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Finding The Middle Ground Between Porn and Sexist Games

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November 28, 2005 5:06:47 PM

<b>Save Your Money: Games With Bad Female Characters</b>
Finding that middle ground between porn and sexism when it comes to games isn't easy. Strong, convincing and logical female game characters are in demand by women, where men are usually looking for more eye candy than then anything else. And while the game industry is doing better at making games that both sexes can play together, there are still plenty of games with offensive female characters.
November 29, 2005 7:28:38 AM

It is going to be tough to stay within the boundaries as described in the sticky on this one, but I'll give it a try. Please understand that by no means I mean to insult the author or any other forum members. I do mean to express my opinion on the article I just read.

This must be the worst article I have read, ever. The reason for writing it does not become clear, there is no conclusion at the end, and I'm left with a feeling of "so what?" and "why did I waste my time reading it". I did read all pages because I had the hope of finding some remnant of a coherent statement or reasoning.

I think the author points out somewhere in the beginning:
Quote:

And while the game industry is doing better at making games that both sexes can play together, there are still plenty of games with offensive female characters.


I would suggest to just look at games that are targetted at this mixed audience, and I hardly think that "Rumble Roses" or many other examples the author used were made with that mixed audience in mind. If you want to complain about the lack of games for a certain audience you might have a point, although it would help to consider why that might be the case: as in the target audience might not be big enough yet to make it a profitable proposition to make games for it.

Althoug I am the first to agree that markets should be developed, in order to increase them, it hardly makes sense to critize all those other games out there that do not appeal to you. Pointless really. As you can find in countless sources on the net, the female gamer population is growing and even getting to be a majority groups at some of the MMORPG's out there. The least you could have done is pick out some female avatars from those games and explain why it's apparently appealing to women to play them.

And what's the worst of it: nowhere in the entire article is a well laid out proposal as to how such female characters should look like to the personal taste of the author. Not that it's that relevant to hear one personal opinion, but now I'm left with an image of a complaining clueless author.

As good as I think some of Aaron's articles are, I really think this is one big waste of time, and I hope the author can find some elements in my reaction on how to improve some of her writing skills, of course assuming that "geekwoman" is a she. Regardless of whether I agree or disagree with the content (if there was any), I think the author did a poor job in constructing this article.

For those of you who do not know me from my regular posting on THG, I'm not the typical male chauvinist pig, far from it actually (ask around in some of the other discussion groups if you want to verify that), although I cannot deny that I am a man.

If there's any females out there that actually found the article a good read, see if you can blame it on just me being a man. The only thing I can think of is an often observed hobby of women to critisize each other's looks, preferably when the to be critisized party is not present.
November 29, 2005 8:19:44 AM

Woohoo. More poorly written articles and now we have been asked by the mods to comment on them.

Charming.

Bigmac more or less says it all. My only real comment is so what. I pay as much attention to girl characters as I pay attention to the males. Also, was it too much effort to break away from leveling pointless criticisms at a handful of games and perhaps ask a few female gamers for their opinions?

[petty]Finally Alice did not have primitive graphics, at the time they were damn good.[/petty]
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November 29, 2005 9:26:25 AM

Quote:
As good as I think some of Aaron's articles are, I really think this is one big waste of time

Just so as we're clear, I didn't write that one, though I think you might just be talking about the videogame articles in general.
November 29, 2005 9:58:40 AM

Own up Aaron. You're really a wannabe female feminist. Admit it :) 
November 29, 2005 10:45:30 AM

It had not crossed my mind that "Geekwoman" might actually be you :D 
November 29, 2005 1:52:40 PM

Alice was/is an awesome game and the graphics were pretty damn good. I'm not even sure why the author connected the "looniness" of the female character in the game with how well it did. The game was just good. It could have been a guy in the game but it was supposed to be ALICE in wonderland wasn't it? Are we to assume that Lewis Carroll's book was so successfull because there was a female lead character or that Lewis Carroll was a feminist for not picking a male lead character? Maybe it should have been Wilbur in Wonderland.

[/da]
November 29, 2005 2:30:10 PM

Quote:
It had not crossed my mind that "Geekwoman" might actually be you :D 

Heh, you wish :p  Geekwoman is in fact another living human being - I'm working on a different project with her at the moment, and unless it's just David putting on an accent... (I never rule these things out, but I've had conversations with the two of 'em at once...)

Anyway, I have more important things to be doing than looking at porn in videogames :wink:
November 29, 2005 2:54:05 PM

Quote:
Anyway, I have more important things to be doing than looking at porn in videogames :wink:


Like partaking in the porographic parties at BomberBills! :wink: :wink:
November 29, 2005 4:58:16 PM

Quote:
Anyway, I have more important things to be doing than looking at porn in videogames :wink:


Like partaking in the porographic parties at BomberBills! :wink: :wink:
I couldn't comment :p 
November 29, 2005 9:24:09 PM

Stupid feminists with an itch to scratch need to stop writing during PMS.

Every one of the points 'raised' in that poorly written article are in no way gender specific. For every example given in the article, I can give an example of poorly developed male characters.

And even were that not the case, the author completely misses the point of games (and pop culture in general): they are not meant to represent reality. Mirror it, maybe, in certain cases, but never represent it. An aesthetically pleasing character does not necessarily need to be functional. And if her cold femenist heart does not like the imagary used, that is her right. But programmers also have the right to be obsessed with big boobs. And it is their right to include big, almost naked boobs in games if that is their wish.

As well argue that the buildings in certain games are physically impossible to build. Stupid sexist glass spires that reach the sky! How dare the developers include them in a game! Or that mansion level in the first CS! It's a bland stereotypicaland uninteresting building!

Stop the building hating!
November 30, 2005 7:03:02 AM

:evil:  Did the forum techs actually have a look at the games forum before they decided to introduce the 'discuss this' feature? There were several articles relating to the poor quality of this new wave of women/gaming articles already on here.

You were asking for trouble by actually inviting us to discuss these articles further. The sticky you have put up is a bit of a joke, if we find a bad article on the site we are hardly going to be complimentary about the author if we think they are wrong, if I were writing an article I would like to see all points of view, both good and bad.
November 30, 2005 7:21:35 AM

I think the point is that we criticise the article rather than making personal comments towards the author altho that can be difficult.
November 30, 2005 8:26:43 AM

Quote:
I think the point is that we criticise the article rather than making personal comments towards the author altho that can be difficult.

It's one big social experiment at the moment. We're community building, so it's natural if someone calls someone else a few names in the process.
November 30, 2005 8:52:50 AM

And I'm not sorry!
November 30, 2005 9:07:33 AM

Quote:
I think the point is that we criticise the article rather than making personal comments towards the author altho that can be difficult.

It's one big social experiment at the moment. We're community building, so it's natural if someone calls someone else a few names in the process.

Well said, and on point Aaron ... and that sticky was no joke, DFenn. Keep it respectful ... even if you totally disagree ... ok. :D 
November 30, 2005 10:10:59 AM

Quote:

Well said, and on point Aaron ... and that sticky was no joke, DFenn. Keep it respectful ... even if you totally disagree ... ok. :D 


Bitch! :p 

Oh, ah, erm, just in case anyone might misread this, it's directed at Jake! :roll:
November 30, 2005 10:50:29 AM

Quote:
Well said, and on point Aaron ... and that sticky was no joke, DFenn. Keep it respectful ... even if you totally disagree ... ok. :D 


8O Apologies Jake, my post was not meant to be'dis-respectful'. All I am trying to get across is that if I were the author of an article I would want any discussion about my article to be free from restrictions so that I could see both positive and negative viewpoints.

:idea: I personally think that these 'discuss this' threads would be better if the author took an active part in the discussion. We may then begin to understand their point of view more clearly.
November 30, 2005 11:45:41 AM

Agreed, would like to hear from the author once in a while with a more indept reasoning for their article.
November 30, 2005 11:51:25 AM

Quote:
8O Apologies Jake, my post was not meant to be'dis-respectful'. All I am trying to get across is that if I were the author of an article I would want any discussion about my article to be free from restrictions so that I could see both positive and negative viewpoints.

Well, if my initial response in this topic is according the restrictions then we can say pretty much anything as long as it is on topic, which suits me fine.

Quote:

:idea: I personally think that these 'discuss this' threads would be better if the author took an active part in the discussion. We may then begin to understand their point of view more clearly.

Agreed with the addition that a well written article doesn't leave a lot of room for misinterpreting the point of view of the author to begin with.
November 30, 2005 12:23:35 PM

Discussing the article further with people is something I like to do when I have time, but not all authors (and myself, at times) can find the time to do that. I won’t say that some authors just don’t like to have to get interactive, but for the most part it’s a matter of getting all the other work we have to do done before we can wade into the trenches, if you will.
November 30, 2005 12:42:14 PM

Understandable. You could make a point with your employer though that it is or should be a package deal: write and post the article and get/claim the time to be interactive with your readers before starting out on the next article.

Depends on how serious THG is in getting this discussion thingy going. Writing as well as reading articles on an internet site should be a different (more interactive) experience than writing and reading articles in a paper magazine.
November 30, 2005 1:08:40 PM

Quote:
Understandable. You could make a point with your employer though that it is or should be a package deal: write and post the article and get/claim the time to be interactive with your readers before starting out on the next article.

Depends on how serious THG is in getting this discussion thingy going. Writing as well as reading articles on an internet site should be a different (more interactive) experience than writing and reading articles in a paper magazine.

That's quite an interesting point, and one I wouldn't disagree with.
November 30, 2005 5:18:06 PM

The key word, as far as conduct is concerned, is "professional". You don't have to agree with the author at all. I would just hope that we can all discuss something without personally attacking the author.

Simply put, no falacies.
November 30, 2005 5:48:57 PM

I reserve my personal attacks to moderators only. Is that ok with you?

Prick :twisted:
November 30, 2005 6:54:06 PM

Quote:

Bitch! :p 


You can be so hurtful at times ... 8)
November 30, 2005 8:51:06 PM

Quote:
The key word, as far as conduct is concerned, is "professional". You don't have to agree with the author at all. I would just hope that we can all discuss something without personally attacking the author.

Simply put, no falacies.

In a formal setting I’d possibly agree with you, but maybe just me speaking with my tough Irish complexion (/obligatory national pride bit), but I don’t mind it when forum debates devolve into scraps. Obviously not on page one, but there comes a point in all forum discussions where someone mentions Hitler, as the old line goes. If you overly formalise things then the author is not a contributor to the discussion, more the focus of it. Personally as I say, even if I’ve written the article that a topic is based on, when push comes to shove in a forum discussion I’d like to be contributing to the debate, not running it and being forced to evacuate when the first swearwords are uttered.

I suppose you could say that down here I consider myself fair game (though I assure you, the same is true vice versa ;)  ). I’m not one for imposing too many rules on forums beyond the simple and rather obvious rules of etiquette and setting some standards (IE if you don’t agree with me, don’t photoshop a penis onto my photo… please… _), and I’m a firm believer in going off topic once the topic at hand has been exhausted and it’s more fun to go from Doom the Movie to, well, whatever it is that you talk about thereafter – that’s half the fun of forums, the unpredictability of where the discussion will go. If it’s a good forum and everyone is posting well then the “off-topic” parts of a thread can be the most fun parts at times. I’m not saying give everyone carte blanche, mind, but that’s my thinking on how a community should work.
November 30, 2005 10:53:03 PM

What the author forgets is that this is fantasy. Authors and artists have been creating these types of characters for decades, if not centuries, and they are legendary. These game characters are the creation of artists as well, just not the traditional form. We need to respect that.

The author of this article clearly feels that ALL women feel the way he/she does. I have a lot of female friends who play online. They love giving their characters hot looking armor. What concerns them most is how they are treated online by other players. It's guys who give their online characters names like "Clit Meister" that hurt the gaming industry the most.

I say let the game developers create their characters the way they want, and let the buyers vote with their wallet. Let's not whine about it with non-productive articles like this one. Let's concentrate on the positive contributions instead of the negative ones as well. There are plenty of positive female game characters out there.
December 2, 2005 2:09:15 AM

You stole my name you sicko...my first name.
December 2, 2005 3:54:00 AM

Why is your email Charles if your name is Jake? :?
December 2, 2005 9:48:02 AM

Maybe he likes being called Charles? Should we put on a British accent when we say that, sar?
December 2, 2005 12:30:23 PM

If he likes being called Charles in this day and age, he's definitely not British.
December 2, 2005 1:21:32 PM

oh ho ho ho. If I was an upstanding politically correct member of society I would lodge an official complaint regarding that comment.

But as I'm not I shall lmao!! :D 
December 2, 2005 10:15:16 PM

Jake is what everyone calls me my real name is Charles Jacob(jake) Reel. its weird, nickname after middle name whatever.
December 3, 2005 9:33:50 PM

What a freak of nature!!! :p 
December 4, 2005 5:12:42 AM

lol, ATLEAST IM PART OF NATURE YOU....you ANDRIOD!
December 4, 2005 5:24:20 PM

Quote:
You stole my name you sicko...my first name.


Who told you life was fair ... get them to give you the refund ... :twisted:
December 4, 2005 9:14:13 PM

hmmm what will my new name be...cmon guys help me out.
December 6, 2005 3:27:12 PM

Quote:
hmmm what will my new name be...cmon guys help me out.


How about the Grateful Dead ... no wait, I think some guys have already registered that one ... sorry I couldn't be of more help. :D 
December 6, 2005 10:15:59 PM

I wouldnt be so greatfull if i was dead anyway...
December 7, 2005 9:24:32 PM

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I wouldnt be so greatfull if i was dead anyway...


You would, if you made the money those guys did touring ... 8)
December 7, 2005 10:19:31 PM

lol a dead guitarist what a gimmick you could tour 24/7/365. what a dream
December 8, 2005 3:48:59 PM

Quote:
hmmm what will my new name be...cmon guys help me out.


Chuckles?

;) 
December 8, 2005 8:46:11 PM

im gonna kill you!!!!AHHHHHHHH. damn i hate that name, damn school and the kids in it to....lol just a bad nickname.... i forever hate you now. die.
January 26, 2006 8:58:07 PM

I realise this is probably a dead topic by now, but I really felt the need to chime in.

First off, having read some other stuff from Geekwoman, (Her series on women's gaming clans, etc.) I have to say- either her writing has improved tremendously, or this is just a bad day. Either way, Kudos on some of the other articles, but this one...not so much. It's not very well written or reasoned, and really seems a bit wandering and random.

That aside, though, I also have to really question some of her opinions on this. In an article lamenting the dearth of women figures in gaming, we find complaints like "flat-chested", and "not enough outfits"? I mean, really, doesn't that just undermine the whole concept? How seriously can we take the idea of women as heroes if we only give them stereotypical rewards like shopping?

Not to mention some of the examples chosen- the Big mutha truckers series? Please- was there any character in that game, male or female, who didn't qualify as an offensive stereotype? And the goofy sidekicks in Xena, et al. - What game doesn't have male characters that are portrayed that way? Is it really even a good idea to ask that all female characters in any given game be sane, brave, and capable? That kind of too-serious attitude is perhaps the worst enemy of any portrayal of anyone, male, female or otherwise, unless you happen to be trying to create the melodrama of the month, which is a wonderful recipe for cornball, but not much else.

And Alice- who managed to be one of the most sympathetic portrayals of a loony ever- panned for being loony? There's certainly no shortage of Male characters portrayed as battier than all get out, and none of them manage to evoke the players loyalty to near the extent that Alice did in that game.

But the biggest slap was at Samus Aran, from Metroid. I mean here we have the prototypical female hero- she's tough, resourceful, and she manages to single handedly destroy a deadly alien menace all by her lonesome, without resort to sidekicks, male support, or the dubious reward of shopping and a new outfit, pausing at the end of the game only to remove her helmet, shake the kinks out and go looking for more alien evil to put the smack down on, and somehow, she's a bad female role model? For what, I wasn't quite able to decipher- maybe simply being female?

Here's a quote form that bit: "Though some of us guessed that Samus was female anyway, the series encourages the voyeurism of the woman beneath the suit. Female characters are subjected to nude mods and hacks."

WTF? Trust me on this one- I was the right age to have played that game, and loved it. I played with other male adolescent gamers, and when the end of the game comes around and she removes her helmet (Not, as stated in the article, all the armor), and all those adolescent males realised the character they had spent countless hours idenitfying with was a female, the universal reaction was not to fanatsize about a nude Samus, It was generally more like "Wow, he's a she, and she's a badass."

At least amongst the people I know, male and female, the general consensus was that it was really cool to have a female character that didn't have her cleavage as her most identifiable attribute as the lead in a great game. And I would go one further and say that at least for some of the even younger players, that was the first game to really plant the idea that a woman could be tough, complex, and self-reliant, thus opening the mind to the idea of females as heroes in general.

I mean really, if what women want portrayed as a video game avataris a strong, sexy women who needs no help to get things done, what more can you ask for? And really, the "encouraging Voyuerism bit is a bit like those young women you sometimes meet in college who complain and complain that guys don't think they're attractive, and then go into a huff if someone so much as says "Your hair looks nice". It's a case of not really knowing what you want, or of just wanting to be mad about something, regardless of what that something might be. So I guess I'd have to say- really, make up your mind. Because if you can't tell developers what you want, then you're pretty unlikely to get it, don't you think.

A quick digression- I think I mentioned this earlier, but I really meant it- some of the other articles this author has written have been outstanding- keep it up!
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