22 April, 2006

No, I'm not killing wraiths wearing that

Found this interesting tidbit at Feministing. According to a study, more adult gamers are women, but that women prefer "casual" games like Solitaire while men prefer more "real" games like console games. The Queen wonders why, its not like the video game industry puts female customers into much consideration when producing games. Games are targeted for a male audience, and female players are too often an afterthought. When games are made for women, they suck - something along the lines of Barbie chatting on her cell phone while rounding up horses, and changing clothes with horrid pink graphics and music that would make any 9 year old girly-girl puke. Ordinary games, fun as they are, have horrid female avatars. Their story lines almost always have to do with being a romantic interest for one of the male characters, they're dressed horribly and have weird attacks and weapons. No small wonder that women gamers aren't much into these games.

Being a Three Kingdoms fanatic - the Queen of Randomness thoroughly enjoys the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games and the Dynasty Warriors series. The RoTTK games rock - you can make a female avatar who kicks as much tuchus as her male counterparts and then some, can be as smart and as good of a military leader as any male character. What's cool is that there is absolutely no distinction between playing a male or female character. Dynasty Warriors isn't so bad too, with the expansion packs in the current version, girl characters can have the same move sets as the male characters so you can create a kick-ass girl warrior, the costumes aren't so bad either - a bit sexy but you can avoid fighting in a bikini or a dress if you want. The existing characters are ok, a bit annoying - but they're based on historical women during the Three Kingdoms period most of whom never held a weapon in their lives. The weapons are sometimes weird, paper fans, a flute, but other girls have scythes, spears & chakram. Being a hack & slash game, the girls do the same thing as the men - kill, kill, and kill some more, win the battle and then repeat. Other games are far more annoying - RPGs I've played in particular have either cutesy girls, sexpots and normal girls who turn into whiny romantic interests as the story plays on, all while wearing things that a normal woman would never wear anywhere much less a battle. If a developer with all the innovativeness as Koei can give girls equality in gaming - then all the other developers can follow suit and get a whole lot more profits.

Sometimes it's fun to play as a cute or sexy girl, but when that's the only option you get - it gets old fast. There's a market for women gamers, a market that developers have ignored for way too long. Making a game appeal to women can be as easy as just giving players the option to play a girl whose purpose is to fight and do the same things as the men, not just to be around for one of the male characters to fall in love with. It's not the violence or the action that women don't like, its the fact that the female characters in games are too often unappealing and insulting to women. We want to play games, but we want good ones, and we don't want to fight orcs in bikinis while making googly eyes at the male characters(in real life, you'd be killed in an instant). And please, no more Barbie games - they're not games, they're crimes against humanity.

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