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Opinion: Because We Have Stories Too
Opinion: Because We Have Stories Too
September 6, 2011 | By Asa Roos

September 6, 2011 | By Asa Roos
Comments
    41 comments
More: Console/PC, Design, Business/Marketing



[In this reprinted #altdevblogaday-opinion piece, Avalanche Studios' Asa Roos looks at what the game development community can do to address the issue of sexism, explaining that women need to have an identity of their own in games.]

This topic is one that I usually get into sooner or later. In this case perhaps sooner than I'd like, having hung out here less than a few posts. But still, and with regards to the piece posted at Gamasutra, I'll get into something that is very close to my heart. Women in games. The reason is of course that I'm a woman. And a game developer, and incidentally also an avid gamer. 

In the text that I'm referring to, Ben Abraham challenges his readers to think about sexism and to take an active part in changing the world around us. From the final punchline:
"Gamers and game developers are some of the best and brightest people on the planet. If anyone can address this and other problems like it, we can."
If we are indeed some of the best and brightest people on the planet, let me ask you this: why does sexism, ableism, racism and other isms still have a place in games? In fact, why aren't games at the forefront of challenging gender stereotypes and racial stereotyping?

Why, indeed, does Ivy from SoulCalibur have breasts that keep growing and growing for every new installment of the game? Why are games like The Witcher and Duke Nukem (okay, that last one was a cheap shot) still being made? Why do we still sell games using sex as the sales pitch? Why are the women's stories still so scarce in games?

Where are all the stories featuring strong women? We have Lara Croft, sure, but how often is she not associated with the size of her boobs? We have Samus Aran, but look what happened to her when her femaleness started to become a point of interest.

I would like to see more women like Aveline from Dragon Age 2. She's a woman in her own right. She's not there to support the player character, Hawke. (Well, she IS, but bear with me.) Instead she has a life and a motivation of her own, and her values aren't always in agreement with Hawke's values. She is as much on an emotional journey as Hawke is, going through just as much loss, sorrow and joy as the protagonist. She also has flaws and insecurities, which makes her someone I can believe in, and most importantly, someone I can identify with.

There are other examples such as Grace Holloway from BioShock 2, and someone that always comes up for discussion – Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2 (which I personally haven't played enough to comment on).

If the game developer community really want to address the issue of sexism, I'm pretty sure we can. But it will require change. It will require seeing gamers not as adolescent, white males but as women too. As all kinds of ethnicities. As all kinds of people, able or not, women, men, Hispanic, Asian, what have you.

It will require that the game developers no longer choose to ignore women (or for that matter other game minorities) because "it will be expensive to  add another animation rig and set of animations", or whatever other handy excuse presents itself when push comes to shove. In short it will require an effort to actually think twice and change.

I'm not saying that every game ever made is sexist, or that every game out there is sexist, because they aren't. There are tons of games that don't even touch on the subject. I'm not saying that we should stop making games with content that might be seen as sexist. I'm not saying every game should have all female characters. I don't want to ban any kind of content in games. That's not my point.

My point is this: if you want to expand your audience, you have to find out what your new audience would like to play. You'll have to establish that audience as a presence in your games. To be able to act, you need to be someone, to someone. In order to be someone, we need an identity. To get an identity we need to be acknowledged for our actions.

Applied on games, this means if women are supposed to be able to act in games, they need to BE in the games, they need to have an identity of their own and the games have to take that identity into account and acknowledge it. Make the span of games wider. Make it more inclusive. Tell stories that appeal to more than one target group.

So what can you do? As a developer, what can you do? First of all, I would say find your audience and listen to it. Include your audience in all kinds of testing. Usability testing, focus group testing, playtesting – whatever kind of testing the company does, make sure that there are women in the groups. All too often I find – when asking – that the studies only ask men. That's not going to work if you want women in the mix.

Second, don't choose subjects for the game that automatically exclude women. There are a lot of games out there that only focus on for instance warfare, and the armed conflict. To put women in the mix (which you actually can do without changing anything, btw. Except the number of visible women.), maybe slant the game to include or be about code-breaking? Or intelligence work. Or maybe choose another topic altogether?

Third, make a good game. Look at Zombie Lane. It's a game with a hardcore theme, and a largely female audience, as I understood it at GDC Europe. Don't make it pink and think it will sell. It won't. Make the system kick ass, and you're halfway there. Make the game accessible and you're all the way there. Think about the fact that you're trying to reach an audience that isn't necessarily comfortable with a SoulCalibur setup of special moves.

I think the main thing here is "do you want women to play your games?". If there is no such desire present, then ignore this post. But if you do want a wider audience you need to act on it.

Are you prepared to make the leap? Are you willing to risk it? Are you ready to truly be inclusive?

[This piece was reprinted from #AltDevBlogADay, a shared blog initiative started by @mike_acton devoted to giving game developers of all disciplines a place to motivate each other to write regularly about their personal game development passions.]


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Comments


Conor L
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Great piece Asa. I agree that game developers have a part in challenging sexism but I think a lot of sexism comes from players themselves and is somewhat beyond the control of developers. I'm thinking of the voyeuristic use of female avatars in MMO's like Guild Wars and the way Blizzard increased the masculinity of the male blood elves in WoW because of player feedback; if developers took measures to find more potential players, wouldn't they risk alienating a lot of their current hardcore gamers?



I'm definitely not saying that mainstream games shouldn't be changed to avoid sexism (or ableism, racism or homophobia), I just don't think there's a great enough, risk-free incentive for them to do so; so in response to your closing question 'Are you willing to risk it?' I don't think many of them are, and I'm not sure how we would start to convince them that they should.

David Graham
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Why does Ivy from SoulCalibur have large breasts? Because it appeals to their target demographic. Why are games like The Witcher and Duke Nukem being made? Because they are overwhelmingly popular.



By appealing to other demographics you are often alienating others. You mention Witcher 2, an adult RPG with mature themes that appeals primarily to men. Should the Witcher 2 tone down the adult content so it appeals to younger gamers? Should Geralt be bisexual to appeal to gay gamers? Should their be an arching romance plot straight from a 'mills and boon' novel to appeal to female gamers? Do all that and it isn't the game I love anymore.



You talk about Dragon Age 2 as if its above the rest in some way, but its the worst recieved game ever made by Bioware. They alienated some of their core audience by spending time and focus on reaching out to other demographics. I'm not saying that women shouldn't have a place in games, they can, but only if the market demands it.



Look at online flash games, a number of those are made specifically for females because there is a market for it, whereas on consoles the market simply doesent exist (Except perhaps on the Wii). For Mass Effect 2 18% of players picked FemShep, how much time and work did it take to have a female Shepard in three Mass Effect games? I can't imagine it was enough to justify the increase in sales. Social responsibility isn't always good business.

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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It's important to note about the Mass Effect statistic that the default choice is male. Therefore, many people who don't care about what gender they are will pick the default. I would be interested to see how the statistics change if the default was female instead.

Jeff Spock
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I'm happy to say that the Heroes of Might & Magic games from Ubisoft include:

- Women as lead characters and heroes of campaigns, who

- Talk to other women about a lot of things that have nothing to do with men, and

- Wear armor that protects them



It's a start.

Brenton Poke
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This is token at best. Especially since the Heroes series is just D&D Chess.



This very opinion piece isn't much better, since it provides no new suggestions for how to deal with the fact that you have to make a big deal out of women in games in order to make women in games not such a big deal.



This always comes up when the discussion turns to 'games that appeal to women'. How on earth do you go about discussing that without stereotyping what women like? Just have more women in the focus groups like the posting suggests? If it were that simple, everybody would be doing it. One point she misses is that usability and play testing - especially on the PC - is increasingly being handled over the internet. And the raw fact is that the people interested in getting in on the beta for a game are overwhelmingly male. I've yet to meet one female on the internet or otherwise who gives a rat's ass on getting in on the beta of any game.



This post strikes me as just another half-thought that gets thrown in the 'we need more women in games' pile.

Axel Cholewa
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Gamers and game developers don't see themselves as sexist, but they - as a group - are, just as much as every other group is. An example: the majority of members of the german "Pirate Party" - a new political party which concerns itself with web privacy topics - consider themselves "post gender". About the job situation of women they say: "hire whoever's best at the job" and therefore think they are themselves not subject to such emotional and "stupid" traits as sexism. These are mostly people who work in a field which is somehow connected to computing. So they should be "bright people".



Yet when a woman in that party started an internal group only for women, the male outrage was enormous! They behaved exactly as sexist would when women demand something which somehow hurts their male pride. This is because sexism has nothing to do with how bright people are. (Besides, does anyone really believe that "gamers [...] are some of the best and brightest people on the planet"?)



A lot of people nowaydays think they're open, think they're not sexist or racist, but - as studies show - (sorry, don't have a reference here) the "isms" run deep.

Thomas Engelbert
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Well, 'positive discrimination' is something else than giving everyone the same chance. In Bochum, the head of the pirate party is made up by three men and two women, and first president is - a woman. And I've heard noone complain about that yet.

Samuel Wissler
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"Yet when a woman in that party started an internal group only for women, the male outrage was enormous!"



Doesn't that seem like a predictable reaction though? I'm certain there wasn't a male only group in that party, for example. So for a party that's supposed to be gender neutral, wouldn't the creation of a female only group by necessity violate the gender neutrality?



Getting back to the main topic though, what I'm really interested in is at what point you feel the inequality in gaming will have been addressed. What would the games from that industry look like?

Åsa Roos
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If you're asking me - and I'm just going to rudely assume that you do - I have no idea. The inequality in society isn't exactly gone yet, so it's difficult to speculate. Completely useless answer to a good question, I know.



Everyone is different. There's a tendency, even between people who like the same games, to like different things in those games. What (my) ideal situation would be is to open up the games to a wider audience, by letting a wider audience become the subject of the games.

Axel Cholewa
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Well, "gender neutral" doesn't mean that all members have equal rights (which of course has to ensured in political parties as well as, e. g., the game industrie). "Gender neutral" means that both genders have the same rights. In a party or company where women are a minority, this "gender equality" sometimes has to enforced by seemingly unfair means.



When the few women of that party couldn't seriously discuss female political topics on the party's wiki without hundred of males rushing in making smart-ass comments about every comment of a comment of a comment - even if those were not meant in a sexist way - you want to have your own, testosterone free wiki. If I remeber correctly that's the story behind this, and I think it's completely reasonable.



Even if an individual is not sexist (or racist or whatever), the group he's might still behave sexist, and he himself might even behave sexist inside that group without him noticing. That's just group behaviour.

Paulo Silva
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Chris did make a good point. Like Michael Pachter would say, it's a profit deal.

Sex sells => game + sex = more $



You did write that you don't want these games to stop being produced. You just want more games that target the feminine audience or both audiences equally.. Humm... Then why complain about sexism in the first place? Might just reduce the argument to that point.



Also, the guilty games are all big budget projects, nothing like what you have in the social games pool.

I think that AAA games do include interesting female characters (in a non sexual way) when this helps the story or what the designers are trying to get across.



But don't get me wrong. I'm all in favor or gender equality. I think the world would be a better place if it was like in Sweden where, for example, (apparently) the government is composed by about the same percentage of members of each gender. Something that need not be imposed. It just happens naturally because it's the right thing to do.



Now, can a male developer help in this thing that you propose? The best thing to do is to try to put myself in the shoes of a female gamer. Maybe that would help. Let me try. If I was a girl I would like to play with a character that was cool, good-looking, kicked lots of ass and did not necessarily walked around in her underwear. But would I like to collect cards of all the men I slept with? Humm... I have to say probably yes to keep the gender equality. 

Ok maybe equality is not the best thing in all aspects of game design. Best thing to do here is to have female game designers do the work.



However, due to the market/budget constraints I think this would be probably easier to do in an indie project.

No one wants to take risks in these big budget projects. Recently all the experimenting comes from indie projects, so that is the place to start. (in my humble opinion)



In conclusion, if the landscape changes it will probably be because of a group of female game designers in connection with some indie projects.



Ps: guys can help with the programming :p

Åsa Roos
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"Then why complain about sexism in the first place?"



Because it is there, I see it in games I would otherwise have enjoyed. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that. The reason I wrote what I wrote, that I don't want to censure games, is because that is usually the first point on the agenda for people commenting on my posts. "Oh, so you want to CENSURE GAMES do you?" and even though I don't, that's usually as far as it goes when it comes to discussion.



"Something that need not be imposed. It just happens naturally because it's the right thing to do."



Erh, no. It doesn't "just happen". It's a political agenda that's been actively pursued by both men and women, consistently. That's why I believe that a less sexist view of women as characters in games will not happen on its own.

Gerald Belman
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Asa,



Men and Women are different physically AND mentally. This is not a bad thing (although it is often considered taboo to think this in our society).



You are falling into a classic trap that alot of feminists fall into (besides throwing around the word racist and sexist overly casually). Instead of valuing the skills and jobs that women have had throughout history, you are trying to become more like men. You are valuing traditionally "manly" pursuits. Instead of valuing the raising of children(which I think is honestly one of the most important factors to having a successful society) you are valuing war and fighting.



Feminists need to realize that true equality between the sexes is going to need to be more than just changing employment statistics, it is also going to need to be about changing values.



If you've ever taken an anthropology course you know that there have been just as many matriarchal as there have been patriarchal societies throughout human existence.( in many cultures land was passed down through the women only).



But there has always remained a division of labor; a division of skills. It was just a matter of which skills were valued more - fighting and production; or farming and educating/raising children.

Åsa Roos
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Gerald - Thank you for explaining that to me. Since the source is so well researched, i.e. you, and you seem to know me and my motivations so very well, I'll immediately change my mind and become a good girl :P



Seriously, I recommend that you read Cordelia Fines "Delusions of Gender". It's a good book, fun too. It might give you a different perspective.

Gerald Belman
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Nothing I wrote is something you cannot look up on your own. I generally don't source anything for a blog comment. But there are a plethora of linked sources on :



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_psychology



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_division_of_labor_(evolutiona
ry_perspective)





As a thorough study I would consider reading the book:

Anthropology SEVENTH EDITION: William A Haviland (there are newer versions but this is the cheapest)



also,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_matrilineal_or_matrilocal_so
cieties



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusions_of_Gender#cite_note-6 :

Diane Halpern, (whose paper "The Science of Sex Differences in Mathematics and Science" is also criticized by Fine in Delusions of Gender), reported mixed feelings about the book, arguing that it was "strongest in exposing research conclusions that are closer to fiction than science...and weakest in failing to also point out differences that are supported by a body of carefully conducted and well-replicated research." [7]



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusions_of_Gender#cite_note-6

Åsa Roos
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Thank you for citing some sources. I appreciate it. I still don't agree with your assessment of my motivations, though ;)

Joe Cooper
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I feel the need to point out - again - that there is a different likeliness of physical and mental differences. You talk about how societies ought to work and whatnot. If you start speaking in terms of prescribing roles, you might be more likely to put people in the right spots, but our society doesn't really work that way; finding talent is difficult and knocking potential winners off a list or telling them they shouldn't even try is a bad idea if you're trying to be competitive with other societies.



The military, for example, has plenty of women and while they aren't formally in "combat positions", we all know (or should know) that doesn't really mean anything at the moment and women see action all the time. And they do fine, because the all-vollunteer military we have is good as finding talent. And one way it does that is by casting a large net.



There's a higher instance of "I want to join the army" among men than women; so what? A good chunk of our military is female and we're having trouble finding enough people as-is. Suppose you boot them out because "anthropology says women don't fight, they raise children". Guess what; we have low birth rates, don't have as many children to raise (some estimates of pre-historic humans suggest 70/1000 birth rates) and now your military is too damn small. (It already is for the assigned tasks, I have no interest in discussing if those are good assigned tasks.) And those women go home to do ...... Not make babies, because we're not actually doing that so much.



Times are different. We don't have 50% infant mortality rate. We don't need every birth-capable person pregnant or raising children just to stave off extinction. We do need every effective person being the most effective whatever they are they can be. And that means not getting stuck on irrelevant ideas about what we need to be doing.

Gerald Belman
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Well I would recommend you read about food foragers as, frankly, you are making some assumptions that are not supported by archeological evidence (such as food forager women pushing out tons of babies - they actually had quite a low birth rate for obvious reasons - it's hard take care of two babies when you need to be mobile) I'm not really sure what your point is otherwise. I guess it is that I am wrong or something. I've actually forgotten what we were talking about originally.



Oh yea. Videogames makers not sexist, they are just catering to the market(this is what everyone else has said they just didn't cite all the fancy food forager info that I did).

Joe Cooper
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I don't understand why you can't understand, but I'll try again.



Your speaking in prescriptive terms is a waste of time. Men and women who do not fit these roles exist and thrive. They buy games. This is fact.



It's also fact that the market can be bigger than it is, and growth is good for the industry. If you would like to listen to people who are turned off by some games and try to bring them in, you may, but your anthropology stuff is too easily filed under "who gives a shit" by people who (for example) are female and would like to hunt more than gather and have money for games.



I'm too tired to explain the other stuff.

Gerald Belman
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yea me too.

Jen Hamilton
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Gerald,



I see your point, we are equal, but different. However, some of us ladies like playing sports, fps', and fighting for our country. I think what Asa is getting at is that we aren't depicted equally in games as we are in true society as a whole. Rainbow 6 did a great job in adding a female version of the character, a good representation of a professional female solider.

Female gamers want more options period. It's not a feminist issue. It's a fact.



Jen

Gerald Belman
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I don't have any problem with that if that is what you truly want to do(and some women do want to do that and some women are more "manly" than some men). I just don't want women who raise children and educate and run cooking shows to feel guilty about not joining the army or working a construction job.



We have different skills. Men were the designated hunters and woman were the designated foragers for thousands and thousands of years. Both required very advanced skills. If you accept the theory of evolution then this leads to an obvious conclusion. There is sexual dimorphism both physically and mentally.

Joe Cooper
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"I just don't want women who raise children and educate and run cooking shows to feel guilty about not joining the army or working a construction job."



I would agree with this in spirit, but it's somewhat irrelevant; people who have no such interest in things don't play those games.



All the army games depict men (regardless of the presence of female characters, the men are always there). Am I suppose to feel bad as a dude because I'd rather play the Sims and Orbiter and listen to music that has about as much testosterone as a Richard Simmons exercise tape? I don't even play shooters. Are the makers of Duke Nuke'm supposed to be concerned about its lack of resonance with me?



Fuuuuuck no.



And likelihood of women who want to play the games in question is non-zero, so it doesn't hurt to throw in some options and it doesn't have to be a huge bitch-fit with everyone's feelings.



Everyone's too caught up in their feelings. It's not just women who want there to be female characters. It's also people who feel threatened by this. Are you a person who pays money for games? Are there a lot of folks like you? Yessir? Then rest easy; there will be games for you.

Gerald Belman
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Yea, I pretty much forgot what were were talking about.

Joe Cooper
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Try listening to more classical music or something.

Jen Hamilton
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That's why it's called evolution Gerald.

In our society we don't hunt and gather any more, certainly not people who own a console.

I like playing games, and I spend a lot to do so. I would like to see more of a modern and realistic reflection of women in games. I will be drawn to purchase those games more, and enjoy them more. Not as a statement, but because I identify more with the characters.





Jen

Robert Ferris
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The biggest problem I see in this argument is this... Who's trying to stop you from making those games? If you think they will sell, go make them and laud it over everybody just how much smarter you are than every CEO of every game company out there.



Insisting that others be forced to change just because you think they should instantly alienates anyone who might otherwise sympathize with your point.

Joe Cooper
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Under consumerism it is absolutely, 100% valid to get on a soap box and say "I would like this and this, if anyone making a product is listening and want to consider my money, that'd be tight".



The problem with your argument is that doing the above is, in principle, not OK. And the problem with that is that you can make it towards anything. I can literally cut and paste your comment onto just about any op-ed about any kind of product, probably even restaurant reviews with a word changed here or there.



The second problem is that "complain at the customer's request" is kind of useless besides the more prudent options of "take it" or "leave it".

Robert Ferris
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Not sure you replied to right comment (or if I can even follow what you're trying to say) but let me see if I can respond/clarify.



I didn't say there was anything wrong with someone saying "Hey, I'd pay money for less sexist, more female lead games." If that's all it was it would fine (and, quite frankly, a little boring.)



She's claiming that there's a systemic problem with the industry. In order for her premise to be accurate, game companies would have to be actively refusing to make such games despite knowing they would increase their market share (after all, if it's so obvious to her they would sell, it must be obvious to the people who actually do the market research.) Companies exist to make money. Companies spend money on research to figure out what sells, what doesn't and if there are any gaps in the market. They don't see the hole to fill.



Games with strong female leads are out there. Metroid, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Fear Effect and how about Nancy Drew (I think there are over 30 now.) It's not like it's a subject that hasn't been explored. The data is there. If the money were, there'd be more games. If you think the companies are wrong, make the games and prove them wrong. Insisting that others do it just makes you a whiner.

Joe Cooper
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"Companies spend money on research to figure out what sells ... They don't see the hole to fill."



New holes are found and filled all the time and the end result is industry growth.



The games and products you listed did very, very well.

Jen Hamilton
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First, it's not a pissing contest. It's a preference.

There are some great games out there that cater to both genders. I'm not offended by games that are more targeted towards males. But as a consumer I am more drawn, and more likely to buy games that I can identify more with as a woman.

Most importantly: Games = Fun.





Jen

Megan Fox
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EDIT: Heh, about 30 replies while I typed this... oh well, this was in response to the original article, not the ensuing post war.



As another woman in games, I kind of have to disagree with some of your points.



The Witcher is a fine example - that is not a sexist game. Not even remotely. Yes, it involves sex. But of course it does. Geralt is specifically cast to be sterile, and he's incapable of acquiring diseases, so why on earth wouldn't he sleep around? It's part of who Geralt is. If the world saw fit to create a female Witcher, I'm relatively certain she'd be prone to the same. The nature of a Witcher in that world leans heavily toward hedonistic pleasure, as they're given to dying pretty rapidly, and so they would likely want to enjoy what life they have to its utmost. Even ignoring all of that, the whole thing is based on a novel in which the character, well, does precisely what he does in the game.



The issue isn't that there are games out there that cast women in a particular light, just like there isn't an issue with games like Gears of War that cast men in a similarly ridiculous, sausage-fingered light. I can't remember the last time I played an overtly exploitative, sexist game. These days, all that's really left are games that happen to feature stock women of the sort you see in Hollywood. The issue is simply that there are relatively few games out there designed to appeal to women, with strong heroines a/o at least equally capable women. That is a battle we can actually fight, and well, and without attacking anyone else's entertainment - by simply making games ourselves.



There's no need for a call to action to stop making games for male or average audiences, and there's no need to start a flame war over what is or is not appropriate female characterization. We just need to make games ourselves, and do our best to get our friends into games, and to try to inspire our daughters and nieces and such to eventually make games as well.



We don't need to force equality in games - that ends in homogeneity and dull, milky products. We just need to bring more diversity to the games industry itself, which will naturally broaden the market for which games are produced.

Åsa Roos
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Thank you for your comment. I'd like to point out that this is not a call to action to stop making games of any kind. It's to start making games directed toward a wider audience. Apparently that did not come across very well from the comments I've read so far.



And I do make games myself. I just wanted to point to an area that I feel is deficient.



I also want to point out that I'm not trying to force anything. I'm just after what you yourself brought up. A wider market and more diversity in games.

Tim Taggart
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The article Ben Abraham wrote seems to talk more about visibility for women not inside games themselves, but on women who want to have as large of a voice inside the development community.



This article seems to be referring more to the idea/fact:



A) That women inside of some video games are portrayed in a sexist (i.e. specifically discriminatory) way, or objectified. (Regardless of motivation)



B) That women are not considered being considered as part of the target audience in games, and thereby developers are excluding content which might otherwise be appealing to them.



and C) That we should be looking at a more diverse market (and audience), because availability to the games that developers make is becoming easier. At the very least, in the mobile games area.





I don't really agree with the idea that games should specifically cater to either gender, mainly because people's interests and abilities are not determined by gender.



I do think that developers might want to be more aware their content, considering the increasing diverse audience games are being made for these days.

Jen Hamilton
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Tim,



I'm with you there Tim. I think a good sense of humor is in order. I don't think anyone is trying to exclude anyone. Also, I think in no way we should append the way we are designing games based on a political issue. Simply put, there are millions of female gamers out there that would be wow'ed by a little effort in any female centric representation in games. Or, at least the option. I think in the end it would be benificial in revenue for developers, but not to be in anyway mandatory or dictated. I look at it as a feature, and try to steer as far as I can from it being anything politically motivated.

Bart Stewart
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"It's a political agenda" appears to be an honest summary of the initial opinion piece, unfortunately. "Making a good game" doesn't seem to be the primary goal.



I think this is probably why the examples of what, specifically, would make games better were vague and inconsistent. How is Aveline a persuasive example when the author also observes (rightly, I think) that women in the aggregate are less entertained than men by games that feature lots of physical violence?



I support trying to understand what gamers of different kinds want, and figuring out how to give it to them. That leads to better games that more people can enjoy. A political agenda doesn't.

Åsa Roos
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No it's not a political agenda. It's simply a call for less sexism in games and more variety. I have absolutely nothing to gain on writing a post like this.



As for the example, maybe you're right, maybe it was unfortunate, but then again, female characters that are strong and confident with a mind of their own are rare in games, so perhaps it was only a lack of choice.



And if you support trying to find out what people want and how to give it to them and as result of that making better games, then we have the same agenda, and it is not political.

Robert Ferris
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You're calling for others to do something based on a perceived social injustice... of course it's political. The only solution you offer is to have other people ignore the fact that they're in business to make money and make games solely for perception's sake.



Are you creating these games yourself? Are you encouraging the studio you actually work for to do this from the inside? Your whole claim is based on the belief that studios won't make certain types of games even if they would make money. That's ridiculous.



If the market were there, somebody would be making more of the games you are calling for on top of what is already out there (and there are more out there than you are implying.)

Jen Hamilton
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I don't think that was her point. I just did a series of interviews with the CBC regarding online play verbal abuse. I like FPS' - I stopped using my mic for a reason, not because I'm a bitch, but because I sound like a girl (and am one) on the mic...I get harassed, a lot. Just because I am female. I believe that it is a larger issue we are talking about. Thus the aggravated response from the article. It is unfortunate that it happens, and most men wouldn't stand for it. Most Women generally deflect it. Personally, I get angry. Like any of you blokes.

It's not a attack on men, see I think that is the miss-conception here. This has nothing to do with gender hating.

Jen Hamilton
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Jen Hamilton
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The way I see it is it's like a spectrum. Fox news vs. Michael Moore. They are extremes, but they sure do get people talking! I didn't agree with the article as a whole, and can see why some people found it offensive.

However, what I took away from it is there is a growing market of female gamers that like blowing stuff up, which is a great opportunity for developers. R6 did a great job catering to this market.



As a developer, it makes no sense to cater to a smaller demographic if it is going to bloat development costs, reduce over all quality, and not see a return from it. However, that smaller demographic is rapidly growing. So it's something to think about.



As far as the issues raised, I think they are societal, which is a much bigger systemic issue. Not a game issue.


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