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Girls and Video Games


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#1 of 56 OFFLINE   Rob_Pierce

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Posted April 17 2003 - 09:25 AM

Check out this article:

http://www.gamegirla....ideogames.html

OK, I have to admit that the author does not take a feminist point of view and is very understanding of the current status of video games in the article. My question is this: does anyone really care that women are somewhat treated as sexual beings in video games?

To me, video games are one of the few areas of life that is relatively female free, an important characteristic for someone that is married and works with mainly females all day. Until females start putting up the bucks to purchase games for themselves to play, I don't see this trend changing. I sure hope Martha Burke doesn't turn this into a crusade after her Masters golf tournament disaster.

I don't really care for characters such as the prostitutes in GTA 3 or the terrible idea that is BMX XXX, but characters like the ones mentioned in the article are harmless and cater to the male audience that likes to look at breasts (how many threads on here have dealt with the DOA XBV topless "cheat?").

Any other opinions out there?

#2 of 56 OFFLINE   BertFalasco

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Posted April 17 2003 - 09:34 AM

I hate all activists in any way, those nature people, tree people and everything else. There are too many complexities in life for peoplem to bicker over a certain category. What makes that one category so special that it should get attention, such as GLAAD and everything else, one is overfavored? This kind of shit gets me so angry, such as homosexuals wanting a frigging holiday, are you fu**ing kidding me? Life is a 1P game.

#3 of 56 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted April 17 2003 - 09:59 AM

I didn't read the article, but the main thing I'm after is a good game. The first Tomb Raider was a good game and succeeded on that basis, historical revisionism notwithstanding. Yes, people noticed Lara was a female, but the main thing was the amazing (at the time) engine showing off all those new Voodoo cards. And, the gameplay was sensational. When subsequent TR entries failed to advance the game and fell back on sex appeal, they lost me and most other people, to judge from posts I've read and the fact that they have largely gone back to the drawing board for the upcoming title.

And then there's Metroid, where Samus is a female, but it isn't made into a big deal. I suppose a feminist would be upset about her being shown in skimpy clothing in the "good" ending in some of the earlier games (much as Stephen King is angered by Sigourney Weaver stripping down to her skivvies at the end of Alien), but that ignores the fact that the game basically (and not intentionally, I would imagine) boosts their idea of women being equal to men.

In the end, I'm probably right where you are, Rob. It's a case-for-case basis. If the women are there just for abusive purposes, I won't participate. But, something like DOA doesn't offend me. Hey, I'm geek enough to say that video game women can be attractive (yes, real is better; save your breath! Posted Image )--who hasn't looked forward to a King of Fighters game mainly for Mia? But, like I said, there has to be a good game there.

#4 of 56 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted April 17 2003 - 10:15 AM

[quote] My question is this: does anyone really care that women are somewhat treated as sexual beings in video games?

... Until females start putting up the bucks to purchase games for themselves to play, I don't see this trend changing. [quote] Of course, why would women start buying games for themselves if they feel insulted by them?

To a certain extent, I don't care what the medium is - reducing women to nothing more than sex objects is something I'm not comfortable watching. And if the game puts you in a position where you're rewarded for participating in exploitation - or where your character is a part of it in a cut-scene, for example - I find it kind of creepy, and I imagine a woman would consider it much worse.

This is especially true as games become more and more complex. People talk about the plot of a game more, and it that's going to be an issue, then you really have to start thinking about how the various characters are being portrayed more.
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#5 of 56 OFFLINE   Dave Falasco

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Posted April 17 2003 - 11:22 AM

It's a reasonably well-written article and I can certainly sympathize with her point, but the simple fact is that most gamers are males between, say, 13 and 30, and a good portion of that group just likes to look at girls in skimpy clothing. It's why your typical newstand has 12 different "gentlemen's" offerings, from the mild "FHM" or "Maxim" to the more adult rags. I think for the most part game developers have targeted pretty well what their demographic likes. Guys like cars, and we have lots of racing games. Guys like blowing shit up, and we have lots of action/military games. Guys like sports, and we have just about every sporting game you can conceive. And guys like looking at girls, so there are games that let you do that as well. I don't see anything wrong with that; if someone doesn't like that sort of thing they can just avoid those games just as a non-race fan would avoid Gran Turismo. And to be fair, that article doesn't seem to be calling so much for the banning of those kinds of games, but rather for the development of more female-friendly games. It's certainly an argument that has been heard before and one against which I would never argue the merit. I just don't know if the numbers are there. If someone builds it, will they come?

#6 of 56 OFFLINE   BertFalasco

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Posted April 17 2003 - 11:33 AM

Why should anyone even conform to such a turn of mentality just because these things happen, why must we have to do women oriented stuff? Just like a store such as Starbucks are allowed to refuse to sell you something based on their discretion, it isn't neccessary for games to have "proper" womenly subjects/trophies; ergo, companies can do what they want. Who the hell are they to try and render something they did not create. There is not a standard/rulebook for women to use as a code of justification. I feel like I am getting too heated and philosophical.

#7 of 56 OFFLINE   Mark Evans

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Posted April 17 2003 - 11:42 AM

I think the problem is that with Maxim, you can reasonably assume that your target audience is that 13-30 male demographic that likes to look at skimpy women.

But video gaming as a whole, while currently predominantly catering to that category is not that specific. Maxim is not something that anybody ever expects to attract that many women. I think video gaming is, but it's not going to happen with the current concept of the "mature" title.

I too didn't have a chance to peruse the article, but the fact of the matter is that women are rarely given a good deal in gaming. Samus and Cate Archer are two great examples though of how you can make a female protagonist who is capable, interesting, and, yes, sexy, without transforming her into a sex object. They represent a minority though.

Also, who can blame women for feeling slighted by gaming? Who remembers that unfortunate spate of girl games a few years back? The heck with girls, nobody wanted to play that stupid Barbie game. A good game should be able to transcend gender.

I think treating women as sex objects in a game is unfortunate because it reflects poorly on gaming as a whole and it definitely does nothing but reinforce the stereotype that gamers are social misfits.

I don't refer to games like GTA3 either, btw, as I think any crime came about drug cartels that didn't have hookers wouldn't be realistic anyway. I predominantly mean games that are created with the t&a first and the game second. That is the "bass-ackwards" school of game design.
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#8 of 56 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted April 17 2003 - 11:45 AM

This is how I look at it: Who freakin cares? If you don't like a problem, fix it yourself (unless its in the government, then the only way to fix it is protest it). And if you're in the minority opinion, well then no wonder you're dissatisfied. The minority is named as such BECAUSE it's the least popular point of view. If everyone else wants something only you don't, its better to appease them. Though some examples of overt sexuality are a little over the top, like DOA:XBV. BTW, one time I was playing Tekken Tag Tournament while my brother had a female friend over. She saw one of the girls in the game and thought it was overtly sexist that she was big breasted and good looking. But when she saw one of the males without his shirt on, she instantly thought he was hot and wanted to try the game out. So sexuality can go both ways. It's not like every game out there only has girls that represent perfection, nearly all of the male protagonists in games are tough, strong, and badass (like women typically want them to be).

#9 of 56 OFFLINE   Joseph Young

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Posted April 17 2003 - 11:54 AM

[quote] I hate all activists in any way, those nature people, tree people and everything else [quote]
Yeah, gotta hate those pesty 'nature' people. And those silly activists, having the nerve to declare their independence a few centuries ago, boy, their efforts were for nought, eh? Posted Image

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#10 of 56 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted April 17 2003 - 12:10 PM

I don't think life is a multiplayer game, but it's more like The Sims Online (isn't that the point, afterall?)Posted Image

#11 of 56 OFFLINE   Dave F

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Posted April 17 2003 - 02:24 PM

My question is this: does anyone really care that men are somewhat treated as violent beings in video games? -Dave
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#12 of 56 OFFLINE   Raphael

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Posted April 17 2003 - 04:43 PM

[quote] My question is this: does anyone really care that men are somewhat treated as violent beings in video games? [quote]

Someone once tried to tell me that video games made people violent, so I beat him to a bloody pulp. Posted Image

#13 of 56 OFFLINE   John Royster

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Posted April 17 2003 - 04:57 PM

No, I don't care about women complaining about video games. What's next? Men complaining that duke nukem portrays an unrealistic image of the typical male and cannot be obtained by most men? Therefore contributing to low male selfesteem, steriod use and the lust for large rocket launchers while chewing bubble gum.

#14 of 56 OFFLINE   JamesH

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Posted April 17 2003 - 05:41 PM

My fiance likes to play as a sexy character in video games. I still remember the days of Baulder's Gate: DA when she played as the elven sorceress and forgoed armor for the chance to run around naked. I see no logical reason for women to complain about a game that has no bearing on them. If they really want a game geared towards them, then they need to write letters to game publishers and the games will be created if the market can bear it. Otherwise, why not just get a Gamecube where there are plenty of games targeted at "all audiences" ?

#15 of 56 OFFLINE   JamesH

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Posted April 17 2003 - 05:52 PM

[quote] This is especially true I think of videogames, where everything from the environment (the marketing, the merchandising, the image of the industry) to the peripherals (the laughably phallic joystick, the original Xbox controllers which are too big for my hands, the color scheme of the Xbox) are male-friendly. The attitude seems to be, "Maybe some women play our games, but we don't really know, and frankly, we don't care." [quote]

After reading this article, I can't help but note that her ridiculous ranting is rather misguided. The X-box has a "male oriented" color scheme?

3 letters...

WTF.

Was she expecting it to come in pink? The Gamecube was the subject of much derision just for being a bluish purple. Oh, and joysticks are shaped like penises to a laughable extent according to her. Is it going to take a controller modeled after a vagina to make her happy? Especially considering that joysticks are mainly used for simulation now, whether it's modeling an arcade cabinet or playing a flight sim.

Should I start my rant about how I feel like I'm gaming in a female dominated world because the Gamecube has a purse-like handle and the controller is too small for my hands?

#16 of 56 OFFLINE   Steve Bjorg

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Posted April 17 2003 - 08:28 PM

I don't think this thread is going to go anywhere healthy. So before it slides into hell, I just wanted to squeeze in my 2 cents. It is simply a fact that today's society still favors men over women. I'm glad to see that things have changed considerably over the last 50 years, but we're still far away from reaching equilibrium. When it comes to recongnizing the equal standing of people of different conviction and the respect of the opposite gender and all races, our civilization is certainly not getting a passing grade. Sad, but true. Also, please don't take this as a personal attack, but I find it immature and offensive to be pointing the finger in disdain at activists or minorities. Being in the majority doesn't mean you're right.
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#17 of 56 OFFLINE   Mark Evans

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Posted April 17 2003 - 10:16 PM

[quote] I don't think this thread is going to go anywhere healthy. [quote]

I think THIS is the smartest viewpoint offered up in this thread yet. Posted Image

I'm quietly withdrawing from this topic, since it basically has the choice to go the bad way, or, the bad way fast Posted Image.
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#18 of 56 OFFLINE   Dave Falasco

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Posted April 18 2003 - 12:33 AM

[quote] I'm glad to see that things have changed considerably over the last 50 years, but we're still far away from reaching equilibrium. When it comes to recongnizing the equal standing of people of different conviction and the respect of the opposite gender and all races, our civilization is certainly not getting a passing grade. Sad, but true. [quote]
True enough, Steve, I don't think anyone here would argue with that. In a better world there would be games that appealed to not only women, but also blacks, Jews, gays, Eskimos, and every other subset of humanity on God's green earth. It certainly isn't fair that most women in video games are designed for sex appeal, just as I'm sure many Asians get tired of seeing themselves portrayed only as karate masters, or blacks as afro-sporting masters of funk, etc. The author of the article has every right to complain.

Unfortunately, though, we live in a for-profit world and as I said earlier, games tend to be designed to appeal to their target demographic, rather than the population as a whole. And as long as the majority of gamers are in that "male, 13-30" range, most games are going to be designed to appeal to them, potentialy leaving gamers not in that category feeling displaced.

Obviously it's a chicken-and-egg thing here: girls don't play games because there aren't many designed to appeal to them, and games aren't designed to appeal to them because they don't play them. The author of that article seems to believe this is changing, and I hope she's right.

#19 of 56 OFFLINE   BrianB

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Posted April 18 2003 - 12:39 AM

[quote] Unfortunately, though, we live in a for-profit world and as I said earlier, games tend to be designed to appeal to their target demographic, rather than the population as a whole. And as long as the majority of gamers are in that "male, 13-30" range, most games are going to be designed to appeal to them, potentialy leaving gamers not in that category feeling displaced. [quote]
Isn't that a bad thing though from a business point of view? Companies are "locked onto" selling their games to the same small audience year in, year out & are missing out on 50% of the population.
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#20 of 56 OFFLINE   JayV

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Posted April 18 2003 - 01:50 AM

[quote] I don't want to see a shelf of pink boxes of "girl games". I just want to see better games in general - games which are more thoughtful, more provocative, more interesting, with better character design. [quote]
Any here disagree with that? I'll add that she does not seem to want all games that way (she understands DOAXVB is a "pin-up" game and seems okay with that).

She believes (or at least cites) "open-ended," "less-goal oriented" and "co-operative play" are attractive features to potential female gamers. She adds that these are important facets to adult gamers of any gender.

I agree; I loved Halo's co-op mode and Morrowind's open-ended nature. Does that make me an activist?

-j




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