The Average Gamer

Ragnar Tornquist and female game characters

So, I caved and bought* a £4 copy of Edge this month almost, but not entirely, on the basis that the front cover was comprised of cutesy drawings of the LucasArts adventure staples of my childhood.

But in addition to the LucasArtsy goodness there’s an article on female characters in games. No special revelations in it really (few women in games, blah, Lara Croft, blah, publishers like Hawt Secks, etc.) but one thing caught my eye. A quote from Ragnar Tornquist. (Hey, if he can leave out the non-English character online then so can I.)

“Gender should never be simply an aesthetic choice, although for the most part, regrettably, it is,” argues Tornquist. “Men and women are different, and there’s nothing wrong or sexist about making that an integral part of gameplay and the storyline. But most developers are afraid to offend, or maybe some people are too easily offended, and so men and women have become mostly interchangable in games, a consideration like hair or costume. That needs to change.”

First up, which games is he playing that actually allow you to interchangeably pick man or woman without affecting gameplay? Not MMORPGs since they’re avatars, not characters. Everything else is pretty fixed. Perhaps he’s referring to the male and few female FPS non-characters, though I don’t think some reactions in a few cut-scenes really constitute an integral part of gameplay either.

Secondly, what I really meant to ask was this. To those guys out there who actually played Dreamfall (or part thereof): Was there ever a time where you would have done something drastically different to Zoe, if that situation had happened to you?

Seriously, you fall asleep, you wake up in some other world, you wander around and ask questions, right? I don’t see how Zoe is particularly a “woman” rather than a “man” but hey, I’m a “woman” and I spend my life wandering around asking questions, so maybe I’m just blinded to it all.

*(sweet-talked TheFluffyFist into buying)