The future of women in video games

Think of a game with a female protagonist. Done? Who did you think of? Chances are it was either the Metroid series (Samus) or Tomb Raider (Lara Croft).

There simply aren’t many female protagonists in video games. After reading this article in Game Informer magazine, I started to understand why a little bit better.

Female gamers have been a growing population since the dawning of video games, but they are still the minority of the whole of gamers. According to the Game Informer article, female gamers make up about 30% of all gamers today. While it’s good to see this number has grown and still is growing, I would really like to see male and female gamers be an equal 50-50. I’d even be happy to see the percentage of female gamers shoot up to 40% or 45%.Β  Let’s make it happen, ladies.

The Game Informer article mentioned that females make up the majority of PC gamers. Interesting, eh?

Another reason that women often do not make it into a game as a protagonist is because it’s tough for the developers to decide how to draw them. Of course there is that awful existing standard that all women need to be ridiculously hot and have unrealistic proportions on their bodies. Female protagonists should also be perceived as strong, and developers can’t seem to decide how to draw a strong female who is also really attractive and not too “butch” like. Game developers need to figure out how to create an average looking female protagonist who is still perceived as strong or intelligent; whatever the desirable trait may be for that particular protagonist.

Female characters are becoming more common in video games these days. Women aren’t only perceived as helpless princesses that need to be saved anymore. While this may not seem like much (and it isn’t, really), it is still progress, and it can only move forward now. Let’s all hope that as the percentage of female gamers continues to rise, so will the amount of female protagonists in video games. Also, let’s hope for a future where women are depicted in video games not only for their cleavage and as an object of desire for a male protagonist, but for anything and everything that any video game character has to offer, and that more and more of them will be doing what male characters have been for years: kicking ass.

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2 Comments »

  1. Jen Said:

    When you first mentioned female protagonists, my brain immediately went: “HEATHER! πŸ˜€ SHEVA! πŸ˜€ FION–…mmm… Sheva…” I’m pretty sure I forgot to read the rest of your post because my mind was… otherwise occupied.

    But in all seriousness, I definitely agree that it’s important for women in all forms of media to be portrayed as more than just sex symbols and love interests and convenient plot devices. But at the same time, having sexy females in video games is really no different than having sexy females in movies. I don’t think average-looking women are going to be ending up in our games any more than average-looking women will be seen on the big screen. What is much more important to consider is solid characterization and depth, which many female characters are undoubtedly lacking; a “strong female character” is more than just a girl who can wield a weapon, and many forms of media still seem to be struggling to come to terms with that concept.

    Anyway, I doubt the female-to-male gamer ratio will ever reach 50-50, but I’m okay with that. As long as girls are not being discriminated against or pandered to in the gaming industry, I’d be content to play and enjoy my games even if I were the only female in the world with a Playstation. πŸ™‚

    P.S. Hella sweet blog, bro. SCHWING!

  2. clacagnina Said:

    That is a good point about average-looking females lacking in cinema. They exist, but they’re typically not main characters. There also exist sexy female characters in video games who aren’t just there to take off their clothes or sleep with the main character (take Sheva for example!).

    It’s great to see this type of chick badass shown in video games, but maybe one day it can be Chris Redfield who is SHEVA’s partner. And games like Haunting Ground will have a female protagonist who doesn’t fall down all the time and wear skimpy clothing.

    Maybe the 50-50 ratio doesn’t seem realistic right now, and it probably won’t get there any time soon, but we can dream, right? Besides, Game Informer did state that females make up the MAJORITY of PC gamers! I think that’s huge, and could lead to a rise in the percentage of female console gamers, especially if more RPGs start getting released on consoles.

    You’ll never be the only female gamer in the world, cause I’ll always be one as well. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the comment!


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