Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Do you swap gender?

Game Informer online has an interesting article about a study a university did about gamers swapping gender when they play online. It got me thinking.

I think the first time I noticed a gender difference (or choice) was playing Gauntlet in the arcades. It was nice to have a female Valkyrie since everything up until that point was male only characters. I've noticed in shooter games the character is almost always male. But in fantasy games you start to get a lot more choices for female characters. Unfortunately those characters tend to be range attack or magic users.

I remember playing RPG games at home and wondering why all the female characters tend to be the magic users. Their strength and defence numbers were low but their magic and spirit numbers were high. It bothers me a little bit but I just figured if I had to play as a male I would. When given the choice (and an equal balance between the genders) I usually pick female.

I don't mind running around in Rainbow 6: Vegas as a girl even if a lot of my friends gave me grief for that. And when I created a character for Mass Effect I made her female. But then I know of a couple of guys that made their characters in games (even 3D Mini Golf) female so that as they played they would have something "nice" to look at. It's nice to see a female character's stats not adjusted because of their gender. And nice to see guys playing as females even if it's just to ogle them.

I've also learned not to judge a person's real gender by the character I see on the screen. Guys can be girls; girls can be guys. What I do find interesting is after seeing what type of character someone picks and then learning what type of person they really are in real life. Does that gruff, grizzly, hardcore gaming dude run around as a Priestess in a dress? OR does that quiet, soft-spoken female maxes out her warrior, but with matching armor?

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