Saturday, September 8, 2012

Games and Girls

     Hi all, I’m Meg and a new contributor to the Game Crossing Studio blog!  For this first post I’m going to talk about women and our relationship with video games. 

     I have seen both appropriate and inappropriate gaming.  That is to say I have seen people spend far and away too much time in front of a screen with flashing images!  This may sound strange coming from someone who develops video games and has dealt with creating fictional world most of her life but it is important to remember where our real priorities lie and to spend our time accordingly.  Gaming can be a lot of fun and I hope you really like playing our games, just not at the expense of your personal relationships.

     I’ll move on from that before I lose my job! :)

     I want to talk for a second about how female characters are portrayed in games.  Recently we got Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City.  I know, I’m behind the times.  But since these two games were so highly rated I’m going to use them as examples of what I’m talking about.  The females are portrayed in what I feel is a less than respectful manner.  I mean, is Poison Ivy wearing anything at all on her lower half?!  What happened to the full leotard of the comics that Harley Quinn wore?  She’s now in a bra, mini skirt, and combat boots!  Talia could have been in body paint for all we know.  Don’t get me started on Catwoman’s jumpsuit and how low cut it is!  Are these images we want displayed in our homes?  What does this teach our kids about women?  What effect does it have on male teens and adults?

     This is my call to all game producers, comic writers, and movie producers: We want to see a strong female hero who wears clothes.  Who is smart and inventive.  Who respects herself enough to demand respect from others.  I don’t want my daughter to come away from a game thinking that the way to get ahead is to be provocative.  I don’t want my son to come away from a game thinking that women are objects for visual pleasure.

     What are you're feelings on video games and how they portray women?


     Hey Meg, thanks for the upfront post.

     From the male side (or at least this male's side) I can agree with you that the accepted fashion sense is less sense and more skin. It's like the fantasy games where female characters wear next to nothing and run off into battle. Seriously? Whatever state of reality the publish is hoping to create is diminished as those women characters have no defense against anything including the wind. Or they shouldn't as they aren't wear much more than a couple pieces of fabric stitched together.

     So to what end is the basis for this portrayal? The marketing term sex sells is rampant in society. But behind the near-naked people in a game, is there a story and real gameplay or are developers planning that boys in particular will buy their game because of the enticing female graphics? Some games do have both story and less than modest graphics, but do they need the immodest attire?

     For those of us "old gamers" like me, the reason we played games initially was because they were fun. You can't really say that the princesses we rescued in the old Mario and Zelda games held our attention longer than to inform us that we finished the game. But people played for hours and days (Meg touched on this too, it can be a bad thing) developers had to dig deeper and really deliver gameplay more than eye-candy.

     To mirror Meg's invitation, if we as a society are not tolerant of the immodest portrayal, those producers and developers will have to change their tactics and put some clothes on those digital characters. Don't be afraid to not buy a game or watch a movie or TV show that doesn't reflect your standards. Consider the affects of those images on a views mind. I have a friend whose father has a signature line on his email that reads: "Be careful what you put into your head, because you can never get it out."

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