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93 comments

  • OD-Apache - January 27, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    Metal Gear Solid 3. The Boss. 'Nuff said.
  • gilgamesh310 - January 29, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    The Boss was sort of defined as being a mother so according to GR logic that makes her not a good character.
  • radeonrose - January 27, 2013 6:57 a.m.

    I think a shout-out is in order for the Final Fantasy crew. The latest game was 50% women, including its main character, Lightning. She's just a former soldier, with no previous history of science or royalty. Before that, Final Fantasy 12 also has 50% women as its cast of main characters. Before that, Final Fantasy 10 had another female lead (arguably). Final Fantasy 9 had a princess, but then there were 3 other strong female characters. If you go further back, FF 6 stars a female lead.
  • VintAge68 - January 27, 2013 5:28 a.m.

    True; Binary Domain might be really examplary here: two women out of a squad of five, one Asian, the other "Caucasian"...
  • jackthemenace - January 27, 2013 3:26 a.m.

    At the minute, I'm getting sick of reading about Women in the media; Either they're not there, in which case it's sexist, or they ARE there, in which case they're 'token' and it's sexist. Admittedly, this may not be exactly the same trail of thought as the article, but there were a couple that made me think of it, most notably the two sections about all women either being naive or hardened. What else is there for them to BE!? If women are portrayed as weak in games, it's a bad presentation of women; but if they're portrayed as strong and independent in a game, it just seems like a shallow attempt at NOT looking sexist. People need to stop reading into it so much -.-
  • gilgamesh310 - January 29, 2013 7:26 a.m.

    It's getting very annoying hearing all this hypocritical garbage alright.
  • FemJesse - February 1, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    Hell, have the women working in the mines while the men are off fighting, I don't give a crap as long as they're THERE and DOING SOMETHING. Being relegated to quest givers, healers, protection missions is demeaning... Or what about more Tanyas and Kerrigans? Kerrigan became so much more interesting when she ditched Raynor and became the queen of blades. I was actually pretty disappointed at the end of Wings of Liberty, lol.
  • threadspool - July 18, 2014 3:24 p.m.

    is it too much to ask for well-written female characters, who have thought put into them, who are designed well, who are not just there for the sake of pandering to the average male gamer? yes, there are some, but in a small minority. making female characters exclusively in the two categories of naive or hardened is not, in fact, representative of reality. like groen said in the article, they are not bipolar set pieces. in saying "what else is there for them to be", do realize that male characters are written across a far more varied spectrum, and that this same spectrum be applied to women is what is being advocated for in this article. writing female characters as only naive, or only hardened and representing some other overdone trope is still bad writing. variety and depth is key.
  • Kytl - January 26, 2013 7:17 p.m.

    At least Fire Emblem shirks off at least some of these lies.
  • RaQin - January 26, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    Andrew Groen, you hit the nail on the head. An excellent, considerate, and well stated article with everything but the answers...Now how do we get devs to stop writing about vapid, helpless, gender defined female characters? That is the real issue. If more games were written to have women with the poise, inner conviction, and breast-physics of FemSheppard, then we'd be going someplace. I think all female gamers would love to have characters to play who are as strong as they are...and I'd arm wrestle Michelle Obama if I were given the chance. Cheers, RaQin/Kate
  • needles - January 25, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    I play video games to get away from unattractive women in real life. It's fantasy. It's why I watch porno. But your'e right. It does get a little stupid sometimes.
  • iamblamb - January 23, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    Yeah, you're not overlooking strong female characters like Samus Aran, Shepard, Alyx Vance, Chel, Midna, Leona, or Kayle (from LoL) at all. Not to mention the cast of left 4 dead 1&2 (its not 50/50 men/women because I own 3 guns, how many firearms does the average female own? I think its safe to say that someone who doesn't own a gun won't last long in the zombie apocalypse.) Y'know, it seems like its really easy to bitch and moan but if you have such an overwhelming quarrel with it then you should MAKE the video games that you're interested in playing. At the end of the day people who aren't interested in designing games but still want to play them and complain are no different than women who gripe about gender roles in the home but are too comfortable playing trophy wife and nagging thier man to fix the family car or start the home repairs. Tell ya what, I'll make my own sandwich and you can grab the tools and go fix the shed yourself. I'm happy my wife isn't irrational like you.
  • RaQin - January 26, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    The realistic female game characters equal less than 5% of those in games, and there are even fewer PLAYABLE females. If we consider all female characters in gaming, rather than pointing to the very very few who are strong, then I think you can see the problem, and the complaint. The number of playable leading female characters should be closer to the population of female gamers. And for the sake of the above quesiton, 10.8% of all guns in the US are owned by women, so it would be safe to say that Left4Dead is leading the way for female representation in the Zombie Apocolypse genre. I owned 6 guns in 1996, you would have wanted to have me around when escaping an infestation. This is not a 'bitch and moan' I don't make my own sandwiches and I do the household chores WITH my S.O., and while I don't mow the lawn, I do fix the computers and keep the electronics going. The things people do around the house, in life, and in games while in relationships or teams are NOT gender roles, but rather things they do because they are better at it than their partner/teammate, and the division of labor makes sense. If game devs considered giving their characters a realistic division of labor for the teams they put their characters in, then we'd have more female demolitions experts, slicers, pilots, body guards, and leaders in our games. As a real-life example, watch a video of the President walking down Pennsylvania avenue during the 2013 inauguration last week...Check out the baddass pony-tail sporting Secret Service agents. They don't look out of place at all, they look like they can handle anything, they don't where ultra-form-fitting suits and they don't have huge boobs; they're just highly skilled women doing the job they love. All of us should try to see the WHOLE picture rather than the few exceptional examples of women in games. Women want to play themselves in a game, not the same vapid tropes we get in every game. What we should not do is to throw out the 'TV examples' of women when we see something we don't like in a forum..."Trophy wives" for example are a far fewer in number than what forum posters likely believe...Think about it, of all of your friends, and those of your parents, how many women are acting the role of 'trophy wives'? If you know more than two, then you should consider expanding your circle of friends because most people in relationships are team-players regardless of them being male or female. I believe it is our misunderstanding of what is real vs what is seen in game and video, or spewed out for the sake of forum discussion-winning that brings down our ability to see women for who they really are. Cheers, RaQin/Kate
  • craig-r-hightshoe - January 22, 2013 9:14 p.m.

    What is it you want in video games then? To have an over abundance of average looking women with B-C cups, with some mediocre desk job, average intelligence and no worldly experience? A lot of the "lies" that you've stated seem to include a pretty broad spectrum of people which seems incredible odd. Also, a lot of your statistics seem to be little more that approximations (if that) of what you feel the game industry represents. Also there are many games which don't fall under many, if not all of the criteria you've stated. One that comes to mind would be Mass Effect 3, character proportions could be anywhere between 5 women to 3 men, to 5 men and 3 women, and none of them are blonde, ditzy, useless, or have ridiculously large breasts. Side note, the specific statistics for female gamers are: 25 percent of console players and 39 percent of PC game players are women. Also, 40 percent of online game players are women. According to a report by USA today 60 percent of female gamers play on mobile devices says a survey done by EEDAR. It also seemed as though many (if not all) of your criticisms were directed at (primarily) console games and computer games (although it seems as though it would only be the computer games that are also on consoles). So according to those statistics I would say the game industry is about right. To look on the bright side though, they do seem to be moving slowly towards incorporating a better female aspect into games as female gamers are on the rise.
  • threadspool - July 18, 2014 3:34 p.m.

    an overabundance of average looking women would be a welcome change from the overabundance of conventionally attractive ones currently in most games, correct? many games have diversity of women, but they are still an embarrassing minority. in mass effect, for instance, character diversity is in spades, and i highly respect bioware for that, but let's not forget that every major female, aside from shepard, has some form-fitting catsuit which offers next to no protection, which incidentally, is one of the points in this article. as for your statistics on gaming, just because female gamers are not the minority, it certainly does not mean we should disregard their opinions. the game industry is decidedly not 'right', because female gamers account for more than that. see here: A new study, “2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry,” reports that women make up 45 percent of all gamers and 46 percent of all “habitual video game purchasers.” In fact, adult women make up 31 percent of the video game population and boys under 17 only make up 19 percent.
  • AshLynx - January 22, 2013 8:51 p.m.

    And this is why Wreck-It Ralph was so awesome. Despite being programmed with the most tragic backstory ever, Calhoun is a character first, who happens to also be a woman. Doing her mission is important and she's not just there to fawn over a guy in a sudden moment of out of nowhere weakness. And she looks awesome and attractive despite wearing reasonable clothes that complete covers her chest. Clearly game developers need to look at Calhoun and Vanellope before they make their next game because damn if Wreck-It Ralph didn't make it look embarrassingly easy.
  • Grif - January 22, 2013 8:24 p.m.

    Battling demons in the nude with no mention of Bayonetta! This is an outrage! /sarcasm I get it she fights angels. But she is still nude. I do want to mention that while a concerning large amount of games do this, some don't. Like say, Mirror's Edge (ignore my avatar, no pun intended). Strong female lead, can handle herself, not over sexualized, and has a relationship with her sister that doesn't seem out of place. Ignoring the shitty storyline, Mirror's Edge had a decent cast of characters.
  • jgrif91 - January 22, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    No kidding video games lie about women. A character that ceaselessly nags, gains 50 pounds after they figure out a guy likes them romantically, and forces other people to watch some of the worst cinema in existence is not likeable. So forgive men for wanting something better when they pay for a virtual experience.

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