Since I am new to Destructoid I will give a brief introduction of myself to make it easier to identify with me and the Blog's goal. 24 year old female and been gaming since I have been 4 so been gaming for 20 years my first experience of gaming was super mario brothers on the Snes. The consoles I have played on are the Snes, Amiga, Mega drive, game gear, CDI, game boy, game boy colour, PSone, N64, dreamcast, X-box, PS 2, GBA, DS, PS 3, Wii, 360 and PSP. Not the order I played on them and I didn't necessarily own them all but did own most of them so gaming is my number one method of entertainment. I won't lie it hasn't been easy being a female gamer for this long but it helped me realise which friends were worth keeping and those who weren't. I don't have a degree, nor do I have extensive knowledge on feminism but I am without a doubt a person passionate about what she loves and wanting to start progress on a diversity the games industry is craving but too cowardly to acknowledge.
To me a game isn't just entertainment I view it as the ultimate art form, something that isn't just beautiful to look at but a constantly changing art form that we can interact with and most importantly can be shared with everyone. I know this will come across as brutal but to me works of art that have value in the millions that are kept by one person to me donít have the same value as a well-crafted game. Gaming was important to me especially when due to my physical build well predominantly my chest size if I am being specific prevented me from performing at a higher level. While I could have taken steps to change this, it would mean to fundamentally change who I am. While everyone is entitled to their own beliefs I believe that no one should have to change themselves to fit in and should be proud of the body they are given but if they want to change themselves that is a different issue altogether. Gaming didn't require that and it wasn't something that discriminated against those less able or against gender either. That is why that something by its very nature that allows different genders to compete against one another equally shouldnít be lacking a balanced range of female and male main characters or more female main characters on offer.
Enough of my background for now and on to the main topic at hand after watching both the Jimquisition and to Genki-jams incredible videos and the fact it has been an on-going issue for a while now I felt this blog was necessary.† Jim in particular has done a great job of acknowledging the issue but as Jim is a games journalist there is only so much he can do and once he has made us aware it is up to the powers of both passion and the internet to think of the solution to the issue. The problem recently on all topics I have read on issues of sexism we have so many passionate individuals butting heads with one another on who is more of an expert than another? What is truly sexism? If we remove the damsel in distress trope what will can it be replaced with? The problem with this is we are not directing our passion towards the issue of sexism in the right direction. It is the problem I have with Anita as well, she seems to be raising awareness of an issue we are already aware of and not actually finding a solution. True I havenít been following Anita so I am basing that comment on what I have experienced so far so please forgive any ignorance on that issue. The most important thing is that we all in general acknowledge there is sexism in gaming and that is what the opportunity for change begins.
However as Jim stated on his video when he was laying into the big name publishers is that we are in age of Kickstarter and various other outlets of funding. Destructoid is a site with not only passionate individuals but with intellectual ones as well. If we work together some of us should have connections to someone who could be part of a team to make a new game. Why suggest something so risky in such a volatile and ruthless in an industry like this especially when we are still technically not out of the recession yet? I shall go ahead and state various reasons why I think we have a chance of succeeding.
Reason 1:The titanic cowards
As has already been discussed through numerous comments from dtoiders and escapists and as Jim has stated himself the games industry is currently dominated by cowards who are content with their big money piles. One particular franchise I can think of that Jim is fond of and rates highly on a regular basis well on the main consoles anyway is of course the notorious and sinful CoD series. Would it kill them to have a female lead when there are females in the military? Long answer cut short. No it wouldn't in fact I doubt it would affect their sales either since you don't even talk so why not do it then? Simple they don't want to put in any extra effort than they have to so why should they want they already make huge piles of cash from nothing special. They even re-use maps from older CoD games and sell it off as DLC for $15 I think it was and that requires little to no effort at all. Basically the big publishers and the developers they have chained to their dog posts are not going to help us either. They will not deviate from something that makes them guaranteed cash until it stops doing so.
The bigger publishers as Jim has mentioned in a recent but compelling article how about he keeps bringing up issues that people have gotten bored of to make sure no one will forget. What Jim also mentions is how big publishers like EA brush all complaints under the rug and pretend they don't exist especially when the passionate flame within us burns out. Sure you could attack them with your wallets but here is a tip for you CoD and its mediocre ilk that won't deviate from having male leads are pretty much untouchable and you will likely not even cripple the titan. The overly harsh tone used to describe CoD and Activision is necessary as I believe while they are causing a problem they are behaving how any other company would in any other industry and that in itself doesnít make them sexist. At the same time it doesnít excuse their actions hence my proposal above.
This brings me onto my second point regarding this reason, why do you think itís popular? CoD as far as gameplay goes is a pretty solid shooter in terms of gameplay it has a lot to offer and is pretty fun well when you arenít being belittled online for being female itís fun. Its story might be crummy but itís not the focus of FPS games these days thankfully Spec Ops should break that trend.† All in all itís good at what it does to be fair in terms of game mechanics. In other words as a fan of FPS games you might be depriving yourself of something you could enjoy. Putting games industry politics aside for a second as Jim said the focus of games is a simple one itís to have fun. If we stay angry at every major publisher for doing anything wrong we might not end up enjoying anything in the end.
Reason 2: The rights of those prejudiced against.
I know not many will see eye to eye with me on this issue but it has to be said if we go around demanding the destruction of DoA or Mario because we feel they are sexist garbage that is offensive to all women. Or if we demand to fundamentally change well established series to incorporate a female lead aren't we being hypocritical? You may find Dead or alive†characters' chest size offensive but letís be brutally honest this game isn't really made for you is it? Sure it may disgust you and make you feel sick but itís a beatí em up and they aren't exactly known for having in-depth stories with deep characters so of course the characters are going to be all about sex appeal and not to be taken seriously at all. In all honesty you are wasting your time and energy, raging about it when that passionate drive of yours is desperately needed elsewhere.
Depriving others of a game they enjoy doesn't make us any better than those who are depriving us of decent female leads in games or better represented side characters either. Leave those who enjoy what they enjoy alone we are better than those who prejudice against us don't fall to their level otherwise we achieve nothing but a pyrrhic victory. Can you truly be proud of achieving what you desire at the cost of denying someone else of what they desire? I couldnít I would feel like a hypocrite and a bitter twisted individual that opposes the creative spirit of the games industry. As gamers we are passionate individuals who encourage expression of self and no matter how disgusting something is, you don't have the right to deprive others of what they enjoy unless it causes physical harm or trauma. As Jim himself said he will never support or enjoy games like Rapeplay but he would never say they should be removed from existence for those who do enjoy them. It is because he encourages the freedom of expression words important to me and I won't forget.
Reason 3: Congratulations on getting a female lead but the female lead you were looking for is in another game.
Now this is something that could happen if we do get a female lead or a female character we were looking for in a game... Whoops! Was she actually not what you expected at all, showing too much cleavage for you, falling in love with a man! Urg gross a truly strong female has no need for love it shows weakness and he was such a flop too she deserves better. Basically the big publishers give the game a female lead but she†is designed in a certain way she can't be compelling at all as she has too much of something to appeal to the wider demographic she ends up appealing to no one. The game then becomes a flop, all big publishers become too afraid to get their pet developers to try something different again out of fear of big failure.† To be fair itís the small people that will suffer the ones you can actually care for not the douche at the head of the titan lamenting how he can't buy a new private jet this year.
Reason 4: Establishing a strong female character
The problem is right now is the issue of what makes a female character strong because there are so many different views on what makes a strong female character. So I feel a community made game with feedback will create a better female character than developers as still there is an issue of what can be agreed on as a strong female character. To me Tifa from FF7 is a strong female character and despite her huge chest is not only a coordinated martial artist but takes on the role of leader when cloud is out for the count. I admire her character a lot based on personal issues of my own so admittedly I may be biased towards her. However a lot of you will say she can't be taken seriously due to her scantily clad appearance or that Aeris was the one with personality, etc, etc..... We need to find a common ground as gamers as to what kind of female we want to see in a game and whether having a sexy appearance takes away from the impact of that character. I will admit now that as much as I loved the incredible gameplay of Bayonetta the way she behaved and how cheesy the scenes were, led to me being unable to take her seriously despite being a powerful female lead.
Reason 5: All of you
[font=Calibri][font=Verdana]Yeah the truth is I have more faith in this site and all the passionate gamers on it and the individuals of character like Jim, Hamza, Dale and Mr. Holmes make such a colourful and exciting site. Devoid of prejudice and not composed of corporate lackeys like so many other sites that should be seeking the same. With gamers older than me and with more experience and your insightful comments and focused passion on such an issue I believe we can make more progress working together to establish a team. I believe we can start up a project or even numerous projects to start offering the diversity and to show those titanic cowards there is money to be made with female protagonists. Perhaps optimistic but being negative is needed for being aware of issues not to solve them. With a combined effort we can make a start and if Anita can make that much money just for videos think of how much money and support can be generated for a team that will be established for making a decent female lead. The more success it makes will generate the attention this issue needs and encourage others and even make those titans rear their heads. Ultimately I see it as a win-win situation and that someone among us all must be talented at the various positions needed to make a game.[/font]
Reason 6: Still in doubt how about example of even more minor projects making a huge success!
The company Winterwolves makes visual novel style games on RenPy and still continue to make them right now and with the visual novel style it normally combines it with an rpg style. They have been doing this for quite a while now just showing how successful they have been including such games as Planet stronghold and Loren the Amazon Princess. Not only that but the black mirage a visual novel project by a DA user that involves the deviant art community working together on character concepts to establish something to appeal to both genders. Until recently visual novels have mainly been a concept that has stuck to Japan but with westerners beginning to make success in areas like this hints people seek diversity and choice. Also don't go urgh Japan and arn't visual novels porno games for perverted people, well yes and no there are many times so don't let prejudice towards Japan's culture blind you to opportunities and the success of catering to the minorities. I think both Winterwolves and The black mirage have something to offer that will benefit gaming in general as it is freedom of expression at its finest.†
[font=Verdana]Another wonderful example is certain game on Offbeatr generated nearly $180,000 of support from fans and that was a text based porno game which appeals to those with a transformation fetish. Gross perhaps but it is progress as it shows minorities in all areas of gaming are making successes so I believe we can too and one more example would be a visual novel style game based around the concept of gender swapping it made nearly $30,000 of support for a two man team. Where ever you stand on those, you have admit this kind of success is beneficial and enlightening to those who implore freedom of expression and the diversity the games industry stands for.[/font]
[font=Verdana]Sorry for all my errors of my grammar and perhaps inconsistency with my paragraphs I hope it wasn't too wordy and easy to follow for everyone and what I aim for with this blog is a sense of unification on the issue of sexism in the games industry. I truly believe the best way of doing this is to rely one another and not to be held to ransom by publishers when our cries and pleas ultimately fall on deaf ears. As with most minorities that gained their rights in the past we have to be active and stand united. We know there is an issue letís not be counterproductive and accuse one another of not understanding what sexism truly means letís fix the problem :)[/font]