Saturday, 18 August 2012

It's Hard To Be A Female Gamer

Just recently I've come out to my friends and family as a Gamer.  Being a Gamer is something I've always been, something they've always known, but we never acknowledged it officially.  But after my most recent love affair, The Legend of Zelda, it has become obvious that this is more than a phase like we originally thought. I've finally dumped The Sims franchise after an eight year relationship and began playing other games.  The break-up was tougher on The Sims than it was on me, after all I have recently I've realised that our political aspirations don't match up and I'm fed up being a home-maker all day long whilst my creations get to go out and experience a digital world. 

Which leaves me wondering what games are out there that I am prepared to play; a recent experiment with Red Dead Revolver and Tekken 5 tell me that I do not appreciate out-moded "masculine" formulas, whereas my experience with The Sims  leaves me suspicious of anything seemingly friendly to female players.  Why do video games have to be designed with either gender as the perceived audience of the game?  I think that is why I enjoy The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess so much; the protagonist, Link, is male but his game companion is female, Midna.  Midna is pretty powerful in her own right and has the ability to conjure a Dark Energy Field to dispatch some pretty nasty enemies.  Not to mention the Princess Zelda holds the Triforce of Wisdom and is shown as being willing to defend her Kingdom by force with her own sword (sure, she surrendered, but that was after she saw defeat was inevitable).  Poke'mon is another nice-and-gender neutral game; in some of the games you can pick the sex of the avatar and in all games there are equal amounts of female rival trainers of all difficulty levels.  

Why can't there be more of these games out there?  Games that don't need big explosions, typically male-centred story lines or highly sexualised women to make them worth playing?  Why don't Game Developers not release that the best way of tapping into the female game playing market isn't to develop games like Animal Crossing or Mama's Kitchen but to provide more gender-neutral gamesAy, ay, ay.  

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