It used to be that I almost never chose the female option for an avatar.
Now, thatís not to say I hate women or anything like that, but it just never occurred to me to do such a thing as to try the other side. Part of it is because I when I went through my Huey phase, I could never make a black female avatar I could stand to look at for the next X amount of hours, and part of it might be because I was really freaking lazy and just pressed the ďXĒ button until I got to the part where I got my sword and shit got real.
Only recently have I discovered the female avatar, and only very recently I discovered why I might like to play female avatars more.
I must admit, I have to attribute BioWare for showing me the light in female avatars. If it werenít for Female Shepard, Iíd still be blasting around with a phallus between my virtual legs. Even then, it did take awhile; at first the female avatar options were less than desirable for me, but all the hustle and bustle about FemShep convinced me to bite down and really work with the character creation tool. Eventually, I found a concoction that didnít make me vomit blood and tears, and I christened her Marcy Shepard.
I then proceeded to play Mass Effect 2. As I went forward in my quest to save humanity, I found myself thinking; ďyou know, would this be something Female Shepard would say, or Male Shepard would say?Ē, even though technically, they would both say the same thing regardless. I also found that, unlike in Mass Effect in which I went with default MaleShep (because the character creator, no matter what you did in that game, created butt ugly results), that I didnít peruse any romantic interests what so ever. Before hand, I had it down that I was going to do everything in my power to get into Garrusí pants, but as I played the game, we stayed just friends who liked to blow shit up sick nasty style. I became sort of a loving mother towards Grunt, and I had to smack Mordin across the head so heís shut up every now and then.
Notice that you canít really do any of those things in Mass Effect 2, but I still felt that way.
I came to realize that this was because of how I perceived interacting with my companions; I had gone though a bit of Mass Effect 2 as MaleShep, and in the conversations, I could only find myself growing an attachment towards Garrus because we weíre bros who liked to blow stuff up sick nasty style. Everyone else was kinda dull; but when I played as Marcy, I grew a bit more attached to the others. My love for Tali was rekindled something special, I put Jack in my ďKill These Motherfuckers AlwaysĒ file (which also houses Ashley), and I even grew a sort of buddy cop dynamic with Garrus as mentioned before.
I didnít do anything fundamentally different though; I didnít choose different dialogue options, I didnít make different choices; what it was however, was the voice work of Jennifer Hale. Her voice allowed me to actually distance myself from my character so I could get to know my companions better. With MaleShep, I only had first impression thoughts of my characters; the fact that I sort of superimposed my voice upon MaleShep didnít allow me to really see the characters deeper than face value. I interacted with them, but in dialogue only. With FemShep, I couldnít put my voice in her body, so I actually spent more time listening to the characters than I did picturing myself talking to the characters, which in turn allowed to me interact with them on a deeper level.
If that was all really rambled and confusing, heres a simplified version I just thought up; I ignore what characters have to say when Iím playing a male avatar opposed to a female avatar, because I focus too much on being the male character.
I could attribute the same to why I like Dragon Age II so much. Besides not being a complete clunky waste of time (coughcoughTheWitchercoughcough), being Female Hawke allowed me to really sit back and enjoy characters. I probably wouldnít have thought of Varric as much as a badass charmer as he is, or Merrill as fucking cute as she is. I have an unhealthy obsession with Merrill. Sheís way too cute for her own good, and the female on female interaction allowed me to see that.
So Iíve taken a liking to choosing a female avatar, but not for the female empowerment or ďlol dat assĒ factor; itís for the vocal aspect. Iím already planning to continue on with my saves in both Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 3 when the time comes. Iím looking out for games that have female counterparts to their male characters and seeing what the voices sound like. I even tried Fallout: New Vegas with a female character, although due to the fact of "Merrill the Courier" not being able to speak vocally, she turned into a deranged human being who would sleep with you, tell you itís good, and the choke you to death, but the female dialogue options allowed for that, so it counts a bit!
I honestly never thought a feminine voice would have such an impact in certain video games for me, but Iím glad I found out; otherwise, Merrill wouldnít be my new waifu. I mean, look at her;