Game Characters: Which is worse?

Which do you think is worse?

All those male testosterone-filled beefcake characters or the impossibly proportioned female characters?

I just wanted to know what people thought was worse. I tend to find that most games put you in the role of the muscle men and have the women for ogling... but when the roles are reversed (a la Tomb Raider) there aren't men to ogle at (not that i'm complaining)... unless you count Curtis...

Also, when there are more realistic characters, do we appreciate them when most of the time they aren't emotionally fleshed out?

I find the female oogaba-to-the-Xtreme to be worse, cause I don't find them attractive at all. All I see is a horny frustrated/too marketingminded geek sitting behind his desk, giggling in his goatee like a schoolgirl while enhancing breast size with a mousedrag.

"Teehee, breast goes big, breast goes small, breast goes D, breast goes A, ... Teeheehee!"

The women, because it can get so goddamn annoying, and, in my experience, is usually a way to try to sell a mediocre/crappy game.

The women, because it normalizes objectification of women to kids (and adults) who just don't know any better.
Not that other popular media is any better.

I especially hate the female characters in games such as SIN who've got their thongs going crazy. That can't be comfortable for running around, dodging bullets and gunfights.

Prederick wrote:

The women, because it can get so goddamn annoying, and, in my experience, is usually a way to try to sell a mediocre/crappy game.

Looking at your avatar, I can't help but find this hilarious.

Personally, I find them both retarded in equal amounts. They're equally bad at objectifying men AND women to the masses.

I don't think the big beefcake characters are all that common. Since male characters seem to be "tough" while females seem to be "sexy," the males are often wearing some kind of clothing or armor or something that covers up their physique. Sure we've got Serious Sam and his twin brother Duke Nuke'em, but Master Chief? The marine in Doom?

And I'll admit, the jubblies don't bother me. I know, I'm a sexist pig, whatever.

LobsterMobster wrote:

I don't think the big beefcake characters are all that common. Since male characters seem to be "tough" while females seem to be "sexy," the males are often wearing some kind of clothing or armor or something that covers up their physique. Sure we've got Serious Sam and his twin brother Duke Nuke'em, but Master Chief? The marine in Doom?

And I'll admit, the jubblies don't bother me. I know, I'm a sexist pig, whatever.

Have you seen the neck on the Doom marine? You can tell he's been pumping steroids for years I'd also argue that the Halo guy is a typical mythically idealistic male figure - he's tall (taller than normal men) is very strong, technically adept and warrior-like. He's no different from an idealised version of a Greek or Roman warrior clad in armour...

Maybe including the word beefcake was a bit of a mistake.

Off the top of my head manly males are as follows:

FarCry
Serious Sam
Doom
Quake/Unreal
Fighting games
Halo
Sin (You should see the muslces on that guy!)

Other types of games (especially FPS and action) tend to revolve around idealised, but less extreme versions of the male body and almost all are prominent warriors, able to defeat their foes and protect others. The only two exceptions i'm aware of are Gordon Freeman (Half Life) and the guy from Pariah - both are cases in point where neither the female or male characters are exaggerated but both show an emergent manliness and warrior archetype from their "nerdy" facades.... like the mythical librarian woman who is brought into the light by some ballroom dancer and suddenly her beauty is there for all to see.

Off the top of my head women who are extreme in their presentation:

Fighters (sorry, but i can't think of many fighters that don't have scantily clad/oversized women)
Team Ninja games
Duke Nukem
Sin
Tomb Raider

Most other women in games are almost always pretty (or the extreme opposite) and it is surprising that they are almost universally protrayed as being strong when in comparison with typical film and literature (think of all those screaming useless female characters in films ). Tombraider is now borderline extreme to exaggerated "normal" ideal but she was always portrayed as strong. Farah from Prince of persia, Jade from Beyond Good and evil, even all those team ninja games portray the women being as strong in character and nature as the men.

I find it strange that we rail against the female ideals that men have but not the male ones. I, personally, find extreme body muscle totally repugnant and can associate more with guys like the Prince from Persia - i presume that most women are the same (in the female comparison). Surely having the female image idealised will not make men objectify them if they are strong characters any more than having muscley men simplified into their purely physical state?
Do you look at Arnold Schwarzenegger and think that he is less of a governer because of his pretty mindless action films?
I can agree with the type of game leading to objectification (eg. xtreme volleyball) but not just the body type.

I suppose it begs the question: If the idealised versions of men in games are made by men - along with the idealised female version, what would a woman's idealised frame be of both male and female?

Both are equally distasteful for different reasons.

If you're concerned about male objectification in games, I should think you'd be more concerned with Link or Leon Kennedy than Serious Sam. With lean bodies, fantastic hair and impossibly cute butts, Link and Leon are closer to what many of us consider "beautiful", more so than some hulking man-mass with a gun.

Either way, I think that hyper-realistic beauty in video games is only a problem when it becomes the focus of the game or a cover-up for flawed game mechanics and a goofy plot. I don't mind playing a overly-pretty man or woman. I used to - in fact, I once had the same negative instinctual reaction to "hot" female characters that I see echoed in this thread, but I've since come around.

Now I won't necessarily seek it out, but if it's there in an otherwise excellent game, I don't mind. Pretty people can kick ass, too, and sexuality is not necessarily an indicator of sexism. I wonder where we as a culture got the idea that beauty is inherently a detriment to competence, but as far as concepts go, that one has become rather pervasive, hasn't it?

I suppose I might come off as as simpleton for saying this, but I really don't give a crap. I play games to be entertained, plain and simple, and I don't feel insulted if the designers choose to increase the base appeal of their game by using a character whose appearance subscribes a bit too fiercely to a warrior male archetype or is a bit more overtly sexual than is called for by the setting of the game. I certainly appreciate it when a game is more subtle and creative in its visual design, but it's not going to turn me off if they took the "easy" route here and there.

What offends me are poorly designed games, and like Katerin said, when bad games try to conceal their nature with carnal appeal.

KaterinLHC wrote:

I wonder where we as a culture got the idea that beauty is inherently a detriment to competence, but as far as concepts go, that one has become rather pervasive, hasn't it?

If one is unattractive, one must convince others of one's worth via other methods (not that this is suggesting that beauty equals worth, blah, blah, blah); hence, I would suggest that unattractive people are more often seen as competent purely because they push that aspect of themselves forward more. There is also the possibility that unattractive people become more competent as a way to compensate for lack of beauty. From those two thoughts, there come two possible sources for the cultural perception: either a) unattractive people seem more competent because they make an effort to appear so, or b) unattractive people actually are more competent, thereby making attractive people less competent in comparison. The thought that pretty people are incompetent is just a stereotypic exaggeration.

Of course it could be mass media marketed images of people like Paris Hilton that give the impression that pretty people are morons. It interesting to note that, although beauty seems incompatible with competence, ugly people aren't necessarily thought of as competent.

The only time I care about over-exaggerated characters is when playing that game makes me feel/look like a repressed 13-year-old geek. If someone sees me playing a game and gives me the "oh my god, you're a loser" look, I feel ashamed to be playing it.

God bless Lobster's honesty. And Pred, I must confess that I also found your comment ironic, given your ongoing oogab-off against Cartoonin.

Sure it would be ideal to see more 'realistic' characters in both body and soul. That being said, sometimes musclebound is better than the alternative.

KaterinLHC wrote:

If you're concerned about male objectification in games,

No, i'm not concerned at all. I was just thinking about it because of a post on kotaku i read - this Ninja Gaiden Sigma with Rachel...

I have no qualms with overly sexualised women or testosterone-filled men... i was just wondering how other people felt about them

I agree with your point about sexiness not equalling sexism.

I wonder where we as a culture got the idea that beauty is inherently a detriment to competence, but as far as concepts go, that one has become rather pervasive, hasn't it?

I'm not so sure that it's a detriment to competence but just like overly politically correct statements and actions there is a knee-jerk reaction to idealised frames in games - not that is completely without merit.

It only matters to me when it becomes so over-the-top as to distract from the game itself. I can't recall any game I've played where this was a problem.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

God bless Lobster's honesty.

Thanks, Fed. I was starting to feel awful lonely.

what kills me is whenever a male WoW player gets questioned about creating a female character, the answer is either "If I'm gonna look at a character all day, might as well be a sexy-looking female" or "Female characters get free stuff"

I'd be ashamed to ever use either of these reasons.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Fedaykin98 wrote:

God bless Lobster's honesty.

Thanks, Fed. I was starting to feel awful lonely.

Also, Kat makes the wonderful point that sexuality does not equal sexism. I mean, the alternative to your position (which I share) is what, not finding women attractive? Or possibly not finding that body type attractive, I suppose.

My favorite lead-character is Gordon Freeman. Scientists kick ass!

I tend to find over-enhanced female models in games to be extremely irritating. It's a distraction that takes advantage of the hard-wired visual nature of men. I agree with above, that it tends to show that the game it contains is probably of poor quality.

Throwing my hat in with Lobster and Fed, I'll add to the previous well-thought-out commentary with, "What can I say? I love tits."

/Brodie Bruce

I really don't care either. It's a game. I have to stare at reality all day. When I want to escape it, why would I want too see the same thing?

I do actually find the WoW loading screens to be pretty lame, from a gratuitous use of T&A standpoint. I think it's a little bit sad. That kind of thing has never enhanced nor diminished my enjoyment of a game, though.

I can't name any game that I think is in the running for best of all time that uses any of that. Mario is clearly not an idealized image, nor is Peach. Link's physique is not intimidating to look at. Samus - not really disproportionate, even in the death scenes.

Chumpy_McChump wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

I wonder where we as a culture got the idea that beauty is inherently a detriment to competence, but as far as concepts go, that one has become rather pervasive, hasn't it?

If one is unattractive, one must convince others of one's worth via other methods (not that this is suggesting that beauty equals worth, blah, blah, blah); hence, I would suggest that unattractive people are more often seen as competent purely because they push that aspect of themselves forward more. There is also the possibility that unattractive people become more competent as a way to compensate for lack of beauty. From those two thoughts, there come two possible sources for the cultural perception: either a) unattractive people seem more competent because they make an effort to appear so, or b) unattractive people actually are more competent, thereby making attractive people less competent in comparison. The thought that pretty people are incompetent is just a stereotypic exaggeration.

Of course it could be mass media marketed images of people like Paris Hilton that give the impression that pretty people are morons. It interesting to note that, although beauty seems incompatible with competence, ugly people aren't necessarily thought of as competent.

I completely agree. We tend to give attractive people a free pass in a lot of ways, and it starts happening early in life. This is the counter-balancing effect. It gets applied broadly even if it shouldn't in some specific cases.

bigjust wrote:

what kills me is whenever a male WoW player gets questioned about creating a female character, the answer is either "If I'm gonna look at a character all day, might as well be a sexy-looking female" or "Female characters get free stuff"

I'd be ashamed to ever use either of these reasons.

So what would be an acceptable reason? I tend to play with female characters because I prefer their appearance and am a bit bored with male protagonists in games without character selection. I don't feel that my Undead Female Warlock was all that sexy, I just thought she was cool lookin.

KaterinLHC wrote:

I wonder where we as a culture got the idea that beauty is inherently a detriment to competence, but as far as concepts go, that one has become rather pervasive, hasn't it?

I'm not trying to start a fight here, but I believe feminism was the first movement to object to this. If I have my facts straight, Playboy magazine considered themselves firmly part of the feminist movement until they were pushed out of it. I've never seen anything in male thought that suggests strength and wealth has gone out of style.

souldaddy wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

I wonder where we as a culture got the idea that beauty is inherently a detriment to competence, but as far as concepts go, that one has become rather pervasive, hasn't it?

I'm not trying to start a fight here, but I believe feminism was the first movement to object to this. If I have my facts straight, Playboy magazine considered themselves firmly part of the feminist movement until they were pushed out of it. I've never seen anything in male thought that suggests strength and wealth has gone out of style.

I don't know; I think the idea was around long before Naomi Wolf got to it. If nothing else, it seems to be a holdover from the Victorian Age, and quite possibly beyond, in that the ideal woman was considered beautiful and also emotionally or intellectually fragile. Jane Eyre, for instance, relies on the assumption that beauty and competence (and intelligence) are mutually exclusive.

That said, the second-wave feminist movement had a real chance to eradicate this antiquated notion, but in my mind, they blew it. And many feminists continue to blow it by shunning things like the fashion industry, entertainment media and even pornography. Instead, overt sexuality is demonized, and you get this puritanical message that a truly strong and respectable woman does not give in to such exploitative vices as lipstick and soft-core Skinamax, etc. I believe getting rid of this idea is one of the challenges remaining to today's feminist.

This may seem strange coming from a high-order breast aficionado, but in a video game they are unnecessary. Female leads like those in HL2 and Beyond Good and Evil are far more compelling, and because they're compelling, they don't need the chrome of giant breasts.

Also, here's a recent article on Soul Calibur 4 busting out.

I hate to break it to you Crouton, but Alyx has quite large breasts under than jerkin. Jade... not so much...

That said, the second-wave feminist movement had a real chance to eradicate this antiquated notion, but in my mind, they blew it. And many feminists continue to blow it by shunning things like the fashion industry, entertainment media and even pornography. Instead, overt sexuality is demonized, and you get this puritanical message that a truly strong and respectable woman does not give in to such exploitative vices as lipstick and soft-core Skinamax, etc. I believe getting rid of this idea is one of the challenges remaining to today's feminist.

I'm not sure how much of a problem it is where you are. Of the few overt feminists i know (most being the women in my family and my ex) none are like the above description. All of them are fashionable but i suppose none of them are extreme feminists either - or at least what i consider to be extreme feminists.

i.e. Man-hating women who sneer at a man's attempt to be chivalrous or just overly nice.

So what would be an acceptable reason? I tend to play with female characters because I prefer their appearance and am a bit bored with male protagonists in games without character selection. I don't feel that my Undead Female Warlock was all that sexy, I just thought she was cool lookin.

That's a perfectly acceptable reason, and quite valid in my eyes. In fact, the two i stated were the unacceptable ones that kinda get under my skin. I'm not saying that a male picking a female is unacceptable. Your reason for picking a female character wasn't close to what i was talking about anyway. Its just that whenever you see a tv or youtube (i know i know) interview of a WoW player, those two lame reasons come up.