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    Opinion: We need more awesome mainstream games for women

    by Jessica Moen on Jan 22, 2010 at 01:04 PM
    By now I’m sure you realized that I am an avid gamer, I play practically everything and have a wide range of likes. I love RPG’s, platformer’s, action-adventure, arcade, third-person shooters and puzzles. I will also play the occasional first-person and sports game but not often.

    What I am annoyed about is the way certain games are marketed. It’s as if game companies are not even considering women when developing certain games or, worse, being very stereotypical when creating games for women.

    First I want to point out that almost every game out there has a male lead character. Shooters and RPGs are notorious for this. Sometimes women are offered as secondary characters in a lot of these games but you can’t always control them. RPGs are getting a lot better about this – including Fable and Oblivion to name a few – which offer the choice of being a female. Final Fantasy 10-2 even made the main characters women. Action games and platformers have been hooking us up with female leads with Lara Croft and Samus Aran being the most famous.

    Shooters, on the other hand, are not stepping up with Haloand Grand Theft Auto coming to mind. There’s no reason companies can’t make a female Spartan character in Halo or allow the lead in GTA to be a female once. Guys, you can’t tell me you don’t like to play girls who kick ass! I used to watch guy after guy pick Chun-Li in Street Fighter.

    Which actually brings me to my next point. The way women are portrayed in games is getting annoying. This is not a women-should-not-be-portrayed-as-sex-objects rant but more of a why-can’t-the-women-in-games-appeal-more-to-women rant.

    Look at Bayonetta for example. The main character is a hot chick in tight spandex who likes to bend over a lot. Now I don’t know what route they were going here, if they were trying to appeal to women with this game by making the main character female. If that were the case I think they failed miserably and here’s why.

    First, I am all about a female lead character dressing and looking awesome but tight spandex and unrealistic measurements makes her nothing more other than a sex symbol. Sex symbols like her will only appeal to guys, which is fine, but guys would play the game either way. If it is a fun, action-packed game, you could have made the main character a hyena and guys would still like it. In other words it’s not a necessary selling point.

    If they wanted to appeal towards girl gamers, they should have made her look more realistic. Instead, it turns most women off to these types of games. You guys wouldn’t want to play a game where the male is wearing nothing but tight spandex or hardly anything at all and that shows off everything. It’s not appealing to you and neither is Bayonetta appealing to women.

    In Fable and Obvlivion, you can choose how you want your character to dress. You can give them a long dress or scantly clad clothes. The point is, it’s your choice. Something like that would make a game more appealing to a women – or man – because we get to choose how the character looks and who they are. If more games where made like that, then both parties would be happy.

    My last complaint is that a lot of companies assume that all female video gamers are little girls under the age of 10. Sure, Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse are cute but we girls like to kick ass, too!

    I don’t know how many times I went into a game store and the cashier trying to sell me Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon. Don’t get me wrong, I love those games but why don’t they make more action games for girls? I want to walk into a store and hear, “Hey! There is a new action-packed game where you play as a girl who can kick ass while being reasonably dressed at the same time!” instead of, “Hey! They just made a new game that’s based on shopping and raising animals!”

    So, video game industry, hear me and every woman gamer’s cry and make a cool game for us girls.

    What it boils down to is that industry feels it needs to gear its games mainly toward men because they play the most. But it’s a vicious cycle where mostly men are gamers because game companies don’t make enough awesome games that appeal to women.

    Stop making a million different pet games and make some great shooters, RPGs and action games that women will enjoy.

    Read [LadyGamers]

    Photo Source: CrunchyRoll

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    • Jenni Lada from Chicago said:
      Avatar for Jenni Lada

      Muscle March has mostly men in teeny, tiny speedos running around. XD

      What you’re saying makes a lot of sense though. But I’m pretty sure in one of the Halo games you can choose to have a female voice for your character. I’ve never played them, but my cousin does and I think there’s an option.

    • Jessica Moen from Chicago, IL said:
      Avatar for Jessica Moen

      I suppose!

      I still would like to see a female GTA lead! I actually saw someone started a petition on line too 😉 Oh and for the record…teeny tiny speedos equals AVOID AVOID AVOID!! 😉

    • Panzer said:

      I’m pretty sure that the literature and storyline in the Halo canon mentions quite a few female characters. There are many female characters in the series, the most important being Cortana. However, it would not make sense for a female spartan to be played in the main storyline, especially since all the Spartans but one were killed.

      In Halo: Reach, I believe one of your main squad Spartans is a female.

      I honestly don’t feel like it makes a difference how games are marketed towards a specific sex. Game publishers are of course, like any other company, in it for the money. They will market a game towards a specific demographic, which in this case, more often than not, would be a male. Of course, female gamers do exist, don’t get me wrong.

      You cite Bayonetta as a game that is blatantly designed towards men. Yes, it is. The creator (who made Devil May Cry as well) has stated that while DMC’s main theme was “cool,” the main theme of Bayonetta was to be “sexy.”

      To be fair, I’m sure some games could be marketed more generally as to appeal to both sexes, yet “Hey! There is a new action-packed game where you play as a girl who can kick ass while being reasonably dressed at the same time!” doesn’t seem like the first thing I would say when I see a game like Resident Evil (Jill Valentine).

      But honestly speaking, off the top of my head I cannot think of many games that would fit that quote.


    • Jessica Moen from Chicago, IL said:
      Avatar for Jessica Moen

      yeah that is the point!

      And I get that they market to males because they are the ones that play the most but i think the reason more guys play is because some women don’t get the appeal of action based games. I know plenty of girls who are all “video games are just stupid and violent!” (yet they go see all those violent stupid movies in the theatre…go figure!) and it DRIVES ME NUTS!!!

      If there were more girls in video games, then eventually it would get the point across that video games are for girls too 😉 That’s just my theory!

      I admit, I never played all the Halo games so i probably jumped the gun with that one,

      And thank you for your input Panzer! I can always count on you!

    • Kris Rosado said:
      Avatar for Kris Rosado

      Just throwing these out there:

      Borderlands, P.N. 03, Muramasa, Resident Evil 2, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Folklore, Silent Hill 3, Final Fantasy 3/6, Suikoden 3, Mirror’s Edge and Demon Siege all allow players to control strong (for the most part at least) female characters.

    • Jessica Moen from Chicago, IL said:
      Avatar for Jessica Moen

      Thanks Kris! I actually played some of those…Muramasa was fun! I didn’t like Mirror’s Edge, found it reeeeeeealy irritating, and FF 3 is like the one of the best ones they made! Oh and Silent Hill three was cool.

      Yeah if they would stay on this track I would be happy! I like that some of these (like Silent Hill and Mirrors Edge) is purely a female character, not just a choice between a male or female. I don’t mind choosing between the two, but i think game developers are afraid to make it only female sometimes!

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