Published on February 21st, 2014 | by geeky


Can We Get More Female Characters in Video Games?

As a female video game player, I’ve occasionally wondered why there weren’t more games with playable female characters. I haven’t made a big fuss about it, but I’ve wondered.

…we’ve got the newly re-humanised Lara Croft and we’ve got FemShep and maybe Faith, can’t we just be happy about that and celebrate it? Yes! Yes we can celebrate that. But we can also ask for more of it, please.

Keza MacDonald of The Guardian has written an excellent article expressing some valid reasons for adding more female main characters to video games, while addressing the most common reasons given for leaving them out.

Fem Shep (Commander Shepard)

Fem Shep (Commander Shepard) (Photo credit: stargonautone)

The most common reasons for leaving female characters out of video games?

  • It costs twice as much to produce artwork for female characters in addition to male characters.
  • We might end up a “positive discrimination” situation.
  • Women don’t play, so why do they care?
  • People might get mad about how the female characters look or what happens to them.
  • It’s not realistic to feature lots of powerful females.

Whether or not you agree with these arguments, you should read Keza’s rebuttals. In a nutshell:

    • It’s not more expensive to design or write a female character than a male character.
    • We don’t need every game to feature a female lead, but it would be nice to have a few more.
    • There are more women playing games now than ever.
    • Write and design women as interesting humans and not as fetish-bait.
    • Women are police officers and soldiers in real life, and should be portrayed in those professions in games now and then.

Read the rest of the article and give it some thought. It would be good for gamers — male, female, and everybody — to see more strong women portrayed in video games. Let’s make it so!

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About the Author

Heather is a lifelong nerd who is passionate about geek culture. Current obsessions include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Follow her on Twitter @geeky247 or Facebook Geeky 247.

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