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Attracting Women

Attracting Women

I’m afraid that if you’re looking for dating tips, you’ll need to look elsewhere; this article is going to focus on the steps that developers need to take and the features they need to include in order to attracting a higher proportion of women to their games. The more women we can get playing games, the more women that will become interested in the industry and potentially join it and diversity of ideas can only enhance the final product!

Here, I shall introduce to you the three golden C’s of video game design for the ladies: Customization, Characterization and Canoodling. Every developer needs to keep these well and truly in mind if they are to truly capture the interest of the ladies more frequently than usual. Let’s take a look at a game that has particularly captivated a female audience; the Dragon Age series. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen fan girls quite so ardent as the Dragon Age fangirls. You merely have to type ‘Alistair DA’ (Alistair being a member of your party and a romance-able option) into Google and reams upon reams of pages and pictures and stories and comics appear dedicated to that one character and his seemingly perfectly sculptured pixelated abs and his wonderfully endearing yet awkward personality. Women well and truly fell for Dragon Ageand rightly so because this time around, the developers were looking out and catering to a female audience as well as a male one and added things that, in the grand scheme of things, are minimal but make all the difference.

How the women fell...

The key thing to remember is that we want to attract women who may not normally game, or at least not in a big way. The gamers who happen to be women, like me, are already hooked on the hobby and are here for everything that games already are. We’ve played games for years that may not have had much in the way of relatable material for women but for a multitude of reasons, that hasn’t deterred us. What developers now need to do is show appreciation for the female crowd who have stuck around for so long and show to other women that gaming can be for them and isn’t just the realm of teenage boys or men in general. Dragon Age was the game that for many women, made them stand up and sing a hallelujah for finally being recognised as a demographic. I smiled when I saw one girl write simply: “Finally, something for the ladies!” And so to the first of the three C’s: Customization.

Dragon Age, like a true RPG, excelled in this area. You could be a man, woman, dwarf, elf, human, noble, warrior, mage, slum-dweller, anything. The range of possibilities and the different starting stories that came as a result of the customization choices really made you feel like you were making an impact and that this was your game. It allowed you to project yourself onto that character which makes the story and supporting characters seem that much richer. It also conformed to the classic fantasy archetype (with some of its own twists of course) which worked very much in its favour because films and novels like The Lord of the Rings have always been popular with everyone. By very definition, the fantasy genre is incredibly flexible and gives the developers the freedom to break free from the real world socially prescribed gender roles, hegemony and stereotypes; in the Dragon Age world, there was no discrimination against women, they were free to do things like join the army as they pleased and we’re even told that they make up a high proportion of the soldiers. This was a fantasy world for women as much as men, with equal representation on all fronts; as a woman playing a female character, there were no impediments to my progress. I could level up in the same way, I could wear practically the same armour as the men (finally, the sensible option!), I could remain looking like a woman while being as strong as a male character (not like in Fable 2 where the levelling system utterly failed us and we ended up looking like hulking bundles of steroid abuse. It slightly detracted from the enjoyment; we felt pretty cool being able to beat anything we came across but our appearance was slightly depressing, undermining the fact that we’d chosen to play as a woman).

With the second C: Characterization, the well developed, diverse and fantastically well-acted characters that constituted your party really made an impression on the player. The dialogue and script were brilliant and in many cases, laugh out loud hilarious and the writing in general was superb and engaging. The story ducked and dived, becoming highly emotionally investing as you were forced to make excruciating decisions about the characters you loved, making Dragon Age really stick in your mind. Every character felt real; they had their own problems, insecurities and hopes and you couldn’t fail but care for them all which aided in making the third C such a success amongst women.

Last but most certainly not least; Canoodling. This was key. Even I’ll admit to loving a good romance in a game and the choices Dragon Age gave you in that respect were captivating and added a whole other dimension of appreciation for some already brilliant characters. Choosing which character to be with felt like an important decision and held a lot of meaning to the player, adding more depth to the story as you actually ended up being concerned for the well being of the character your character had fallen in love with (well, let’s face it, it’s you really!) All of these character aspects, along with the great story and the witty script, made Dragon Age into the favoured stomping ground of the girl gamer. Basically, if you as a developer can manage to inspire women to write fanfiction, slash or otherwise, fill up their Deviant Art with doodles of their favourite character or swamp their tumblr with character related memes, you’ve nailed it. And Bioware managed to inspire all that geeky love and more. In fact, I’d say that roughly 546% of the Dragon Age related art on DeviantArt is NSFW. A job well done for Bioware.

It is true that the game I mentioned is an RPG where customization is a crucial and defining part the genre and not just an extra addition. RPGs have always been popular with both genders because of this factor but in terms of other genres, there are steps they can take too. First, let me just stress that there is nothing wrong with having a male protagonist. That’s a choice made by the developers and the story writers and that is neither sexist nor discriminatory, that’s just how it is and there’s no problem with that. If the story is about a man, that is great and it doesn’t put women off. Assassin’s Creed for example has had male protagonists so far and it has proven popular with everyone regardless because it is just a very good, often historically grounded story with stunning visuals and intriguing characters and there aren’t any gratuitous boobies! Hooray! Games that don’t have the same level of character customisation as games like Fable, Dragon Age or Mass Effect need not despair, they can still be popular with women if they give women a reason to think they’re taking themselves and their characters seriously. No vapid, falsely stereotyped ladies please and no clothing constituting of shredded tissue held together by nothing but sheer bloody mindedness. We’re just as keen as the boys about preserving everything else that makes the game what it is; the combat mechanics, the story, the graphics, the characters, but we can just do without the unfortunate and degrading portrayal of women, because as I mentioned last week, it can really undermine the gravity of the game and makes us feel like an objectified minority, a status that is damaging to both men and women on both a psychological and social level.

But Dragon Age made us feel understood and appreciated and represents an achievable pinnacle for developers to aspire to. I’m not saying it was a perfect game, because it most certainly wasn’t but in terms of how it catered to a female audience as well as a male one, you could not fault it. I personally can’t wait to see what will be achieved in the coming years as developers become more and more aware and accomplished at drawing in a wide range of demographics.

9 Comments

  1. I’m definitely taking notes on this article but I think you already knew that I specifically would =P

    The first C is easy to remember and works well in most cases. As an industry, we just need to get into the habit of including that feature more often (and not just the “choose frame A, B or C” but an actual, healthy selection such as a dozen truly unique bases for cases where tweaking numbers until they are “just right” would not fit). I don’t think this is something “just the ladies” want because I know myself and several other guys really look forward to a feature like customization (where it applies…because I’ll admit that something like DDR would be an example of “okay we’ll let it slide on not having customized avatars”) and I know I will spend time getting it to how I want. Uru, when I was doing Alpha testing, I spent a good 40 minutes each time my account was renewed in the office. For Armored Core, oh jeez…I know I’ve spent hours customizing that small little icon that you don’t even see half of the time in custom view of your AC. I’m even guilty of spending a half-hour sometimes tweaking each individual body piece to a different colour of my choosing just because I can. In fact, I remember running out of AC storage facility so early on (like 10% into the game) because I spend so much time customizing them. MMOs may be taking the credit for making it into a mainstream need, but it is something I’ve looked for when possible. I also foreseeing it continuing to be applied much more often in the future, partially because of hardware limitations of the past as well as new genres learn how to “do it right” where others in the genre have not succeeded before (and I will give props to Soul Calibur for their fighter editor because, while not much of a SC fan I still bought it because of the fighter editor and some great ideas I saw on Youtube).

    Characterization will be the toughest but most rewarding C to work on IMO. It basically comes to quality design and attention to detail, honestly. This is what sell the story of the game afterall. Sure there are games that can do well with little or no characterization but it still feels a little off. I’m trying not to go back to using this game again but this, from my understanding of the article, is where Armored Core really falls apart for attracting women gamers. It’s story is told in a manner of “here are your events and you will be told details in the mission briefing and occasionally more plot develops mid-mission but there are almost no actual characters except rival ACs and your mysterious supervisor”. It does work very well for it’s typing because they are going for the direction of “it is your story”, but in terms of characterization, it is easily a F- but still manages an A for story. Should they change it to draw in women? I would guess probably not because they do have it in a way that is unique and works (and if they want to be smart about it, they should start a new series so that they can do this and run it alongside “the new one’s parent” so that if it doesn’t work well with their current fans, then the current fans won’t feel cheated/abandoned/disgruntled/lost/etc). RPGs need to master this but most other genres with a story need to remember it as well (We’ll skip over puzzles like Tetris because there is an exception to every rule, right?)

    Cannonization, is probably the “Thank you developers. We love you! Here is your reward!” Your listing of what fans have done is quite normal for well loved, well received games. One particular game that I’d also recommend is the Star Ocean series (Star Ocean: Second Story for Playstation 1 to be precise) that has gone through the same love you are describing back 2 generations ago. First off, of the 14 characters, you must indirectly choose your party of 8 by the actions you make in the story (one example is when you are told to go to two locations and neither one is priority over the other results in if you get Ashton or Opera). Secondly, and this is where canonization really comes into play, is the ending. Tri-Ace did an ingenious idea that has inspired my legacy game (one I don’t intend to start for at least another decade). The endings are setup to pair off each character in your party in the end (every single pairing combination is possible and if you try to force a “love triangle”/”friendship triangle”, you either end up with a pairing or all 3 end up alone in their part of the ending). Sure they are small, quick ending bits (like 4-7 liners usually) but it inspired the communities to go wild with praise for it’s time because every canon pairing was possible (I am pretty sure all same-sex pairings were “friends to the end” and all m/f pairings were “romantic endings” but I have not gone through every combination). I also understand the feeling of cheated in a few games when you can’t make the pairing you want ([FF6]I lucked out and got the pairings I wanted;[.hack//G.U.]I wanted Haseo to hook up with Alkaid but noooo…he has to go back to Shion;[FF9]Eiko and Zidane would have been a great couple;[Disgaea]At least you can work for the ending you want but you have to play drastically different for some of those endings;[FFX]I wanted Tidus to dump whiny Yuna and be with Rikku;[BoF]Nina was okay but I’d rather have the main character be with Bleu >:3). Sure we have fanfiction out there of what we want but it feels so much more different (in a good way too c: ) about when the pairing you want actually ends up together. They say your first impression and your last impression are the two most important impressions you can make as a developer to the gamer so for those who get all the way to the end, reward them with what they want. Dragon Age, as you well noted in this article, understands that and will be taking many notes from them for research.

    At the very least, you’ve definitely reinforced techniques for one developer to remember (and I’m sure someone like Peter Molyneux would smile and go “I’m at least on the right track and I have references to study and details of what I did wrong so I can do better next time”). I can guarantee you I will be reading this article (or updated versions of it) before the starting of many projects (if not all until I retire) to make sure I have the wants/needs of the women gamers in mind while I’m beginning the designing process.

    • Wow, notes, I feel very responsible now! I hope I can help you then :)

      Yes, customization is a universal love, in fact, I’ve planned a post on exactly that topic. It’s one of the things that sets games apart from any other medium. There’s no other form of entertainment where you can truly change and subsequently inhabit a character as well as you can in games. It’s one of the biggest selling points as well, for men and women alike, as I said, although you’re right, I wasn’t focusing on men this time round but it is just as important to them. The hours I’ve spent trawling around shops in-game just to find the best outfits or the coolest hairstyles. The Sims for example is one of the games that I just cannot work out why I enjoy so much. But in the context of customization, there is no game comparable. The amount of items you can download and create, and the personality traits you can assign, and even the way you can plan their life and objectives is incredible and certainly one of the reasons why it’s one of the best selling PC games of all time (if not the best one) and the reasons its incredibly popular amongst women. It takes the notion of customization and implements it for all it’s worth!

      I agree as well, the characterization element needs and deserves as much thought as you would give if you were writing a novel. The way a good character can stick in your mind just makes you realise how worth it it is to invest serious time and effort in the script, character design, animation etc. You’re right, it can be the hardest but it can also be the most rewarding to get right. Especially because in games, you spend so much time with the characters (anywhere from 20 hours to 80!). I’ve never played Armoured Core but it’s interesting how it can have both a brilliant story yet poor character development etc, I know exactly what you mean. Certain genres don’t rely on characters, strategy games for example, like Medieval Total War, or Simulators. They have their own niches and can make up for lack of character by providing a very specific experience, and I think that’s admirable. But unless a girl is into that specific area of strategy or simulator or driving game etc, it most likely won’t appeal to her. I don’t want to generalize too greatly (although it is a little hard in this case not to!) because not all girls care about characters, however in general, I’d say good characters are important for everyone, men and women but hold a little more gravitas for women especially, who often tend to have great empathy and affinity for relationships. But you’ve raised an important point with Armoured Core when you talk about what they’d have to do if they remade it. They obviously don’t want to alienate their fans, which is why I try and stress the importance of adding things that will appeal to both sexes, but that specifically holds more importance for women. Because for example, with Dragon Age, relationships were obviously implemented for both sexes and there were a number of romance options for men as well, and even more awesomely, there were same sex relationship options. These options meant a great deal to women, but also appealed to men as well (probably because it was a chance to have some digital nakedness…was that sexist? To claim that men just want sex? Maybe!!) So Dragon Age managed to appeal to RPG fans but brought in little changes and improvements that sealed the deal for women. So for example, if AC was to be remade, it might do them good to work more on the characters and make the whole experience seem a little more rounded (because the premise and the mecha customization seems awesome). I think this would probably help them to appeal to more men as well, because good characters can make the game better for everyone. And Tetris is an entity unto itself and can do no wrong :P It doesn’t need character, it doesn’t need a plot or a story, it just needs some oddly shaped blocks and it’s good to go!

      Canonization?! As in, the act whereby the church designates someone as a saint?! I’m pretty sure that wasn’t one of my C’s :P But yeah, drawing awesome fanart and writing fanfiction isn’t limited to only games that have especially appealed to women, popular games have always had that sort of treatment, although quite a high proportion of fanfiction writers and deviant art artists seem to be women, for reasons I’m not quite sure. We’re not necessarily any more artistic than men. Actually, you know what, I think it’s because women are more motivated and excited about good characters and stories than men. There is some truth in saying that women are more emotional than men, I don’t mean in that we’re more predisposed to cry or freak out or something (both being things I can never do!) but we do place importance in situations that particularly resonated with us. Like for example, there are a lot of stories and lots of fanart about this particular character from Dragon Age, Alistair, and they’re mostly written and drawn by women because Alistair became important to many of the female players. He was witty, charming, superbly voice-acted and very real in his vulnerabilities and insecurities. He was attractive to many players because of these traits but not to so many male players, who obviously don’t see men in the same way. Where male players might have seen him as being a bit lame or awkward, female players saw him as being honest and endearing. This results in women adoring him and showing their appreciation with fan art and stories, whereas for men, he didn’t really hold any greater importance in the grand scheme of things, at least not enough to praise him with art.

      T

  2. Sorry, I accidentally pressed reply before I’d actually finished! Prepare for a even MOAR!

    I think you’re completely right, it does feel so right when, within the story, the characters you want together do actually get together. Because that’s the way the developers intended it, it feels ‘right’. And you make a very interesting point. People write fanfiction to enhance the story for themselves, because they wish to be part of that universe and make their mark on it in some way. Whether it be to make their own character within that universe or like you say, to bring together two characters who they wanted to be together. I think developers should always be proud of fanfiction because it shows how much of an impact their game has made, and how rich the fans feel it is, and how good your characters were.

    I really appreciate that you feel that way about being a developer, and I really hope I can continue to enhance your ideas in that way :) It would mean a lot to me. Thank you once again for your amazing comment and I hope you enjoy this reply, which is effectively another article!

    • Yeah…I’m not a master and I’m sure the “big designers” are still taking notes. In fact, I remember either yesterday or the day before that Peter Molyneux tweeted on how he was researching romance for game design. Also, just off the bat, you have several perspectives I don’t have…not just as a girl gamer but you are of a different gamer generation than myself (I started between Atari and Nintendo) and you have different tastes (although there is plenty of overlapping too).

      Amen! I know this article was focused towards the women but it is true that it is universal (although, like you mentioned, relatively more preference from women than men). Gaming is proud on it’s title as “interactive entertainment”. The closest you can get outside of gaming that you can get for “interactive entertainment” is either a storyteller or karaoke =P Yeah…I’m guilty of spending way too much time on PetSociety on Facebook trying to buy one of everything just so I can change my appearance to whatever I want whenever I want ^^’ True, the life emulation and customization to create things exactly how you want works for making it a top seller. The interactivity and being able to do the things you did not even think of helps keep them in. On that topic, let us not forget Little Big Planet as needing big credit for essentially being the same thing but in a platformer genre (usually…I’ve played a few levels that do other options such as one that was a FPS)…or LBP2 that just really lets you do what your imagination can think of. You can even make your own pieces in both games so if you don’t have what you want, you can make it (including clothing or other decorations for your sack person).

      Yes, very true. Especially with such time invested with the character, you can’t help but become attached (even the well made ones that you hate…::pulls out Yuffie voodoo doll and stabs with voodoo needles:: ). If they are made well, you only hate them because of who they are but you still end up respecting the character for not being as flat as most characters in fighting games =P Yeah it is interesting and I guss you could indirectly say it is their intention because they make work very well. Ah, yes, RTS and simulators also have that formula. Tactics games would be an interesting one to discuss because it does both. It focuses on development based on character and development around the characters (and many “nameless” characters you grow to love). That is a VERY key point. If they aren’t interesting in that specific experience, the player isn’t going to want to play the game (same goes for guys but most of these are “guy experiences” already ^^’ ). Yeah, never alienating your fans is a very important rule. Shhh…only slightly sexist but we must admit there is at least one woman out there who is thinking the same thing and at least one guy out there that is against that idea so that cancels it out enough for a comment =P Yeah, AC could bring in characters but then it takes you out of the “this is you and this is your story/adventure” (but I do agree that they could do more for the “other characters), and because they are focused on putting you directly into the story, maybe a new series (or at least a branching side-saga) might work better. Yes, Tetris is special. I remember I.Q. (Intelligence Qube) tried to push a story but after the 3rd level, you forget it and focus on the gameplay. Puzzles are always an unique exception to so many gaming rules =P

      lol maybe XD The characters are so perfectly made that they are now a saint |D Well, on the account of more women on DA than men, I would say partially because they are more driven by passion but I remember that women as a whole excel more in the arts than men as a whole but I know of quite a few great male artists on DA. I am even one but would not say I am “great” but at least good for pixel art. Very true, men are more “act now think later” while women are more inclined to “think now and act later” (although I can list hundreds of situations where they have skipped the thinking step and acted irrationally too =P ). Yeah, guys want to think of their characters as “godly and perfect” whereas women want to see their man, to put bluntly, realistic yet still appealing. Such a drastic clash makes it next to impossible to ever please both sexes (but I know there are rare occassions that it does happen).

      Yeah and I know most fanfiction for my project I’ll happily be looking through and reading and enjoying (but will openly admit that as a straight male that the “really detailed” yaoi fanfiction may get glossed over from time-to-time…but that usually doesn’t happen for yaoi anyways whereas Yuri is all the time right off the bat =P ). But while staying on topic, let’s not forget the cosplay community as well. Not only are they continuing to live in the universe but they are dressing up (and usually going “out in public as your character”…conventions count….sorta…). There is one project I have that I am waiting to do that I am eagerly wanting to see the cosplays of but it is a very large scale project that I will only say “is meant to take on one of the largest gaming universes” without directly calling them out. The power of secrets are important and we never know what big names are reading right? ;D (or come back from the future to read it =P ).

      Yeah…I think it is clear that we both appreciate it or we wouldn’t be taking the time to write this much in “a mere reply” =P I am making mental notes and just regret so much of this I’m learning is so late in the current project to change much but that just makes the next one a bigger impact on all that I have learned since the last one I have started. =D

      • I think we can conclude that Peter Molyneux should really just hire me to be his onsite advisor in all things game and female related! :D It’s true you’re a different gaming generation, but we’re all gamers, so we’re linked by that rather expansive and all encompassing brotherhood!

        Haha, I’m afraid Karaoke is incomparable to gaming and I’ve even tried it in Japan! Although it is definitely interactive :P Sadly I’ve never played Little Big Planet (I don’t have a PS3) but I’ve heard many good things about it and you’re right, it sells and does well primarily because of how much you can make it ‘your’ game, even going so far as to effectively change the genre. Sounds very cool, I’d love to try it.

        If a developer can make a character so good that you respect them even if you hate them for who they are, they’ve done a pretty good job! In fact, it’s really awesome if you can hate them because of their personality etc because it obviously means that, as you say, they are rounded and real enough to hate. Obviously if you hate a character because they’re flat and useless, then that’s a problem and the developer has failed a little :(

        You do pixel art? Wow! I have always, always wanted to be able to do that, it looks so awesome! Can I see your deviantart? :D Link me link me link me! But yes, I would suppose as a whole that women are generally the more artistic of the sexes and also the sex more driven by their appreciation for something. Combine the two and you get a hell of a lot of game related fan art!

        Are you able to discuss your project? I’ve become so intrigued over the course of our comment correspondence that I can’t wait to see what it is! I have completely no problem with it but I am always really confused as to why yaoi appeals so greatly to women. Maybe its seeing men in a more caring and vulnerable way? Or…I don’t know….maybe women are crazy! But yeah, I suppose that isn’t going to be the most fun for you to read as a straight guy!

        I love cosplay, it’s a combination of my two great loves; making things/sewing and games so I agree wholeheartedly, in fact, I’d say it’s even more flattering than fanfiction. For your fans to love the character so much to want to spend time and money constructing the outfit you designed must just be so awesome. If this project of yours is awesome, you can bet I’ll probably cosplay from it :D (I just finished my last gaming cosplay, Leonardo da Vinci from Assassin’s Creed II so I need another one!)

        • Yeah, and if he does then I have a list of ideas to pitch for him. One in particular I think he would love because it takes the themes he does best (self-reflection/self-choice/self-sacrifice) and brings it to a deeper level. But I also want to see if I can make it myself so I may still want to hold onto it for my own future ;P Yup, different gaming generations are united on that same ground (and only cut back because of other needs like that pesky job thing that gets in the way) and we all have the same passion (but sometimes those different starting roots can have different meanings in the long run).

          True…it was a stretch but it was the closest I could think of for “interactive entertainment” that wasn’t gaming. A huge stretch, I’ll admit but nothing else is interactive. I know that loss because of the console wars. I’m without a 360 so there are a few I would love to play but can’t…coughBlueDragoncough…but money is a limited supply. Let’s get some portal guns (or as I have recently been playing in Darksiders they call it Voidwalker) and setup a portal between us so we can share consoles ;D Yeah, letting the player be able to make it their own is when you really a freedom that makes everyone happy. The only problem is when you give the player too much freedom that many players get lost and become uncertain on what to do (because “just have fun and explore the world” isn’t enough direction for them >= ). It is definitely an experience in game design but, like Mario, there is almost no plot unless the level creator tells you about it…however there have been a few amazing story tellings that I have seen as well, such as the Saw stage (in reference to the Saw movie series).

          Yeah, especially if the player can justify a reason then that says that they are really enjoying enough to care what the character does/thinks/says/believes/reacts enough to make that emotional connection. It does remind me of that ancient proverb of “you only fight with the ones you love”. But when they are flat and useless, you don’t care about the character and then, as you mentioned, the developer has failed.

          Yeah…indirectly, I can recall studying pixel art as far back as ’96 or ’97 because I was using MSPaint to make icons, mouse icons, and then amateur quality monsters and all before Windows ’98 came out. I think you could probably guess what it is but if you don’t feel like being dare to try on your own, it is http://ninrac.deviantart.com/ . My gallery is relatively barren of my most recent work that I’m proud of because it’s in my project and I’m not ready to leak them just yet (but when I am I will feel sorry for my watchers because they will be hearing all about it ad-nauseum). I hate how it is so close to being finished but still has that last leg to go (and unfortunately the most important part for showing it off is the art is lacking but I have someone working her butt off to play catch up and I’m coming along to help her as well). Oh yeah, that is very true. The “most frequent” of fanart that I’ve experienced (indirectly because of the niches and contacts I associate most often with on DA) ends up being Pokémon…but I have noticed far more are females making fanart than males. Just guessing through my contacts, I would estimate for Pokémon fanart alone, female fanart artist outnumber male fanart artists by 7 to 1 ratio.

          I can mention a few details on it because we have entered IGF (twice already) and they do reveal several details already ^^’ It is rhythmically interactive and the primary features, aside from the aforementioned story in previous comments, is each character having unique abilities and you can add any .mp3 in your collection into the library to make gameplay for and play whenver you want. Neither of which are “revolutionary” but is always said “should be done” but hasn’t yet (even after the big bang of popularity of rhythem games because of Guitar Hero leading the way in a manner Bemani never could get done correctly). It also has little bits of fanservice for tightly-nit, neglected communities (which love to gossip on what they love)…and that’s why I know yaoi will come up in the fan community because there is an important scene that comes up that gives the player a choice of enjoying the fanservice by taking the easy route (failing) or working to keep the main character happy (by passing a harder than normal challenge). Let the players fight for what they want, right? ;D As for yaoi appreciation, I think it stems from two reasons. One being the same reason many guys enjoy yuri-esque situations while the other reason is because there is the depth in development of the relationship that this article points out. Yaoi fans want the bonding while straight and yuri situations “jump into bed” much faster in comparison. It does bring out that connection and shows them as “pretty guys”…and most yaoi manga has them looking a bit more feminine so that one could easily still picture a “straight couple” in their head if they wanted to. Women can be crazy though =P Guys are just as capable though ^^’ Yeah…it might not be as much fun to read but I might still because it is fanservice every once in awhile.

          I do as well. In fact, I’m having trouble deciding what to do for the 2 conventions I have coming up in a little over a month ^^’ I think I would probably most appreciate when they try to behave in character (especially in some situations can be quite fun. The most complicated one was when I was Adell from Disgaea 2 and since he “doesn’t really like girls”, the women who were familiar with him could tease me on staying in character). I remember once cosplaying as a particular in the project I’m working on just to give a solid reference for the artist to examine (and learn how well the outfit will work for the character…who happened to be a girl so that really put me to the test and I’m glad I succeeded in my goal). That does sound like a goal/motivation to make sure it looks fantastic :D (well, I’ve known but still must reinforce into the team how rewarding it is XD ). That sounds like a great cosplay with a lot of detail and depth. You should definitely show it off :D

  3. Personally one of the things I think is detracting the market from a majority of the non-playing female audience is the lack of character, full stop.
    Though I’m male I am a strong feminist and I believe, despite the fact we are beginning to see a lot more progressive and INTERESTING female characters in games, that we just need more strong three dimensional female characters.
    While I don’t mean to stamp upon the female identity, I want a female character who is a strong person, not a strong girl. Example, in cinema, the film ‘Aliens’ has a female lead who obviously ran out of bubblegum a while ago, because she kicks a ton of ass. My point being, there is never a scene where a marine walks up to her and says “Well, you’re pretty strong for a girl,” mainly because she isn’t strong for a girl, she is a strong person.
    By pointing these things out in dialogue, the dress sense of a character (Bikini body armor), or simply by the behaviors of the character (overly sexual exploitation), we are ruining whatever we hope to achieve.
    Not to say I want every single character to be like this. Exploitation is often needed in a stylistic piece, parody, or intentional exploitation, but if the intention is to make a serious, relatable character they can’t have them chew threw scenery and demand the attention of whatever boy (or camera) that goes past (I’m looking at you Metroid: Other M).
    From an outsiders perspective, the female character that make it into the mainstream awareness (Lara Croft, Bayonetta) don’t accurately represent the potential of what our young and constantly growing media can produce.

    Hopefully this rant made some sense (I’m not always great at conveying my point). Also, this point exists in film as well so I’m not targeting games per-say, but on the topic of attracting women. Great article as always. Can’t wait to read more.
    To prove I’m not uptight, a girl who suffers some of the same ill fates I discussed, but a character I love: Elena from Uncharted
    http://www.psu.com/media/articles/image/elena_4.jpg

    • Upon reading the article on objectification, this comment probably belongs there.

    • Thank you for commenting Ollie :D

      You’re completely right, there’s no need to make a distinction between a man and a woman in most situations because we’re all as equally capable. It would be undermining the girl’s achievements if you were to say she’s doing well, ‘for a girl’. It’s for the same reason I dislike it when people draw attention to their gender for the sake of praise etc, which is especially prevalent in the gaming community because of the gender discrepancy. It’s a sad fact that girls will still incite some sort of reverence just due to their gender, if they say they’re a gamer. I am a gamer first, girl second :P

      A lot of the best female characters are exactly what you describe; women who go around kicking butt without ever having to play on their gender. I don’t want it to get to the point where they’re punished for being a woman. For example, in Prince of Persia Sands of Time, your companion is a princess called Farah. She’s very accomplished with the bow and is a strong, confident and driven young women. She’s the keeper of an incredibly powerful weapon and she will do anything to protect it, even if it means seducing someone to get her way. I don’t begrudge her ‘woman-ness’ in that way, even though she had use her ‘feminine wiles’ to get what she needed, because she did it for the greater good, it didn’t detract from her being a strong person. So what I’m trying to say with that rambling example is that acting in a manner more associated with your gender doesn’t detract from you being a strong person necessarily, but in general, it’s counter productive to have a character that relies on their gender; as you say, they should be a strong person first, a strong man/woman second.

      Don’t panic, it made total sense :D Thank you very much for reading! (I hope I make sense too!)

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