"If we so much as let one female rise through the ranks of the industry we could start a revolution that would make all our games cuddly and Sims-like." Aaron McKenna writes last month in his "Saturday Gamer" column.
Aaron, I am one of many females who has risen through the ranks of the industry. I promise you when we meet in cyberspace there will not only be a revolution but I will give you a fair fight, and we'll see who comes out the winner. I promise no cuddling and no coddling. And I have never, ever played the Sims.
It is time to explode some of the myths of women gamers, some perpetuated by certain THG's male columnists and game writers.
There are plenty of women gamers who are just as dedicated to the same games as guys. And some of us are even as well endowed with flat stomachs, too, just like some of the avatars that we use to represent us in our games. A figure like that takes lots of blood, sweat and tears to maintain.
Some of us frag harder with words than with weapons. That's where I come in, and why this article was conceived.
I grew up in an era where women strived for the freedom to be sexual. Women fought for the right to work in the sex industry and obtain biological freedoms such as birth control and safe abortions. I would hate to see all the accomplishments of women's liberation lost to future generations of women due to the current puritanical fads and censorship.
Putting On A Sexy Avatar
I enjoy putting on a pretty, sexy avatar and playing games - but only when it makes sense for the character to be dressed that way. Everything has its place. I like female game characters that have substance and are not about gratuitous T&A. Many women online have mentioned how games like Red Ninja are flawed because it just isn't appropriate for a warrior woman to have no pants, and her top hanging off. It just isn't practical.
If it is intended to be a sexy game where it is about an adult theme such as Leisure Suit Larry, Playboy or DOA Beach Volleyball - then that's another story. The sex doesn't need to be smeared all over every game. Actually, I'd like to see more of the Japanese 'date' games and sex games get translated and sold over here. I wouldn't mind playing an 'R' rated or 'X' rated game if I am in that mood. When I am in a fighting mood you can be damn sure I want armor - and pants.
I like female game characters with stats that are as strong as male characters. A female character of the same size and weight as a male character should have the same stats. I think Guild Wars has accomplished this. NCSoft in general has come a long way since Lineage. Now female gaming characters are far more customizable to reflect individual preferences. That may be the only way to make the gender conundrum fair.
Recently I was reviewing Lineage 2. It seems to have been designed for people who would enjoying watching a wiggling blue butt prancing along for hours on end. It is one of those games that makes up for lousy, insipid game play and watery drivel content with lots of dark sex and black magic. My character was wearing a few belts. She also had high heeled boots on. She totters around attempting to kill things in an outfit that looks like it could have been hanging from the ceiling in a BDSM shop in Provincetown. The dark elves also run around bent over...
I like the sexy dark and gothic look of my character. No mistake, this is an adult-fun game. The dark characters run in a bent over submissive posture that leaves nothing to the imagination. But no matter how much yoga I do, or Tae-Bo I work out with, I still would never feel comfortable in a kinky outfit like that. I have worn chain maille though - but that is another story. It follows that in a game it seems ridiculous to be dressed that way to kill weir wolves and chase after orcs.
When I play Lineage 2 I instruct my game avatar to walk everywhere. Then she adopts a more dignified pose. There is a lot of walking to be done in that game. It will take a long time to get around. My character teetered and jiggled along in an exasperatingly slow fashion. It's an eye candy game, nothing more.
That particular game seems to inspire in-game crimes. In Japan a man was arrested on suspicion of committing virtual muggings. Supposedly he used "bots" to beat up and rob characters in Lineage 2 . Then he sold the stolen game items for real money. The slow moving female characters are easy targets for all types of abuse. Not only theft of weapons and magic items, but also verbal abuse. And there is a new cyber crime that I can only think to call "game rape," when a character deliberately enters another character's space. This gives a visual depiction of mimicking a sexual act. In some games two characters can actually occupy the same spot, and even walk through each other. This gives creeps a chance to follow female characters around and sexually harass them.