Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I tore myself away from the disappointment that was Silent Hill: Downpour (I know, I know) and headed out to the Boston Convention Center Friday to surround myself with likeminded enthusiasts and to get a glimpse of some upcoming titles.
That’s all well and good but it’s really not what I’m going to talk about here. Instead, I’d rather focus on an issue that’s been floating around in my mind for a while now and that was exacerbated by the panel I attended that first day called, “Press X Y: Transgender Issues in Gaming”. While on the whole I found the panel to be very interesting what really stuck me was the conversation on games wherein the player is given the choice to play as a male or female character.
More specifically, it made me think of the people who play female characters when given the choice and why. Personally, I will always choose to play a female in a game if the playing field (see what I did there?) remains constant and equal with the male choice. To elaborate, if I play a woman I expect her stats to be equal to that of a man and I also expect the world around her to react the same as it would around him.
What’s even more interesting to me though are the number of men I’ve met who say they also play female characters when given the chance. When I ask them why though, I almost always get the same response: “if I’m gonna spend 40-something hours playing a game, I wanna stare at a nice ass.”
I’m not a man and I don’t know what it’s like to be a man but I’m calling bullshit on that.
I’ve played hundreds of games with male avatars and cannot remember ever thinking, “thank God this dude has a nice ass or this game would be a total bore”. Well, except for when Cole got his “hawkshaw” vest and holster in LA Noire. That was pretty nice to look at from behind but you get my point, right?
The jaded sociologist in me thinks that men who say that do so as a sort of socially trained response, as if playing a female character for anything other than sexual enticement makes them less of a man. Going further, it could even been suggested that if given the chance to stare at a man or woman the seasoned male gamer would select a woman out of a need to objectify her in order to refute the possibility of homosexuality.
A stretch? Meh, probably.
And so, dear gentlemen who have found their way here, I ask you to please think on this and tell me: do you play female characters when given the opportunity to choose? Why? Really . . . why? Think about it.
UPDATE: Not 10 minutes after posting this on Facebook, a male friend of mine (who hadn't actually read the post yet) responded with: "Female. If I'm going to be staring at the backside of a character for hours, I better make the most of it."
I do get this stuff from somewhere, folks.