Saturday, November 13, 2010


Some people have argued that there is no point to having a female character in FPS games because they aren't about story anyway, they're about shooting people and you'll never see them anyway.  But that's completely untrue-- you see portions of them.  You have to play through their perspective, you have to see their hairy, muscular arms holding up the weapons, you have to listen to their pained grunts as they're shot or as they're running about.  So character IS important.  And this line of thought has led me to expound upon my previous post... what I'd like to see.

I'd like to play a badass female character in a shooter for once. It hasn't really happened very much, and usually she is done for sex appeal which oftentimes makes the game less enjoyable for serious players of BOTH genders. That doesn't mean that's how it has to be, nor does it mean that women can't be done properly in the setting. So why should I want to settle for less, again, while you don't have to?

Say, why not have a female soldier in a modern army? Is that realistic? Of course it is, it's not like it's not already happening, it's not like [url=]twenty minutes into the future[/url] it won't be even more common. And there's already at least one game that does it. Now if only Combat Arms wasn't inherently flawed for being styled off of Korean MMOs. But major releases never even bother to try, hell, most of hte time they don't even have female models in them period, not even as NPCs in single player. Because they are being lazy and they aren't marketing to us, mostly, and that is exactly what's pissing me off.

Or even a non-soldier. It's not like all modern games have to be about the army. Crimecraft comes to mind, but then again it sucks so it's hardly a good example, and besides, it also sexualizes its female PCs anyway. So a more appropriate one would be Left 4 Dead. Zoey was actually the most popular character in Left 4 dead (poll by Valve)-- there's pretty much noone like her. Yet nobody is taking advantage of this sort of popularity and adding these kinds of characters to their games, making me wonder about the (lack of) capability of the gaming industry's marketing departments.

Or hell, a badass female lead in a futuristic setting for an FPS game. These are a bit more common, from Samus Aran on the Wii, to Global Agenda on the PC, and a few more. Yet even here, where the rigors of fiction take place and lower the barrier for believability (yes, I've seen and heard some male gamers openly despise Zoey and Rochelle for this reason, as their sexist beliefs are so ingrained in their heads that they can't comprehend a woman actually doing anything heroic), it's incredibly rare to see a woman for any purpose other than sex appeal.

Hell, older games such as Quake or Unreal Tournament or Doom managed to do it, yet newer games seem incapable of it, the devs usually citing that it's too much work. Unreal Tournament 3, for example had believable female characters who were armored up like everyone else, and it's a pity the game itself was kinda flawed and unpopular. Halo Reach has them (and it basically only really means new voice acting there, which I'm perfectly fine with), but as before, I'm not going to be able to play THAT for a long time no matter how much I want it. Maybe I should try and sell my PS3 so I can buy a 360 because it's not like my PS3 has many games I actually want to play these days.  Where are the Zoeys and Rochelles and Alyxes of the genre?  Sadly, they're mostly just missing, as developers don't bother to market to women.  The perceived barrier between what women like and what men like is diminishing every year, so I hope that, eventually, it'll go away entirely, or at least as much as this sex-driven society can allow it.

Will I still play FPS games despite their rather lackluster attempts to appeal to me as a female gamer? Of course I will, I like the genre for it gameplay, and even their storylines.  I enjoyed Quake 4's story, and certainly Half Life 2 was one of the best ones ever made.

I just haven't been enjoying the genre as much as I would like, because there's almost never a character that represents me.


  1. Geeze, I need to remember to not use BBcode in blogger. Ah well.

  2. Again, good points, and I think it sucks that it seems the marketing departments of these publishing companies have their heads up their arses.

  3. Portal is indeed a good example.

    But it's not a full FPS game. It's a nice little side dish to Half Life 2.

  4. Just curious: do you know females in the military? In my experience as an indirect fire infantry (aka mortar guy), women were regulated to roles that were not meant for direct action (but many saw it anyway, look at truck drivers for pete's sake). Now I'm not saying that they should or shouldn't, but that is probably a great deal of the reasoning behind the ladies getting shafted in FPS games. RPGs seem to be where the females get their share of the limelight.

    Furthermore: don't sell your PS3. Xbox has good games, but they make you pay for it. I can barely afford to keep my xbox live account current, as it just went up in price.

  5. Yes, I do. And that is something that is changing as time goes on I should note. Changing for the better... While I'm sure some of the more radical feminists would disagree with me here, but I hope that someday the selective service program will be universal instead of just to men. equal rights means equal responsibilities must come with it.

    Just as the don't ask don't tell rule is being repealed, so too will female soldiers see more combat. The reality of war does not care about the gender of combatants, it only cares what they can do. And in modern war settings, a woman can aim and shoot a gun just as well as a man. We can obey orders and think on our feet as well as follow a battle plan.

    With the proper physical training (western cultures tend to want women to be physically unfit-- slender, not muscular, and many women are afraid of working out because they think they'll bulk up) regimens, women can dramatically reduce or, in some cases, eliminate the physical gap as well.

    A shocking position to some people I've talked to.

  6. Don't see any changes in the future myself. I was told Even Samus got her character turned to crap in Other M.

    Interesting blog that you've got going, btw, now that I've stumbled into it and posted a comment a year after the post it relates too. <.<