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Cerrax

Female Game Characters

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to me, sex of a character really doesn't matter too much. I just like someone who is well characterized, good backstory and personality and the like

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I've always been a fan of Chell from Portal, mostly because they don't make a big deal over her being female. In fact, you wouldn't even know you were playing as a girl if you didn't see yourself going through a portal on the other side of the room. Also, she's normal looking and not wearing a skimpy outfit. She's just a female, and they don't exploit it. Yay!

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Lightning from FFXIII, she kicks ass and she's attractive. Dangerous combination.

She's also Ms Ice Queen bitch... which is a pretty common "femme fatale" stereotype.

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I don't think Bayonetta was supposed to be any trend-breaking gurlll or anything.

I see her more as a bunch of garbled fetishes morphed into one character.

Luckily for us she is in a fun action game.

Would we reeeally care about her or call her different if Bayonetta sucked (lolpun)?

Anyway, I am echoing Alyx Vance, because you really DO care about her throughout the HL games (like that moment where she hugged you in the opening bit of E1, for example) and come to really connect with her as few other NPCs are capable of achieving. She is indeed a fully-realized character.

Also, Samus, because i am a Metroid fanboy at heart and I have to give a shout-out. There's not much I can say about Samus that hasn't already been said.

SHODAN is an interesting choice... She's a layered and insane character, for sure, and definitely brings something memorable to the table... Not sure, since she is a villainous psychopath super-computer afterall.

As for what -I- prefer?

Well, I said I'm a Metroid fanboy, and I gotta say that that model is always a good thing if used right.

One extreme that I'd like to avoid is like the female characters in any David Eddings' novels (read them!!!!) where they are so strong and independent it just seems that no matter what the guys do they are pretty hen-pecked all the time (kinda makes sense considering Dave's wife was a major contributor on all his books). Don't get me wrong, they are entertaining, funny, and incredibly likable (except for the psycopath adolescent queen in The Elenium who has the hots for a 40-something-year-old...), but hen-pecked is NOT something I want to experience in the virtual world, because in that circumstance it's annoying, plain and simple.

In the game, even if you are following orders, YOU have to be carrying out the major actions that advance the plot and/or gameplay. In that sense, if the woman is an NPC, she needs to be helpful and useful, first and foremost. That gets a gamer's respect right away when he doesn't have to babysit an NPC through the game.

If you ARE the female character, understated attractiveness is welcome. Nothing too obvious (like Alyx Vance or Jade), but it's definitely there at the least. In terms of character, she's in a game, so she HAS to kick lots of ass (whether that be in a FPS scenario or a puzzle-game scenario), and beyond that, go for something likable and believable, because that's what we empathize with most in a game character is their humanity, moreso than their eccentricity (depending on the mood of the game).

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In general people like attractive characters. You don't see a lot of ugly characters in games that play a fully central role, unless their ugliness has some kind of deep-rooted link to their secret past (see: disfiguration). This goes for men portrayed in games as much as women in games.

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Frankly, the more plainer and uglier people in games, the better.

Doesn't else find all the pretty-boys and androgynous people kinda boring?

Nothing against attractive features, but a lot of the world is pretty plain if you stop to look.

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I feel its worth mentioning Fem-Shepard from the ME universe, primarily because of how little gender (aside from the romantic pursuits, at least) seems to affect how the game is played, yet still the character does end up having a strong personality based on your choices but never is it the typical female video game stereotype. Hell, pretty much all of the women in the ME series apply, and even though Miranda is obviously meant to be an attractive woman its less of a sex symbol thing and more of a woman who is simply rigidly confident in herself.

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Frankly, the more plainer and uglier people in games, the better.

Doesn't else find all the pretty-boys and androgynous people kinda boring?

QFE

I have to say that the video game industry is pretty far behind everyone else when it comes to addressing sexism. I'm not a feminist by any means, but sometimes I can't help but to be bothered by it. -_-

And isn't it so much more interesting when a character actually has unique features to his or her face and physique, aside from funky hairstyles and crazy outfits?

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For me it goes far beyond characters being "generically pretty" these days. It seems like a lot of 3D fantasy stuff coming out of Japan has this ridiculously over-designed quality to it, regarding everything from clothing to equipment to airships to FRIGGIN TREES. Those "funky hairstyles and crazy clothes" have gotten completely out of hand in my opinion. When everyone to the most powerful noble down to the poorest commoner has weird outfits with intricate designs and scrollwork, how am I supposed to know something is supposed to be impressive relative to everything else? It all just turns into a blur of crazy fanciness, which ironically makes everyone go back to looking the same, defeating the original point.

To make this point more on-topic, I guess it shows the limitations of the whole "same face different hair/clothes" paradigm a lot of animation tends to (cheaply) follow. We still need new faces and body types to make characters uniquely recognizable without whatever they're wearing, or however the strings of dead cells growing out of their heads are styled. But I guess that's either A: undesirably hard or B: focus groups say we "want" generically pretty people.

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For me it goes far beyond characters being "generically pretty" these days. It seems like a lot of 3D fantasy stuff coming out of Japan has this ridiculously over-designed quality to it, regarding everything from clothing to equipment to airships to FRIGGIN TREES. Those "funky hairstyles and crazy clothes" have gotten completely out of hand in my opinion. When everyone to the most powerful noble down to the poorest commoner has weird outfits with intricate designs and scrollwork, how am I supposed to know something is supposed to be impressive relative to everything else? It all just turns into a blur of crazy fanciness, which ironically makes everyone go back to looking the same, defeating the original point.

Reminds me of a review of FF13 that suggested the character designs specifically cater to cosplayers.

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Honestly, I think all of that's a big in-joke at like, SquareEnix, Namco, and the like. Make the most ridiculous costumes they can and then just wait and see how long it takes for someone to cosplay it.

But that's a little off-topic.

Jade and Alyx are two female characters I really, really like in video games for a great deal of the reasons already mentioned. I liked Samus a lot as well, but moreso before people started making a big deal about seeing her in the Zero Suit all the time. Honestly, the aspect of her being the last warrior of a lost race was much, much more of a draw.

And I don't mind the "attractiveness" factor in game design, so long as it doesn't go overboard, like Darlos said. Reasonable proportions, reasonable costumes and the like really make the characters more presentable. I'd present the three female protagonists from the Golden Sun games as good examples. Reasonably proportioned, costumes that made a degree of sense, and solid (if basic) personalities. Good design, that.

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zerosuit samus is a godam bimbo

nuff said

In Brawl, yes. And in Echoes, but there she was just UGLY (a step BACK from Prime 1's realistic face).

Not so much in Zero Mission itself, in my own opinion. But that's me.

I think Samus looked the best (teh hawt3st) in Fusion. She's got a nice look in that game going for her.

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Honestly, I think all of that's a big in-joke at like, SquareEnix, Namco, and the like. Make the most ridiculous costumes they can and then just wait and see how long it takes for someone to cosplay it.

But that's a little off-topic.

Jade and Alyx are two female characters I really, really like in video games for a great deal of the reasons already mentioned. I liked Samus a lot as well, but moreso before people started making a big deal about seeing her in the Zero Suit all the time. Honestly, the aspect of her being the last warrior of a lost race was much, much more of a draw.

And I don't mind the "attractiveness" factor in game design, so long as it doesn't go overboard, like Darlos said. Reasonable proportions, reasonable costumes and the like really make the characters more presentable. I'd present the three female protagonists from the Golden Sun games as good examples. Reasonably proportioned, costumes that made a degree of sense, and solid (if basic) personalities. Good design, that.

Heh, that's an unexpected yet valid example. Jenna even gets her own (pretty awesome) battle theme in the second game, which somehow manages to sound "feminine" even though it also sounds serious. That's a talented composer.

Also, it's funny but I realized that despite something like Final Fantasy being incredibly overdesigned in recent incarnations, the women themselves typically don't seem too terribly exploited or dumb. Like, I can appreciate Yuna for being modestly dressed and capable of taking care of herself, even if she's a tad awkward. And this is even taking X-2 into consideration. (For the most part I just "blame" Rikku for dragging Yuna into a weird new lifestyle. At least that isn't actually her in the intro video!) And then with FF13 we have the downright masculine Lightning.

I'm always going to favor a capable, likeable, intelligent, respectable female character over pretty much anything else in a given narrative, since I suppose that caters to the ideal that I wish I could meet in real life. Though at the same time, I feel there's a place for the occasional beautiful and flashy woman, as long as the narrative itself actually acknowledges what she is. There's a big difference between a woman who's quite aware and confident of her looks and isn't afraid to show it, and a woman who is overly attractive and wears revealing clothing but otherwise has no signs of a personality that would do that sort of thing. The latter type is typical of your average Japanese short-skirted schoolgirl type characters. Certainly some girl who's just kinda nice and normal would have some damn modesty and wear a longer skirt... or something else entirely. But that seems to get unrealistically ignored purely for the sake of fanservice, which is just annoying because it blows my logic circuits.

I guess that's just the whole "moe" trend these days though, which causes this sort of logic-defying "innocent fanservice" where nice cute girls dress immodestly, completely against their modest personalities. But, back in the day, stuff like Dirty Pair or stuff like that were the standard fanservice, were you had busty chicks wearing not a whole lot, but also seeming to have personalities where they legitimately don't care that they're being revealing, which, while still mindlessly fanservicy, is at least a tad more logical.

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to me, sex of a character really doesn't matter too much. I just like someone who is well characterized, good backstory and personality and the like

That's essentially my thoughts these days; story and consistent characterization mean more to me than gender and clothing, regardless of the medium. Despite my being female, Bayonetta – and Wet, for that matter – did not interest me in the slightest as games that I might want to play at a friend's house, let alone spend the money on myself. More and more it's as though game companies are making the same mistake film companies do – that if any girl at all is going to want to see or play it, it first has to have some overzealously-addressed quality that girls would theoretically find interesting or admirable or whatever. In the cases of films, for example, the (Michael Bay) Transformers movies were not helped at all by the romance. I would not have wept in the slightest had there not been any important female character whatsoever; the only reason I went to see those movies was because I wanted to see giant robots beat the shit out of each other. The End. Blessedly, the romance in the Transformers movies was much lighter than in others I've seen, but it – like in other movies before – still seemed like a pointless last-minute inclusion meant to placate the girlfriends who were presumably dragged along against their will.

To clarify, even though I am female you cannot make me want or like a video game merely by making the main character a wisecracking female, although showing that she has reasonable proportions, a believable personality, and can dress like a normal person helps. Emphasizing such a character's gender through some fashion of sexual context – be it as simple as obnoxiously large breasts or excessively clingy clothes – does not make me feel any kind of feminine kinship or loyalty to her. Really, though, I gave up on caring about what I consider a decently designed female character ages ago.

I imagine the main problem is that, biologically, women are simply not as powerful as men. In a gaming context this "realism" often translates into either the Hero's Love Interest, who is required by law to be weak so she and her femininity can be defended by the male character(s), or the Ice Bitch previously mentioned, who is butch or mouthy or both and who everyone kind of avoids while her superior strength – compared to the other female character(s), at least – is explained by some horridly traumatic and overdone backstory. With standard human PCs, the only way this can be "fixed" is by not having any male characters at all to compare them to. Hand them a weapon that eliminates physiological comparison, such as a gun, and at that point there's finally a form of balance. The only exception to that which I have played and currently own is FFX, in which it's possible to direct the female characters into the male characters' experience grids and bring everyone up to essentially the same levels of strength.

As a female gamer who prefers RPGs, in turn-based games my preferred battle parties are entirely male because the female characters tend to be bad battlers, and the strength in magic they often have that's allowed them to act as a strength-equalizer is generally nothing one of the guys can't do since bosses which are that susceptible to magic are like hen's teeth. As for RPGs like Devil May Cry, I don't give the female characters a second glance – having to play Lucia wasn't a big deal because Dante was almost never around for her to be compared to, but I still found her angel wings to be an irritating cliché.

If there were any female characters I had to say I liked, it would be Okami's Amaterasu and Cynder from the Spyro rehash. Although Amaterasu's exact gender could be in question – being as 'she' is technically a genderless deity moving about in the body of a wolf that is quite obviously male – the balance of physical attacks, brushwork, and evasion is nice and perhaps even "too easy"; also, the fact that she only 'speaks' in one instance is interesting, and the few examples of arrogance you see are not wholly unexpected from a god(dess). Cynder plays both the Ice Bitch and Hero's Love Interest roles well enough, and she faces her traumatic past as bravely as can be expected; her attacks are faster and more reliable than Spyro's, in my opinion, and I usually find more use for her breath attacks than I do for Spyro's. I also like Freya from FFIX, even though I'm not a huge fan of rats.

As far as human characters, I do suppose I could say I like Yuna – she is pretty well rounded as a character and takes perfectly good care of herself in a number of cases. Also Advent Children Tifa, though I'm not sure that version of her counts.

~LS

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I've always been a fan of Chell from Portal, mostly because they don't make a big deal over her being female. In fact, you wouldn't even know you were playing as a girl if you didn't see yourself going through a portal on the other side of the room. Also, she's normal looking and not wearing a skimpy outfit. She's just a female, and they don't exploit it. Yay!

Damn straight.

Gameplay > Gender

However, in some cases sex just sells.

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Just this last week I finally got around to playing Mirror's Edge (on PC, since it was $2 on a steam sale back in January), and got to thinking that Faith is a good example of the right way to do a female game protagonist that isn't just blank.

That's the problem I have with holding up Chell as the model of how to make a female character. She's a total blank, she doesn't say anything for the entire game, and you have to go kinda out of your way even to find a reflective surface to get a good look at her. This is like holding the player character from Doom up as an example of a strong masculine lead.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Valve can't do good female characters -- Alyx is a great example, though not a player character.

Anyway, what I was trying to say is that Faith, from Mirror's Edge, is a pretty strong female lead. She's got all these crazy acrobatic skills, can hold her own in a punching match or a footrace, and has real human emotions, and opinions about the way the world works. She is a woman, but no big deal is made of it except that it's quasi-implied at one point that she might have been romantically involved with one of the male characters.

So I was actually kinda surprised when I read through this thread and saw that noone had mentioned her yet.

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Mirror's Edge might have been a more popular example if the hype machine didn't cause it to crash and burn. The backlash to the game kind of killed its chances to be seen as anything but a valient but slightly broken effort at a new IP.

Speaking of underappreciated, though, how about Virginia from Wild Arms 3? She's outspoken, conservatively dressed, and the lead character!

art-char-04.jpg

Easily one of the stronger female leads in JRPG history. Only Lenneth really comes to mind as another good female lead.

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Keep in mind that Japan isn't as far ahead with respect to women's equality as North America and Europe as well, and it likely reflects in their character design and presentation.

There's still a stereotype in Japan of what a "good woman" is, and this isn't a stereotype applied by men only - it's a stereotype that the women apply to themselves.

In the west, there are also stereotypes but they're less defined now than they used to be. In addition, if you actually admit or suggest that you believe in a particular stereotype with respect to women, people in North America are probably more likely to call you out on it.

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Giant pic of Aya Brea

This x1000!

Honestly, to me the most important thing about any character is whether they are well-developed and interesting. If they're a little sexualized, but the focus is on the character's personality and goals, I don't mind at all. The great thing about Aya from Parasite Eve is that the whole story is her story; it's not about her appearance or her being some dude's love interest. She pretty much saves the world by being a good cop. She's pretty but practically dressed (at least in the first one) and I really appreciated that. Even in PE2 (with its shower scene) she's still a strong character with a lot of development and personal motivation, and that's what makes her so appealing to me.

In a game where there's not much character development, I like the females to be at least as powerful as the males :/ Kinda tired of the healer woman stereotype. Yeah, Lady from DMC3 wasn't as tough as Dante, but she was still a badass, and I liked her. X3 That game's totally ridiculous anyway (but fun as hell.)

As a female, I don't think game developers really have any clue what makes a game appeal to us as a gender (if there even is single thing that could do so.)

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The Boss from MGS3 was my absolute favorite female character. She was just bad ass beyond comprehension.

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i wish more games were created with characters like Faith from Mirror's Edge involved. she wasn't anything too crazy, relatively normal clothes, and had severe limitations (like no health practically at all). and she made the game awesome, imo.

there won't be more good female character leads until game designers get their heads out of their asses and realize how cool they can be once you get past the sexuality of it all.

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The Boss from MGS3 was my absolute favorite female character. She was just bad ass beyond comprehension.

ofuck how did she slip my mind

I think she's mine as well

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there won't be more good female character leads until game designers get their heads out of their asses and realize how cool they can be once you get past the sexuality of it all.

super-princess-peach-20060227004708930.jpg

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