid.

For a long time, Samus has been known as a strong female lead not because of any characterisation, but because of a lack of characterisation. In none of the previous games did she have any lines. She represented the player, and since the player wanted to be awesome, Samus was awesome. She was a blank slate onto which the gaming community projected a desire for a badass woman.

As soon as her own creator put a story to her, she was destroyed.

...this makes me feel even worse about it. :(

I always thought Gunpei Yokoi was responsible for her creation. Or at least I'd be happier with that assumption.

I think I just want to be left with memories of Samus-That-Was now. Maybe the one we saw at the end of the first Metroid Prime. The one that was imagined. And awesome.


So who are the 'positively protrayed' characters in computer gaming?

I struggle to think of many. I'd say chell, but chell has very little characterisation(less even than Freeman, if that is possible). Faith from mirrors edge also felt like a great character to me, but after that I struggle to think of any.

What do you guys think?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

It feels like looking back at point-and-click adventure games might turn up quite a few.

April Ryan from the Longest Journey series

She's a supporting character, but Alyx Vance scores high marks with a lot of folks.

Frustratingly another not-playable example, but from the Metal Gear Solid series:

Spoiler:
The Boss
I recall talk that Kojima was considering her for her own game for a while. Good God yes if it ever happened.

Samus Aran before...y'know...

Faith and Jade as mentioned earlier.

Soul Calibur's Hilde was lauded for being the one female character in the series that wasn't insanely fanservicey. Kind of sad actually that being dressed reasonably makes her the odd duck. Yeah, I'll admit Ivy's my favorite character*. SC1 and 2 classy 2P costumes for life though. After the first two games those options disappeared and she just got more over-the-top with each game until, and this is the first time I've seen this in a fighting game franchise, the developers admitted that they went too far with her and SC4 and actually dialed it back a notch.

*I've always said there's nothing wrong with fanservice. It's when it becomes damn near the only game in town or abusive when it gets stupid.


also

Reporting for duty.

The only negativity I've got going is that apparently I'm a horrible driver according to the crew. If that's true, and I'm not saying it is, it's equally true of MaleShep.

Personally I think I'm an excellent driver.

parks the Mako on top of some crates

again

Cheliax

Mikaze wrote:
Also, somewhat on-topic, Metroid: Other M sucked. That's what you get for trusting Team Ninja to handle strong female leads I guess.

The only strong thing about Team Ninja's female characters are their backs.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

It all depends on what you are looking for, and everyone looks for different things. That is why it is difficult, and hard to market. If a company makes a strong woman, such as Jade from BGaE, it may well backfire because some critic thinks her boobs are unnecessarily big. If you make a kickass awesome warrior woman, such as Lightning from FFXIII, you run a serious risk of making her character flat due to her general perfection. If you try to make a female character awesome by contrasting her against another, less impressive woman, you will get criticized for making the second character weak. Not a computer game, but Babylon 5 had this issue and got seriously criticized for it. It has a whole gallery of impressive women around: Ivanova, Thalia Winters, Delenn... Then one episode, we meet Garibaldi's old flame, a woman who is certainly not a warrior, and suddenly the show gets a mound of crap for showing women as weak. Given this, I can understand why companies do as they do. Sadly. It is easier to design weak women and men without personality, and the outcome is likely the same as if you take the time to make interesting and believable female characters. Regarding Femshep, I find it very interesting to note that one reason she feels as strong as she does is that she can get emotionally and romantically entangled with others. This leads to the question of how sex is portrayed in video games, and, of course, the alien sideboob controversy.

As a consequence, I think it is vital that any good example, or even part of a good example, is focused on and praised.


Commander Shepard wrote:

also

Reporting for duty.

The only negativity I've got going is that apparently I'm a horrible driver according to the crew. If that's true, and I'm not saying it is, it's equally true of MaleShep.

Personally I think I'm an excellent driver.

parks the Mako on top of some crates

again

Mmm...I don't know about femshep. A, she falls a little into the 'guy with boobs area, and b, the whole 'we need a pretty shepard for the marketing thing pissed me right off. That said...I do have soft spots for most of the female characters from mass effect.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Another interesting thing to look at:

The female Team Fortress 2 models made by female fan ChemicalAlia and voiced by also female fan DustyOldRoses. The completed projects so far, IIRC, are Scout and Spy. DustyOldRoses also provided a voicepack for Scout's Mom, but that's meant for the Gmod/Youtube community rather than the actual game.

Could be interesting to do a general "compare and contrast" of what they came up with compared to a range of professional output from other companies.

(at work, forgive lack of linkage)

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Zombieneighbours wrote:


Mmm...I don't know about femshep. A, she falls a little into the 'guy with boobs area, and b, the whole 'we need a pretty shepard for the marketing thing pissed me right off. That said...I do have soft spots for most of the female characters from mass effect.

Femshep isn't a guy with boobs. Maleshep is a lady without them!

(honestly, Jennifer Hale's performance helped make FemShep feel more "right" to me)

As for CoverFemShep, there was a blowup over that too, with lots of folks getting mad at each other over the Shep chosen or getting made over people getting made over it. Personally, I couldn't get too upset about it because they had shown MaleDefaultShep on all of their artwork before that point, and he looked just as wrong to me as every other Shepard I've seen that wasn't my first Shep. That's the thing about that game: Your Shepard is so much your own and feels so right if things click well, to the point that it feels bizarre to see any other version of Shepard.

Most people would probably consider MyShep too "butch" to be marketable.(see Shep Avatar upthread, mentally apply the buzzcut option and scars) :(


Sissyl wrote:

It all depends on what you are looking for, and everyone looks for different things. That is why it is difficult, and hard to market. If a company makes a strong woman, such as Jade from BGaE, it may well backfire because some critic thinks her boobs are unnecessarily big. If you make a kickass awesome warrior woman, such as Lightning from FFXIII, you run a serious risk of making her character flat due to her general perfection. If you try to make a female character awesome by contrasting her against another, less impressive woman, you will get criticized for making the second character weak. Not a computer game, but Babylon 5 had this issue and got seriously criticized for it. It has a whole gallery of impressive women around: Ivanova, Thalia Winters, Delenn... Then one episode, we meet Garibaldi's old flame, a woman who is certainly not a warrior, and suddenly the show gets a mound of crap for showing women as weak. Given this, I can understand why companies do as they do. Sadly. It is easier to design weak women and men without personality, and the outcome is likely the same as if you take the time to make interesting and believable female characters. Regarding Femshep, I find it very interesting to note that one reason she feels as strong as she does is that she can get emotionally and romantically entangled with others. This leads to the question of how sex is portrayed in video games, and, of course, the alien sideboob controversy.

As a consequence, I think it is vital that any good example, or even part of a good example, is focused on and praised.

I think your right about the emotional enganglement thing, and I think it is also true of male shep (though maybe to a lesser extent. Not sure why that would be...*puzzles*)

However the point I wanted to make is this. I wish computer games would "cowboy up" a little with regards to sex. I think my biggest complaint about mass effect sort of comes down this this.

Mass effect is a game for adults, it has human bodies impaled on spikes, and turned into nano-zombies, yet the sex scenes are, well frankly not sex scenes. They are cuddle scenes. They are also flat, poorly done and well the point from which the romance element stops being interesting.

I'm not suggesting we have hardcore pornography, but if we are going to have them at all, then let them have nudity(male and female please) and a little bit more depth.

The romance elements of games like mass effect could be much more. They could be woven into the rest of the game more tightly, but i think the developers are afraid of glenn beck exploding on screen. When the sex scenes in the first mass effect game get described as graphic sex....


Mikaze wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:


Mmm...I don't know about femshep. A, she falls a little into the 'guy with boobs area, and b, the whole 'we need a pretty shepard for the marketing thing pissed me right off. That said...I do have soft spots for most of the female characters from mass effect.

Femshep isn't a guy with boobs. Maleshep is a lady without them!

(honestly, Jennifer Hale's performance helped make FemShep feel more "right" to me)

As for CoverFemShep, there was a blowup over that too, with lots of folks getting mad at each other over the Shep chosen or getting made over people getting made over it. Personally, I couldn't get too upset about it because they had shown MaleDefaultShep on all of their artwork before that point, and he looked just as wrong to me as every other Shepard I've seen that wasn't my first Shep. That's the thing about that game: Your Shepard is so much your own and feels so right if things click well, to the point that it feels bizarre to see any other version of Shepard.

Personally most people would probably consider mine too "butch" to be marketable.(see Shep Avatar upthread, mentally apply the buzzcut option and scars) :(

I played default butchshep through ME1 and half of 2, so yeah I know exactly what you mean about all the Sheppard art looking wrong.

My problem with marketingshep was never what got chosen(i barely payed attention to that), it was the choices we where offered. It was an opportunity to have a really cool, strong and kinda butch female character take centre stage in the way computer games are marketed. something that could have really said computer games have grown up a little, and they didn't even give the misogynist hordes the chance to vote it down

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Reminds me of the Vanessa Lewis thing.

Virtua Fighter 4 Vanessa Lewis was awesome. Then a bunch of guys got uncomfortable about a female martial artist having musculature and being black, so she got her skin bleached and stopped exercising when VF5 came out. Before that they covered her up in the VF4 expansion so that insecure guys wouldn't have to be intimidated by her sixpack.

I thought she was cool. Offline everyone I've talked to that mentioned her(one specifically pointing at a cardboard standee with genuine surprise) thought she was a breath of fresh air.*

I'd say it's a cultural difference between Japan and the West, but I've seen the "ew gross" or "she looks like a ______" reactions from Western gamers online too. It seemed to be an even split with a good bit of overlap between those remarks being about her skin color or her physique.

So much for having a wide variety of body types for female characters.

*Then again, offline as well as online I've known people that would have ugly little freakouts and outbursts over stuff like freaking hairstyles of all things, drawing forth disgusted comments that "she looks butch/like a lesbian" as if there were something wrong with either. It was like specialized Tourrete's with these two people. Folks tended to find them unpleasant to be around last I heard of them.

edit-King has been MIA in the King of Fighters series for a while, hasn't she?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mikaze wrote:

Reminds me of the Vanessa Lewis thing.

Virtua Fighter 4 Vanessa Lewis was awesome. Then a bunch of guys got uncomfortable about a female martial artist having musculature and being black, so she got her skin bleached and stopped exercising when VF5 came out. Before that they covered her up in the VF4 expansion so that insecure guys wouldn't have to be intimidated by her sixpack.

I thought she was cool. Offline everyone I've talked to that mentioned her(one specifically pointing at a cardboard standee with genuine surprise) thought she was a breath of fresh air.*

I'd say it's a cultural difference between Japan and the West, but I've seen the "ew gross" or "she looks like a ______" reactions from Western gamers online too. It seemed to be an even split with a good bit of overlap between those remarks being about her skin color or her physique.

So much for having a wide variety of body types for female characters.

*Then again, offline as well as online I've known people that would have ugly little freakouts and outbursts over stuff like freaking hairstyles of all things, drawing forth disgusted comments that "she looks butch/like a lesbian" as if there were something wrong with either. It was like specialized Tourrete's with these two people. Folks tended to find them unpleasant to be around last I heard of them.

edit-King has been MIA in the King of Fighters series for a while, hasn't she?

I don't really know fighting games that way. soul calibre and street fighter are all I really play.

But I thought you might find this amusing as regards to various body types.

HAWP Sorry about the ads. HAWP uses lame hosting.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Zombieneighbours wrote:

But I thought you might find this amusing as regards to various body types.

HAWP Sorry about the ads. HAWP uses lame hosting.

Oh God. I need to start watching these.

(and ha, the Old Republic thing does seem to be common arrangement)


Mikaze wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:

But I thought you might find this amusing as regards to various body types.

HAWP Sorry about the ads. HAWP uses lame hosting.

Oh God. I need to start watching these.

(and ha, the Old Republic thing does seem to be common arrangement)

Hay Ash Whatacha Playing(HAWP), is really funny and random, but it is also one of the best feminist bits of gaming related media out there. They don't talk about gender every episode, but several times a series they'll do something and it will be epic.

Shadow Lodge

Zombieneighbours wrote:

So who are the 'positively protrayed' characters in computer gaming?

I struggle to think of many. I'd say chell, but chell has very little characterisation(less even than Freeman, if that is possible). Faith from mirrors edge also felt like a great character to me, but after that I struggle to think of any.

What do you guys think?

Jade from Beyond Good & Evil

Heather Mason in Silent Hill 3
April Ryan from The Longest Journey
Zoë Castillo from Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
Alexandra Roivas in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I find the complaints about Jade from Beyond Good and Evil bizarre. Does a woman have less worth if she is busty? Is it not enough that she is a brilliant example of a capable and interesting female character, but that is somehow diminished by her appearance? She even dresses fairly plainly as video game characters go. Why all the spite?

I loathe the assumption that a woman is inherently less of a person by being attractive, or even conventionally attractive.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Umbral Reaver wrote:

I find the complaints about Jade from Beyond Good and Evil bizarre. Does a woman have less worth if she is busty? Is it not enough that she is a brilliant example of a capable and interesting female character, but that is somehow diminished by her appearance? She even dresses fairly plainly as video game characters go. Why all the spite?

I loathe the assumption that a woman is inherently less of a person by being attractive, or even conventionally attractive.

She isn't even that busty(especially by computer games standards)


Its weird reading back and seeing a list of female characters and thinking "damn, why didn't I think of her" five or six times in a row.

Osirion

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

The female lead from the Broken Sword Adventures (Nico, I think)
The female Lead from the Ruanaway Adventures (Gina, despite the way she is introduced)
Violette Summer (Velvet Assassin)
Liz Allaire (The Next Big Thing)
Alice (American McGees Alice, Alice, Madness Returns)
Both female NPCs from Jade Empire


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Charlie Brooks wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Legislative decisions that impact only males must be made by people with testicles. Legislative decisions that impact only females must be made by people with ovaries.
That sounds easy, but I still don't think it would necessary work. Politicians aren't making these decisions based on their own personal beliefs (well, some of them are, but not all) but rather based on what is going to bring out voters. Part of the reason that the political divide in the US is getting so large is that parties are catering to the extreme right or the extreme left because those are the folks who are guaranteed to vote. When it comes to politics, I fully believe that some women would willingly sell out women's rights if it got them elected. The problem isn't so much what gender is in charge but rather the political system in general.

I know, that statement was 100% wishful thinking. Although, if that scenario did occur, I think corruption might be a bit more obvious.

dreams of a secular, selfless government

Cheliax

Umbral Reaver wrote:

I find the complaints about Jade from Beyond Good and Evil bizarre. Does a woman have less worth if she is busty? Is it not enough that she is a brilliant example of a capable and interesting female character, but that is somehow diminished by her appearance? She even dresses fairly plainly as video game characters go. Why all the spite?

I loathe the assumption that a woman is inherently less of a person by being attractive, or even conventionally attractive.

Kind of makes me think of the new Tomb Raider. Lara Croft was redesigned to be more 'realistic'. Still gorgeous, of course, but every character in a video game not featuring an Italian plumber tends toward that. But the idea is that now she's supposed to be more 'proportional', with clothing not built around the male gaze.

But then we get the trailer and this new Lara is . . . well, kind of pitiful. She spends half the trailer bound (I don't even want to get into the implications of that), a prominent scene has her being nearly raped, and her personality is weak and wishy-washy. All of her dialogue is worrying and second guessing herself.

I understand the issue when a woman's characterization begins and ends with her chest (cough*NinjaGaiden*cough) but it seems like people too often epically miss the point. Yeah, I know the last couple of Tomb Raiders definitely went the exploitation route with their pumping of the real time 'wet-clothes' graphical capabilities, but they've really just traded one sort of sexism for another. And comparing either to the early titles they're both far more sexist, despite PS1's graphical limitations meaning they built the initial model with breasts the size (and general shape) of traffic cones.

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
EntrerisShadow wrote:


Kind of makes me think of the new Tomb Raider. Lara Croft was redesigned to be more 'realistic'. Still gorgeous, of course, but every character in a video game not featuring an Italian plumber tends toward that. But the idea is that now she's supposed to be more 'proportional', with clothing not built around the male gaze.

But then we get the trailer and this new Lara is . . . well, kind of pitiful. She spends half the trailer bound (I don't even want to get into the implications of that), a prominent scene has her being nearly raped, and her personality is weak and wishy-washy. All of her dialogue is worrying and second guessing herself.

One thing that you're ignoring with this is that it's supposed to be the origin of Lara becoming a badass.

Or do you think that Lara should have kicked her way out of the womb and then shot the doctor that delivered her in the face for having dared to slap her?


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Kthulhu wrote:
EntrerisShadow wrote:

But then we get the trailer and this new Lara is . . . well, kind of pitiful. She spends half the trailer bound (I don't even want to get into the implications of that), a prominent scene has her being nearly raped, and her personality is weak and wishy-washy. All of her dialogue is worrying and second guessing herself.

One thing that you're ignoring with this is that it's supposed to be the origin of Lara becoming a badass.

Or do you think that Lara should have kicked her way out of the womb and then shot the doctor that delivered her in the face for having dared to slap her?

Because, as we all know, the only way women become badass is to be abused and (almost) raped.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
Or do you think that Lara should have kicked her way out of the womb and then shot the doctor that delivered her in the face for having dared to slap her?

Raiding in Tombs staring Lara Norris


Mikaze wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:


Mmm...I don't know about femshep. A, she falls a little into the 'guy with boobs area, and b, the whole 'we need a pretty shepard for the marketing thing pissed me right off. That said...I do have soft spots for most of the female characters from mass effect.

Femshep isn't a guy with boobs. Maleshep is a lady without them!

tip of the hat


Mikaze wrote:

Reminds me of the Vanessa Lewis thing.

Virtua Fighter 4 Vanessa Lewis was awesome. Then a bunch of guys got uncomfortable about a female martial artist having musculature and being black, so she got her skin bleached and stopped exercising when VF5 came out. Before that they covered her up in the VF4 expansion so that insecure guys wouldn't have to be intimidated by her sixpack.

I thought she was cool. Offline everyone I've talked to that mentioned her(one specifically pointing at a cardboard standee with genuine surprise) thought she was a breath of fresh air.*

I'd say it's a cultural difference between Japan and the West, but I've seen the "ew gross" or "she looks like a ______" reactions from Western gamers online too. It seemed to be an even split with a good bit of overlap between those remarks being about her skin color or her physique.

So much for having a wide variety of body types for female characters.

*Then again, offline as well as online I've known people that would have ugly little freakouts and outbursts over stuff like freaking hairstyles of all things, drawing forth disgusted comments that "she looks butch/like a lesbian" as if there were something wrong with either. It was like specialized Tourrete's with these two people. Folks tended to find them unpleasant to be around last I heard of them.

edit-King has been MIA in the King of Fighters series for a while, hasn't she?

Vanessa Lewis had considerable issues on all sides. I don't like what they did with the character to resolve her "issues", and while I appreciate your perspective and certainly have encountered bigots of all types with respect to the character, I would say she was a poorly designed character before anything else.

And King was missing from only one KOF, by my count. She remains one of my favorite characters, even if her moveset has gotten a bit projectile happy.

Shadow Lodge

Thanks for the link.

I went and watched all six of the origional tropes videos and they were very thought provoking. I didn't agree with everything they said, but I realised to my shame I had probably used most of the tropes in my adventure writing over the years...

Of particular interest were the "Mystical pregnancy" and the "Women in refrigerators".


Zombieneighbours wrote:

So who are the 'positively protrayed' characters in computer gaming?

I struggle to think of many. I'd say chell, but chell has very little characterisation(less even than Freeman, if that is possible). Faith from mirrors edge also felt like a great character to me, but after that I struggle to think of any.

What do you guys think?

The best I can come up with off the top of my head regarding games I have personally played are all from Fallout: New Vegas. Which I think generally speaking handled gender roles well all around. I started writing up examples and it was hitting book length so I'll just leave that as is for now, but generally I like how women were written in that game. There are some moments I question but even there it's things I question, not necessarily immediately object to.

(And maybe it's sharing too much, but the fact that Veronica and Christine are the video game characters I've found easiest to fantasize about of late says something. I don't know whether it says something about the writing or me, but it says something. But the very fact that they're NOT presented as simply there to titillate... is interesting to me that I find THAT attractive.)

There's other games that have good moments, but often other moments I object to, or have trouble with.

Svipdag, if you find the Women in Refrigerators concept interesting, you should look up the WIR site that started the idea (it's about the women in refrigerators concept particularly in comic books).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Dammit, everyone's conspiring to make me want to play New Vegas even more. Really need to get around to it.

Freehold DM wrote:
And King was missing from only one KOF, by my count. She remains one of my favorite characters, even if her moveset has gotten a bit projectile happy.

Huh, I though she had been gone for a few entries in a row at least after she got moved to the Art of Fighting team. Need to give the latest entry a look. (the last definite thing I'v heard was that Ralf and Clark became roid monsters, but that's about it)


What are your thoughts on the women of assassins creed? I really like the fact that Lucy saves your bacon a lot.

DeathQuaker wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:

So who are the 'positively protrayed' characters in computer gaming?

I struggle to think of many. I'd say chell, but chell has very little characterisation(less even than Freeman, if that is possible). Faith from mirrors edge also felt like a great character to me, but after that I struggle to think of any.

What do you guys think?

The best I can come up with off the top of my head regarding games I have personally played are all from Fallout: New Vegas. Which I think generally speaking handled gender roles well all around. I started writing up examples and it was hitting book length so I'll just leave that as is for now, but generally I like how women were written in that game. There are some moments I question but even there it's things I question, not necessarily immediately object to.

(And maybe it's sharing too much, but the fact that Veronica and Christine are the video game characters I've found easiest to fantasize about of late says something. I don't know whether it says something about the writing or me, but it says something. But the very fact that they're NOT presented as simply there to titillate... is interesting to me that I find THAT attractive.)

There's other games that have good moments, but often other moments I object to, or have trouble with.

Svipdag, if you find the Women in Refrigerators concept interesting, you should look up the WIR site that started the idea (it's about the women in refrigerators concept particularly in comic books).


Also, your thoughts on the asari and the women of dragon age (different games I know, but still).


Freehold DM wrote:
What are your thoughts on the women of assassins creed? I really like the fact that Lucy saves your bacon a lot. Also, your thoughts on the asari and the women of dragon age (different games I know, but still).

I've never played Assassin's Creed and I don't know what an asari is.

From here on, I'm going to start rambling about Dragon Age at length--go all the way to the end though if you dare to read the ramblings though. I know I ramble a lot but do please read the whole thing at the bottom carefully, and remember this is my opinion and what I personally took away from things.

For the women of Dragon Age:

Spoiler:

Morrigan: Her Liefeld boobs being eminently distracting, I barely remember what her face looks like, and I was trying really hard to respect her for her personality, but given she had "sarcastic" as her single defining character trait, I had trouble taking her seriously on any level. With the CAVEAT I have not played Witch's Hunt, she seemed to be 1 dimensional fanservice and not a real human character at all. Yeah, yeah, crazy mother trying to kill her and take her body and all that, I just had trouble accepting her as a decent character at all, let alone a good example of a female character. Whether you want to say it's sexist or not, it's not very good writing at any rate. I used her in my party and tried to keep her on my good side because she had good spells, not because I felt she contributed meaningfully to my group story or dialogue wise.

Okay, I will give her one fair shot: everything awful she said to Alistair was worth having her in the party. But she was still just a barb-spitting ice magic machine with water balloons taped to her torso, not an interesting human character.

Leliana: She was okay. Although I find it weird, I found her love of cute things irritating in a way that I did not find Veronica from FNV's love of dresses. I can't put my finger on what one seemed like a shallow character trait in one and a cute quirk in the other. I enjoyed dialogue with Leliana and she seemed to have a complex background at least. She does play with the femme fatale trope a bit. I have not played Leliana's Song yet so can't comment on that.

Wynne: She was pretty cool, and I loved having an old woman character show up--not very often you see a woman in video games over 25 (certain other exceptions notwithstanding, like Kreia from KOTOR2). She was smart and capable without being pandery to people who need their women heroes to be complete Mary Sues (because that's not a real human non tropey hero either). I tried to train her in some combat magic so I wouldn't have to rely on Morrigan so much.

Dwarf Scout Chick from Awakening: I liked her a lot, not much to comment on, but I liked having her around and she was a refreshing change from the usual Chick Rogue you get in RPGs--she definitely broke the mold of the cutesy thief.

B%+%#y Elf from Awakening: Very shallow character but I got her toward the very end so I may have missed some details on her. The way the expansion works somehow I triggered the endgame and never got to have the dialogue that brought her quest line to a proper close.

NPCs
Anora: I liked her, actually--she's not a good person but she's very complex and I liked how manipulative she was without being stereotypically manipulative-by-way-of-sexiness. I really got suckered in by her and thought she was going to be some dumb princess victim trope and they really did avert that and hard.

And... actually, she's the only memorable female NPC I can think of. Okay, her and Marjolaine (Darling, Marjolaine, thank you for, all the joy and pain...). Most of the other real movers and shakers in the plot were male. There were other females, but they were mostly cookie cutter villains or someone's girlfriend, with no real personality of their own that I recall (bearing in mind how one plays Origin can result in you meeting or interacting with different people).

Oh, I did like the Elf Origin's cousin (who is a major character in the elf alienage).

So seemed decent with some exceptions, but yet ON THE OTHER HAND...

Then there's the freaking broodmother, who seemed to be some mother-hating misogynist's fever dream of the woman-mother-figure they're terrified of. That was my impression, I imagine there are alternate view points. I don't think it was intended to be, but I found the broodmother design personally, extremely offensive and disturbing, not to mention outright triggery -- I actually closed my eyes as much as possible whenever they were onscreen, or tried to focus at the bottom corner or my own PCs.

I hated Awakening because it handwaves over the fact that all darkspawn are birthed from broodmothers who themselves are created by rape beyond worst imaginings. I get that in the original, it's supposed to be awful, we're supposed to be horrified by how broodmothers come into being, it's not like they are condoning what happens to the women who are transformed brutally into broodmothers. But THEN Awakening comes along and tells us, no, Darkspawn are people too and we should let the horrible rape happen so they can keep being born??? And you can never point this screaming elephant in the room out, you can never say, "But gee, architect, if I help you let the darkspawn survive, how do I make sure no mortal women are captured and brutally sexually tortured until they turn into demon birthing machines?" It's all about whether you want to give them warden blood or not, it never addresses this extremely fundamental issue of how it is that darkspawn come into being, that their existence depends upon utter and total rape and literal dehumanization of mortal females. They just completely pass over this major and disturbing plot point brought up in the original game (which again in fairness in the original, was presented to be a horrifying thing). It just horrifies me anyone would have okayed this script.

But then, Awakening singlehandedly made me decide never to buy another Bioware game again anyway just for it's general brutally, oppressively hopeless ambience (mind I try to avoid buying anything published by EA anyway these days, but that's another story for another time).


For tmdq

Spoiler:
... Okay, no mass effect for you then. It's a bioware game. I certainly don't share your views on the broodmother, I thought it a terrifying monster in keeping with the game. I'll still check our the wiki (ain't playing through a new game again just to get up to that point!) and give the history another look. I could have sworn in was the acts of cannibalism that changed them, at least at first. Would you have preferred the monsters be hatched from eggs instead?

and anora, hells yeah. A true queen, she takes guff from noone but is not so foolish as to strap on armor and ride to war just cuz.

Morrigan has liefield boobs? We're gonna have to agree to disagree on that one - if they had moved as freely as ah, unbound breasts should, the cries of sexism would have been deafening. What would you have her wear instead? Or would you have designed her differently?

All that aside, give assassins creed a try. It requires DEMONIC patience, be forewarned.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Kthulhu wrote:
I watched one or two of this woman's videos out of curiosity, and she seems to take things to the other extreme...she seems to be blaming all males and making some pretty generalized statements in that direction.

I agree. She may be overreacting. That does not necessarily make her wrong.

And obviously, it does not "justify" the kinds of hate mail she has been receiving.

Still, with women now making up almost half of the gaming public, it is a discussion that is overdue.

One other thing to realize, is that "Fanservice" is very unlikely to go away. (And it my opinion, nor should it!) What is more likely to go away (or become less common) are female characters that are victims, shallow characters, and mere decoration.


Lord Fyre wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
I watched one or two of this woman's videos out of curiosity, and she seems to take things to the other extreme...she seems to be blaming all males and making some pretty generalized statements in that direction.

I agree. She may be overreacting. That does not necessarily make her wrong.

And obviously, it does not "justify" the kinds of hate mail she has been receiving.

Still, with women now making up almost half of the gaming public, it is a discussion that is overdue.

One other thing to realize, is that "Fanservice" is very unlikely to go away. What is more likely to go away (or become less common) are female characters that are victims, shallow characters, and mere decoration.

generalized statements and overreaction rarely does positive things for ones argument, however.


DeathQuaker wrote:
I don't know what an asari is.

Oh I think you will like them. Asari is an all-female species of lesbian space elf strippers who spend the first thousand years (give or take) of their lives shaking their booty in bars, and then retire as super-awesome psychics.

And I'm not even kidding much.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Freehold DM wrote:
generalized statements and overreaction rarely does positive things for ones argument, however.

This is also true. Without the "hateful" response, her program/videos would likely have vanished into the wilderness.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Slaunyeh wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
I don't know what an asari is.

Oh I think you will like them. Asari is an all-female species of lesbian space elf strippers who spend the first thousand years (give or take) of their lives shaking their booty in bars, and then retire as super-awesome psychics.

And I'm not even kidding much.

All true.

And the funny thing, the 2 you get as companions in 1&2 (I haven't played 3) are some of the more interesting female characters I have ever seen.


Slaunyeh wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
I don't know what an asari is.

Oh I think you will like them. Asari is an all-female species of lesbian space elf strippers who spend the first thousand years (give or take) of their lives shaking their booty in bars, and then retire as super-awesome psychics.

And I'm not even kidding much.

that's... One take on it. What was that about overgeneralizatiorns, earlier?


Caineach wrote:
Slaunyeh wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
I don't know what an asari is.

Oh I think you will like them. Asari is an all-female species of lesbian space elf strippers who spend the first thousand years (give or take) of their lives shaking their booty in bars, and then retire as super-awesome psychics.

And I'm not even kidding much.

All true.

And the funny thing, the 2 you get as companions in 1&2 (I haven't played 3) are some of the more interesting female characters I have ever seen.

I agree with this more. The asari interest me greatly.

Shadow Lodge

Having looked at the women in refrigerators website now and read the dead men defrosting addition, I think it can be pretty hard to dodge a lot of these tropes without being aware of them.

I have to conciously think to make my NPC's female when creating them "on-the-fly", or not preplanned. When reaching into my subconcious I tend to grab a familiar male character. I noticed this recently as even my female dominated races turned up as male NPC's when I hadn't pre-planned them.

Also its an interesting point raised about the broodmothers in Dragon Age. I never looked into the background that deeply, but childbirth is one of the percieved scary things, even though its one of the most natural. Many women used to die. Put a woman involuntarily into this position and it must be difficult to come to terms with at the very least. Frequently when looking for "terrible things" themes along the line of the "Mystical Pregnancy" emerge. The broodmother sounds like the worste kind of example.

Again drawing on my own fantasy world I have themed creatures like the succubus/ incubus that seems to play into the "Evil demon seductress" trope to drain the lifeforce of men and then the worse elements of the "Mystical pregnancy" trope to use the stolen lifeforce to decieve and impregnate women that then birth demons...

Seems I have some rewriting ahead of me...

Shadow Lodge

As for women in video games, the Dragon Age women appeared to fall prey of more than one trope. Morrigan was the worst, could Leliana have fitted the "Pixie dream girl"?

I recently played Kingdoms of Amular, Alyn Shir seemed an OK female character if you ignored the ridiculously impracticle outfit. You didn't get too much of a backstory however.


This is tangentially related to the OP, but I thought it might be of some interest to folks reading this thread.

Why I Write "Strong Female Characters" by Greg Rucka

Greg Rucka is one of the best writers in comics IMO. He's given voice to Wonder Woman, the Question, Batwoman and a whole lot more creator owned material. The article above is his response to a common question he gets in interviews, "How/Why do you write such strong female characters?". It's well worth a read.

Bonus: Greg is a gamer!

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