Marginalisation of Women in Video Games
Are Female Characters sidelined?
As video games keep reaching newer horizons and breaking records each year the industry has seen plenty of attraction from the younger generation, but there is still one issue that lingers massively throughout these upcoming games and the ones that have cemented their statuses over time. There seems to be a certain lack of a female protagonist in a plethora of games. There is a debate which says that men are inclined towards violence and as most of the games are designed with a chaotic environment having men in the forefront makes sense but if you just change the gender role, I believe it won’t make that much of a difference to the narrative or the design of the game.
The best example of games are seen when these games help children find an interest of their own that they can explore and in their adulthood, in a recent interview WWE wrestler and former UFC champion Ronda Rousey cites the influence of Sonya Blade a popular character from the Mortal Kombat series being one of her heroes growing up and this desire of being the strongest female on this planet helped her grow and become what she is today. This is a perfect example of what video games can do to the young minds of children aspiring to be just like their heroes.
Most video games now do give the option of creating your character and choosing a male or a female protagonist but it never settles firmly with the audience neither does it sit well within the structure of the game. Women have been generally cast as a side role character who may or may not play a role in the advancement of the story. Games like Halo do a good job in having a female character Cortana who is a part focus of the Halo franchise but she too gets overshadowed by Master Chief whereas if you see Lara Croft in Tomb Raider a game with a woman as a core character lead it changes your perspective entirely.
Recently BioWare and EA published Anthem which had a lot of hype around it but due to a ton of bugs and lack of support from the developers the game saw a painful death, in that game there is a legend of General Tarsis, a woman who saved humanity and her heroic acts are still valued in the storyline but the entire lore behind it feels incomplete and hollow. There has been not enough attention paid towards women in gaming and most of the time it is done to attract eyeballs which give the product attention but does not make it sustainable long enough to work and be remembered for.
There is a lack of women in the gaming industry and encouraging this gap of gender equality will prevent a certain section of the audience to connect with the material emotionally. A recent trend of feminism has caught on in Hollywood where we see a lot of women-centric films being made, can’t this trend carry towards gaming and instead of giving them just eye candy roles in popularity can we support them and bring them in to help us explore and improve the final product.