One of my friends posted a video from the folks at College Humor and, while I’m a looooong way from college age, I was struck by just how hysterically funny this video is when it comes to today’s games. But it’s more than just a good laugh (and it is that!). It also shines a light on gender bias with regard to armor models in today’s games. /overly serious intro
First I’ll let you watch it.
Now that you’re all done chortling about shiny parts and finished with that belly busting laugh at the end when the guys come out in armor frighteningly like the woman’s at the beginning of the film, we can move on.
I’ve been playing RPGs and MMOs for a good long while now and the last decent armor model I saw for any of my RPG characters was one that my level 99 Amazon wore in Diablo 2. My best MMO character armor came in Lord of the Rings Online with more of Kalaniel covered than uncovered. Guild Wars wasn’t too bad either. I have to admit, however, that I wasn’t totally enamored of the pseudo steam punk wear-it-as-tight-as-you-can look of my Mesmer but at least she wore pants most of the time! I had a lot of hope for Rift, I really did. But even they let me down. Oh sure, I got to lose the spike-heeled thigh-high boots that are just so dang practical for running around in the wilds of any MMO, but my characters still show an alarming amount of cleavage even at my end game levels. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to realize that the enemy will be looking for the parts that aren’t shiny to aim at first!
I’ll even admit that I’ve quit a few games because I just couldn’t stand what my characters looked like.
Yes, I’m that shallow.
But here’s what I want to know: According to a 2008 study, the ratio of male to female gamers is 60%-40% so why are female characters still running around in G-strings and Wonder Bras? Don’t get me wrong. I get it: Sex sells. I’m secure enough in who I am to think that, at least occasionally, it’s nice to look like a Victoria’s Secret model but not all the time for Pete’s sake! I also get it that men like to see the female characters they play dressed in the skank of the week costumes that some (too many) MMOs utilize. I can accept that but I want equal time. I want that bad boy in a jock strap and a pair of sandals so I can admire his rear end as he’s running down a horde of Orcs. Is that so wrong?
So now I’m putting out the clarion call to developers: Give me male armor models with just their shiny parts covered and at the same time, give my girls better than that thong and Wonder Bra combo mentioned earlier! Maybe I’d be more inclined to play male characters in my games if they were present. I might not but, either way, why can’t female and male character armors be created equal? Maybe we need some Gamers’ Constitution and then make an amendment to it. You know “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all character armor models are created equal.” Or something like that. But if that’s too extreme, all I really want is to see a bit less cleavage on my gals and a lot more shiny stuff covering my characters’ parts. And while they’re at it, I’d also like to see a lot more of my boys. *wink wink nudge nudge*