It's a People Problem

"Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men." - Kin Hubbard (1868 - 1930)

Good old Lara Croft and her faithful sidekicks are back again. And by sidekicks, I mean her chest, her short-shorts, and the perennial argument about the portrayal of women in video games.

There seem to be two common approaches that get dragged out every time this comes up. There's the usual "this doesn't matter" and it's usually accompanied by some landscape appreciation for Lara. And on the other side I have a former colleague who is of the opinion that every female character should look like Velma from Scooby Doo and if they don't then it is a slam against women and anyone who even brings up any other viewpoint on this issue is just defending the status quo (and therefore should be burned at the stake).

I maintain neither one of them see the whole picture. The problem is not just sexism, but rather personification in all its forms and the disconnected way the issues are being handled in game design.

Personification?
You may not have heard the term before, or at least not in this context. In usability design terms, personification is the process of you, the user, attributing human qualities to your agent in the environment. In game terms, this is a holy grail that is fervently sought after. They want you to identify with your in-game avatar to give the game a feel of immersion. The more human-like it is, and the more you identify with it, the easier that state of belief is to gain and maintain.

Those breasts are definitely out there. There's no denying them. I'm not trying to invalidate that issue at all. The latest set of screencaps from the new Soul Caliber game coming out display girls with bra-sizes that would be measured in acres. And they're barely restrained by two shoe strings and two postage stamps. Trying to reach around that mass to fight would be purely impossible, if you could even see over them. Even Hugh Heffner has to be looking at those and thinking that's just a bit too much here.

But those discussions are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many ways game character designs damage the vital connection between the player and their character. Find a way to peek past the "tracts of land" and think about all the different characters in the games you play.

  • Exposed naughty bits everywhere isn't the only demeaning problem for women. Don't forget stupidity and incompetence. Like that ODST in Halo 2 that shows up in the level where you take out that first Prophet. Yay! We've got a female who isn't a pilot! Then she starts coming onto you like you were in a singles bar, and you're stuck with her like gum on your shoe. This woman is a Helljumper. That means she's a veteran professional soldier with enough cojones to free-fall from orbit in a metal coffin with no chance of recovery if something goes wrong. But confronted with the Master Chief she melts into a useless puddle of idiotic innuendos in a battle situation. Give me a BREAK! We have a handle on one of the three main bigwigs in the Covenant Alliance here! Flirt on your own time.
  • It's not just NPC's. For example, take Inphyy from Ninety-nine Nights. Move past her oh-shoot-me-here armor and her soft-pr0n game intro. Play her through the first few levels. Things go okay, but then you get to stare aghast as she starts throwing a babbling, weeping, cast-yourself-on-the-ground temper tantrum in front of a subordinate. And it's not even for a decent reason; it's because she had a spat with her brother. That's the head of the Knights of Light!? Puh-leeeze.
  • Unless you're a wise old martial arts master guy, you better not age. And when I say age, I mean at all. Remember Sir Auron from Final Fantasy X? Great character. Kicks butt all over the place, and even gives good story. All through the game he gets crap about being an old man. If you do the math from the facts in the game, he would be 33 years old (if he wasn't already dead but if you'll follow the immutable point). How does it feel to know that you're really old, guys? At least he's there. I tried to think of a female equivalent in age and story role, and got nowhere. I have come up with a theory about grown women. I think they morph into crates once they turn 26. They wrap themselves in a wooden chrysalis and change into their final form. The next day they emerge and shake out their skirts as 80-mumble year old NPC's and shuffle off to live in a random village in the nearest jRPG. It would explain why those things are all over the place and there's no grown women in sight, wouldn't it?
  • Muscles and ready weapons aren't the only problem you guys have. A lot of these guys are just plain nuts. The list of sociopaths and crazy-cases is as long and illustrious as the Mr. Universe wannabe's. The line forms behind Kratos. And the bishie guys can all huddle behind Cloud Strife to feel safer from the beefy guys.
  • If you're all willing to rumble we can pull up race stereotypes and ethnicity. Unless you're a white male between the ages of 18 and 24 you're a villain or nowhere.
  • Kids really get the shaft. Both genders are depicted as brats, as tragic cannon fodder to advance the heroes' story, or abused and neglected in ways that would get their parents arrested in the real world. Some are forced to fend for themselves as young as 10 or 12 (Pokemon, Zelda, heck just about any kid's license you can think of). Kids of all ages are just sent off to save the world and fight wars, with the full approval of the adults in their lives who stay home to mind the store. Might as well re-title half of the E and T rated games "Children's Crusade". And even if they do get to stay home until they're an older teen before they go off to be heroes, they are depicted in incredibly damaging ways. Many are shown as being thrown out into the world into traumatic and deadly dangerous situations, with little or no backup or support from responsible parties.

Read through that, and tell me how many of them are being addressed by looking at this from a solely feminist viewpoint? By my read, just one and that one not even completely or intelligently. That's not enough. Yes, I am a woman. I also fit into several of those other categories, and feel just as uncomfortable when they are misrepresented. Why are the contents of my t-shirt more important than it's size, or the gray in my hair, or my relationship with my children?

Does it Matter?
Serious disconnects in personification affect the way games are played. If I'm stuck in a rear-view camera and I have an option between a scantily clad female and reasonably clothed guy, I'll have the guys out front unless actively forced by gameplay to change. This can be the kiss of death in an RPG. Unless I catch myself I will have huge gaps in levels and skills between my characters based on how they are dressed. It nearly killed my first time through FFXII. I had a 15+ level gap between Balthier (my lowest level male character) and Ashe (my highest level female character). They were effectively split into a girls team and a guy's team. The disparity got so bad as the game progressed I couldn't shuffle the girls into a combat at all otherwise they'd just die when the monster breathed their general direction. I had to go back and force myself to power-level them before I took them into the last bits of the game.

Guys, let me put the issue to you in a different way. This may not make sense because you've never been forceably faced with a real equivalent to what the girls are getting. Being stuck staring at Tidus' cute little leather clad butt for all the traveling in Final Fantasy X is annoying, but at least it's covered. Put him in a g-string equivalent to Fran's from Final Fantasy XIIand how do you think it would feel? Seriously, it's a good butt. Any guy would be proud to have it. But how would you like to stare at the dimples on it for a hundred hours and be forced to try to identify with it to play the game?

Give me Gears of War with the guys dressed like Chippendale's Dancers, and then let's see how you do. I grant you there's a realism problem there, but it's only fair. Us girls have been coping with similar disconnects for years. They're in battle so they should be wearing armor. Yeah. Well, Lulu's traveling from one end of her world to the other beating up bad guys with a stuffed animal. She'd have sun poisoning and skin like a lizard on her décolletage after a week stomping around Spira in that dress. Not to mention the rash she'd have from having to wear that much personal adhesive to keep her cleavage inside her bodice during that nice low bow. At least most RPG's give me some option. Most other games don't. If I play Gears, I have to play it as a hulking brute. I've made an uneasy peace with it. If you're a female gamer, you'd have had to.

Game developers aren't totally at fault here. There is a lack of symbiology for this in general, and popular media is just as bad or worse. To demonstrate using visual cues that a guy is strong and brave and etc, you show him with big muscles and a compensatory weapon (since you really can't show him with his kilt tilted here). It's a tradition going back centuries. Strong, lantern-jawed types or unwashed mancubs going off and save the world and the damsel are all over the place. But that set of visual shortcuts don't mean the same thing when applied to a woman.

What should they do? Well, we as a society don't really don't have a visual shortcut for demonstrating power in a woman that isn't also tied into her secondary gender characteristics. You simply can't handle it directly unless she's so old her sexuality is out of the equation. Dame Judy Dench as "M" in the recent James Bond flicks, for an iconic example. With no visuals, you have to build it into the story like Beyond Good and Evil or give her rank and have people demonstrate they respect her like Miranda Keyes in Halo 2. But both of those techniques effectively remove a female character from the front lines in the twitch realms. You don't have the story room to really carry it along, or since most player characters are grunts of some sort you can't have a lot of rank. Angel from Wingcommander really couldn't work as a player character, for example.

We need to take a long look at how we manage the whole problem, not just what's jiggling. It ends up as a smokescreen to hide all sorts of other issues that should be addressed. The game companies and other media types don't want to have to change the way they do things so they downplay the problem as just a "feminist" thing, and people who shout about women's issues are not covering the whole problem and often alienate the very people they need to work with to solve it.

Resources:
Here's a couple articles and such to give you some launch points for investigation:

The Doll Technique and Racial Attitudes, Penelope J. Greene, The Pacific Sociological Review, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Oct., 1980), pp. 474-490
Assembles some seminal work going all the way back to 1930 about gender/racial identification with kids and their toys.

Agents with Faces:The Effects of Personification of Agents, Tomoko Koda / Pattie Maes
Gives an overview of a small study done at MIT about how realistic in-game avatars affect the player's experience, and also a good source of terms for farther study.

Comments

This makes me want to play a video game where the main character is Frances McDormand. Seriously.

they're fantasy games. I think the only people with a problem with it are the ones looking for a problem. This is what sells, and it sells because people want it. Look at romance novels, you have the guy on the horse with the open at the chest bloussy shirt while his long blonde hair flows down his back. There are no guys like that in real life, but it sells books.

I'm a big proponent of give the people what they want. If you're making a form of entertainment, don't tell people what they want, give them what they are asking for. And thats what most games do.

I always wondered what happens for the Gears guys if they feel the need to adjust themselves. I can buy that there's some system so that they don't have to unzip to go to the bathroom, but I'd bet things get sort of cramped and gross in that suit.

Good article Momgamer.

Funny though, I generally play female characters in MMORPGs because they tend to look better than the guy model. You can tell some programmer really put in the work whereas the guy model is generally the same.

Aside from that, it is easy to promote and run along stereotypes to build a game around, mainly because it is comfortable for those playing these games, the largest audience generally being the 13-25 year olds whose worlds are largely shaped like that. (There's a stereotype right there for you!)

As far as your Halo example, I think the programmers were simply following the "Action Movie guidelines" and were, again, offering something that people are familiar with, even if it first appeared in a different media form.

I've done plenty of studies on feminist approaches and even written three terribly long seminar papers concerning the topic, so I'm pretty aware of what is out there as far as arguments and counter-arguments go for the various theories. I think using maybe Donna Haraway, "Woman as Cyborg" as a jumping point to understanding the mix of computer/game technology (and how its represented) and feminist space would actually make a pretty interesting topic.

SexyBeast wrote:
I'm a big proponent of give the people what they want. If you're making a form of entertainment, don't tell people what they want, give them what they are asking for. And thats what most games do.

I agree with that statement, but it's at odds with an industry that wants to expand beyond it's traditional borders. You limit yourself to your core demographic by making every tripe A title fall into the postage stamp/twine and/or steroid/space marine genre. The biggest sellers like, Nintendogs, The Sims, Pokemon, etc... all move beyond the stereotypes. The developers of titles like Gears or DOA all seem to fall within the demographic they're making the game for. Somewhat bookish, nerdy males who are fascinated and frightened by women and long to be bigger and stronger than they actually are. Now they make games that appeal to the dork in us all. They have hyper-idealized women and impervious male characters. It's their perfect world and a lot of us long for something like that.

The only problem, your market won't grow.

Hemidal wrote:

The only problem, your market won't grow.

Do you think that's why girls have inflateable breasts? Trying to capture more market share because normal ones just don't do it anymore?

SexyBeast wrote:
they're fantasy games. I think the only people with a problem with it are the ones looking for a problem. This is what sells, and it sells because people want it. Look at romance novels, you have the guy on the horse with the open at the chest bloussy shirt while his long blonde hair flows down his back. There are no guys like that in real life, but it sells books.

Nobody likes Thor comics, though.

Seriously, though, there's a lot more leeway for different kinds of male characters. You don't need to go to Lode Runner to see it, either. The first one to pop into my mind, after the obvious Gordon Freeman, was Prince Alexander from KQ6. Sure, he was kind of a mincing nancy boy, but I hear that's supposed to be acceptable for males these days.

...Frickin' mechanical nightengale probably played Taking Back Sunday.

I was surprised when Boss from Metal Gear Solid was just a warrior that the military looked up to. I honestly hadn't seen that in a game before, especially a character in her age range. And she was still powerful, the only problem is she was "evil" in the game, not a main character.
Beyond Good and Evil surprised me too. They never exploited the main character and she wasn't some super sexpot. It was just matter of fact - the character was a photographer and needed to get to the bottom of a mystery. The main character could have been a man if they wanted. I thought it was handled well.
These kinds of things I wish I saw more often, when believable characters, even in a fantasy setting, are who you play or see on screen.
Don't get me started on fat characters. You cover a lot of things but boy there's lots more stuff.
One of the easiest ways to get around this problem is to have more iconic characters, and by that I mean more cartoony. If you had a strong female character but all the designs in the game were very cartoon-like, sometimes you can't tell who's supposed to be "strong" or "in charge" by looks, the audience has to rely more on personality, facial expressions, etc. I could explain more, but you get the idea. But that isn't the solution for all games by far, obviously.

Hemidal wrote:
SexyBeast wrote:
I'm a big proponent of give the people what they want. If you're making a form of entertainment, don't tell people what they want, give them what they are asking for. And thats what most games do.

I agree with that statement, but it's at odds with an industry that wants to expand beyond it's traditional borders. You limit yourself to your core demographic by making every tripe A title fall into the postage stamp/twine and/or steroid/space marine genre. The biggest sellers like, Nintendogs, The Sims, Pokemon, etc... all move beyond the stereotypes. The developers of titles like Gears or DOA all seem to fall within the demographic they're making the game for. Somewhat bookish, nerdy males who are fascinated and frightened by women and long to be bigger and stronger than they actually are. Now they make games that appeal to the dork in us all. They have hyper-idealized women and impervious male characters. It's their perfect world and a lot of us long for something like that.

The only problem, your market won't grow.

This is what I was thinking, more eloquently expressed.

I was surprised when Boss from Metal Gear Solid was just a warrior that the military looked up to. I honestly hadn't seen that in a game before, especially a character in her age range. And she was still powerful, the only problem is she was "evil" in the game, not a main character.

I think Boss from MGS 3 is a really fine example of taking a middle-aged woman, having her kick ass (Snake's ass, often) and even the main "villain" respects her. She was very nuanced and a really fine example of what a game can do when there's some development skill behind it. Other game series like The Longest Journey and the adventure genre in general are much more supportive of the wider tapestry of men and women than focused action titles can be.

I'm kind of surprised Alyx from Half-Life 2 didn't come up, she wasn't someone you controlled, but aside from looking great in jeans, she was a very well-realized NPC without most of the issues mentioned in the article. My examples are exceptions proving the rule though, I don't think ALL games have to avoid the fantastical elements that a game like Tomb Raider embraces, but there are certainly plenty of games wishing they were Half-Life 2 that would be really well served by side-stepping the lazy attention grab of big chests and paper-thin, weak personalities.

If you can call up a vague reference to Halo I can't place then that pretty much cements your place as best front page writer ever.

Female ODST's? I don't remember any female ODST's. I can only think of a few ODST's in the whole game, and they're all at the very beginning of Delta Halo, not Regret. Time for an ODST hunt.

Certis wrote:
I'm kind of surprised Alyx from Half-Life 2 didn't come up, she wasn't someone you controlled, but aside from looking great in jeans, she was a very well-realized NPC without most of the issues mentioned in the article. My examples are exceptions proving the rule though, I don't think ALL games have to avoid the fantastical elements that a game like Tomb Raider embraces, but there are certainly plenty of games wishing they were Half-Life 2 that would be really well served by side-stepping the lazy attention grab of big chests and paper-thin, weak personalities.

I brought it up in another recent related thread.

momgamer wrote:
Give me Gears of War with the guys dressed like Chippendale's Dancers, and then let's see how you do. I grant you there's a realism problem there, but it's only fair. Us girls have been coping with similar disconnects for years. They're in battle so they should be wearing armor.

And Buffy shouldn't be wearing heels and dressed for clubbing when on patrol for vampires.

McChuck wrote:
momgamer wrote:
Give me Gears of War with the guys dressed like Chippendale's Dancers, and then let's see how you do. I grant you there's a realism problem there, but it's only fair. Us girls have been coping with similar disconnects for years. They're in battle so they should be wearing armor.

And Buffy shouldn't be wearing heels and dressed for clubbing when on patrol for vampires.

Dude, that was totally her appeal. She was a *girly girl* that we slowly watched break from the common stereotypes into a 'leader of men.' However, no one can ever completely divorce themselves from the reigning ideologies associated with patriarcial society.

Crouton - I would love to see that Frances McDormand game. Do a mystery with lead characters like her and her partner in Fargo. Eh?

SexyBeast - Maybe you're getting what you want out of games. But there are people in this world who aren't like you. And they aren't getting what they want. They have to cope with what you want if they want to play at all. This is causing some problems.

I don't buy games expecting romance novels (for one thing, I loathe romance novels). But even in a romance novel I have many more choices to find whatever it is that turns my crank than I have in games. And if I were to be reduced to reading a romance novel, I don't have to pretend to be the Flabio guy.

Wordsmythe - You know, I honestly don't know. I know how astronauts handle it, but a space suit has a lot more give in it than that armor. Gears would be bad, but Starcraft would be worse. Their hands are waldo'd. And I like Thor comics! Loki rawks. Though he probably listens to Good Charlotte behind his minion's backs.

Blacksheep - Some good points. But I do want to point out that demographic isn't the majority of gamers anymore. And hasn't been for years. Average age of gamers is 33 this year. That stereotype is damaging a lot more than the backs of all the female characters (you know Lara must have an insane chiropractor's bill). It's a whole 'nother article, though, along with those guidelines you're talking about.

Hemidal - Exactly! Now where were you when I was trying to word this?

Certis - Alyx didn't come up because I don't have a PC that's worthy of the name, remember? I have never played Half-Life 2. I watched a friend play it for a while so I know what you're talking about, but I'm not going to use that as an example in an article. I'd get my arse chewed off and rightfully so. If you want to talk more NPC's, Jen (Tommy's girlfriend in Prey) was another one with some interesting features. I tried to focus on playable characters, though. That's the real bind.

eso - Boss is a great character, but she's not a player character. Also, I think Eva, that sicko Colonel and that nutjob Revolver balances that whole thing out a little too firmly. They take 1 step forward and then take two C-cups back. It makes it hard sometimes; I use FFX as a whipping boy for a lot of this because they get some things so right, and then you take 10 steps and get smacked with something really wrong.

And yeah, I didn't get into weight, and I stepped very lightly over race/ethnicity. I didn't touch the effects of this on kids/teens too much, either. Something else I'd really like to drag out onto the carpet later is accessibility in games (games for the blind, deaf, and physically challenged) and their current role in game design. Especially in reference to supporting the rapidly aging gamer demographic.

Danjo - I think we're talking about the same place. She's over on the left side if you start casting around for ammo in those drop capsules. She looks exactly the same as the others because of the helmets; you'll only know her because of her scintillating pickup lines. Also, I think I was playing on uber-wimp difficulty, and that might have had something to do with the population density of redshirts. Plus, I've seen you play. You were probably around that corner before she could have even got started.

McChuck - I agree whole-heartedly. At least some sensible shoes, for crying out loud. They have some really cute flats out there that aren't nearly so much of a bitch to fight in, and you don't break a heel trying to do a spin-kick. She can kick ass and then hit the dancefloor without missing a beat that way. I gave the regular media a quick shout out in this, but it is part of this huge can of worms, too.

BlackSheep wrote:
Hemidal wrote:

The only problem, your market won't grow.

Do you think that's why girls have inflateable breasts? Trying to capture more market share because normal ones just don't do it anymore?

Are we talking real world or games, and are you being sarcastic?

I think some women believe that other people's opinions about themselves mean more than their own. I think that some woman derive a greater sense of self-confidence with surgical enhancements. I think some women do it to attract more attention, but most of all, I don't think any real world woman has had herself enhanced because CliffyB, David Jaffe or Tomonobu Itagaki thought they should.

Hemidal wrote:
BlackSheep wrote:
Hemidal wrote:

The only problem, your market won't grow.

Do you think that's why girls have inflateable breasts? Trying to capture more market share because normal ones just don't do it anymore?

Are we talking real world or games, and are you being sarcastic?

I think some women believe that other people's opinions about themselves mean more than their own. I think that some woman derive a greater sense of self-confidence with surgical enhancements. I think some women do it to attract more attention, but most of all, I don't think any real world woman has had herself enhanced because CliffyB, David Jaffe or Tomonobu Itagaki thought they should.

/sarcasm.

Sorry, I forgot that tidbit.

"Real world?"

I am unfamiliar with that concept anyway. I like games because they're nice, defined constructs that cannot go beyond the surreal.

I've got mixed feelings about this article. The guise is that this is somehow repressive to women, when in fact it is merely repulsive. There are differences. How will our sons feel if we teach them that their sexual desires and turn-ons are evil? They are born with breast attraction, not taught it.

BlackSheep wrote:

/sarcasm.

Sorry, I forgot that tidbit.

"Real world?"

I am unfamiliar with that concept anyway. I like games because they're nice, defined constructs that cannot go beyond the surreal.

I kind of thought it, but written text loses some of that sarcastic flair.

souldaddy wrote:
I've got mixed feelings about this article. The guise is that this is somehow repressive to women, when in fact it is merely repulsive. There are differences. How will our sons feel if we teach them that their sexual desires and turn-ons are evil? They are born with breast attraction, not taught it.

There's nothing wrong with being attracted to breasts. Obsession is a whole other matter. Most adolescent males are obsessed with female naughty bits, and this is a normal phase they go through. I think some of them never get past adolescence, at least in an emotional way, though.

I also think there's quite a bit of arrested development within the game developer industry. Maybe it's why they're creative. They never grew out of that unique imaginary phase that I for one would like to re-visit from time to time.

Combine this with a general lack of knowledge of real women and you get what we're talking about here. They get in a position to express it to others and we have the 78/22/32 dimension that some of these woman seem to sport.

Edit - Typos and word order. Good times.

Souldaddy, please read the two articles linked to in the bottom. The constant barrage of mis-matched personification of all sorts is damaging to kids. This is why we have racially correct Barbie dolls, and Dora the Explorer and a host of other things for kids that have come out in response to a bunch of research over the last 60 years or more.

And think about it. Being exposed to depictions of women who don't look like $50 hookers with balloons in their bras is not going to teach him that boobies are bad.

And what do think your daughters would feel when you demonstrate to them every day they are only as good as their cup size and how good a stupid act they can put on around boys? Girls are born with brains and breasts too. And unless puberty is inordinately kind, they're not going to be seeing it up there on the screen.

This is more than repulsive, to more than just women. Why does anyone who doesn't fit into a very narrow band have to make do with a second rate game experience just because we don't fit that group? It's not like I can go find something else. I like FPS games just as much as the next person. Actually, a damned sight more than the next person if you count the two people across the aisle from me here at work. If I want to play at all, I have to take second string and fight my way through both the game and it's personification problems. There is no game that is focused and tuned to give me the same chance at identifying with that character that you get just by picking up the controller.

Ooga... ba?

momgamer wrote:
Something else I'd really like to drag out onto the carpet later is accessibility in games (games for the blind, deaf, and physically challenged) and their current role in game design. Especially in reference to supporting the rapidly aging gamer demographic.

You know, I've heard a lot of games called "retarded" on the internet. I didni't really look into what they meant by it, though.

Then again, I've seen even more games called "gay." Perhaps we are bridging gender gaps, even if we're missing the sex gaps?

OK, enough fun. Back to work.

Good Article. One of my favorite movie/tv characters is Sigourney Weaver's, Ripley in the Alien movies. I have played some of the Alien games, but I can't remember how the developer's depicted her. Was she the same ruggedly attractive, no nonsense character as in the movie, or did the 'tone' her up for these games(and I'm really(!!) interested in the Aliens one coming from Gearbox!!!) Can anyone remember?:

Aliens: The Computer Game (Activision), a 1986 video game for various platforms by Activision
Aliens (Square computer game), a 1987 platform game for MSX computers by Square Co., Ltd.
Aliens: The Computer Game (Software Studios), a 1987 first-person shooter game for various platforms by Electric Dreams
Aliens (arcade game), a 1990 arcade game by Konami
Aliens (Gearbox Software), a game based on the movie, scheduled for a 2009 release.

momgamer wrote:
Certis - Alyx didn't come up because I don't have a PC that's worthy of the name, remember? I have never played Half-Life 2

You are going to play it this fall, when the Orange Box drops on the 360, right?

My wife still needs to play it as well, and she hasn't move on to PC gaming yet. So the Orange Box, with HL2 and both episodes (and TF2!) will be perfect.

(Hmm. I guess there's no point calling it Orange Box anymore if the Black Box doesn't exist)

Nice article Momgamer!

I pretty much said all i could about it in my thread so i won't go through it again and cause any potential problems

momgamer wrote:

SexyBeast - Maybe you're getting what you want out of games. But there are people in this world who aren't like you. And they aren't getting what they want. They have to cope with what you want if they want to play at all. This is causing some problems.

Doesn't matter. You can't make a game that appeals perfectly to everyone.

Don't be so particular about what a game needs to have for you to enjoy it.

This gets back to the DNF thread in another forum, someone said they wouldn't play the game because it hasn't come out in 8 years. But who cares? If it comes out and is fun, why would the length of time in development matter?

Don't hold something purely cosmetic about a game against it such that you can't enjoy it.

You know what I hate about console games? Save points. I'm a save anywhere guy, but console games aren't made that way, but I'm still gonna play console games cause some of them are fun, and I deal with the save points even though its a pain in the ass. It ain't ever gonna change either. The arguments have all been made, but developers for console games like the save points. So my options are play with save points or not play at all.

Er, i think there's a case for allowing people to complain about and like what they want to. There's no reason that "save anywhere" can't be implemented on current gen consoles (Perhaps the HDD-less Wii aside) so you shouldn't write it off.... and not talking about it won't get the feature implemented.

If people don't complain or discuss it then the devs will happily plod along and go about their business as they have been since 1996 when all videogame stereotypes (mascots and plumbers aside) were made.

I believe that most innovations in the games industry come from developers looking at what consumers are craving and then supplying that before anyone else. I mean look at GTA 3.... if that wasn't an exercise in who was going to do it first then i don't know what is.

Duoae wrote:
Er, i think there's a case for allowing people to complain about and like what they want to. There's no reason that "save anywhere" can't be implemented on current gen consoles (Perhaps the HDD-less Wii aside) so you shouldn't write it off.... and not talking about it won't get the feature implemented.

If people don't complain or discuss it then the devs will happily plod along and go about their business as they have been since 1996 when all videogame stereotypes (mascots and plumbers aside) were made.

I believe that most innovations in the games industry come from developers looking at what consumers are craving and then supplying that before anyone else. I mean look at GTA 3.... if that wasn't an exercise in who was going to do it first then i don't know what is.

So you're saying every gamer in the world thinks GTA 3 is a fun game worth playing?

This gets back to what I said earlier, no game is going to perfectly appeal to everyone. Getting hung up on cosmetic things or irrelevant things and not liking a game that would otherwise be fun, is silly. I'd play Barbie Dream House Adventure if I found it fun. I don't care how pink the box is.

Unless I catch myself I will have huge gaps in levels and skills between my characters based on how they are dressed.

That sentence confused me. Are you not playing the girls because you can't stand to see them depicted in the way they are, or...?

I can't honestly recount the exact storyline of FFVII, but I specifically remember Tifa being my favorite character. Whether it was because Cloud was such a putz, the Beat Rush was so awesome, or something else, I honestly just don't know.

I know she had some Rabu Rabu cutscenes where she pined over Cloud, or something.... but honestly, Cloud made it so hard to take any of those cutscenes seriously, that my roommates and I would usually just do MST3k routines over them anyway.

There is no game that is focused and tuned to give me the same chance at identifying with that character that you get just by picking up the controller.

sorry for the double whammy, here, too... but I would imagine that a girl relating (or not) to Lara Croft is on par with a boy relating (or not) to the Gears of War guys or Kratos the Whatever Slayer.

To say a male will "identify [...] with that character ... just by picking up the controller" is a bit much; unless you're going by "you both have penises", at which point Lara's vagina could just as easily be pointed out.

I tend to think that any character trait we roll our eyes at (bratty kids, ginormous gazongas or yet-another-billy-badass main character) seems to be a lack of creativity or downright laziness from the creators. And that goes for film, tv, books and games. Its like a shortcut to thought. The exceptions we've mentioned in this thread prove that such things aren't required to make a game a success. They're there because that's the best they can do.

I see it a lot in my friends plays and short films. They seem to get by mostly on humor because the characters themselves are pretty shallow.

I wonder how much of this is just because the gaming industry has a shortage of quality writers. Character design tends to start with some kind of description from the designers/etc. With better writers, they should have a better base to work on and maybe we'd have fewer games with dull, predictable stories to boot.

Win-Win.