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nymph
21:51
Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I can remember I did not say there were no games with good female representation, or [good] female protagonists.

However, I think if you are being honest with yourself, you do realise that the vast majority of player characters is male, and most games at least have a male target audience in mind [which does not translate into an actually male audience, though].

Even with genres that are more readily connected to female gamers, like adventures or RPGs, most main characters are still male, though of course not all of them.

As for the games you mentioned, as far as my knowledge goes the Tomb Raider is at least debatable [I myself have not yet played it, so I cannot say a lot about its content]. Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale are all pretty old, unless new installments I'm not aware of were released.

Also, could you give me some of the "lots, lots more" because I seem to be missing them, as the games you mentioned are the ones one mostly gets when askign about female characters?

Why exactly do you think a cleavage of average [?] size breasts is - by default - not sexualisation? Disclaimer: I have not played Dreamfall and I this is not suppoed to be a comment on whether that game's protagonist is sexualised or not.]

If you feel that a character is only not white male because of "trying to be PC"*, the reason does not have to be that it is bad to diversify a cast. Have you considered that maybe we are just so used to have very homogenous character types or be represented almost all of the time [in terms of skin colour/ethnicity] that it makes us feel weird as soon as this is changed?

Another problem might be that if the creators of a certain work are not really interested in the reasons why they should diversify their cast, or do not pay attention to these characters, the characters themselves tend to end up as clichés rather than actual representations of the group[s] they belong to. Or, they are simply not [as] fleshed out, invariably becoming less interesting characters.

However, that is not the fault of the character's skin colour, gender or sexual orientation per se. It's because creators are lazy or otherwise not interested or too ignorant to make the same efforts with the characters they themselves identify less [of course, this is not necessarily the case; but I suppose it can be a reason for your feeling towards 'token minorities' - which, yes, are bad, but not because they represent minorities and marginalised groups, but because the representation is oftentimes badly carried out and thus does more harm than good].

And why is it "bad" if a character is gay, non-white or female for no reason? Does there have to be a reason? [Perhaps unrelated, but it reminds me of this.]

I think your idea of how games are created is a little bit mistaken. Developers usually do not have all the freedom to write their games exactly the way they want to, except in some rare cases [say, Valve or Blizzard games]. More often than not, publishers tend to meddle and have quite an influence on what changes are made to a game. This may include insisting on a male lead "because female leads will put off male gamers", i.e. the target audience [personally, I do not think this is true, but that's another topic].

It also disregards the fact that the idea in a developer's head is not set in stone. There are multiple stages where lots and lots of changes are applied. I'm pretty sure you know this very well. A lot of critique by peers is incorporated in how the game will end up looking, and usually this is not a bad idea at all. So why would representation, or reduction of stereotypes/stereotyped characters be excluded from that?

A creator is not a perfect person who will get everything right on the first try, and they don't have to. However, in order to be able to improve their work, it is necessary to let them know what and why you think is flawed.

Also, if the gender etc. of a character would [or should] not matter - then why is it apparently such a problem to not make them white, male, etc.?

Now, another point is "this has a bad representation of X, but it's good, so a bad representation of X is not a problem." Which I think is false for several reasons:

A story, game or anything can be good, even if some aspects of it are not. You can have a great game with a horrible story, for example. You can even have a good book with horrendous writing, if the story or characters are compelling enough to make you read on.

The fact that some part of something is problematic does not render the whole work awful. It can still be top notch in every other aspect and you can still like it, even while recognising its shortcomings.

Nevertheless, neither of this means that the discussed part is completely fine the way it is.

For example, ICO features completely stereotypical gender roles. It's still one of my favourite games, because it excels in other aspects. Does this change the fact that the representations are stereotypical? No.

Now, would the game have be less fun had the character's genders been switched? Your opinion might vary, but I don't think so.

It's pretty similar to saying "I experienced Y and I'm fine, so Y cannot be that bad" [which is equally false, but I hope it does not have to be discussed].

On a side note to this, sometimes I feel the reason why lots of gamers seem to be scared when they hear/read "female audience" is that they, like you, immediately think of title such as The Sims or - even worse - Farmville ore Barbie. But I don't think that is what people who write about [female] representation or who complain about developers actively ignoring female gamers [as in: denying they exist, or would make a target audience] are aiming at.

But were games like Portal, Beyond Good & Evil and Mirror's Edge really so bad that more titles like them have to be inhibited?

It's nice that you are comfortable playing characters the way the majority of them is currently designed, and it is great that you get the chance to do so. But have you ever thought that there might be people who want to play different characters? No one says characters who are thin, large-breasted or whatever should be abandoned completely, but isn't it a shame that anyone who wants to play as a different-looking characters does not get the chance to do so?

At least as long as they want to play a female character, since there's plenty of bodily diversity among male characters. Or at least more. Same goes for skin colour.

I find it sometimes hilarious, sometimes ridiculous when people whose preference are already represented in most cases start to complain when other people voice that they'd like their preferences to be included more often. Hell, most people who want to play male characters, white characters, or see sexualised female characters will probably not get a problem finding games that cater to their preferences anytime soon. Why is it so horrifying to have games that diverge from that 'standard'? What makes you think every chubby girl agrees with you on the matter?

For example, I am white. I cannot even imagine not being represented in any sort of media. But for a person of colour? They are not represented so much. Who am I to throw a tantrum because they want to be treated equally?

Finally, why is it pretentious to have female characters in Battlefield? As I am not familiar with the series, this is a completely serious inquiry. Is it because of the setting [historical, whatever]?

* I hate the term "politically correct". Imho it's intentionally misleading about the reasons for not making white cis male the default for everything and not insulting/marginalising people who do not belong to that group, but that's a different topic altogether.

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