Anthology of my thoughts and experiences.

Mostly gaming and other hobbies, interspersed with a little bit of the serious stuff.

How games can appeal to more women without much effort. Part 1. (Character design.)

Balance the role and look of female characters. A female character doesn’t even have to lose her sex appeal to be more realistic, she just needs something to balance it and make her more than a one dimensional sex object.
This is step 1.
Also it’s worth pointing out these female characters don’t have to be nearly naked to be attractive, and by contrast they don’t have to be fully clothed to be ugly. A woman in a ball gown or a camisole and skinny jeans can be just as sexy as the woman wearing two tassels and a napkin. >.<
Because sexy is a way a person acts, the way they move, and talk. Just apply this to a character, it’s not that difficult or a tall ask. A confident woman who is cool with herself is one of the sexiest things of all.
Women as players don’t need a double whammy of “hello sailor” from a stick figure in a bikini, because the two together being the norm in gaming is pretty insulting.
If you are a guy in reality even if you have a woman giving you the come-on she’s usually dressed better than that, and you can normally gather from what she’s wearing that she has a personality beyond embracing her sexuality. Being naked is natural, it’s only sexual if you are doing something sexual. You could be doing sexual stuff fully clothed. But by making these almost naked AND sexual women the norm are we really surprised when we see slut shaming? “oh she was wearing x/ not wearing x, that give me full licence to stick my d*** in there.” No no NO.

Small wonder women are pissed about this. Because the double whammy doesn’t help diminish the “asking for it” BS. She’s wearing bikini? She must want IT right? Er, no, how about because it’s summer and it’s skin melting hot outside? Oh she was going to a dance club? On her way back from a dance club? Well it’s hot as hell in those too, believe it or not it’s not practical to be dressed like a nun at those things. It doesn’t mean she’s out for sex, the world revolves around more factors than a man’s d***. Think about it. Realistically the only women that could guaranteed be asking for it and deliberately dressing for the purpose are prostitutes, how many women do you think are actual prostitutes? Not many.
Now why should it be in almost every game the majority of female characters you see are marginalised into that role or a role essentially close to it? Most women are not prostitutes, nor out to be simply eye candy for men. They have their own sh*t going on, stuff that needs to be done. If a game specifically is set in a world of crime and poverty we would expect to see some prostitutes, but even then why aren’t they portrayed more realistically, why must they be one dimensional, when we could glimpse at the reasons they serve the role they do? Reducing a character down to simply what it wears is weak development.


Double click for logic.

The same goes for playable female characters, even if the developers just gave them a few alternate outfits (designs not just colour changes) a female player could pick the outfit she’d feel most comfortable wearing as though she were the character. Default outfit is a boob tube and hot pants… meh, I’ll go for the 3/4 trouser wearing girl in the t-shirt thanks. And that is how the best characters are… they can be emphasised with and liked by the people who play/see them.

Of course games are meant to be a fantasy and an escape from the real world, but it shouldn’t have to be so over the top unrealistic to still achieve that goal. Look… I’m bisexual, I can appreciate a pretty pair as much as a guy, but really it should be the smallest minority of female characters that are like this, not the majority.
We don’t need to be anti-sexual, we just need to tone it down so less women wanna put down the controller and facepalm supreme.

Imagefgfg1(Expect part 2 sometime in the new year.)


4 comments on “How games can appeal to more women without much effort. Part 1. (Character design.)

  1. Prof.mcstevie
    December 16, 2014

    To be honest if new Lara had to climb and flip and fight as many dinosaurs as old Lara does, she would probably wear similar clothing just for the freedom of movement.

    • mathie
      December 16, 2014

      Well Lara is just one example, but then even so it surely would depend on the material the outfit was made of.
      Personally I think I rather the trousers, they don’t need to be made of denim. A light cotton would be just as good and cooling for running around a jungle, and help stop my shins getting scratched up too. Those ferns are vicious! 😀

      Another example was I found a free to play through Steam, and for a laugh I thought I’d try Dragon Nest, but the starter outfits did not endear me to it from the start so I found it difficult to get into. If there was an option to pay for ingame mods and the likes they didn’t keep me long enough to find it, let alone give them any real world money.

      • Prof.mcstevie
        December 16, 2014

        A lot of games garner flak for the clothes the women wear, however I do feel there are times that it seems sensible or normal. I recall some hatred towards Samus Arans “lighter” clothing in some endings, but then she HAS finished destroying the planet of galaxy threatening creatures, she can relax a bit.

      • mathie
        December 16, 2014

        I believe the point is time and place. As I mentioned the clothing is not so much an issue when there is something else to balance it out and make the character well rounded. And there are valid reasons why female characters need not be dressed like nuns (head nod to slut shaming issue). Mostly if you noticed this post was dedicated more so to NPC’s than the protagonist. Because NPCs are usually much flatter in the personality dept’ it’s so easy for them not just to be over sexualised, but only sexualised as a trait. The protagonist, because they are on a mission of importance have more base and is actually and even easier fix; just give a wardrobe option.

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