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PC Games (Games) Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Gender-Bending In Online Games Investigated 63

Thanks to Terra Nova for their article discussing the prevalence of gender-bending in online RPGs. According to statistics worked out in the piece, "[in EverQuest], every 1 out of 2 or 3 female characters is being played by a male player, while every 1 out of 100 male characters is being played by a female player." The article also notes that, according to the statistics, "The demographic that is most likely to gender-bend is not male teenagers, but men over the age of 25", suggesting one reason for this might be that "younger male players are probably less secure about their own gender identity."
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Gender-Bending In Online Games Investigated

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  • The Awful Truth (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 18, 2003 @10:54AM (#7248215)
    When EQ was fairly new (1 year old) I had a couple of buddies who played it 10+ hours a day. Building up characters and swag to sell to 'make a living playing EQ', etc.

    They played chicks for one reason - they could get losers to give them stuff for free if they flirted a little, i.e. "Oooh she said she's 21 and dumped her boyfriend, if I give her this armor and sword combo I'll bet I can get laid at the EQ-con she wants to meet me at".

    The utterly sad thing is they were right and it worked - in spades. These guys conned items that were normally very hard to come by (don't know the names though - I stopped playing after the first 3 months myself, never saw much of the high level stuff) on a very regular basis using the 'I'm a 22 year-old single hottie in real life who's playing a mostly naked hottie elf chick in EQ' scam.
  • by Earthquake ( 4014 ) * on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:50PM (#7249300)
    I always play female characters in games, even single player games. Why? It's quite simple. Female characters are not as common, not as well implemented, and generally need to be supported more often.

    For every game you find where you have the option of playing a female character, you can find countless other games that force you to play a male character. And even those games that allow you to play female characters often do not implement the female options as well as the male options. Female characters will have fewer models/clothes/faces to choose from, fewer sidequests, etc. In the worst cases, other characters will accidentally refer to you as "him" even though you're female. To be fair, female options have gotten better overall recently, but they still aren't as good as they should be.

    What better way to ensure gender equality in video games than to play games as a female character and complain to the developers about any problems you have with the experience?
  • Gender-bending (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarkZero ( 516460 ) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @04:24PM (#7249848)
    I don't see how any of this is really "gender-bending". I've mostly played male characters anyway, but I've really never seen my male fighter or thief as MYSELF, but rather as my CHARACTER. I would imagine that a lot of the guys that are playing female characters see it the same way. I don't see my characters as being any different from Dante, or Snake, or Ryu, or Moritsune... my MMORPG character is just the male character that I'm controlling. The so-called "gender-bending" male players probably don't see their MMORPG character as any different than Tifa, or Chun-Li, or Samus, or Athena.

    Granted, I've heard anecdotal stories about male players experimenting with female characters to trick people or get free stuff from idiots, but I've known a lot of "gender-bending" male players and all of them are just doing the same thing that they've done when they've played as Chun-Li in Street Fighter or Kasumi in King of Fighters - choose a female character because they like them.

    This entire article is based on the idea that playing a female character in an MMORPG is the same exact thing as dressing up as a woman and claiming to be one in real life, and from my experience with MMORPGs like Ragnarok Online, that's just way off base. MMORPG or not, most people do not consider their video game character to be a reflection of themselves. What's next, an article telling me that by choosing to play a Warrior in an MMORPG, I'm voicing my insecurities about my physique and fighting ability? Or that the 29% of Everquest players that play as Mages are indicating their desperate need to be the intellectual elite of the world?

    Some of this MMORPG analysis just goes way too far.

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