Yes, yes, I know I’m going to get in trouble for this. After all, it just isn’t right for anyone not to jump onboard the “evil game developers/gamers/publishers” bandwagon. We have been hearing loud and long all the complaints about how gamer boys are harassing female players and how there aren’t enough good games out there for females or non-normative sex (or whatever) players. Sorry, but I think the problem is much smaller than those folks would have us believe.
I’m not denying that there aren’t idiots out there who like to measure the size of their favorite part of their anatomy by behaving like idiots while online. But I don’t think they are the majority of male gamers the way those screaming allege. Not that I’m going to debate the issue with them right now.
No, what started me thinking about this was going to my games library last night to find something to play. I don’t do MMOs and rarely do Co-op. However, I have been a gamer for years. I started playing when my son was young and he wanted his first console. Our deal was that I got to play any game he wanted first and my word was the final word. It became something we did together and even now we compare notes on games and what is coming out when.
So, as I said, I went to my games library and started looking for something to play. On my Steam library, I have a number of games. Of the ones I play most often, all eight have female playable characters. One of them allows me to “romance” other characters. I can choose to romance or not as well as to have a gay or straight romance. Actually, it also allows me to have a cross-species romance because not all the characters are human.
On Origin, I have the Mass Effect series. Commander Shepherd can be male or female. As with Skyrim, you can romance male or female — or Asari. Hmm. What about some of my other games? Well, the Dragon Age series also lets me choose to play as male or female, human or elf or dwarf or even Qunari. I can be gay or straight. I can romance or not.
And all six of those games have a plot that keeps me wanting to play and have a high replayability factor, at least in my opinion.
I will admit that Bioware is one of the leaders when it comes to letting you play as male or female and it has had gay characters as part of its games for quite some time. But other publishers are starting to do the same — not that you would know it to hear the naysayers.
For me, it really doesn’t matter unless the sex or sexual preference of the character has some impact on the storyline. Of course, I feel that way about the books I read and the movies I watch. Unless it is germane to the story, don’t beat me over the head with it. Sure, I get wanting to have characters you can relate to in a game — or a book or a story. But not everything has to be right there and in your face. That is why we have been gifted with this wonderful thing called an imagination.
So, instead of complaining about what isn’t in a game — unless it is good mechanics that have been left out — put forth a little effort and find games that have what you want. I have a feeling you can find them. They might not be by the top tier publishers and designers but there are some gems out there coming from indie developers that far outshine the big company games.
Now excuse me while I go play Dragon Age: Origins. I am interested to see how Bioware is tying all three of the DA games together.