• Console Games,  Female Gamers

    Mass Effect 2 Subject Zero

    I admire female warrior archetypes.

    Strong female characters in games (books, TV and movies as well, to be honest) are something which has always interested me. Zoe in Firefly is the perfect example of a strong, but still feminine character. Samantha Carter, although undeniably intelligent, lacked something in the “warrior woman” area. Claudia Black’s character in Farscape was quite good, sexy while still being a warrior.

    P was playing Mass Effect 2 today, and sent me the screenshot to the left. I quite like her – she has tons of attitude, awesome tats, and she looks as thought she would be fun to play. The video below shows off some of that attitude.

    I suppse my dream of running with the bulls this summer in Spain ties in with the idea of being a warrior – after all, “bull-leaping” was (perhaps) a rite of passage for young female warrior-priests. If I can manage to go (looking more and more bleak with my mother so ill and the need to go home to the States to visit her while I still can) I plan on a crescent moon/bull’s horns tattoo done in Celtic knotwork to memorialise it.

    Every woman needs a touch of warrior in her.

  • Female Gamers,  MMOs

    female/gamer

    While I was catching up on blogs that I read in those last burned-out fifteen minutes of a long day, I read a very nice interview with Mynxee of Life in Low Sec: GamePlay and Women in EVE.

    There is a lot of talk today that the gaming industry need more women. What improvements are needed to make games more attractive to women? Or are such improvements needed at all?
    To be honest, the kind of game that might appeal to the majority of women out there who aren’t already gamers would not likely appeal to me. So personally, I don’t really think much change is necessary, unless the game companies simply want to exploit a market that isn’t being addressed and could produce more revenues. But that is not my concern. I have not had any trouble with finding fun games to play…or people–including women–to play them with.

    Nicely put. I have an issue with games that are supposed to be attractive to females, because I think there is a (perhaps valid, I don’t know) perception that these customers are casual gamers. Because if they are already gamers? They’re playing the same games that men are. They are pirates in EVE Online, or raiders in Warcraft, or they play FPS games. I do play more MMOs than single player games, and I almost never play casual games, but in all sincerity I’ve never played a game that I thought wasn’t well-designed for women. I have never thought of myself as a female gamer, I think of myself as a gamer, and that is it. Age of Conan is probably the most male-oriented MMO that I’ve played (just due to the lore of the IP itself) but I didn’t feel slighted or shut out as a female player. I was able to make a strong female character, and that’s all that mattered – the fact that the initial quest involved saving a half-naked, bound woman didn’t bother me. My character rescued her and went on to kick a lot of ass, which was pretty much all I wanted to do in that game.

    I think if you try to pigeonhole people, you make shallow games. I’m definitely a girly-girl, but I feel quite at home striding through a post-apocalyptic setting, covered in tattoos and toting a BFG. I don’t need a pink interface, or sparkles, or fairies. I don’t need a casual game that I can pop on to play while the waiting for the laundry to be done. I want games that make me think, where I can kick butt with my friends, and as long as I CAN create a female character, that’s pretty much all I need.

  • Female Gamers,  MMOs

    A Hellcat Speaks

    One of the coolest people I have had a chance to meet online is Mynxee of the totally hot all-female pirate corp in EVE, Hellcats. Via Massively, a podcast where she discusses piracy and pvp. Give it a listen, it’s a really entertaining podcast, and Mynxee will offer a perspective on the game that might surprise you.  :)

    Mynxee has a really well-written blog as well – if you haven’t read Life in Low Sec, you should do so.

  • Female Gamers,  MMOs

    Yarr Girls Charm School

    I had an awesome “girls night out” last night with Mynxee of the Hellcats, and several other applicants/new recruits. It did differ from most of the girls’ nights that I’ve experienced, in that the weirdest/scariest guy in the room didn’t immediately fixate on me (what is it? Some kind of creepy male instinct that says “here is a woman who is too polite to throw a drink on me or tell me to piss off”?). Anyway, it was a class in her wonderful Hellcats Yarr Girls Charm School.

    What did I learn?  Well, Mynxee is an awesome teacher, and I learned how to travel in a pack, how to create safe spots, set up my overview, and so on…and I learned how hard directional scanning is. I totally fail at it. Oh, I could pinpoint someone within a fairly narrow angle, but there might be two or three planetary bodies in that slice of space, and once I go to one of them…I lose the target. There is something that I am missing, and I will need to practice a lot – probably in hi-sec so I don’t get smooshed by someone.  :)

    We did a small roam, looking for someone to interfere with, but didn’t find any likely victims. Again, like many of the girls night outs that I remember.  :)  One of the group did get separated and smacked at a gate, but she was able to get her pod away…which was actually one of the lessons last night so I suppose she passed that one with flying colours.

    I got to bed after 2:00am, couldn’t sleep, got up, drank some hot milk and read until 3:00, then got up at 7:00. It was worth it, though, and I look forward to the next one.

  • Female Gamers,  MMOs

    On Being A Guy

    I’ve been sidetracked from my Disciple of Khaine recently by a Chosen tank called Xanax. Yeah, I know, but I only created him to check out the starting area, and that name just came off the top of my head – I didn’t expect to continue playing him.

    I’ve always had issues with playing male characters – I generally only have female avatars. Since I tend to indentify with my characters and invest them with personality, they are almost exclusively female. The fact that most of the games I’ve played tend to have grotesquely musclebound male models doesn’t help.

    But this guy? We get along. He’s older, with grey hair and a heavily scarred face. He’s ugly and tough, but I think there’s a soft side lurking in there somewhere.  :)

    I absolutely love the starting area. It feels more natural, less bland than some of the others. The town is very nicely done, and has sort of a Fable feel to it. The initial spawn point has an awesome moving gate, and their version of the starting quests seem to work quite well.

    Some screenshots:

  • Female Gamers,  Warcraft

    Women and Raiding

    TenTonHammer had a post on Women & Raiding, a subject that is always near and dear to my heart.  :)  He doesn’t make any really strong or controversial points, but there is some good discussion about situations that can arise.  (And I must say, I’ve been in guilds with teenage guys who were MUCH bigger drama queens than any woman that I’ve ever gamed with.)

    “As it relates to gaming, there are three major groups of women. The first is serious gamers, the second is social gamers, the third is Man-Seeking-Missile (MSM) gamers. Serious gaming women dislike social gamers when they share a guild, and want to strangle all MSM gamers. These are the ones you want in your guild; they are better than most men you’ll ever play with, they care more passionately about performance than most raiders, and they are confident.

    The MSM analogy made me laugh.  We’ve all gamed with problem girls…the ones who have to announce that they’re female in rl, the ones who jump to post pictures on the guild forums, the ones who drop bombshells such as “I’m playing naked” into guildchat.  There’s nothing more guaranteed to make the average raid wipe than having half the guys concentrating on something else.  :)  This particular girl, who quite commonly made very sexual jokes in an attempt to be flirtatious, eventually crossed the line and got /gkicked when she made an extremely inappropriate rape joke.  Good riddance.  A lot of us are female, dear…l2play and get over it.

    I haven’t actually experienced any situations where women have been ignored or not taken seriously because of their sex.  I’ve been in two guilds with female GMs, all guilds have had well-respected female officers, and one guild was (sort of) all female.  It was supposed to be an all-female guild, but boyfriends kept creeping in on a “brother-guild” basis and taking over the forums.  Meh.

    The only problems that I have experienced have to do with couples.  The GM and partner who always stand together against everyone else.  The hunter leader in my last guild that  made sure that his spouse/girlfriend was on every single run, and got all gear possible.  There’s drama caused by jealousy, and by favouritism.  But that’s not exclusively a female problem.

    And what do I think of female raiders?  Even now, my dearest dream is to be part of an extremely hardcore female raiding guild.  No guys allowed, period.  No casual raiders, no couples, no excuses. That would be hot. There would be drama, of course…my god, would there ever be.  But it would still be hot.  :)

  • Female Gamers,  Game Design,  Personal,  Warcraft

    Strong Female Heroes

    angelina.jpgI was just watching the trailer for the latest Resident Evil installment, and I was thinking about Milla Jovovich.  I enjoy her in anything, even the worst piece of crap (which the RE movies are not, actually).  I like her as a strong, gorgeous female role model, who can kick ass and still look beautiful.  Angelina Jolie is the same way – I am a huge fan of hers.  Sigourney Weaver, in the Aliens movies, is another.  The scene in Alien: Resurrection where she’s playing basketball with Ron Perlman was a revelation for me.  It’s tough finding older female role models, and there she was, dressed in leather, tall, strong, beautiful, toe-to-toe with Ron Perlman.  Awesome.  Another *big* heartthrob is the actress who plays Zoe in Firefly.  I love her.

    For me, Warcraft has the same strengths in characters – that’s why everyone plays girls.  They’re beautiful, strong, and do not have the standardised youthful perfection that Guild Wars characters do (for example).  I’m excluding Blood Elves from this statement, of course…they look like mantises and not like people.  But humans, nelfs and trolls are all gorgeous.

    That is beauty, for me.  Although I’m no longer an athlete, it was very important to me to be as strong and as fit as possible.  I don’t like botox and silicone and stick insects…women should be strong and intelligent, competitive and dominant.  Those are real women.

  • Female Gamers

    SXSW: Getting Girls Into The Game

    Joystiq had some nice coverage of the SXSW panel “Getting Girls Into The Game: Designing and Marketing Games for Female Players“.

    The point was made, and made again that girls just like good games.  I dislike pigeonholing female gamers into “casual gamers” or “Sims players”.  A good game is immersive, interesting and challenging – qualities that are not inherently “male” or “female”.

    “Some market research has shown that girls like stories that are story-driven, or games where you have a specific, constructive goal like The Sims or Civilization. However, we’ve seen women who love to frag people in Halo 2, so it seems like the types of games that girls like … are exactly the same kinds of games that guys like. Call us crazy.”

    Amen to that.  :)

    And of course, the very first comment was by an idiot who posted “Female gamers are usually ugly, if that helps in any way.”  /golfclap.   As one commenter pointed out, that may be one reason why there are fewer female gamers…it’s because of the immature males out there.

  • Female Gamers,  MMOs

    Female Gamers

    Rom commented with a question about female gamers.  You know what?  If I believe most articles on women in gaming, my experience is very untypical.  (Supposedly, women like casual games that they can pick up, play for a few minutes, and walk away from.)  According to my personal experience, though, there are a lot of female gamers out there who don’t play any differently, or buy games differently, from men.  I’ve been in three Warcraft guilds, one all-female, and two that had a healthy mix of male and female gamers.  I’ve played FPS games at lan parties, and know a lot of women who do.  I don’t think the female gamer stereotype really exists, although people sure do try to market to it.

    On a Metroblogging Azeroth post, I wrote about  girl gamers and WoW.  I thought that, if there was any difference between women and men who play games, perhaps women like more diversity in game, and more of a sense of inhabiting a persona.  I could enjoy playing a total testosterone-blowout game like Gears of War, but I wouldn’t play it all the time…because I enjoy the illusion of actually inhabiting a world.

    Is that the difference, for me?  Perhaps.  I have male friends who are just as addicted to WoW as I am, but they don’t  see their characters as being “people”.  They’re always themselves when they play, whereas my toons have personalities that I sort of inhabit when I play.  Interesting.

    Recently on Yudhishthira’s Dice the question was raised:

    “Ladies, what RPG covers (or interiors) have you seen that involve a woman in the art that make you say, “I want to play that” or, just as good “I want to play her.” Or that make you feel like it is a game you could like, or be included in by a group of guys you’d never met and whose maturity you didn’t necessarily know?”

    This was turned into a meme on the Official Shrub.com blog, which you should check out.  I started playing WoW when the original packaging featured a nelf female.  Had I not already played, I would never have picked the game up based on the Burning Crusade packaging: the snarling male depicted on the cover would have given me the impression that this was a game that I wouldn’t like.  I’ve also never played any of the Tombraider games, because I feel no kinship or attraction to the overblown Lara.  I did, however, buy Dreamfall, at least in part based on the cover.

    So what is typical?  I haven’t the faintest.  :)  Any thoughts?