The push for better female game characters

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Do female characters in video games only exist for "that one" reason? A new op-ed suggests that yes, female game characters are almost exclusively used as sexual symbols, and are ruining the chance for any game's storyline to be truly epic and emotional.

Take a look at Tomb Raider. Nobody plays that game and follows along with the later franchise entries' stories because they're emotionally attached to Lara Croft. They think she's cool because she's sexy.

The push for better female game charactersBitmob's Patrick Stafford summed up as much in a recent article entitled "The hypersexualization of women damages in-game storytelling."

When you look back at classic films or the most famous novels, the women are almost always in there for romantic purposes - for the male lead to be attracted to someone, or to distract someone else. But, Stafford opines, it's been taken too far in the world of games.

He points to Mass Effect 2's constant female butt shots, saying they cheapen the entire character into nothing more than a sex object. And it's impossible, then, to develop any character like that into a credible and emotionally riveting person.

Sure, gamers love it. Especially those stereotypical nerd gamers who get their rocks off from seeing sexualized women in their game storylines. But aren't we a little past that?

Everyone always like to talk about video games as a growing medium. At first, in their infancy, games were often basic and perhaps even non-cohesive. Then, they grew up a bit and turned into adolescent teenagers. But it looks like now that the industry is reaching adulthood, it's still stuck in that puberty mindset.

When is the last time a multi million-selling game had a female lead protagonist? Who's the last substantial women game character who didn't leave fans feeling a bit amorous? Do these questions matter to the future of the industry?

To sound off more on the subject, comment below, or read Staffor's full piece at Bitmob.com.