Gender and Video Games

The female protagonists in the twine games featured on beachboard are largely lacking in proper representation of the female gender. Games such as “Slit Mouth Woman” show how little consideration is put into these simple-premise games as the process of ‘choose your path’ games tends to lend to short variation in story arcs for women. The trend is an appeal to sex, horror, or as a side character. AAA titles seem to hit the mark much better in this regard, but they still fall short. In recent video game history, the most notable character in popular culture  many would recognize is Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider series. She is portrayed as an attractive, but capable hero who can manage any scenario in her unorthodox profession. She challenges character norms about women in games as she is never reliant on others to complete a task in-game. Other characters such as Yuna from the Final Fantasy series prove that narratives that focus on single and multiple female protagonists do not lack in representation. Yuna is portrayed as powerful and the most valuable team leader in the series. The three titular characters who include Yuna and two women team members revitalized the series at this time and showed that as much heart can be displayed in a story led by women.

It is clear that there is a culture of hegemonic masculinity in the history of male led video games. The culture which purposefully distributes these ideas across different games and platforms lacks the ability to recognize they do so in an attempt to replace their diminished or lack of existing masculinity.  Men tend to be portrayed as having some positive ability whether it be intelligence, strength, sexual appeal, or some other advantageous character trait. They are perfect or in the process of being perfected as the role of the video game player is to make that character as successful in-game to the degree which they themselves believe to be successful in their own life. The video game serves the role of replacing the inadequacies that these players feel in relation to the characters they command in the games that they play.

Again, the women in most twine games are never more than a sexual object, a crazed woman, or a side character who does not have a longing affect on the main protagonist. The difference seen in AAA titles is that the title character is capable of being a woman who is driven and worthy of the protagonist title or the complete opposite in the worst manageable way that strays from the progress seen over the years. One reason why this might be is because these women exist simply to push forward the narrative and nothing more. Women definitely have a presence that cannot be denied and in their representation over time there seems to be a more inclusive community wanting to change the culture that would continue to place women in roles which are stereotypical in nature.

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