Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ramblings of a Casual Gamer: Girls and Games

A game critic, who happens to be a woman, tweeted about the fact that the new Xbox games shown at the E3 show had no female protagonists. The response was sadly negative with uses of a word I refuse to repeat. (Let’s just say some mommas with bars of soap are in high demand.)

One slightly less offensive comment was that there aren’t any female gamers.

I am here to announce that I am a girl. I am a gamer. I am not the only one.
If girls aren’t buying games, then why am I on my second Xbox and second Playstation 3? If girls aren’t buying games, what are all those games on my shelf?
I play mostly RPGs, and while I’m more about the story than my particular character, I do like it when I come across a kickass girl character. And I like creating them, too. Many RPGs such as Dragon Age and Skyrim allow you to choose your gender. And that’s awesome.

Some marketers say guys don’t want to play a girl character. I know more than one guy who, given a choice, created a female character in WoW, Fable 2 & 3, the Fallout series, and Skyrim. So, if guys are choosing a girl character, then why can’t we have a game star a woman MC?
Some games, like the Final Fantasy XIII series, do have a central female protagonist. (Lightning in XIII and part 3: Lightning Returns, Serah in part 2.) These are strong characters who fight for good and those they love and happen to be women. Guys play these games, love these games, and will argue every point of the gameplay, but I’ve never heard someone say it’d been better if Lightning or Serah had been a boy.

So if guys like creating girl characters and playing girl MCs, and girls want to see more girl characters, why is there a problem?
One problem I recognized in the comments on that particular Twitter feed was this: some guys apparently think girls all want to play video homemaker.

Which is interesting because I and other girl gamers I know like to smash zombies, pick off monsters, and take out the bad guy.  So why can’t we have more zombie-smashing, monster-eliminating, bad-guy thrashing girl MCs?

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