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About hot characters in computer games :)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Kyriakos, Feb 14, 2021.

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  1. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I am following some other thread, in some forum you likely don't know even exists, and currently we are discussing the use of pleasant to look at female and male characters in computer games...
    So Jane Jensen's blog was mentioned (she is the creator of the Gabriel Knight series), and here is a relevant part:

    https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JaneJensen/20140414/215473/WRITING_HOT_MEN_FOR_GAMES_Yes_please.php

    "[...]WHY WRITE HOT GUYS?

    Reason #1: Female gamers will love you for it.

    There are, in fact, a large portion of women who play games. According to the ESA, 45% of all gamers are female. This varies greatly by genre, I’m sure. But if women do tend to play the type of game you design for, then why not give them a male character they can salivate over? Because…

    Reason #2: Male gamers are okay with it.

    Really. I have never once had a male player tell me “I don’t like Gabriel Knight because he’s too sexy.” What? No. It’s never happened. And why would it? After all, the player is role-playing that character. Who doesn’t want to be good-looking, smart, and sexy? What guy doesn’t want to be hot? Do not fear the hotness."


    I personally wouldn't say Gabriel is "smart". He tends to do dumb stuff, is a trash-book writer, his life consists of sex and little more (and then he starts fighting demons)

    Here is a pic of Gabriel, from the remastered version of GK1:



    I think that a main difference between use of hot male and hot female protagonists, is that at least with the males they tend to keep most of their clothes on... Otherwise it would be more difficult for the majority of male players to take the game seriously. Lara Croft, on the other hand ^_^
     
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  2. Samson

    Samson Deity

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    The thing is, in Civ 4 at least, that you do not get to see yourself. So you want to have hot characters as opponents. I will play Cassiel more than Faeryl Viconia because of that.
     
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  3. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Not a fan. Rubs me the wrongest uncanny valley way. PS2 era was by far the worst.
     
  4. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    I don't even understand the question. What's the reason to avoid writing them? Aside from the cases when it's part of the story.
    Are female players not okay with hot female characters?
     
  5. Lemon Merchant

    Lemon Merchant Forum Buzzkill Super Moderator

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    Some female gamers no doubt object to hot female characters because they see them as exploitative. I know that I find the various states of undress in a female character a little stupid, but I do like a smart, hot female character. But that's just me.

    I am a little less "woke" than some of my female compatriots.
     
  6. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    I think it depends on the way female characters are depicted.
    So far as I know very few feminists objected to the character of Lara Croft (tough, smart, self-reliant), many objected to the style of clothing she was always wearing.

    A game like The Witcher 1 where almost all of the female characters exist only for the male protagonist to sleep with I do object to.
     
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  7. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Some female players object to the new Lara Croft, because (despite not wearing so revealing outfits) she is now more sensitive and carries trauma.
     
  8. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    That happens. Surprisingly not every woman has exactly the same opinion as every other woman.
     
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  9. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    It can be equally bad for males. In the early 90s I had to see coin-ops with He-Man type protagonists. I only wanted to play something cerebral, like Super Snow Bros:

     
  10. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    Sex sells.

    I normally don't pay to much attention the last women I thought was cute in a game was Kassandra in Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

    She doesn't ten to wear skimpy clothes. I think it's her accent and the voice actress doing her job that dies it though.

    Lara Croft never really did it for me and I never really got into the Tomb Raider games until I played the new ones.

    I didn't enjoy them because of how Lara looked. One would be idiotic to assume women don't like eye candy either.
     
  11. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    Hope there are not too many of them. Because by this logic, real women should also avoid being beautiful.
     
  12. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    Just thinkin' out loud here, but maybe conflating video game characters with real women might be part of the problem..?
     
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  13. Sofista

    Sofista Emperor

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    Eh, but remember when FIFA, at the Russia 2018 World Cup, cracked down on pretty girls being shown in the audience?
    So, if and when there's going to be a World Cup with a live audience, and women get to be shown on camera, could they see it as an international body officially attesting their unattractiveness?
     
  14. Lemon Merchant

    Lemon Merchant Forum Buzzkill Super Moderator

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    That definitely is part of the problem. Few of us can live up to the stereotypical image of the women depicted in most games. Personally, I couldn't care less what a man might think of me. He'll never have me, anyway, so what does it matter?

    On the flip side, however, it is a little demeaning to have these fantasy women put out into the public to reinforce the notion that we exist only as sex objects. It's getting better, but there's still a long way to go. It's the same on the telly, though. There you have three choices: Dizzy nitwit, Wisecracking friend, or Impossibly good-looking ball-busting [female dog]. The fact is, we're a combination of those things, and more. I'm capable, fit, and reasonably attractive, plus I can dress up as eye candy if I want to (and sometimes I do). I like to be looked at, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I am highly intelligent and capable. Treat me like an idiot and you'll soon find that out.

    The problem with these video games is that most women come off looking like one or two dimensional beings and are usually some 14 year-old boy's wet dream. No woman can seriously carry around breasts like some of these women have. Their backs would be sore constantly, much less the exercise and diet regimen needed to have the figures they do. But, this is how we're portrayed, and we put up with it because we are supposed to be the gentler gender and we are supposed to acquiesce. That's what my mum taught me anyway (flawed as that was). Women are complex, nuanced, and we're not all goddesses. Someone should see these video game girls first thing in the morning. They'll look just like the rest of us.
     
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  15. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    Weird. Being kissed or grabbed against will is not sexism, it's punishable sexual assault.
    As for zooming in on a person, it should only depend on whether (s)he's ok with it.
    Are we going to avoid showing people at all, or regulate average level of attractiveness and gender representation among those who is shown on TV? This is crazy.
     
  16. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    The first step is for men to separate video game characters from real life people.
     
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  17. Lemon Merchant

    Lemon Merchant Forum Buzzkill Super Moderator

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    Bingo!
     
  18. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I think the reason for women in games wearing sexier outfits than male hot characters is mostly that the game market was for a few decades literally directed at "14 year old boys". Now you see many more types of characters, and different genres of games as well, partly as a result of female players being far more numerous than in the past.
    Anyway, if your target audience is in early puberty... it's clearly a different dynamic than games directed at 20-30-40 or older people. Works for females in that age too, which explains why non-talented, non-intelligent, but good looking youtube gamers like a certain swedish clown became a force on the web :)

    I also doubt that any game will be a success just because it featured some sexy female protagonist. Speaking of Lara Croft, although she certainly became the first game-related sex symbol, people forget (or aren't aware) the fact that Tomb Raider was revolutionary in its time for having a full 3d environment in a large platformer. That wasn't there before - you only had games like Alone in the Dark, which was very clunky, and some 3d shooters. Tomb Raider became popular before Lara Croft got to be a sex symbol for the game market.
    Not that I ever played the TR games. I don't like platformers :p
     
  19. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Bear with me. I'm going to talk about my gaming/novelizing project that's been going on for the last 2+ years (skip this post if you're not interested, but since it's relevant to the OP...). The way I define "hot" is not simply sexual attraction. There's got to be much more to the character than that.

    The game, King's Heir: Rise to the Throne, was originally published under a slightly different title, which had to be changed due to the confusion with another game franchise. This is the original version of the title, which immediately made quite a few of us on Big Fish Games sit up and take notice... because tall, dark, and handsome character, medieval-era (early 11th century) adventure with male protagonists and location-accurate voice actors (unusual in Hidden Object games):

    Kingmaker-Randall.jpg


    This is a quote from one of the reviews:

    (No, I didn't write that ;). I agree with it, though, save that the game specifically takes place in September, 1039 AD)

    All reviews can be found here. I've only included those from the Big Fish Games website, as that's where I buy most of my computer games (and this one, of course).

    This is the updated title/YT trailer image (that throne looks so uncomfortable; in my own version of the story I had someone find a cushion for the monarch to sit on :p):

    Kings-Heir-Rise-to-the-Throne-CE-2.png

    This is not the character whose point of view the player is playing in the game. The character in the picture is Sir Randall Ulmer, and the POV character is his brother, Sir Edmund Ulmer. Both of them serve the King, who gets murdered on a hunting trip, and the brothers are framed for the murder. During the effort to clear their names and bring the real murderer to justice, they discover who the real heir to the throne is.

    We never get to see what Edmund looks like, other than a murky cutscene image of a hooded man rowing a boat across a bay in the rain, so in my story I've been free to make up whatever description I've wanted.

    The above photo is only used for the Collector's Edition of the game (extra scenes, chapters, wallpapers, music files, etc.)

    The character used in the Standard Edition of the game is this one (who some players have also considered attractive, though he's a generation older than the Ulmer brothers):

    Kings-Heir-Rise-to-the-Throne-SE.png

    This is Duke William Bennett, an old friend of the Ulmer brothers' father (who is also murdered during the game and we never get to see what he looks like, other than a dead body on the floor of his study). Duke William is a "helper" character who gives information and advice and works behind the scenes during the story (one of the fun aspects of novelizing this game is writing out all the things that happen "off camera" when Edmund isn't part of what is going on; he tells Edmund to go there, do this, while he - William - will go elsewhere and do other things as they work together to resolve the situation, and I wanted to know what happens to the other characters when Edmund isn't there to witness it).

    This next image is a screenshot of the "royal lineage" puzzle, showing the previous five generations preceding the heir:

    Kingmaker - Rise to the Throne - Royal Lineage 2 - Randalls ancestors.png

    They're kind of a mixed assortment of people, who may or may not be appealing to whoever plays the game. This puzzle has inspired me to explore the earlier history of the game setting and the royal family of this era.

    The order they go in, from oldest to most recent, is top middle (the only reigning queen we know of; the lineage actually goes much further back than this), her son (bottom left), his son (top right), his son (bottom right; this is the king who was murdered on the hunting trip, and finally the heir's father (middle portrait). The heir's father, who was the Crown Prince, was killed in battle before his own son was born. The remaining portrait is meant to be the current heir, whose identity we don't know until partway through the game.

    We never get to know the actual names of any of the people in these portraits, other than the one in the middle. Not even the murdered king gets named, other than the family surname. So I've had fun contemplating who these people are, and the presence of a Queen in the lineage provided a great story hook not only during her own time (which I guesstimate to be about 200 years before the opening scenes of the game), but to justify what I plan to do with the next generation of characters. Part of the teaser of this game refers to the "last great King of Griffinvale"... which made me wonder why he was the last great king? Was he inept? Was the royal family all killed? Or maybe it's because his heirs after that were female. There's no reason why the lineage can't continue with great Queens; after all, that's what happened in real history with Elizabeth I.

    One of the things I love about this game is the absolute lack of American accents. I loathe historical-era games set in European locales with people speaking with American accents; it grates on the nerves and takes me right out of the story. There's a variety of accents in this game, and I wish the credits had included the names of the voice actors. They really help tie the whole thing together to make this such an immersive game. The POV character is rather quiet-spoken and mild-mannered, but he's resourceful, careful, tenacious, and is the character who does the fighting (I've written it in that of the two brothers, he's the better fighter, and his calm, mild demeanor makes people underestimate him). The voice actor for Duke William reminds me of Brian Blessed, in a non-manic, non-shouty way. Duke William is also a resourceful character who saves shouting for when he needs it. Due to a conversation with someone about Duke William, I realized I'd overlooked him in further developing the characters. He now has a backstory, a family, motives for his actions past, present, and future, and I like him much more now than I did initially.

    As for the female characters, that's where this game isn't as good as it could be. The only female character with a speaking role is the Queen. She's elderly (about 70-ish), always dressed sumptuously in purple and jewels, and is thoroughly evil. One plot point that most people I've discussed this with is wondering why she would do all the things she does in the game. After all, she's the king's wife... but then Livia was Augustus' wife (in real history), and look how that turned out.

    Actually, the answer to this lies in the royal portraits puzzle. I didn't post the whole thing; there's another part where the portraits include smaller portraits of the royal consorts, and the murdered king had TWO wives. The Queen in the game is the second wife, and therefore not the mother of the Crown Prince and the heir. So that explains her attitude and her motives. It's too bad there wasn't any dialogue to explain this to the people playing the game. I'm obsessed with this game and have been combing screenshots for all sorts of visual clues as to possible motives for the characters, and I don't understand why there wasn't a line or two of dialogue where the POV character wouldn't have realized it as well. It's an added layer to the story that most people don't pick up on.

    The other female characters don't have dialogue; in fact, all of them have been dead for a long time (30 years, 7 months in the case of the Heir's mother, I guesstimate about 35-40 years for the murdered King's first wife, and about 150 years or so for the Queen in the portraits puzzle). This game suffers from what I call "Bonanza Syndrome" - too many male characters, and the female characters either shown or mentioned don't have nuanced storylines or points of view. So in my ongoing project, I added some. I gave the Ulmer brothers a sister (and a reason why she's not part of the in-game events). I couldn't figure out a way to fit a mother in and have yet another plausible reason why she isn't in the game, so I retroactively killed her off. The family acquired a cook/housekeeper (who had the day off, to explain why she's not in the game, either; besides, they're a ducal family so why don't they have servants?). The Queen acquired an assortment of ladies-in-waiting, some of whom are her own younger female relatives (nieces, since she and the King never had children together), and I also added a number of female characters of varying ages and physical descriptions in the roles of merchants, midwives, the wives of other characters... and they all have their own pov and motives for what they do and which side of this palace coup they're on. Oh, and not one of them is dressed in skimpy outfits. One thing about this game is that the clothing; while anachronistic in a few places (the corpse of the Duke of Ulmer is shown wearing suspenders, which weren't invented until centuries later; the game is specifically set in September, 1039 AD), there's a good attempt to make it period-appropriate for both male and female characters (but don't talk to me about armor; I'm not familiar with 11th century armor).

    Of course I realize that not everyone loves this game and these characters as I do, and the reviews reflect a variety of opinions. But over the last couple of years I've spoken to a number of people who do enjoy it, and they've been very encouraging in my efforts to turn this into a novel (series, rather; I keep getting ideas that spark more chapters, separate characters' stories... ).

    There are many hidden object games on the BFG site, but it takes more than an attractive face to persuade me to buy them. I've become much pickier since deciding to novelize some of them. Another franchise I enjoy and have begun to novelize is Vacation Adventures: Park Ranger. The setting for this is a national park that purports to be in Washington, but somehow part of Jasper National Park got displaced there (I'm sure the developers must have thought Moraine Lake was a nice scene to use for the game, but never thought that it would be obviously out of place to anyone familiar with the iconic locations in the Canadian Rockies).

    The game can be played from the point of view of either a male character or female character. The other rangers run the gamut of ages, experience, ethnicities, sexes, and body types - they're not all necessarily super-attractive people, at least I don't find some of them so. The only questionable thing that bothers me about the characters are the sleeping arrangements. For some reason the rangers' quarters don't have curtains, so just anyone can look in. :dubious: That's probably not something that would bother most people who play these games; after all, the idea is to find the hidden objects. But from my pov as someone who turns these games into prose and tries very hard to not make it obvious where the game mechanics are happening, this is just bizarre.


    To sum up: There's more to an attractive game character than their physique or clothing. Some of the characters I find most attractive are completely covered from head to toe and aren't necessarily built like an Olympic athlete. An attractive game character needs a voice that's appropriate in tone, accent, and vocabulary, and a compelling motive for what they're doing in the game. I want a sense that something is going on with them even when the "camera" isn't on, that they have a life outside the game events. A character attracts me if I'm inspired to create that off-camera life for them.
     
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  20. Yeekim

    Yeekim Moderator Moderator

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    The first step might be not to act as if "men" could not separate video game characters from real life people...
     
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