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After playing Bayonetta, I have a good question that hopefully the female population here can answer with detail. The game struck me as a bad-ass action game built from the ground up for women. And it was really freaking cool. Bayonetta kicks as much ass as Dante or Kratos, as sexually charged and racy as Ivy or Lara Croft, but is still as friendly and appealing as Chun-Li.

What kind of video game heroine appeals to you? A sassy, sexually dominant Bayonetta type? A conservative, intellectual Jade type? A cold, unfeeling ice-bitch Cammy type? Innocent, physically intimidating Kasumi type? Or (hopefully) a sort of female character that we haven't seen yet that you would like to see?

Please discuss in detail.

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I like Jade a lot, personally. She's a really well-rounded character, and kind of a badass but in a way that it would be plausible to a real life person. I honestly don't care who or what a character is as long as he/she/it is compelling and three-dimensional.

As far as Tomb Raider goes...you'd be surprised at how many girls play those games, despite it being so obviously aimed towards males.

Also, I don't know where the hell you're getting the idea that Bayonetta is aimed towards women. She seems really obviously sexualized/fetished for males. That seems to be the point of the character design, to the point where it's intentional self-parody.

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I like Jade a lot, personally. She's a really well-rounded character, and kind of a badass but in a way that it would be plausible to a real life person. I honestly don't care who or what a character is as long as he/she/it is compelling and three-dimensional.

As far as Tomb Raider goes...you'd be surprised at how many girls play those games, despite it being so obviously aimed towards males.

Also, I don't know where the hell you're getting the idea that Bayonetta is aimed towards women. She seems really obviously sexualized/fetished for males. That seems to be the point of the character design, to the point where it's intentional self-parody.

All of the aesthetics are very girly (the butterfly wings, the magical attacks made out of hair, the pop-infused fighting music). The only part of Bayonetta being sexualized or fetished is the fact that she becomes almost entirely naked when she executes powerful magic attacks. Its obvious that the game intends to push the boundaries to outrageous parody, but the core design still feels inherently female. I know plenty of girls who love Devil May Cry but really wished that there was a female character on-par with Dante (Lucia and Trish in DMC2 and Lady in DMC3 are all purposefully weaker compared to Dante)

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All of the aesthetics are very girly (the butterfly wings, the magical attacks made out of hair, the pop-infused fighting music). The only part of Bayonetta being sexualized or fetished is the fact that she becomes almost entirely naked when she executes powerful magic attacks. Its obvious that the game intends to push the boundaries to outrageous parody, but the core design still feels inherently female. I know plenty of girls who love Devil May Cry but really wished that there was a female character on-par with Dante (Lucia and Trish in DMC2 and Lady in DMC3 are all purposefully weaker compared to Dante)

So her character design also pushes the stereotype that society holds of women. Her character design definitely seems catered toward a hyper-sexualization designed to sell for guys who get off on that and DMC combat aesthetics. It's a very absurd game in general and I don't doubt that the developers did with tongue planted firmly in cheek. To try to argue that she isn't sexualized is a bit naive.

OK, enough of that. While I'm not a female, I do like strong female characters who are independent and at the same time a bit vulnerable. I guess that's why I liked Tali from Mass Effect so much. She was a genuinely interesting character who was strong, independent and vulnerable. Albeit that was due to her race's lack of immunity, she is still a well rounded character.

Either way I'm just tired of the hyper sexualization of both female and male characters. I'm tired of the meat head military grunt complex of most modern sci-fi shooters and to an extend military shooters.

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So I was just thinking about the White Mage from Final Fantasy since I was looking into buying the game. I don't know where I read it (I think it was here actually on OCR) but someone once said:

"I had a huge crush on White Mage until she underwent a class change and turned out to be Jesus, ruining the fantasies of ten-year old boys everywhere."

As for my favourite female character? It's probably Lenneth, from Valkyrie Profile. Or Mystina. Or both. There's so many good characters in that game.

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Just about any girl from a visual novel. Aside from being pretty, they are much more detailed in terms of character development when compared to most videogame females, which appeals to me. However, the women from Baldur's Gate 2 and Planescape Torment also fall into this category. :)

On the other side of the spectrum is probably Samus from the Metroid Prime series - she strikes me as smart and tough, but this is because of the role of a silent protagonist that she plays, in conjunction with the scanning and analysis that the player can participate in. This means that Samus is the female equivalent of Indiana Jones, in that she is capable of investigating things and beating whatever dares to stand in her way. Of course, if Link was a girl, I probably would think the same of Link, who I like in the first place.

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So her character design also pushes the stereotype that society holds of women. Her character design definitely seems catered toward a hyper-sexualization designed to sell for guys who get off on that and DMC combat aesthetics. It's a very absurd game in general and I don't doubt that the developers did with tongue planted firmly in cheek. To try to argue that she isn't sexualized is a bit naive.

I'm not saying she isn't sexualized. If you notice in my first post, I said she is as sexually charged and racy as Ivy (SoulCalibur) or Lara Croft. But Bayonetta has a certain maturity to her character that we don't see very often.

In most games, two things happen with female characters who are sexed up.

1) They act (and to an extent look) like pre-pubescent teens to diminish their dominating personality (a la Chun-Li or any DOA girl)

2) They act (and to an extent look) like super bitches who just as soon tear you head off, justifying their dominating personality as a tomboy pseudo-lesbian man-hater. (a la Ivy, Lara Croft, just about every sexy female character)

Bayonetta is neither. She is very sexualized and dangerous, but she is neither baby-faced nor ice-queen. She is a mature woman, confident in her sexual dominance without needing to justify it by acting like a 12 year old or scowling at everyone she meets. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I have yet to see another character be so sexualized without becoming one of the two examples above.

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Alyx Vance was a good female character in regards that she didn't have 34 DDD boobs and thighs the size of station wagons. She couldn't rip a man's head off and slap him with it. She was just as human as Gordon, Eli, Kleiner, and the rest of the Resistance. Showing damn realistic emotions and facial expressions, you really got attached to Alyx as you played through the Episodes. I think that is what got so many people to like the Episodes more than the story and game play. Valve did a tremendous job implementing a partner that isn't a mindless drone with a happy trigger finger; a partner that displays raw emotions and facial expressions to match it, along with some impressive fighting techniques that aren't over-the-top.

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i normally don't have a problem with men and women being idealized in video games (or any other medium for that matter)

its when it gets to DOA levels of oversexualization that it starts bugging me

watch the old "La Blue Girl" series, problem solved as you'll get over it soon enough.

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Without getting into a long discussion on how women tend to be portrayed in video games (and media in general), I'll just stick to my top few picks.

Rosella (King's Quest 4+):

Her debut was in a classic Sierra adventure game, with a save-the-person-in-distress kind of plot, only for once it was the prince in distress and, the princess trying to save him. She wasn't made to be overtly feminine/princess-like, not sexualized (though it probably would've been pretty difficult considering early VGA graphics), and, well, just plainly established as female without any implications to it.

Mia Fey (Phoenix Wright):

Ok, yeah, sure she's kind of well-endowed. But she (and Maya Fey at that) is still made out to be a strong female character who's well-known for her intellect and advocacy, rather than her looks.

Christie Monteiro (Tekken):

Hey, I'm not perfect.

watch the old "La Blue Girl" series, problem solved as you'll get over it soon enough.

It's a trap! No problem can be solved by La Blue Girl! KF

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It's a trap! No problem can be solved by La Blue Girl! KF

It's very mild, if not tame compared to the alternative I had in mind; and that's an understatement considering said alternative...

Nonetheless I do wonder how the future of gaming heroines will turn out. By the time some of us reach the 80's demographic, will they have become much more better or worse..?

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I'm gonna have to say that Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2 is the most plausible female character to date. She's headstrong, confident and not some whiny waste. She complemented Gordon well and was actually a help during gameplay.

I would agree with Captainneegee, here.

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Half-Life's achievement with Alyx is how well the graphics, audio, and gameplay based on Alyx's presence is designed, which has set a bar for 3D games, especially shooters. Come to think of it, Shodan might be considered to be a primitive and hostile version of Alyx - her audio monologues with the player really set the stage.

I wasn't kidding about Visual Novels having some of the best developed female personalities, by the way. It is certainly true that a good portion of them have sexual material, but I would argue that would be like having shooters to be without guns. I recommend checking out Hideo Kojima's Snatcher or Policenaut games, or Phoenix Wright when games break away from tradition. The best characteristics of that genre is in the character interaction, which is why the genre appeals to me. (The sex doesn't hurt either, though it can be detrimental to a character or setting when forced - no surprise there!)

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Bayonetta is neither. She is very sexualized and dangerous, but she is neither baby-faced nor ice-queen. She is a mature woman, confident in her sexual dominance without needing to justify it by acting like a 12 year old or scowling at everyone she meets. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I have yet to see another character be so sexualized without becoming one of the two examples above.

I think it's just the "third stereotype" that people in North America tend to enjoy but that people in Japan don't really see as much.

It's the "mature, adult woman" type, the mentor and guardian character. This is becoming a more common archetype, possibly as gamers get older, as development shifts from Japanese views to Western views, and as tastes change (boys aren't as afraid to admit to having an older woman "show them the ropes" now).

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