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Gender Options in Games

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Discussion' started by TikTok13, Jun 30, 2018.


What gender do you choose to play as in most games?

  1. Male

  2. Female

  3. Both

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. TikTok13

    TikTok13 Oh, I have a title?

    So, I don’t recall seeing this on the forums, and I thought it’d be a neat discussion topic, so why not?

    Nowadays, many role-playing games provide to option for the player to choose between a female or male avatar. It is especially common in online games, and gives the player a chance to show who they are, but also express their individuality in the game.

    However, what gender do you choose to play as in games. In most games, players often choose to stick to their own gender, but, using the popular game World of Warcraft as an example, this does not always hold true. On average, men tend to play as the opposite gender around 3 times more often than women do, but still choose to use their own gender as well. Additionally, the statistics show that younger players are less likely to be inclined towards playing as the opposite gender. I believe this is mostly due to a lack of mental maturity, or an inability to express oneself due to external pressures.

    There are some arguments for why people choose to play as the opposite gender in games;
    • They find them attractive. This is a valid reason I’ve found on the WoW chat. Some people (mainly men) choose to play as the opposite sex due to the fact that they like the appearance of the avatar.
    • The change in customisation. When you become accustomed to playing as a certain sex, you only see one half of the fashion spectrum. Commonly, there are much less customisation options for male characters; less clothes, hairstyles, and other additions. (I discovered today that male humans/Worgen cannot have piercings, whereas females can)
    • It’s purely down to play style. Some people may find a Rogue character better suited to a female, and a hulking Warrior to a male, but this is due to gender stereotypes and other similar things.
    Why is it then, that so many men are more likely to play as a woman, than vice versa? I think it is down the fantasy archetype we are given in games. The female avatar is often unblemished, perfect in appearance at all times, capable of having any personality you so wish, and has just the same power as the men, always able to perform the same tasks. In other words, the ideal fantasy female, in which the man player does not have to worry about the biological “woman problems”, the sexism in society, and so on. Essentially, they are not playing as a female, but as an idealistic female. Compare this to the male avatar, a hairy, muscular man, who, while is more realistic than the female counterpart, fails to do what makes the female appealing. It doesn’t hold to the fantasy stereotype of being able to surpass the opposite sex, and slay beasts with the single swipe of a sword. The equality of performance in games strips the male avatar of these virtues; he is just as good as the female avatar, and the only reason for choosing him is to look like a man. While this is good, it just doesn’t give the same appeal, in my opinion.

    Personally, I always start as a male character in games, as I am a male. However, on occasional reruns, or if I have alternate versions, I will play as a female. For example, in Pokemon Pearl, I have a female avatar, and my Platinum has the male character. Similarly, I do the same in Pokemon White 2; I did an entire playthrough as “Rosa” to get the hidden ability Sableye from the missing Xtransceiver quest during the post game. But most of the time, I will have more male than female characters, and while some of my favourites may be female, I might perform better with a male character due to certain differences (in games with differences).

    Although, it is occasionally due to aesthetic purposes. I like to put my own style into the game, and most of the time, there just isn’t enough fashion or cosmetic items for a male avatar. Immersion is one of the major parts I love in a game, but in a lot of fantasy RPGs, I struggle to absorb myself in the game due to the design on the male avatar. Commonly, most males are designed to have a bulky frame, with muscles and biceps and abs. Being a scrawny guy, these just don’t resonate with me. I much prefer my characters to be lithe, agile and graceful, traits which are often given to female avatars in games, with World of Warcraft being no exception. I created my first female character recently, a female Draenei Priest, and I’m happy with the way it matches my own play style, and immerses me in the game.

    Why do I choose to play as female though, without any hesitation? I know for a fact that my younger brother wouldn’t dare use a female character unless absolutely necessary, but I feel as though I am, personally, mentally aged enough to be fine with it, and am so confident in my own sexuality that it doesn’t bother me to use different genders in my games. Ever since I was a child, I’ve held onto the belief that people are equal, or deserve to be. I remember struggling to understand why women were fighting for equality, when they should have it without needing to protest. I always used female characters in my games, from favouring Star Strike, Cynder, and Stealth Elf in Skylanders, to always using Scarlet Witch in LEGO Avengers. Using the opposite sex has never been a problem with me.

    So, why do peoples choose to play as the opposite sex, and what do you do personally? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and expand on why you think people might be inclined to step out of their comfort zone.
  2. buskalilly

    buskalilly Well-Known Member

    I'm male and tend to play as a female whenever given the chance. There are a few reasons for this:

    • There are so many games where I have no choice but to play as "grumpy white man with stubble" I like to change it up when I can.
    • In any game with character customisation, there tends to be way more room for self expression as a female character. In Monster Hunter, for example, the elaborate dresses and costumes that the female armour consists of are much more exciting to develop than the generic knights and power rangers of the men.
    • Playing as a female character is often a more interesting story experience, and a way to have experiences outside what I live in real life.
    • In fighting games, the female characters are normally the quick, agile characters I'm good with so that's who I gravitate towards.
    • The female voice actor is normally better - see Mass Effect.
    • In games with romance options, the writing from a female characters' point of view is often an engaging love story, whereas with the men it's "ooh, you're so cool and tough I must have you".
    There are still some games where I try to recreate my actual self -- actually, I tend to just make a male character called Luke in my "main" Pokemon game -- but for the most part, I play as a woman called Lilly.
  3. Auraninja

    Auraninja I'm ready to Smash

    Whenever I get the Octo Expansion, I'm considering playing the female Octoling to "balance" my decision to play as a male Inkling.

    Most of the time, I play as a male character just because.
    Although in Style Saavy, you have a customizable character that is always female. It's funny how a fashion game can actually be pretty good.
  4. Zora

    Zora Who dies first?

    Both, I guess.

    This gets tangled up with sexuality. If romance mechanics aren't relevant, say in Animal Crossing or Pokemon, I tend to go male. But if romance mechanics are relevant, a legitimate question is if I'd prefer to play as a straight woman so I can be with a man or play as a straight man and, honestly, probably not bother with the romance mechanics; this is true for Fire Emblem 13 and Rune Factor e.g.. If I can be a non-straight man, I tend to go there; e.g. Skyrim I usually play as a dude.
  5. Requiem Aeternam

    Requiem Aeternam Dance like an eggplant!

    Depends on the kind of game. If it’s a game where you can customise your character completely (name, appearance etc) I mostly go for a female as I’m female but it depends on the type of characters playable. If the characters are human or similar looking then I will always go female because they usually have better customisation options and I find it weird playing a male character. If the character I choose is animal-like however (WildStar’s Chua, Guild Wars’ Charr and Tera’s Popori for examples) I’ll tend to go for a male or go for a male name if the character doesn’t have a gender.

    If it’s a game with set characters which you can’t customise outside of palette swaps or costume changes I generally pick the male options as I have more favourite male characters than I do female.
  6. Judge Mandolore Shepard

    Judge Mandolore Shepard Spectre Agent

    When it comes to games that allow the player to create more than one character, I tend to play as both genders. For example, in the first three Mass Effect games I have created four different versions of Commander Shepard. Two of them being male, two of them being female.
    The four of them are as follows:
    (key as follows: Gender, Pre-Service History, Psychological Profile, Class, Morality)
    Male Spacer Ruthless Soldier Paragon
    Female Earthborn Soul Survivor Sentinel Renegade
    Male Colonist War Hero Engineer Neutral
    Female Spacer War Hero Infiltrator Paragon
  7. Reyzadren

    Reyzadren Arid trainer

    In online games, I usually play my main character as male. However, the next alt is usually female, and it gets even better if both/all of them travel together in a party.

    I spend more time on my main than alt ofc, but I'm not going to ignore the extra clothes and customization for it and the team :p
  8. Satoshi & Touko

    Satoshi & Touko Ayla going to the Kingdom! :D

    I only play as the female character when there is customization involved. Otherwise, the only time I've played as the opposite gender (female) was for fanfiction-related purposes or because of Style Savvy. Which, speaking of that...

    OMG my relative is addicted to the Style Savvy series and she recommended that I try it since I'm regularly gushing about trainer customization in Pokemon. Glad to see someone else on here mention Style Savvy. :D
  9. PrinceOfFacade

    PrinceOfFacade Ghost-Type Master

    The females tend to have better customization options, so I often choose them.

    Also, creating female characters is just more fun.
  10. Storm the Lycanroc

    Storm the Lycanroc Well-Known Member

    I usually have two different mindsets when it comes to creating a character in video game.
    1. Casual - I want to casually play the game and have a more personal experience throughout the story. So I play as a male character and use my real first name.
    2. Role Playing - I want to specifically play the game a certain way. Create an original character that has a certain playstyle or backstory. (Example being a warrior, mage, or thief in Skyrim.) In this case I'm fine playing as a male or female because of roleplaying purposes.
  11. raichu27

    raichu27 Well-Known Member

    I play as a male character since I'm male.
    keepitsimple likes this.
  12. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie "It is my destiny."

    It's totally okay to play as the opposite sex in a video game just because you find the character design physically and visually attractive, no need to beat around the bush. ;)

    Anyhoo I tend to play as female whenever it's an option and/or to help stand out in multiplayer, but I have no qualms playing as a male character, particularly in beat 'em up games. Just makes sense to experiment with all the characters and not just stick to one or a few just because they're the only girl brawlers in the game.
  13. LadyTriox

    LadyTriox ~Corni: Cute Enough To Protect Me <3 tehe~

    I like playing as my own gender.

    It gets me the best clothes (proud skirts and dresses and hair bows lover here!!! :3).
  14. Sαpphire

    Sαpphire Well-Known Member

    It tends to be about half and half; I'm comfortable enough that my biological sex and gender identity don't have to be mirrored by a character whose life I step into. It's about the characterization, the experiences, the story - not me and my "real life" identity.

    If a game is good enough to play multiple times, I usually end up trying most possible character combinations.

    I tend toward playing as women overall, though - if it has multiple main characters or routes, you can bet I'm playing as a woman first. This creates a bit of a problem in games like Fire Emblem Echoes, wherein I found Alm's side of the game abysmally boring but had tons of fun with Celica; her party became far stronger and I was far more used to their abilities.

    When encountering full customization, I share the sentiments that women characters tend to get the better deal, but as a trade off they tend to be a little more likely to cater to a male gaze and be a little oversexualized in many instances. There are series, though - like Pokemon - where that's never been a problem.

    It's possible to make very good characters that are men, though. One of first characters between X and Y - and, I guess, the one closest to my real self - was pretty darn cool, all things considered.

    Anyway, I like building interesting characters and experiencing things through their lens, so I switch a lot, and wouldn't mind more than two gender options in more games.
  15. keepitsimple

    keepitsimple Swimmy was robbed

    This pretty much
  16. I don't think the answer is terribly complicated. Most games are dominated by heterosexual men, so naturally, they're going to choose a character who they enjoy looking at. Women, I suspect, choose male avatars more often because they sub consciously understand that it's men that have more power and agency in society than women.

    While we are on the subject, gender limitations in games really does ruffle my feathers a bit. For example, I hate how no matter what race you play as, whether it's orc, dark elf, dwarf, the female presets for those races will almost always be tailored to the male gaze and often you have to work pretty hard to make them have any semblance of being ugly. The same outfit covering a male avatar but being revealing for a woman, the inability to make a female character that's overweight or actually muscular (Usually the furthest character customization will go is letting your female avatar be toned, but abs? Get outta here!) The ability to feminize male avatars is also (again, typically) strictly limited which I find annoying. I wouldn't find the sexualization of the female avatar's so bothersome if we were given the same freedom to do it to our male avatars, but you usually can't and that's bogus. So, I usually always play as female avatars. I would like to play as a male character, but I'm not muscular or hairy, nor do I have chiseled facial features. I have not found a single RPG that has let me express a male avatar in a way that I relate to.

    The MMO that let's me make a pretty, dainty built cross dressing orc with big ass eyelashes is the day I'll declare gaming to have transcended sexism.
    lolipiece likes this.
  17. Scammel

    Scammel Well-Known Member

    I typically look for a more immersive experience as opposed to roleplaying in my games, hence I'm almost always male. I'll also put in a little effort where options exist to recreate my appearance, which admittedly isn't very hard.
  18. satopi

    satopi All hail Satomine Night!

    I interpreted the answer differently than what you meant as in I thought you were saying which gender you played the most as a character, which I chose male, since there are more male characters than female.

    But if I had the choice to pick my gender, it would be female. Sometimes playing the opposite gender by choice is cool though.
  19. Auraninja

    Auraninja I'm ready to Smash

    Oh yeah, I am also playing a female character in VC Pokemon Crystal since that's the character's one appearance.
  20. Jonothon !

    Jonothon ! ♥ Seventeen ♥

    I usually play as a female character when possible. As a gay man, in games such as Fire Emblem where you can marry other units, I am basically forced to play as a woman just so I can marry the male options.

    If a game has solid LGBTQ+ romance options, then I will create a male character.

    If a game has no romantic elements involved (like a shooter usually), then I will always be a female. For me, playing as a female character is a way to embrace and express my femininity in an ideal way. Like being a female in Monster Hunter allows me to be a cute, yet bad-ass female who wears elaborate armour. It is just so much cooler to me, rather than a generic grumpy male protagonist who tries so hard to come across as cool.

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