Female game makers are also slowly making their mark on the industry, with 22% of game makers from around the world identifying as female, according to a survey by the International Game Developers Association conducted in 2015.
The number of female protagonists in games still lags behind the abundance of male ones. Many children in the late 1990s played Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow on the Gameboy Colour, with gameplay centred around a male avatar.
Even non-human characters are often hit with “girly” stereotypes; a recent redesign of Sheila, a female kangaroo in the new Spyro Reignited Trilogy game, gives the character a nipped-in waist, glamorous eyelashes and a new hairdo. This went on to spark a social media backlash with critics questioning why a cartoon kangaroo needed to look “sexy”.
We asked designers and others in the gaming world their thoughts about the representation of women in video games
Jasmine Idun Isdrake, creative director at Playcentric Studios and founder at game innovation hub Collaboratory
Still I can count these on both hands and compared to male characters, the gap is huge. There are few LGBTQ+* characters in games, too. Art house and indie games are usually more diverse and investigate subjects like sexism. One cool example is Nicki Homaj where the player wears a pink wig and high heels with embedded sensors and responds to sexist comments by moving controllers.
but tacky, sexist scenes just makes me lose interest and respect for the developers. Diversity is about quality.
I feel no difference as a gamer playing muscular male Kratos in God of War or my customised, old and wise female character in Bloodborne. I play to relax, get into a story world and feel a flow in movement and slashing of monsters, because everything is well-designed. As a game developer, diversity and inclusion is always at the core, and that work never ends if we want to keep up quality in our industry.”
For an apparently modern industry, much of gaming puts women and men into alarmingly traditional roles: powerful hunter-gatherer man, scantily-clad doe-eyed sexy woman. It’s part of the retrograde projection of gender that’s afflicting the music industry at the moment too. Does it matter? You bet it does! If we perpetuate distorted stereotypes through entertainment it has a fundamental impact on progress in the real world, especially on young people’s aspirations and self-esteem.
You know for a group talking about inclusion and diversity, I notice these articles almost never mention
Also poor Spyro. First Skylanders and now a sexist game correction. Another loss to Crash. Cocoa Bandicoot #imwithher
Oh, also for clarification its 16 or 17% not 22. See the "identifying" part inflates the percentage. Hopefully no one is offended by me pointing that out. Then again, a group would be offended if I didn't either. Can't really win here.
Also diversity COULD mean quality, if it wasn't forced, because most forced diversity games suck and have a bad track record. Maybe some of these blue haired girls taking odd edgy pictures should sit back and reflect.
Now where did I put my Sheila the Kangaroo wall poster.....