If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the Forum Rules. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
Welcome to RPGamer's new forums running under Vanilla Forums! If you're run into any odd or strange issues after our software migration please see this thread for details

Tissue Your Issues - Level Grinding

InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion GuyRPGamer Staff
Level Grinding returns this month with a hard look at tri-Ace's acquisition, a F2P Fable Legends, RPG realism, and Anita Sarkeesian. We also have a handful of questions for the readers.

LEVEL GRINDING

If I could ask you readers some questions this week, they would be:

- What's your favorite tri-Ace game? Why?

- Is there a version of F2P that is fair to the player?

- Will you play a F2P Fable Legends?

- How important is realism in video games to you?

-What are your thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian?
"To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."
«13

Comments

  • TexsideTexside Member Full Members
    Great column. I read the last one a bit late and skimmed part of it since work was busy, but I like the format a good bit. It's fun, it's engaging, and it's a good read. I'm looking forward to next month's.

    On to the questions!
    InstaTrent wrote: »
    If I could ask you readers some questions this week, they would be:

    - What's your favorite tri-Ace game? Why?

    Radiata Stories. Now, I will concede that other games by Tri-Ace had more solid systems, better stories, better presentation. I'm a heathen who never played a lot of Valkyrie Profile, so I can't speak much on that, and that's a glaring hole in my argument. But, Radiata Stories brought two things that grabbed me.

    First, I liked the world. (We'll be revisiting this down below). It was cute, it was -- I shudder to use this word -- immersive, and it had style. The story did the job, as did the characters, and they helped bring the world out and make me want to stay there.

    Second, I liked the gameplay mechanics. The combat wasn't bad, but the time management in the city, picking out things to do, and the quasi-open world were great.

    It had problems, and I'd be happy to go into them, but those things won over the problems for me.
    - Is there a version of F2P that is fair to the player?

    Ennnh... no. Theoretically, sure? But I think, as long as game companies want to make money, they will do things that will make them money. F2P has a lot more holes to abuse consumers with. The standard model also allows for some pretty heinous consumer abuse, like the Jimquisition video pointed out, but...

    F2P can do it more, and provides way more opportunities for it, precisely because the games aren't finished, basically like the column averred.
    - Will you play a F2P Fable Legends?

    The still shrinkwrapped copy of Fable 3 says "no."
    - How important is realism in video games to you?

    Not one bit!

    We'll return to Radiata Stories, here. It was a cute, heavily stylized game that one couldn't take for realistic if they tried. The game had an anime exterior and a chewy nugget of old school comedy at its core (Jack and Ganz's Marx Brothers-like interactions, anyone?). But. There were little things -- the way characters had daily routines, the way the clock in the corner was drawn in an art style that matched the world, the look and feel of the city of Radiata that made it feel bigger than it was.

    It wasn't realistic, but it was convincing, and I think games can do this quite well! See the Persona series for another example. Little things, too, beyond the look of the game go into this; I'd say Persona's menus, of all things, actually help make its world feel convincing. You get an experience, there.

    Now, FFXV may well do that. I'm eager to see what they do. I may not have a system that can play it for awhile (but I'll hope for a PC release).
    -What are your thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian?

    I agree with her, by and large. She's right on the money about a lot of what the column brought up. I'm not sure if I agree that she's treating symptoms, rather than the sickness -- or, rather, that may be, but I think treating the symptom is valuable (and for a person in her position, as an advocate rather than a producer or consumer, more realistic of a goal). It raises awareness, and I think that's valuable.
  • CidolfasCidolfas Member Full Members
    I think there is value in changing the symptoms first. I can certainly imagine that many women would look at video games, see the extremely male-focused world, and shrug it off as not something they were interested in. Women need to love games in order to want to work at them, and getting them to love games is getting them to identify with them is getting games to cater more to them. So it's sort of a cycle of improvement that needs to start low and aim high.
  • PretzelPretzel New Member Full Members
    Here are my 2 cents:
    What's your favorite tri-Ace game? Why?
    Star Ocean - The 2nd Story. It was my first tri-Ace game and holds a very near and dear place in my heart. Between the awesome story, addictive battle system, and outright unbeatable soundtrack, playing it through with each character felt like bliss and not a grind. The first time I put it in my PS1 the theme music about knocked me out of my seat. Almost literally. I ran my PS1 through my stereo :-). To this day when I go to Cracker Barrel, I stop at the nearest barrel, stare at it, and just mumble "barrel barrel barrel" until my friends groan :-).

    Is there a version of F2P that is fair to the player?
    Nope. Or Hell Nope. Your choice.

    Will you play a F2P Fable Legends?
    Nah.

    How important is realism in video games to you?
    So-so. Depends on the game I'd guess. But Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Final Fantasy 6, etc, were not exactly 'real' looking games, but all had amazing stories and music that could touch you at your core. Which brings up my personal point: realism doesn't move me, music does. Final Fantasy 6 was the first game I actually bought the soundtrack for as it was some of the most amazing music I had ever heard. The ending theme, all almost 30 minutes of it, brings a tear to my eye to this day. Yet I've played games that looked amazing, but with a mediocre soundtrack and story, that did little to nothing for me. So in a nutshell - Screw realism, bring in some decent composers! (extra shout out about FF6 and Fallout:NV for amazing soundtracks)

    What are your thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian?
    She has some valid points I hadn't thought about. Of course, when you are a dude, you don't normally think of such things. I don't at least. But I watched all 3 of those videos (well past my bedtime I might add lol), and found myself rather intrigued at how thoughtfully intelligent they were. It would be a beautiful thing to have more female oriented games that weren't just "PMS Jokes" or "damsel's in distress". I found myself rather disturbed at the whole genre of games where they kill the woman or make you kill her just to advance a story. Too much violence isn't a good thing sadly. There are much better ways to tell a story.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited April 2018
    deleted.
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    I disagree with the part that tri-Ace has never been a great developer.
    They used to be the best, continuously making games that were half a generation ahead of their time.
    The downfall of course happened way earlier than with the acquisition.

    I kind of blame the slow death of console RPGs. tri-Ace strongest point was always to surpass the limits of the console and made something so great nobody ever expected it to even be possible. However with the more recent console generations you keep hearing that making a highest-possible-quality title takes so much money, that it is basically a loss for every developer, unless the game sells in several millions. Even a big company like Square Enix basically argued that FFXIII had to be this linear because of budget reasons. They indirectly stated that open world is no longer possible because development of the highest possible quality is just too expensive.
    For tri-Ace a much smaller company with less funds that tries to always surpass the limits, it was simply impossible to afford it anymore.
    Not only for tri-Ace but also for many other companies this was something that forced them to turn to mobile gaming. For mobile devices you can make lower quality titles with nobody complaining about it and they actually sell better, especially in Japan.
    Don't ask me why nobody had the idea to just make 16-bit quality titles for consoles again.

    So that's pretty much what really happened. tri-Ace decided to no longer develop big awesome console games and focus on mobile games. At that point they already "lost" several of their members and moved their office. They announced they are working on two handheld titles, one for PSP and one for 3DS ("Into The Labyrinth").
    At that point it was already pretty clear that tri-Ace won't ever be the same again. So in that regard, I agree that they being bought up is not really too sad news at this point.

    Console gaming is currently still dead. It will take a while until the now kickstarted indie developers will rise up and make console games that actually sell despite not having the highest possible qualities. The players are really the main obstacle still, because there are still so many "modern" gamers that look at beautiful 16-bit graphics and be like "Hahaha, those graphics are so ugly, they aren't even 3D!"

    tri-Ace will never come back but I hope that there eventually be a new developer who makes games as awesome as the ones tri-Ace made.
    - What's your favorite tri-Ace game? Why?
    It's a hard struggle between SO4, SO2, VP1 and VP2 for me.

    SO4 - It perfected the battle system, no other battle system was ever this fun and action loaded ever. It was the perfect symbioses and button mashing and good reactions. Dungeons design was awesome as all dungeons were pretty large and you had to do a lot of exploration, this combined with the amazing graphics was a wonderful experience.

    SO2 - The battle system was mostly just bashing X, but the dungeon design in this one was also pretty cool. Also the way how stories split and lead to different characters in your party was awesome. You will hardly see RPGs where the non-linearity even included optional dungeons. Also it was the first battle where the villain quotes during combat actually felt really cool and you totally collected and listened to them again and again. Especially Cyril. Cyril is awesome.

    VP1 - The gameplay system and dungeon design is amazing. Battle is really mostly button mashing but still so fun. Brilliant idea to give each character one button. This prevents combat to become overcomplicated. I just didn't like the time system in this game all that much and the fact that you have to decide which characters to lose permanently. I hate having to do choices like that.

    VP2 - Mainly liked it because it took the fairly simple battle system from VP1 and took it to a new level of strategy.
    - Is there a version of F2P that is fair to the player?
    As long as there are no limited items or items with time limits I'm quite fine with anything. My favorite model is B2P where you buy the game and might buy additional content but once bought it's permanently available to you.

    Something many players hate but I personally don't mind either is a stamina system. In the sense of you can only play 4 hours per day, if you want to play more you need to buy stamina. I think if someone really wants to play the game this much, it doesn't hurt asking for some money from him. Playing this much isn't healthy anyway.
    - How important is realism in video games to you?
    The question is wrong - realism is something bad for video games. So it is important that companies don't try to aim for realism at all. Games that are based on a strong technical limitation automatically turn out much better. The more freedom you have, the harder it is to make a good game. A game neither needs realistic graphics (which just means a lot of extra cost and often the gameplay has to suffer because of it because you have to cut out content) nor realistic gameplay (if you try to make gameplay realistic, it often gets worse, it's not always an improvement if the player has to constantly watch that he eats and drinks for example).
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    Glad to see discussion on the "fantasy based on reality" approach ff15 is taking.
  • InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion Guy RPGamer Staff
    I'm not sure I feel comfortable calling console gaming "dead." Even under the context of console RPGs. Personally, I'm excited to pick up Type-0 and see how Final Fantasy XV is coming along. I know RPGs have been prospering well on handhelds, but if SE gets the sales numbers with their upcoming releases we may see more from other studios.

    Also, thanks everyone for the feedback. I can't reiterate enough how amazing it is that we have such a well informed and engaged community.
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."
  • Overlord RamirezOverlord Ramirez New Member London, UKFull Members
    What's your favourite tri-Ace game? Why?
    properly be Valkyrie Profile 2 and Star Ocean 3, because they're the one I played the most on the PS2, I then went and played other games they did.
    Is there a version of F2P that is fair to the player?
    depends if it truly F2P or if its a trap for you to P2W.
    How important is realism in video games to you?
    easy, not at all the more weird and wacky the better.
    What are your thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian?
    *walks into the toxic filled swamp*
    its 2015 people, still can't believe there's people out there that takes that charlatan women's word as gospel despite what she says being de-buffed and her information flawed or non-existent by most normal people (so everyone except for people who spend way too much time on Tumblr) including many female feminist.
    *ducks the hate aimed at me*

    overlordramirez.jpg
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    Maybe the question shouldn't read "what are your thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian" but more along the lines of "What are your thoughts on the points that Anita Sarkeesian makes.". Cause sometimes shouldn't matter WHO makes the statement as much as it does what the statement is. In your above comment Overlord you are just dismissing the WHAT is being mentioned because of the WHO is saying it.

    And on that front there are indeed aspects of her points that she makes which are very relevant. Many games when it comes to females in gaming fall into the which are mentioned in this article. There are many games that fall into the scopes of which she is talking about especially. I can name on my two hands the games that do not fall into the tropes mentioned. Metroid (all Metroids, not going to count each one individually because it's the same game, Tomb Raider (same as previous listing), Princess Peach. I'm not going to count games where you pick a gender cause it's just as easy to be male in those games as female. Games like Neptunia, though having a strong Female cast fall into many tropes mentioned and are not arguably "strong" female characters.

    Sure there may be a few more that fall into the realms outside of the above mentioned titles but they are still the minority. When was the last time GTA had a female main character . . . never. When was the time Racing games portrayed a female lead driver . . . nearly never.

    Now granted my realm of perspective is far more limited then many on this website I play almostly strictly RPGs.
    sig.gif

    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited April 2018
    deleted.
  • coyotecraftcoyotecraft Full Members
    How important is realism in video games to you?
    Graphic wise, it's not very important. Sound design, absolutely. If they're in a cave I better hear reverb. I learned a long time ago, that people can watch static screens and poor vcr traction as long as the sound is good. But if the sound is bad, they're not going to watch it even if the picture is crystal clear.
    It doesn't matter how hyper realistic FFXV graphics are, people will hate it if the voice acting is bad. I hope they use stage performers like they did with FFXII - and not the same stock anime voice actors that's in everything else.
  • SandySandy Final Fanatic Full Members
    smacd wrote: »
    At this point, she's completely irrelevant, because nothing she says or does will make a difference. Too many people will dismiss the message simply because its Anita Sarkeesian saying it, if not respond with anger and hostility.

    I disagree that she is universally hated - most people that agree with her just aren't as vocal as the people that don't. I for one deeply respect her courage to bring up a very touch subject like feminism and sexism into the male-dominated world of games. Sure, it would help a lot if she knew more about different games by default, but she has clearly done a lot of research for her videos.

    Besides, who among us can claim to have played every game ever made? And of course she cherry-picks the parts of games that support her agenda - that's what people with agendas do. She is in no way a neutral researcher, analyzing games without preconceptions, but a flagbearer who sees there's a big part of people being left out of an industry that could appeal to them as well, and tries to change that through videos and lectures. It can be defined as propaganda, sure, but none of this makes her points moot or pulled out of thin air.

    Games need more versatility - desperately - but none of the big-shot producers and developers are going to do much about it unless people make noise about it. The AAA-industry is still wrapped in a bubble where they think only white teenage heterosexual boys buy games and that they will only buy games about white (teenage) hetero men (or sexy women that enable their power fantasies), even though indie games have proven otherwise for years. This has to change, and I applaud people like Anita Sarkeesian who are doing their everything to change it, even at the high risk of getting flak about it.
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited March 2015
    I'm not sure I feel comfortable calling console gaming "dead." Even under the context of console RPGs. Personally, I'm excited to pick up Type-0 and see how Final Fantasy XV is coming along.
    I guess I should say console gaming how I learned to know it is dead. I don't mean it in the sense that no more games will be released at all, but the times any talented developer could make an amazing and unique game for a console are gone. Basically only the biggest companies can still release games for consoles and I guess due to the lack of alternatives, those might actually sell enough so the companies don't make any losses even with AAA graphics. I mean how many games are actually available for PS4 and XBox One at this point? You can almost count on two hands it seems. The console generations of PS2 and earlier probably had a hundred times more games released within the same duration.

    And if the last generation's trend continues, the only other games released for consoles will be really cheap low-effort productions of companies that re-use existing engines and just change the graphics and stat blocks around so they can release games at a fast pace to keep up with the development costs.

    So either be a large company or push out releases as fast as possible.
    It just seems like a shame that companies like tri-Ace just don't have any chance anymore.


    Regarding that other topic, this forum seems to be strongly feministic from my impression, so it's hard to even dare discussing about it without being scared of being flamed. But basically my stance about that is that men and women and inheritly different and it just doesn't make sense to try and pretend they are equal. Equal rights for all: Yes.
    Being equal: No.
    Females just aren't into gaming as much as males (yes, there are females here, yes there are always exceptions to the rule), females are less likely to become heroes. Females aren't better or worse than males, they are just different.
    Everybody trying to enforce some kind of equality seems rather silly for me. There don't need to be more female heroes. If you go via marketing, 89% of the gamers are male, so male heroes and women with big breasts makes most sense, since it sells best. Realism? Well there were female warriors in real life, but not as many as male ones. It probably ends up with a 89%/11% ratio too I could imagine, so occasionally having a female hero but mostly male heroes seems to fit best on the realistic approach. In fact lately I've seen so many female main characters that I think it's actually too many of them when going by realism.
    But actually that whole thing is nonsense because games shouldn't be realistic in the first place as I explained in an earlier post. It doesn't matter how females are like in real life or how many are playing games or are suitable to be warriors. Games... like any other form of creation art can be anything the creator imagines. There could very well be an RPG about how all males got extinct due to a virus or something that has 100% female characters. But there could just as well be an RPG where woman are much weaker than in real life and could never even wear a sword. Or an RPG where only males are able to cast magic.
    Discussing whether this is sexist or not or saying there need to be more female heroes is just silly. The developer creates his own world with his own rules and they can be anything he wants. It has nothing to do with real life.

    Also I have larger doubts that female main characters will actually increase the number of female gamers. I played plenty of games with strong female main characters and it didn't drive me off gaming either. That there are more male gamers than female gamers comes from them being inheritly different and not from games having more male heroes than female ones. I totally would love if there were more female gamers, more women that like to play Pen & Paper, more females that like to develop games, but it won't happen, even if there were even more female main characters.
  • InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion Guy RPGamer Staff
    There are about twelve cans of worms in that comment that I have no interest in opening, but I will make the point that 52% of gamers today are women. With that in mind, I think proportional representation (providing it doesn't negatively impact a game's plot) makes quite a lot of sense. And the intent shouldn't be for the amount of female gamers to increase. It should be for the female gamers who already play games to finally feel as though they are being represented.

    Rya, when you play an RPG you probably relate to at least one of the male characters and their motivations. Women who play games often don't have that opportunity because female characters tend to be limited in number or relegated to the background/used as a prop/treated like something to be rescued. That's where this whole push for representation is coming from, and while I don't always find Sarkeesian to provide valuable, balanced arguments I absolutely support more women getting the same kind of in-game attention that we men do.

    Also, feministic isn't a word.
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    I guess it depends on what you count as gamer. Women playing a puzzle game on their iPhone may count as gamer in that statistic. If you go into a random gamer community and make a poll "are you male or female?", you will hardly ever get above 15% women. I got those 11% women from a poll in the biggest German gamer community btw.
    Articles like the one you linked to just try to mess with your brain bending the facts, but every gamer who goes to gamer meetings, plays online or an MMORPG (especially if you use teamspeak so you can actually hear who is pretending to be female) or develops games himself in a larger company, will quickly realize that women are still a rarity in these areas. I mean it's totally obvious.

    Also the article says that most of these women play puzzle games, trivia and words with friends. So, if you want to make them feel represented in the games they play then you only need to represent them in those genres which is pretty much the case already. When we are talking about something like RPGs, then there are still hardly any female gamers, so no need to represent even more. I bet there are percentually more RPGs with female main character than there are percentually women playing RPGs (though I have no statistics to back them up, just a gut feeling).

    That article also says that only 3% of all programmers are women, so that's also interesting.
    Rya, when you play an RPG you probably relate to at least one of the male characters and their motivations.
    I don't think so? At least I can't recall it. If I think of my most favorite character in Star Ocean 4 for example, that would be Welsh and she is female. Well I guess Arumat is pretty cool, but I wouldn't really say I relate to him, I just like his cool combos.
    Women who play games often don't have that opportunity because female characters tend to be limited in number or relegated to the background/used as a prop/treated like something to be rescued.
    I think that is nonsense. The "woman needs to be rescued" plot is already pretty rare in RPGs these days. Which RPGs did have such a plot in the past 10 years that did not also contain you saving male soldiers or similar?
    There are plenty games for the few female RPGamers that exist without weak women that need to be rescued.
  • Anna Marie PrivitereAnna Marie Privitere Purr RPGamer Staff
    Name them.
  • InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion Guy RPGamer Staff
    edited March 2015
    In spite of the fact that we aren't just talking about RPGs, most playable character parties in modern RPGs (Western and Eastern) are predominantly male. It wouldn't be hard to mock up a chart in excel that demonstrates that fact. Also, I don't think it's reasonable to assume you understand the population demographics of any video gamer community when you're only using what you've seen as a basis. That's what we in statistics call an "estimator bias."

    Regardless of the population divides, I would suggest that games as a whole should be striving to be more inclusive towards people of all walks of life. Not just white dudes.
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited March 2015
    Games need to be designed for the people that play them (marketing perspective) or for the people that make them (assuming "you should make games you would play yourself") and not on some ideal.
    Name them.
    Not sure what you refer to but if you mean games with female main characters:

    Almost all Atelier games, Neptunia, Phantasy Star I (and in the other parts there were always strong females too, though not main characters), Ys Origins (selectable), Star Ocean 2 (selectable), Tales of Xillia (selectable), Crystal Warriors, Royal Stone, Telepath Tactics, Valkyrie Profile, Valkyrie Profile 2, Wild Arms 3, La Pucelle, Metal Slug (selectable), Eternal Sonata, Mirror's Edge, Silent Hill 3, Koudelka, Final Fantasy VI, X-2, XIII, XIII-2, Lightning Returns, all Pocky&Rocky games, Legend of Sayuki, at least one Dragon Quest, Monster World IV, Mass Effect 1-3 (selectable), Portal, Portal 2, all Metroid games, some King's Bounty games, Trails in the Sky, some of the Heroes of Might & Magic games (depend on campaign), Starcraft Heart of the Swarm, Fatal Frame 1-4, Clock Tower (ok she's pretty much whiny and anti-hero), Haunting Ground, Cosmic Star Heroine, Parasite Eve 1-2, Secret of Mana 2 (selectable), Defender's Quest, Freedom Planet, Gone Home, Giana Sisters, Knytt Underground, ...

    (I left out those with character creation but included those where there are actually designed female main characters with personality that are optional.)
  • ultranessultraness Member Full Members
    edited March 2015
    - What's your favorite tri-Ace game? Why?

    Valkyrie Profile, and it's not even a close contest. It has my favourite music and gameplay of any of their games, and it's one of their few games where I think the story and characters are great, too. I've enjoyed many tri-Ace games, but Valkyrie Profile is their only game that I love.
    - How important is realism in video games to you?

    Not at all, essentially. This was the only point I really wanted to comment on here. Personally, I think they're approaching realism wrong, as graphical realism isn't all that important, in my opinion. Making characters look as real as possible (see Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within) often doesn't lead to characters that feel as real or look as natural as more stylistic visuals (as seen in something like a Miyazaki film). If you compare Twilight Princess to Wind Waker, the later Zelda game has more realistic graphics, but Wind Waker's Toon Link has much more natural animation and facial expressions.

    Regardless, I'm concerned about their comments on realism since they seem to be taking a superficial approach to realism (again). I didn't feel less immersed in, say, Final Fantasy XIII because the characters didn't look realistic; my immersion was lost because the characters didn't act like real people--or, in other words, because the writing sucked. In contrast, Nier had much weaker graphics and more outlandish characters (one of which is a talking book) but they felt a lot more real to me, as I found their conflicts easier to relate to.

    The lesson, which Square never seems to learn, is that writing trumps graphics every time. I thought Mother 3 was a great example in the article. The game appears cartoonish, but it has some of the best writing I've seen in any RPG, and the characters' conflicts felt genuine, and that's what really matters. I'm worried that Square still doesn't get something so simple.
    -What are your thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian?

    As mentioned earlier, this question should probably be phrased differently. Anyway, I didn't have any issues with her points and I agree with some of them.
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited March 2015
    InstaTrent wrote: »
    ...most playable character parties in modern RPGs (Western and Eastern) are predominantly male. It wouldn't be hard to mock up a chart in excel that demonstrates that fact.

    Okay then, why not go for it, if it wouldn't be hard? It would be good to bring some real numbers into the discussion, rather than just throwing assertions around. I'd rather see the raw data than a chart, though. Charts have a way of hiding the real picture.

    Out of curiosity, I tried tabulating the playable character gender distribution from a few RPGs in my own collection:

    Tales of Vesperia: 4F, 4M, 1 Repede
    Tales of Xillia: 3F, 3M
    Tales of the Abyss: 3F, 3M
    Tales of Graces: 3F, 4M
    Radiant Historia: 3F, 4M
    FF5: 3F, 2M
    FF10: 3F, 4M
    FF10-2: 3F, 0M
    FF12: 3F, 3M
    FF13: 3F, 3M
    FFT (playable plot characters): 4F, 6M, 2 monster, 1 robot
    Atelier Rorona: 3F, 4M
    Dragon Age: Origins: 3F, 4M, 1 player-selected, 1 dog
    Xenosaga: 3F, 4M
    Shadow Hearts: 2F, 4M
    Shadow Hearts Covenant: 3F, 4M, 1 Blanca
    Persona 3: 4F, 5M, 1 Koromaru
    Persona 4: 4F, 4M
    Sakura Taisen 5: 5F, 1M

    So, from this totally-not-random sampling, it looks like the male/female balance in RPGs is close to parity, on average, but when there are an odd number of characters, the guys often win by one. That is an interesting bias, and if you added up hundreds of games like this, it might even sum up to a notable numerical difference. However, on a game-by-game basis, I wouldn't say RPG parties were "predominantly" male. Tilted a bit, perhaps, but I don't think swapping the proportions would make for a significant change in representation.

    But since these samples are from my own collection, and I didn't even pick them randomly, the selection bias is necessarily very high; it probably says more about me that it does about the industry.

    It will be interesting to see how much my selections differ from the norm, so I look forward to seeing your data. I'm rather impressed that you don't find this sort of thing hard. Personally, I would find it pretty time-consuming, and I have no idea how I'd go about selecting an unbiased sample of modern RPGs...but then, I'm not in statistics.
    Also, I don't think it's reasonable to assume you understand the population demographics of any video gamer community when you're only using what you've seen as a basis. That's what we in statistics call an "estimator bias."
    That sounds more like selection bias to me. I thought estimator bias was something different?
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    InstaTrent wrote: »

    That is a terrible, flawed statistic that equates casual mobile players to people who's primary hobby is gaming. All idealistic arguments on this topic are fairly moot. It comes down to two things: overwhelmingly men are making the games, and men spend more money on games. It's no secret that women barely exist in the game programming/design field. And men outspend women four to one on games. Women have two options, make the games they're asking for themselves, or purchase games more like what they're looking for, to show developers one way or the other that it's not a crap shoot to make those games.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed Full Members
    edited March 2015
    Actually, that statistic is increasingly accurate for so-called "traditional" gaming, and particularly for RPGs. Note this graph right here that has women as over 50% of RPGamers and close to 40% of console gamers. That's not the only place I've seen that statistic, either. I saw another survey recently (which frig it all I didn't bookmark and now can't find again) that separated gamers into casual/core/hardcore and women were at 30-40% (somewhere between there) in the hardcore console category.

    Things are changing rapidly and women are becoming more and more involved in gaming. Every year our numbers get higher in core gaming consumption categories. Women have been making their purchase preferences known and have also been developing direct relationships with developers through fan communities. Slowly but surely we're entering into the game industry, an industry that is notoriously difficult for people of all ages and genders who have family responsibilities (which of course fall predominantly on women, but this affects men as well, many of whom move into more traditional software development in their 30's because they find they can get paid more and have a life there).

    When I walked into a gaming store in 1992, I was nearly always the only woman (well, teenage girl at the time) there, and I'd get side-eyed by the clerks. Now I meet other women of all ages in the store (buying for themselves, not their kids), behind the counter at the store enthusiastically discussing which Smash Bros. character they want to main, at fan events, etc.

    Games are already changing. Protagonists are becoming more diverse, especially in the non-AAA world. The indie and crowdfunding uprising shows a hunger for different ways to play than the shooter-fests that have been dominating the scene for so long. It's not just women, it's veteran gamers of both genders and young gamers who are unimpressed by traditional ideas of what a game or gamer is "supposed to" be. And I can't wait to see what this younger generation of Minecraft gamers grows up to do when they start buying grown-up games and making games themselves.

    And for the life of me, I don't understand the pushback that women who critique gaming receive. Generally the action points coming out of said critique include asking for more diversity in general and for game creators to treat their female characters with more respect in particular. What the frell is wrong with that?
    Becky Cunningham, Happy Snappy RPGamer Alum
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • SandySandy Final Fanatic Full Members
    If you go via marketing, 89% of the gamers are male, so male heroes and women with big breasts makes most sense, since it sells best.
    ---
    Discussing whether this is sexist or not or saying there need to be more female heroes is just silly. The developer creates his own world with his own rules and they can be anything he wants. It has nothing to do with real life.

    First you say games are sexually skewed because of marketing, but then you say the devs have a creative freedom. See the flaw in your thinkin?

    The developers are not free to do whatever they want with big budget games - they have to maximise the income, thus create "tried and true" game stories that will surely sell. That's why the clichés that Anita among others points out are so prevalent.

    Indie developers have less of such demands, which is why we see much more versatility in their games.

    For the record, I'm not a female either, but a gay man - so that's a whole other can of worms. I occasionally get my Dorian/Iron Bull to pander to my demographic, but that's once in a blue moon. Even though Anita focuses on the female point-of-view, I strongly feel she is advocating my feelings towards one of my favorite passtimes. After all, she is speaking for more representation (and more respectful representation) for all kinds of people in games, so how could I not endorse her?
  • SandySandy Final Fanatic Full Members
    Games need to be designed for the people that play them (marketing perspective) or for the people that make them (assuming "you should make games you would play yourself") and not on some ideal.

    Even if that was the case (which I disagree), wouldn't it be healthy for the white male hetero teenager to see people of varying colors, shapes and sizes, let alone motivations and histories, in their games? Especially in roleplaying games, where the players should be playing a role of someone else?

    I'm not expecting every game to feature a gay person, nor do I have any problems playing a heterosexual protagonist (obviously), but if games still keep up the image that men need to be muscular machos who save feeble women from moustache-twirling villains, then I'd say games are falling behind their time.
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited March 2015
    Note this graph right here that has women as over 50% of RPGamers
    I just can't believe statistics like that because they simply don't match with my personal experience. I totally agree that you see women more often in game stores than you used to, but I've never been to a gaming-related place where I saw more women than men.
    And for the life of me, I don't understand the pushback that women who critique gaming receive. Generally the action points coming out of said critique include asking for more diversity in general and for game creators to treat their female characters with more respect in particular. What the frell is wrong with that?
    I can only speak for me, but more diversity in games is not the problem, that's a good thing for me too. BUT IT'S ALREADY THERE. It's just really disturbing for me when people constantly try to pretend males and females should be equal and then try to get developers to adjust their games based on this. Or developers themselves being all like "Look how modern I am, I put a female main character in my game".

    There are many other topics where the same thing happens, people think they are the "good" in person and must try everything to enforce their perfect ideal on all and bending the facts the way they want for that (like claiming most gamers are female). So it's more a matter of principle rather than being worried about games having female main characters too often.

    In the end diversity actually suffers because of that, because you basically disallow extremes.

    First you say games are sexually skewed because of marketing
    That's not what I said. I said that marketing is one of the possible ways to make games that actually makes sense.
    Just as the developer doing whatever he wants makes sense. That's more for the games you do for yourself and don't want to live off, so it's not influenced by marketing (sometimes those sell suprisingly well, though, I mean that's what happened with Final Fantasy, Squaresoft being basically bankrupt and then they just made a game for themselves so they have a final memory, hence the name). After all, not everybody has to make games to earn a lot of money. It's a creative art.
    Developers doing something based on some ideal that neither they really want to do nor that sells well, makes less sense, though.
  • SandySandy Final Fanatic Full Members
    edited March 2015
    Developers doing something based on some ideal that neither they really want to do nor that sells well, makes less sense, though.

    "There are different types of people" is not an ideal, it's reality.

    There has been a vicious cycle in game development, where many developers make games for their "younger selves", without realizing that there are other people who might be interested in games should they include more diverse characters and broader points-of-view. That's beginning to change, though, much thanks to indie developers getting their work through better.

    Whether or not 50% of gamers is female is not the point here, it is that over 50% of people are female - so that's where the money is. Young teenage heterosexual men can only buy so many games before their wallets runs dry, but should the gaming industry broaden it's views, it will also increase their income. This has already been happening for the past decade, with the increase of women in gaming. Of course games need to adjust to this change. Why you are even disputing that is absurd.

    Just because you don't know women who play videogames personally doesn't mean they don't exist. I for one play more videogames with my female friends than with my male friends.
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    "There are different types of people" is not an ideal, it's reality.
    You've written it so vague that I can't disagree. But the ideal I'm referring to is that men and women are equal, you use that ideal a bit later too:
    Whether or not 50% of gamers is female is not the point here, it is that over 50% of people are female - so that's where the money is.
    It IS the point. It's pointless to look at how many people are female without looking at their interests.
    Making more games for women because there is an increasing interest for games made for women, yes. Making more games for women just because they are 50% of the population, THAT is "absurd".
    There has been a vicious cycle in game development, where many developers make games for their "younger selves", without realizing that there are other people who might be interested in games should they include more diverse characters and broader points-of-view.
    But why should developers adjust for those other people? Either they make it for themselves or they make it for the money, everything else is stupid.
    Just because you don't know women who play videogames personally doesn't mean they don't exist. I for one play more videogames with my female friends than with my male friends.
    I'm not saying that there aren't women that play videogames. In fact as I've basically had only female friends in real life and most of them are gamers, I also play more videogames with my female friends. But seeing more women than men in a gamer store or Pen&Paper meetup or even an RPG forum is still super rare.
    I mean even this forum probably has more registered males than females? In mean out of the ~50 common posters here I only know of 5 that are female (and 3 of them are staff members).
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    Ocelot wrote: »
    Games are already changing. Protagonists are becoming more diverse, especially in the non-AAA world. The indie and crowdfunding uprising shows a hunger for different ways to play than the shooter-fests that have been dominating the scene for so long. It's not just women, it's veteran gamers of both genders and young gamers who are unimpressed by traditional ideas of what a game or gamer is "supposed to" be. And I can't wait to see what this younger generation of Minecraft gamers grows up to do when they start buying grown-up games and making games themselves.

    And for the life of me, I don't understand the pushback that women who critique gaming receive. Generally the action points coming out of said critique include asking for more diversity in general and for game creators to treat their female characters with more respect in particular. What the frell is wrong with that?

    There's more to the pushback than that. Most people I think are all for more diversity in game characters, but one of the reasons I have a problem with Anita Sarkeesian (beyond the fact that I don't agree with many of her opinions, I think her research is sloppy, and I think her co-writer Jon McIntosh is a generally **** human being) is that she seems disingenous, especially regarding your quoted point.

    You're right - protagonists (and characters in general) ARE becoming more diverse and they have been for several years now. 2014 in particular was a banner year that saw all kinds of amazing characters from all genders and walks of life. However, Anita's work doesn't reflect that. In fact, it seems to take exception to that, either ignoring it as inconvenient to her argument, or **** on the progress as being "not enough" or offensive for some other reason. She **** all over Bayonetta, for example, a character widely celebrated as a strong, badass female protagonist. Her reason? Because she dresses provocatively. It's that dreaded "male gaze."

    She has this weird mindset that women need to be portrayed as perfect; anything less than that is an affront to all women. Characters, male and female, need to be interesting people. They NEED to have flaws; flaws, more than strengths, define characters. They need to show weakness, because if they don't they can't show any growth, and the result is a bad, boring character. It's the difference between a Clementine and a Lightning. I'm sure we can all agree about who's more interesting.

    RPGamers are lucky, at least, in that our preferred genre tends to include several characters of both genders, all with interesting personalities, and this is true of both western and Japanese games.

    Personally, I'm just in favor of good characters, male or female. I've encountered great examples of both and terrible examples of both. But forcibly adding a character that doesn't fit, or worse, isn't even really that interesting, in the name of meeting a diversity quota, is a terrible idea. And when people start throwing around terms like misogynistic and sexist regarding certain character traits, you're not going to end up with more diversity, you're going to end up with less. Those are both extremely strong and serious labels to be tossing around, and they should be reserved for stuff that truly deserves it. I think we do a pretty good job here at RPGamer of only ripping on the really bad stuff, but other publications - more heavily read ones - don't make those kind of distinctions and actively look for controversy in order to drum up clicks, no matter how flimsy or ridiculous it may be, and Feminist Frequency is leading the charge. This isn't good for the industry and it isn't good for gamers.

    The absolutely worst example of this is an article I read about how Ocarina of Time is totally sexist. It was the most inane piece of garbage I've ever read. (if you disagree, please, PLEASE place your argument here. I would absolutely LOVE to tear it apart.)
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    Well said, omegabyte.
  • InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion Guy RPGamer Staff
    Note this graph right here that has women as over 50% of RPGamers
    I just can't believe statistics like that because they simply don't match with my personal experience.

    That's the nice thing about numbers. They're unopinionated.
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."
Sign In or Register to comment.