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-   -   Women in games tropes (http://forums.macnn.com/77/gaming/502770/women-in-games-tropes/)

 
ibook_steve Aug 3, 2013 03:34 AM
Women in games tropes
I may be kicking a hornet's nest here, but why not:

Indie Games Are Full Of Helpless Women But Critic Finds Some To Praise

I've watched and enjoyed all three of the videos. I think she makes some very good points that I've never thought about, probably because I'm a guy. I would have absolutely no problem playing more games where the protagonists are strong women, but I guess a lot of people do for some reason. My biggest issue with the videos (all three of them) is why she never even mentions Tomb Raider! A female protagonist, not out to rescue anyone (usually), and doesn't need rescuing. The latest iteration is amazing and Lara ends up rescuing everybody, male and female!

I think publishers are just wary to release games like this because of the target demographic they want, which is a real shame.

Thoughts?

Steve
 
Spheric Harlot Aug 3, 2013 05:25 AM
Lara Croft is a whole 'nuther world of sexism.

The strong woman has insanely overblown tits and an out-of-this-world porn figure.
 
P Aug 3, 2013 07:24 AM
That depends on which exact game you're playing. In the original, she looks like a reasonably believable teenager. It wasn't until the sequels when marketing got hold of the games that she got pneumatic and about a foot taller - and then she got more anatomically correct again when the whole pinup thing got old.

As for the saving damsels in distress thing... Personally I don't care when it's cartoonish like the old Mario games, but I did stop playing the original Far Cry because the story was just too bad in a game that did everything to look realistic. I probably would have given up on that Princess Peach game as well, that looks too bad.
 
Spheric Harlot Aug 3, 2013 07:52 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by P (Post 4241130)
That depends on which exact game you're playing. In the original, she looks like a reasonably believable teenager. It wasn't until the sequels when marketing got hold of the games that she got pneumatic and about a foot taller - and then she got more anatomically correct again when the whole pinup thing got old.
I'm pretty sure that's just flat-out wrong.

http://sites.psu.edu/cee5096/files/2..._evolution.jpg

http://images2.fanpop.com/images/pho...3-2130-400.jpg

Care to point out which of those Lara Crofts looks like a reasonably believable teenager?

The very latest incarnation (2013, at right below)is the first one that presents a figure that is at least anatomically *possible*, so that's progress, I guess.

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/streams/...ktop_large.jpg
 
andi*pandi Aug 3, 2013 09:30 AM
6&7 look as though they're proportionate... although as an adventurer I don't think a belly shirt is very practical.

I didn't play many games, but I played the Lara Croft games, despite her anatomical issues. Maybe since I had Barbies I was already used to dismissing that aspect of her, knowing it wasn't meant for me. I'm not sure why any boys playing the game wanted to have a big chest though. ;)

It was nice having a female protagonist who was clever at solving puzzles, adept at difficult jumps, who explored, adventured, and won the day. Definitely much better than a female character who spends the game locked in a tower somewhere, or sprains her ankle while running away from danger and needs to be carried.
 
Spheric Harlot Aug 3, 2013 09:39 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by andi*pandi (Post 4241138)
6&7 look as though they're proportionate...
WHAT!?

Crushed ribs, no liver, and half the digestive system missing is not "proportionate" where I live.

But what do I know, I see mostly European women around here.
 
BLAZE_MkIV Aug 3, 2013 09:56 AM
I'd like to add some context.
There weren't enough girls playing to market too.
No one complains about action movies.
You dont hear guys complaining about sappy romance movies or those romance novels.

So are they complaining the games made for teenage boys objectify women or that there are no games for teenage girls that objectify men?
 
P Aug 3, 2013 09:58 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4241132)
I'm pretty sure that's just flat-out wrong.

http://sites.psu.edu/cee5096/files/2..._evolution.jpg

http://images2.fanpop.com/images/pho...3-2130-400.jpg

Care to point out which of those Lara Crofts looks like a reasonably believable teenager?
None of them in the first image, but I think they're from the box art or pre-rendered promo shots, not from the game itself. The original Tomb Raider was in 1996 - we didn't even have environment shadows at that point, much less the soft self-shadows in that image.

The second image looks like it might be gameplay footage, and I'll admit that those proportions look a bit worse than I remember, but it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility. You'll have to admit that it gets worse.
 
andi*pandi Aug 3, 2013 10:12 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4241140)
WHAT!? Crushed ribs, no liver, and half the digestive system missing is not "proportionate" where I live. .
I was mainly comparing chest size, and whether she could put her own eyes out with those things. You are right about the barbie wasp-waist syndrome as well.

Quote, Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV (Post 4241143)
I'd like to add some context.
There weren't enough girls playing to market too.
No one complains about action movies.
You dont hear guys complaining about sappy romance movies or those romance novels.

So are they complaining the games made for teenage boys objectify women or that there are no games for teenage girls that objectify men?
Do we have to objectify anyone? In the video, she plainly states that switching roles (dude in distress) is not the best solution, but creating games where there's a female protagonist with a decent story. I'd play those.

You could say the market is chicken/egg. They don't make games with good female characters... so no girls game... so they don't have an audience... so they don't make games... well obviously there are lots of girl gamers nowadays. Tomb Raider probably helped them see the market, as well as other games where you can make your own avatar/play as different characters.

As far as movies go, well she has other videos about that... and it does get tiresome when the only reason a woman is in a movie is to be the victim, or be topless. I also think sappy romance novels are dreck, btw.
 
sek929 Aug 3, 2013 11:10 AM
Up until the most recent Team Ninja Metroid game Samus has always been a very ass-kicking character that was awesome first, and a woman second. Being a woman was always just a footnote for Samus, she's a bounty hunter in a powersuit and totally kicks ass. In the latest game she's wearing her skintight bodysuit and overcome by her motherly instincts towards Metroids, it's an insulting take on what was a very powerful female figure in gaming.

Ellie in The Last of Us isn't very helpless, or sexualized either, but I will agree the majority of women in games are just a vehicle for cleavage and drama. Laura's first act in the most recent Tomb Raider is to almost be raped, which is also fairly insulting. "What do women do fred, we have a game to make....uhh I guess they get raped right?" What we're seeing now is much like the movie industry went through, an awakening that women can server the purpose in the medium without being walking stereotypes.

All that said, games are cartoonish exaggerations, and the characters usually reflect this. Sure my support character may have DDDs and skimpy clothes, but my character is a 6 foot 6 350 pound greek god with shoulders as broad as iron girders. Not all men are just muscly eye-candy! Seriously though, women gamers are a massive force in the industry now, and hopefully we can start getting some characters that aren't princesses or about to be raped.
 
BLAZE_MkIV Aug 3, 2013 11:12 AM
Umm isn't Mrs Packman like the ultimate example of a string female character in the early days of video games?
 
sek929 Aug 3, 2013 11:19 AM
Riding the coattails of her husband's success? Not likely. If she was Ms. Pacman maybe.....hehe
 
P Aug 3, 2013 11:47 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by sek929 (Post 4241146)
Ellie in The Last of Us isn't very helpless, or sexualized either, but I will agree the majority of women in games are just a vehicle for cleavage and drama. Laura's first act in the most recent Tomb Raider is to almost be raped, which is also fairly insulting. "What do women do fred, we have a game to make....uhh I guess they get raped right?" What we're seeing now is much like the movie industry went through, an awakening that women can server the purpose in the medium without being walking stereotypes.
Haven't played that game yet (plan to, though - its in the Steam queue) but I feel the need to point out that the script for the newest Tomb Raider was written by Rihanna Pratchett, who is not a dude and who I happen to think is a great game writer.
 
exca1ibur Aug 3, 2013 12:10 PM
Don't forget one of my personal favorite game director/writers Amy Hengig at Naughty Dog (Soul Reaver, Jak and Dax, and the Uncharted series). I too plan to check out the new Tomb Raider as well, I need to pick that up still.
 
andi*pandi Aug 3, 2013 01:44 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by sek929 (Post 4241149)
Riding the coattails of her husband's success? Not likely. If she was Ms. Pacman maybe.....hehe
Hey, she is Ms. Pacman...

Ms. Pac-Man - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

didn't know she was more successful than the original, but that is likely due to the variety of mazes and enhanced gameplay.

I like that one of the ghosts is named Sue. ;)
 
BLAZE_MkIV Aug 3, 2013 05:26 PM
I don't think it's for lack of trying on the video games part. I think it's due to a lack of selling.
 
P Aug 4, 2013 11:13 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by sek929 (Post 4241146)
Laura's first act in the most recent Tomb Raider is to almost be raped, which is also fairly insulting. "What do women do fred, we have a game to make....uhh I guess they get raped right?"
This discussion actually got me to get started on the game, and this isn't actually what happens. The first thing that happens is a shipwreck, after which she falls a lot, lands on a piece of rebar, is captured and hung from the ceiling before escaping and being captured again. It's about here that that infamous scene comes, and while it looks a little like an attempted rape in the clips, in the game he's actually trying to stop Lara from escaping. If she hadn't been defending herself with a knee to the groin, noone would have made the connection.

If anything, Tomb Raider 2013 reminds me of Die Hard - about as macho a film as there is. Lara's appearance is a bit too flawless in a Final Fantasy movie kind of way, but her behavior is quite human. The sound effects are a bit off-putting - she's almost moaning in that fight scene, for instance - but she's not sexualized otherwise.

(Sidenote: With a 7 year old midrange CPU (Core 2 at 2.13 GHz), a fourth-string GPU (Radeon 7850) and only 3 GB of RAM, this game looks absolutely gorgeous.)
 
lpkmckenna Aug 6, 2013 11:22 AM
I think Anita Sarkeesian's work is pretty damn good, and most criticism of her is either idiotic or pitiful. No one can be right all the time, but Anita is a remarkably better critic than game bloggers who have been at this for years or even decades.
 
Leonard Aug 6, 2013 12:48 PM
What about games that allow you to play as either a female or male charactar. Alot of games these days are giving you a choice. Ex. Mass Effect, Saint's Row, Fable, etc.
 
andi*pandi Aug 6, 2013 12:53 PM
That's a good thing.
 
P Aug 6, 2013 01:59 PM
A lot of open world (or semi-open) RPGs with character design let you do that - Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age - and often let you play your preferred sexual orientation as well. I like that, because it tends to make the game as male character a little less macho as well.
 
BLAZE_MkIV Aug 6, 2013 04:07 PM
When I played through the NWN series I built exclusively female characters. Not because I identified with them but if I was gonna stare at someones but that long it was gonna be female. The point I'm making here is people over analyse things. Adding strong female characters to video games isn't going to overcome 50k years of culture.
 
Leonard Aug 7, 2013 09:38 AM
That's about the same reason I created a female character in Saint's Row 3 - that and her bouncy big tits looked cool when she was streaking in SR3. And yeah, streaking, naked, is an activity in Saint's Row. Of course they censor certain bits.
 
shifuimam Aug 10, 2013 10:32 AM
Anita Sarkeesian strikes me as kind of whiny and put out about the whole thing. It's completely overblown.

My identity as a woman is not remotely impacted by whether or not I can play a female character in a video game. When I CAN play a female character, I absolutely want them to be sexy and hot, because it's a lot more appealing to look at than some frumpy dumpy normal woman. I AM a normal woman. Why would I want to play one in a video game's fantasy world? I'd much rather play a character that looks sexy.

Are guys pissed off that male characters in video games are all buff (even a little bit) and of an attractive weight and height? Are fat nerds angry that they can't play a 400-lb neckbearded whale in GTA? I highly doubt it.
 
P Aug 11, 2013 05:44 AM
Customization depends on the game, for me. If it's a game where you're supposed to "be" the main character, many gamers like to have options for gender, sexual preference etc. If you're playing a defined main character, it's less important - hence the popularity of Tomb Raider. This recent thing about hacking ancient games to give players the option of playing as a female lead is a little strange. I think a large part of it is that Zelda games let you name your lead character (while always referring to him as Link in marketing material), which brings to mind the idea that you are playing yourself. Restyling Mega Man as a girl just strikes me as silly - despite the name, Mega Man isn't a man but a robot, and that's about as sexless as they come.

As for appearance... I don't think anyone has a problem with a pretty girl in the game, but there are issues with making the lead a sex kitten and then marketing the game to children, as well as the inhuman appearance of someone like Lara Croft above. For me, it's all about prejudice: If a game has sex kittens, it's probably a bad game, because all games like that that I've played have been bad.
 
andi*pandi Aug 11, 2013 10:03 AM
No one's saying they want to play characters that look like normal schlubs. It doesn't have to be extremes, fat whales vs steroid steve. I'm ok with playing buff women, or having attractive women characters in games, but would like the models for them to be based in reality (olympic athletes or such), and would like them to have something interesting to do besides getting rescued.

I've never played Zelda games, they look cool... but it seems odd to me that for a series of games named after her, Zelda doesn't get to do much in most of them. Link is the hero, right?
 
P Aug 11, 2013 01:17 PM
TAN: Yes, Link is the hero. Zelda plays the damsel in distress in the first two and develops into some sort of dual role of quest giver and damsel after that (although she technically sets up the quest in the first game as well, according to the manual). She has become more of an active character as the series has developed - in the first she's only on screen in the final scene, but in the later DS games she's constantly around and is an alternate character to control in some stages. I haven't played any of the games on the "big" consoles since Ocarina of Time, but I think her role has grown there as well.

According to the story I heard, the game is named Zelda because the creator of the game, Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo, always thought that the name sounded really cool and used it for some sort of imaginary friend when he was a child exploring caves. As the first Zelda game is basically exactly that - a kid exploring caves - he felt that the name was appropriate, and the backstory grew from that. The name of the hero was only generated to have a filler when Nintendo of America wanted to promote the game with comics and the like - Miyamoto intended you to put in your own name and play it in first person.
 
shifuimam Aug 15, 2013 09:49 AM
The protagonist in Portal is a woman, and she's pretty reasonably proportioned. The thing is, I suspect that people like Anita bitch about characters like Chelle because she's still fit with nice boobs and butt. Women who make a living being feminist tend to be impossible to satisfy or placate.
 
P Aug 15, 2013 03:06 PM
I think Chelle is based on an actual person that they scanned, no?
 
lpkmckenna Aug 15, 2013 06:57 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by shifuimam (Post 4242790)
The protagonist in Portal is a woman, and she's pretty reasonably proportioned. The thing is, I suspect that people like Anita bitch about characters like Chelle because she's still fit with nice boobs and butt.
Anita has never criticized Chell or Portal. I don't think she has ever criticized anything Valve has done, and given the nature of her critical method, is unlikely to ever do so.

Quote
Women who make a living being feminist tend to be impossible to satisfy or placate.
I think this is a clear confirmation of my earlier statement that "most criticism of her is either idiotic or pitiful."

People who condemn Anita are using her as a stand-in for the stuff they often unfairly attribute to feminism as a whole, instead of addressing her actual statements.

Maybe if you would simply listen to her actual words instead of the stuff you imagine she might say, you might actually learn something.
 
lpkmckenna Aug 15, 2013 07:08 PM
I didn't address this post before, but now I think I should.
Quote, Originally Posted by shifuimam (Post 4242111)
Anita Sarkeesian strikes me as kind of whiny and put out about the whole thing. It's completely overblown.
I'm finding her work to be very educational.

Quote
My identity as a woman is not remotely impacted by whether or not I can play a female character in a video game. When I CAN play a female character, I absolutely want them to be sexy and hot, because it's a lot more appealing to look at than some frumpy dumpy normal woman. I AM a normal woman. Why would I want to play one in a video game's fantasy world? I'd much rather play a character that looks sexy.
Anita's criticisms are not that women in games are sexy. Her criticism is that sexy is usually that character's only meaningful attribute, while male characters are usually more diverse and more characterized.

Quote
Are guys pissed off that male characters in video games are all buff (even a little bit) and of an attractive weight and height? Are fat nerds angry that they can't play a 400-lb neckbearded whale in GTA? I highly doubt it.
No. And here's the point you don't seem to grasp:

Female characters are typical male sexual fantasies. Male characters are typical male power fantasies.

In other words, games are being criticized for feeding all the fantasies of male players, and offering nothing for female players, among many, many other criticisms.

Maybe you just need a guy to explain it to you with bright, colourful pictures in 5 minutes or so (wink wink):

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/vide...9-Gender-Games

Finally, I think your characterization of Anita with words like "whiny" and "bitch" says a lot. Especially since Anita's work is not mere whining and bitching but really interesting and insightful commentary, while the outraged response on the internet by gamers who can't permit any criticism of their beloved hobby can be only characterized as nothing but pointless whining and bitching.
 
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