Player/Character Gender in Video Gaming

I think the bunny ears in WoW are part of a Easter-themed holiday event, though, or at least started that way. It’s not just a random, “BTW, this species happens to dress like Playboy bunnies circa 1985.”

Yes, the WoW bunny ears are part of and obtainable during “Nobelgarden”, the annual Easter-themed event. But there’s plenty of other stuff to allow you to cosplay a Playboy bunny.

I just find it interesting that so many video games have bunny ears as an option, regardless of origin or place within the game.

I think you’re lack of thought in character creation is still an important insight into who you are and how you connect with games.

I am probably similar to you. I would prefer to just be given a character, Arthur Morgan style, and that’s who I am for the game. A choice of characters is also fine, but I’m not interested in customising a character. If I have to customise one, I’ll make it look a bit like me, or a bit like my girlfriend if I’ve gone for a female character, and leave it at that.

I as a CIS male I don’t play MMORPG’s but play a lot of single player RPGs and am probably about 60/40 in favor of female characters when I have a choice that isn’t class dependent. In particular if there is a romance option, playing a female makes it a bit less like I’m cheating on my wife. Usually I try to fashion my character after her. Since she is generally rather timid, having her run around slaying ogres and saving the world is a good deal of fun.

I only play single player games because I don’t want to have to rely on strangers. I also don’t tend to replay games once I finish. I almost always pick male characters. I am currently doing a rare replay as I am doing the re-released Mass Effect trilogy. I went femShep this time because I did play male the other time.

My wife and I have an open relationship, by which I mean we’re allowed to sleep with other people so long as they’re fictional.

(Although now that I think of it, given the choice I usually find myself choosing to romance the character most similar to my wife, so…)

Heh…same here.

When playing Mass Effect as FemShep I made the character look like my GF (and I got close(ish) to how she actually looks). While my GF does not care for video games I think she was happy to see herself in the game-world when I showed her and that I made the character look like her.

Per usual, I can’t speak for anyone else…it’s fine, I’m used to it…but here’s my experience.

Old AD&D games: These were the ones where female characters had a lower strength cap. Since there was never any in-game need or advantage to playing “the fairer sex”, these quickly became testosterone-soaked musclefests. I didn’t like it, but it was kill or be killed. Plus there was always a lot of stuff to carry. Unenlightened times.

Guitar Hero / Rock Band: I made it a point to play not only as female, but the darkest skin color available. It always bothered me that while black men in video games were far from rare, the female side was almost completely lily-white. (These were PS3 games; things may have improved since then.) I remember GH5 having a skin color that was almost jet black…she was ravishing. :heart_eyes: I also insisted that the character designated the singer had to match the gender of the song’s actual singer, but I don’t remember ever making a male character just for that.

Dynasty Warriors 4 Empires: Didn’t play this one very much, didn’t play custom characters much, didn’t really prefer either gender. I think I did one game of each. (I would like to state for the record that Zhu Rong kicked serious butt in DW4.)

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: I don’t feel like hashing through my entire reasoning process again (here’s the thread if you feel like going through that particular ill-fated journey), but in a nutshell, the impression I got was that the Eivor is a woman and the male Eivor is actually how she perceives herself. I liked the woman’s voice better anyway. :slightly_smiling_face:

I never got anywhere with Stardew Valley (mumblegrumble frickin’ parsnips), but if I ever got serious about it, I would’ve been absolutely adamant about making a lesbian couple. Let me put it this way: The game gives me options, I’m not taking the “boring vanilla mainstream conventional same 'ol-same’ol dime a dozen crap” option. Plus I’m a big fan of Alison Bechdel’s work.

While it’s true that there was no advantage for playing a female character, the vast majority of times, there was no disadvantage, either. Even if (as so many of us did) you were fudging the rolls on character creation, only a fighter had even the possibility of having a strength so high it’d hit the gender cap. If you wanted to play a wizard, or a thief, or a cleric, then character gender mattered not at all.

Less chance of being charmed and/or eaten by the thirty “sexy lady who is totally a trap” monsters doesn’t count? :wink:

Some of the boys in my group considered that “winning the game” and would happily reroll. :stuck_out_tongue:

I was in an old AD&D campaign (back in the 2nd edition days) who’d had a string of awful, awful luck. (Much of that “luck” was the DM being a sadist of course.) The only thing good that ever happened to him was that he won the heart of the beautiful daughter of a village leader during one of the adventures. In reality he’d been shot by a sleeping poison dart from a Drow and dragged into a cave. He woke up and found her beside him, and took her out of there while everyone else was fighting the Drow warriors. She woke in his arms and called him his savior, introduced him to her father, and so on. But he left her to continue with his adventures because “people needed him”.

Not long after that he barely survived an encounter with an insane mage who burned him to a crisp with a fireball spell (after creating the illusion of a dragon; my character disbelieved that a dragon was really breathing on him but while the dragon wasn’t real the fire sure was). Most of his possessions were destroyed. He finally gave up, retired, went back to her village and (presumably) lived a long and happy life without being knocked unconscious or impaled or set on fire on a daily basis.

So maybe a different “lady trap” but I sure thought that was winning.

Cis Male checking in.

In RPGs, I almost always play human or human-adjacent, white males. If it’s my “story”, I find that’s the best way to connect with my character. The farther away from “me”, the harder it is to connect with the character. This holds true in both PNP games and computer games.

If, however, I’m playing someone else’s story- such as in Assassins Creed or Street Fighter, I freely play male or female, it doesn’t matter. In AC Valhalla, right now, I’m playing a female Eivor. In Street Fighter, I always played Chun Li.

Just to clarify, I played the “classic trilogy”, Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, and Secret of the Silver Blades. In none of them did any kind of gender-based dynamic come into effect…no charms, no politics, no militants. These games actually allowed you to set your starting attributes, and I made damned sure to set them to “actually have a prayer of someday completing the game”. Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, “massive frightening blood spray” and “massive frightening blood spray plus one” didn’t make any meaningful difference, but I wasn’t about to take that chance.

Hey, I was a teenager with a lousy EGA monitor, whaddya expect? :man_shrugging:

Point of Order: In Curse of the Azure Bonds, having a woman in your party allowed you to chat with the Swanmays and receive their mark, letting you bypass some of the onerous Drow patrols in the area. I don’t remember anything gender based in PoR or SSB, though.

It wasn’t a trilogy, there were 4 games including the final one, Pools of Darkness. I have really fond memories of those games.

This is me as well. Given the option, I tend to play an idealized version of myself, or someone I’d like to be, and my cis-malehood is a pretty important part of my self-definition. If I’m playing “someone else”, then whatever.

In the latter case, whether I play a man or a woman very much depends on the game. I’ve found that in games featuring a lot of romantic options, I tend to select a woman. That’s because, unfortunately, I still feel uncomfortable playing a man having sex with other men, whereas I have no problem playing a woman having sex with other men or with other women - so playing a woman effectively doubles my sexual target list, so to speak. That’s why I prefer playing Kassandra in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, for instance (also because the voice acting is better) .

Another game I prefer playing a woman is in the Saint’s Row games (3 and 4). There, it’s because having a woman as the gang leader protagonist helps undercut the games’ testosterone-drenched macho dramatics. It’s somehow a more relaxed, funny game with a woman in charge.

There was a cartoon in Dragon, “Why our characters do what they do.” A guy is slumped in a chair looking at his buddy. From off panel his wife is nagging about something, there’s an infant squalling in a playpen, and a dog is pissing on his leg. The caption: “So how about it, Phil? Wanna go on another dungeon crawl?”

As a young boy, I used to feel sexually confused playing Metroid. So I was very relieved when it was revealed that Samus was a woman under all that armor.

Seriously, wasn’t Lara Croft one of the most popular playable gaming characters ever?

Sure, but you don’t get the option to play as Larry Croft instead. I think most people aren’t going to refuse a game entirely based on character gender but rather most will pick their own matching gender, given the option.