Naked fighting chicks
Posted on January 19, 2007 at 16:51
I'll be honest: I like scantily-clad women in my games, running around in a bikini made of stainless steel and Kevlar just as much as the next guy. I'm not the kind of guy who will buy Tomb Raider or Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 just because I want to see some digital jugs, but I do appreciate the time and effort that my artistic brethren put into the characters in games I play, like Guild Wars. Still, I can't help but find it amusing at how women are portrayed in games, and the debate surrounding the issue.
Let's get the obvious out of the way right now - women are usually overly sexual in games because most people who play games are male. More importantly, they are teenage / college-age males... you know, the kind of males who really like polygons formed into vaguely female shapes. So naturally, in order to make this target audience want to buy, developers feel the need to pepper their games with this sort of thing. I guess I can't blame them though, because it works, even if it gives gaming a distinctly bad taste for women who feel adventurous enough to give it a try.
So where does that leave the socially conscious developer? If I want to include a female character in a game, should she be uber-sexy? Would it be more tasteful or real to include a not-so-shapely female character? If the rest of the characters in my game are war-scarred, trash-talking heavyweights, doesn't it follow that any female characters I throw into the mix should be the same? And would anyone (even the ladies out there) really want to see an overweight, scorched and scarred, trash-talking woman running around in the typical spandex armor, shooting people?
I should mention that I also enjoy female characters with real stories, who seem more real than the typical ladies of electronica, like Jade (Beyond Good & Evil) or April Ryan (the Longest Journey). But I still find the debate over the sexiness of women in games amusing at times... Because, despite all the grit and grime that usually covers the male heroes of our games, aren't they too usually physically perfect specimens?