Tropes of Women in video games. How does Dredmor stand up?

Discussion in 'Discussions' started by Ruigi, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Wolg

    Wolg Member

    I wish it was an assumption.
  2. dbaumgart

    dbaumgart Art Director Staff Member

    Re. original question: We try to do the best we can and it is indeed important to us. (We also recognize that we badly need to hire some women here. Funny story, we talked to an incredibly skilled 3D artist near the start of CE but we didn't have the budget to afford someone with her level of experience. Did I mention she was bloody amazing?)

    I'm not going to defend Thrusties as they are, in my opinion, a mistake. And I'd ask some people not to dismiss certain other people's statements here -- the whole thing makes some people feel really awful due to really, really unfortunate implications and frankly that's not something Gaslamp is making games to be doing to people /at all/. In short, we'd absolutely not have put it in the game knowing what we do now. (And it's really non-trivial to fix at this point, unfortunately.)

    In conclusion, we're going to do our best to not suck in the future.

    Tangential comment based on other stuff ie. Mass Effect: Yes, holy crap a lot of gaming has huge issues with everything wrapped up in the phenomenon of the "male gaze".
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  3. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    On the subject, does anyone here happen to know if women even care for ascetic appeal in characters in games they play?

    I know some guys do, but I am no woman and cannot say one-way or another if this even impacts the chance they will purchase a game.

    I know I am the exception rather than the rule on my views of women in games. I do *NOT* want to see massive breasts. They are not worthy of looking at. I like characters with a unique personality. "Ellie" from Borderlands 2 was amazing.

    (To be fair, Ellie has massive breasts, but they are tiny compared to the rest of her.)
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  4. dbaumgart

    dbaumgart Art Director Staff Member

    I'll just say: Surely women are not a group of monolithic opinion. And then anyone's opinion of what constitutes aesthetic appeal is by no means universal.
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  5. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Well, I meant that in a general sense. *Most* men enjoy football and/or other sports. But not all.

    The dollar is the driving force behind most game makers, so what most consumers like is the unwritten law of their world.
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  6. dbaumgart

    dbaumgart Art Director Staff Member

    I'd argue it's something more like what company executives think consumers like, or even better, what shareholders think is the most conservative way to make dividends based on said executives designing and market a product based on being able to point to existing examples of successful media products. Therefore: extremely incestuous and conservative design.

    Could you imagine anyone investing in Dredmor? Aside from, haha, this crazy guy foolishly giving Nicholas a couple grand? But yes, I wouldn't be super quick to just blame just consumers -- surely a great deal of money is invested in manipulating consumers to desire what has been made for them. You know, top-down taste-making.

    (I have to say: Nor is the so-called "free" market a moral or artistic force that is sufficient to justify what makes money in it. I've seen this argument made way too often by people who want to avoid having to think about artistic responsibility and it hurts my brain.)
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  7. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    I, personally, believe this is how toy marketing is done. I don't think kids want these things until they're told to. There's no logical reason why girls toys have been stagnant (and pink) for many, many years whilst boy's toys tend to come from both short and long lived franchises. And yet the toys which actually tend to have any features are those for boys. Compare My Little Pony and G.I. Joe - MLP toys were pretty much solid figures with a bit of crappy hair and maybe a rotating neck, and for the most part they were all the same bar the paint colours. G.I. Joe figures came in many varieties, styles, sizes and so on.

    I mean you can apply that to modern gaming too. The Sims franchise heavily relies on that - full-price expansions coming out every two goddamn minutes, half/third-price stuff packs full of, um, stuff. But you're told you want it. And you do. Manshooting works like that too. Call of Duty somehow hit a title that rocketed it into the public eye and super-stardom, and now almost every FPS title has decided that marketing itself like CoD is going to work. It's not "Oh, you'll like our product because it's good", it's "YEAH WE'RE BETTER THAN CALL OF DOODYHEAD YEAAAAAAHHHHHHHH"

    Or something. I dunno. I lost track somewhere.
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  8. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    It occurs to me that no one has mentioned the trope of men in video games. Equality is a two way street, and as a man, I feel well more than 90% of the games with a "Strong Male Character" are written from the same antiquated rulebook.

    All men seemingly must either be powerhouse heroes who are literally incorruptible, or weak and treacherous villains who inevitably backstab you once the plot demands it. Some games seek to break the mold and make unique characters, but every time they do, people flock to the game to complain how sexist it is that the men do not fill one of those two roles.

    A Human being is a Human being. Gender matters none. Some are short, some tall. Some fat, some thin. Some stupid, some are geniuses...

    Let me put the topic in a nosedive: Is the problem that we can distinguish male from female by sight alone, or that the genders all behave similarly in most situations?

    I think that seeing a woman as a woman is not a problem. I would think it would be awful if every game that offered a gender choice allowed males to play the game, but if you choose female, you could spend your game time in a virtual kitchen. :D (Pun intended. Take no offense.)

    How does a woman using a telephone differ from a man using one? Her voice may sound different, but as far as I know they are exactly the same. How about in a shooter FPS? Women can shoot exactly the same as men. And they die from bullets just the same as men.

    So if this reasoning is followed, the objection is purely ascetics? What about choice? Can a woman not choose to wear the exact same clothing a man wears? Or a man cannot wear womens clothing?

    Note that this is not an attack on anyone. I just wanted to draw some attention to the undeniable fact that a Human is a Human and gender only matters if you choose for it to. Good day everyone.
    TheJadedMieu and Kazeto like this.

    MOOMANiBE Ah, those were the days. Staff Member

    You are speaking from a privileged position and it is informing your argument - ask the average woman who livestreams or makes youtube videos or posts in a gaming forum whether her gender only matters if she choses for it to. Ask Anita Sarkeesian, who has been subject to a truly incredible amount of abuse, whether her gender only matters if she choses for it to.

    The entire point of this series of videos is to draw attention to exactly the sorts of things that you are denying - that there is significant gender bias in games and it is a problem.
  10. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    My point of gender only mattering in games if you choose for it to is that your gender choice in a game does not change anything outside the game. If the game does something stupid like my kitchen example above, then it is a 'effed game that is clearly sexist.

    You seem to be merging what I said with what I did not say. I never said a woman is and should be treated as a man. I simply said Humans are Humans.

    No-one actually chooses what gender they are born. We have the luxury to choose to live as either gender regardless of what gender we are physically born with. But in a game, I usually choose female. This is purely because I find it disturbing to have to stare at a player avatar that is male all day.

    Gender bias is a bad thing. That much we can agree on. The rest I would argue sounds like you are attempting to put words into my mouth, or that I should have chosen better words to articulate my points above. Presuming the latter, I apologize. :(
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  11. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Do we hell.

    Marriage reforms with regards to transgender people, as part of the marriage equality bill(s), just got blocked in the UK parliament.
    Transgender women are still regarded as nothing more than a joke for mainstream comedians, even some feminist, anti-bullying, anti-discrimination comedians.
    Transgender people are commonly restricted from using the goddamn bathrooms in public and private places (stores, schools, etc.)
    A Brazilian transgender activist was, last year, beheaded simply for being who she is. This is not uncommon.
    Transpeople often cannot live in their 'chosen gender' (for want of a better term) without medical intervention - huge amounts of psychiatry, drugs, etc., etc., and even getting one foot on the path is incredibly hard.
    I could go on and on.

    And there is no "either" gender; like sexuality, it's a spectrum.
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  12. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    It seems there is no correct way to say what I am saying... Your point is well made Althea.

    Let me amend my line above with the prefix "In a perfect world".

    Sadly we as a species have a long way to go towards universal equality.

    Some nations have the good sense to pass on making judgments for and against people without good reason. My position flip flops back and forth by the day. I see both sides and am now very unsure what is the "Best" policy. But age and experience has thankfully taught me that arbitrary decisions are almost always the worst type.

    If I enter a bathroom and see what looks like a man, wearing what to my eyes looks like a skirt, it does not matter if they are Scottish and wearing a kilt. I see it and am unsure what to think. And honestly the uncertainty is something that does make me uncomfortable. I realize it should not matter. But I was raised different from how things are now. I could elaborate, but that would be begging to be banned yet again.

    The point is that I know many of the things I was taught as undeniable facts are outright lies. I once had a classmate that was kicked out of the religious academy I attended in my youth once it was discovered by accident that he/she was a true hermaphrodite. The fact that the English language does not even have an appropriate gender term for him/her is appalling at best. But I suppose it is better than the ways things were handled a thousand or more years ago where such people were killed for the terrible offense of being born.
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  13. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

  14. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I actually read a little bit about young children and their interest in dolls. Very young children, they've found, are most attracted to dolls with adult-like features, but as children get older, they tend to prefer ones with more child-like features (large head to body ratio, large eyes, etc.). It makes sense because as a young child, their parents are their care-givers, their nurturers, and the center of their universe.

    The odd thing, though is that dolls used to ONLY HAVE adult-like features, until later inthe19th century. They tend to look creepy to me, but kids, apparently love them. But adults buy the dolls, and what they tend to buy are ones with child-like features, which the children don't actually prefer.

    Just thought that was interesting. I believe I saw it discussed in a TED talk, but I'm not sure which one.
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  15. Wolg

    Wolg Member

    I get this. But equally (while I will not elaborate the history behind it) her feeling awful about it would be the best case scenario. I'd be a callous idiot to ignore that, so Dredmor has to be left out for her.

    The subject above plays beat-em-ups, where her character selection algorithm consists simply of "female showing the least skin". Another female gamer I knew had a marked interest in games with T&A emphasis, particularly if the character's attire belonged in a fetish catalogue.

    Only one of these women is bisexual, and it wasn't the one playing for the corsets and thighboots.
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  16. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    That's the thing -- any discussion of issues that assumes that everyone thinks the same way, whether that is based on their gender, or religion or anything, is bound to be wrong on many levels. A female friend of a friend of mine (met at a party) usually preferred playing male characters in EQ. She certainly wasn't gay but she definitely was what you might call a 'strange fish'. She did say that she maintained a female character because "people liked to give her things for free" lol.
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  17. mining

    mining Member

    I'm going to use the following image as a reference:

    Note: I will be excluding sexy skins in this list.

    (1,1): Ahri, highly sexualized female. Note: Suitable, as she is meant to be a kitsune equivalent.
    (1,2): Akali, somewhat sexualized female. Plenty of sideboob, but not TOO unreasonable by itself. This could easily be a 'flat' female, however, but at that stage it honestly would be hard to tell Akali is female.
    (1,3): Alistar, Super burly male minotaur.
    (1,4): Amumu, cute mummy thing.
    (1,5): Anivia, female ice bird.
    (1,6): Annie, female child. Not sexual in the slightest for the vast majority of the population. Creepy as fuck.
    (1,7): Ashe, slightly oversized boobs (relative to average female human size) and fairly short skirt, not quite suitable for an icey clime, but not awful either.
    (1,8): Blitzcrank: Beep boop I am robot.
    (1,9): Brand, male fire demon. He has fucking fire-abs.
    (1,10): Caitlyn, conclusive proof that riot loves belt-pants. Fairly distinct hourglass shape, somewhat sexualised.
    (1,11): Casseiopea: Highly sexualised serpent-woman. It's perfect for her personality, and makes a distinct character.
    (1,12): Chogath, Nom Nom Nom.
    (1,13): Darius: Muscle bound bruiser. Rugged good looks.
    (1,14): Draven: *swoon*. Fits his personality perfectly.
    (1,15): Dr. Mundo: Hulk like character. Unsuprisingly muscle bound.
    (1,16): Evelynn: Wears lingerie on the battlefield. Heels. Big boobs. Come the fuck on Riot. On the plus side, her walk quote references the difficulty of running in heels, and she is meant to be a seductress character.
    (1,17): Ezreal, Anme style male.
    (1,18): Fiddlesticks, caw caw caw.
    (1,19): Fiora: Dat ass, dem tits. Not really suitable for a duelist character.
    (1,20): Fizz: Playful sea-thing. Pretty cool.
    (1,21): Galio: Muscley Gargoyle mage.
    (1,22): Gangplank: Beard to die for, muscles up the whazoo. Also a pirate.
    (1,23): Garen: Muscles up the whazoo. Also a prime candidate for the sexy skin "Unprepared Garen".
    (1,24): Gragas: Fatass. He actually gets played very rarely, even when he's considered OP - solid proof that appearance does matter to players, at least in the case of male characters.
    (1,25): Graves: Manly, deep voice, stronk.
    (1,26): Hecarim: Neigh.
    (1,27): Heimerdinger: Yordle.
    (1,28): Irelia: Dat ass. Wears form fitting, but possibly practical armor.
    (1,29): Janna: Where are the clothes? :\
    (1,30): JarMan: Shoulders twice the size of hips. Stronk.
    (1,31): Jax: Not human, still musclebound.
    (1,32): Jayce: That will be all.
    (1,33): Karma: Define: "Not Sexy". Gets the least play in the entire game.
    (1,34): Karthus: Lich. Actually a good example of riot doing a character the way their archetype calls for (Ahri is another, despite being sexy ;))
    (1,35): Kassadin: Tortured spellcaster with abs that you could bounce a rock off of? Come the fuck on.
    (1,36): Katarina. Quite sexy, but a very femme fatale character. I don't know about this one - it feels somewhat tasteful.
    (1,37): Kayle. Armored woman. Armor is practical. New players think she's male.
    (1,38): Kennen. Yordle.
    (1,39): Kog Maw: Cute thing that eats and vomits. Yeah, it's much cuter than it sounds.
    (1,40): Leblanc. Sexy illusionist. Feels right, but probably could've been played non-sexy.
    (1,41): Lee Sin: Dat burl.
    (1,42): Leona: Classy, armored. Wears high heels, but riot has admitted that as a mistake. Reads as a woman in game, though - this is riot's triumph.

    Now, some highlights from the rest: Females ~50% oversexualised, ~25% appropriate level, ~25 non-sexual. Men: ~80% burl. ~10% cute. ~10% TARIC.
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