Customization is one of my favorite aspects of gaming, whenever a new FIFA or MLB: The Show comes out, I have the most fun creating myself and my friends in the game and playing as of all us. While I almost exclusively play sports games when I play video games, I had no idea about the gender stereotypes that come with customizable characters in other games not including sports. While just this past year, women got their first customizable characters in EA’s NHL 12, there is no room for gender stereotyping in a sports game because everyone is wearing uniforms. In other games however, this is not the case, developers can create whatever skimpy outfit they want the women characters to have and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
As the author of the blog geeksaresexy.net “There’s something rather insidious about not having a choice—like how much skin to show on your avatar—no matter what you do. It’s saying, sight unseen, that your character’s body is the center of the story. What if I want my mage to be really conservative? Oh, it doesn’t matter. I can’t. No choice, none at all” (geeksaresexy.net)
This is the major problem that women have when it comes to creating customizable characters in games. As I pointed out in a previous post, women play games more for the social and narrative aspect of the game rather than for the sake of competition in them. What is more social and narrative than creating yourself in a game and getting to roam around cyberspace and meet new people?
The only problem now is that with women aware of the many different types of games out there, they buy them and get them home only to realize that the character they want to create for themselves has to be wearing a bikini top or a thong and has to have double D breasts. This is the type of thing that if it doesn’t change soon, is going to drive women to play solely social games and take away from the overall diversity and ineresting-ness of the console and PC gaming market.