The Escapist on female character design

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CupcakeTrap

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Senior Member

01-15-2012

"Vile scourge! ... ooh, I like it when you talk dirty to me."
"Victory awaits! Let me just get my pants off."
"FORGE ONWARD! (grunt) almost there! Oh yes! I'M COMING!" (well, I guess he already says that)

This might make a pretty good legendary skin. (Bedroom Battle Garen. Riot, I call royalties.)
But what if like half the male champs randomly hit on you or talked about *** in their voicework?
What if their art, also, seemed geared toward sexiness rather than showing something about their personalities?
Maybe one or two you could lol about, but what if like half of male champions flirted with you and sexyposed?

That's kind of what this is about.

This is a short video from The Escapist arguing that (1) boob-loving gamers should try to mute their knee-jerk "omg omg feminazis here to take our boobs" reactions (2) the problem isn't sexiness at all, it's the now almost unconscious tendency in the game design field to drown out every element of a character except her sexiness.

The Escapist -- "Gender Games"
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/vide...9-Gender-Games

The video offers a concrete example: sexysexysexy-and-nothing-but female character poses.

Here's another example, in photo form:
http://robot6.comicbookresources.com.../09/0HrMl1.jpg

And here's another:
http://tumblr.mylesbraithwaite.com/p...ale-actors-had
Doesn't this seem bizarre? Not that they're hot, but that they seem to be in the middle of a sexy photo shoot? Imagine if everything were like this. If you're getting turned on by it, it doesn't necessarily stand out (that's what she said?). But to other people, it's weird, and actually gets to be kind of off-putting. "Hey, look, Thor's awesome, he wouldn't be doing that. Stop it!" It might come across as an attack on your favorite characters.

As for LoL, I would point to Morgana, Kayle, Janna, Orianna, and Tristana as characters whose sexiness doesn't totally overwhelm the rest of them. Janna has that stupid phonesex joke, which (like I said in the other thread) comes off as unpleasantly like Jar Jar Binks: intensely stupid but hard to ignore. (Leona is another great female champion, by the way ... the above aren't the only examples! No offense meant, my Parrot Sovereign!)

But, even though I love Morgana and think she's one of the very best examples of a female LoL champ with a personality/theme other than "plz to have sexxx with me", I'll also use her as an example. Check her out in the awesome Season One CG trailer. She's a great character. Tons of personality comes through in those few clips. She's pissed off to the radical max. She's not going to forget about it. "You TOO will be JUDGED." omg omg

Concrete gripe: new Morgana profile (not splash) pic.

Pretend you didn't know anything about her. What do you know after looking at the pics?

OLD: Holy f___ is she mad. In a cold, bitter kind of way. Someone pissed her off a long time ago and she's still smoldering.

NEW: She's kind of smiling or something! She looks kinda shy with her hair covering one eye. I dunno. She's a girl? Maybe an elf or something? Probably magical.

In both versions (full versions), she's wearing the same skimpy top. That's not a problem in itself. (Some commenters seem to think I'm arguing that hot girls in skimpy clothes with big breasts is an abomination.) In the old version, there's something else going on. In the new version, the only obvious theme is that she's sexy.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE: WESTERN VERSUS CHINESE CAITLYN
I think what this drives home is that

THIS IS NOT ABOUT "SEXINESS BEING ANTIFEMINIST" OR ANYTHING SO STUPID.

Western Cait: Distinctive personality. She seems to have a perspective, rather than just being an object of attention like a posing model. She's here for business, and keeps her fuzzy cuffs at home, but she's still got a little sexy edge to her. Good work, Riot.
Chinese Cait: Obliviously cutesy. It's like they took the same Barbie girl recently featured wrapped in vines as Zyra and put a big purple hat on her instead.

Cait has the same body and the same clothes. But whereas Western Cait has a distinctive attitude and manifest (not hidden-in-lore) personality, that's all been drained out of Chinese Cait, who's been pumped full of sexycute instead. Which is doubly-stupid, because Western Cait arguably does a better job of being sexy anyway. It's just that she's also got something else going on, and playing her doesn't make you feel like you're playing a pin-up gimmick.

EDIT: Rewrote a comment below into a char-by-char review. Just my personal opinion, but maybe it helps explain what I'm talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CupcakeTrap View Post
  • Morgana: Fantastic. Draws on fascinating source material (angels and demons). Tried-and-true backstory -- a vengeful fallen angel. Wonderful voicework. YOU TOO WILL BE JUDGED. She's obviously sexy and attractive, but she also has a distinct personality and theme. Her fight with Kayle is probably the best thing in the Season One trailer.
  • Kayle: Speaking of Kayle. I do wish they'd fix her mechanics, because she's a great character. When I first saw LoL, and was scrolling through the list looking for a first champ, she jumped out at me as my favorite. (She wasn't free that week, though; I ended up playing Garen instead, who's also a great champ.) "Come closer. I'll teach you all about the afterlife." Intense but also witty
  • Leona: Epitomizes tankiness when she says, "They'll have to get through ME." Strong personality.
  • Miss Fortune: The insane ult laugh is fantastic. She's really heavy on the sexiness, but I think she's still okay, in part because she pulls it off well. Insane gun-toting nympho pirate.
  • Caitlyn: Ehh. The sexiness is starting to wear thin. The cop thing somehow justifies some of it, but it still feels weird when she keeps propositioning me as I play. Imagine if Garen were like, "To the FIELDS OF JUSTICE! ... and afterwards, let's you and me go back to my place." or "Battle the infamy! ... is that your hand in my pants?" It'd get weird, right?
  • Evelynn: Just don't get why she needs to run around in her underwear. I bet if I read her lore there'd be something stupid about her being a sexy sexsassin who kills at the moment of greatest pleasure or some clicheed nonsense like that. Can't she be scary, like Nocturne? I get that night is sexy on some level, but it feels forced.


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Zyrusticae

Senior Member

01-15-2012

I'm also gonna link this article, because it's a very interesting (but casual) analysis of sales trends for games marketed with sexiness:

http://www.gamesradar.com/ask-gr-anything-do-boobs-actually-sell-games/

Quote:
When we talked to Professor Laurence Minsky of Columbia College Chicago’s marketing department, he seemed to think that trying to sell a product with *** or sexual imagery is a pretty poor way to go about your business, rejecting the idea that boobs give guys a warm fuzzy feeling and thus increase sales. “The way to make people feel good about a product is to create a good product, and then talk honestly about it,” Minsky said.


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UncleTummysticks

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Senior Member

01-15-2012

I just want to say, that's how I drink my tea also.

I wonder why my back hurts so frequently.


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Weenarg

Senior Member

01-15-2012

i agree orianna and tristana are very sexy


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D1zz1

Senior Member

01-15-2012

I love voluptuous, sexy women. I am most attracted to these kind of women in real life, and I put a lot of value in those attributes.

In games, I care about this very little. It will not influence my purchase of a champ or likeliness to play a game.

What I do value in the women in games are personality, attitude, intelligence, courage.

Of all the women in LoL, I find Kayle to be the most attractive by far. Is that weird?


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CupcakeTrap

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01-15-2012

EDIT: decided to repurpose this comment space for some LoL examples. These are just personal opinions, of course.

  • Morgana: Fantastic. Draws on fascinating source material (angels and demons). Tried-and-true backstory -- a vengeful fallen angel. Wonderful voicework. YOU TOO WILL BE JUDGED. She's obviously sexy and attractive, but she also has a distinct personality and theme. Her fight with Kayle is probably the best thing in the Season One trailer.
  • Kayle: Speaking of Kayle. I do wish they'd fix her mechanics, because she's an great character. When I first saw LoL, and was scrolling through the list looking for a first champ, she jumped out at me as my favorite. (She wasn't free that week, though; I ended up playing Garen instead, who's also a great champ.) "Come closer. I'll teach you all about the afterlife." Intense but also witty
  • Leona: Epitomizes tankiness when she says, "They'll have to get through ME." Strong personality.
  • Miss Fortune: The insane ult laugh is fantastic. She's really heavy on the sexiness, but I think she's still okay, in part because she pulls it off well. Insane gun-toting nympho pirate.
  • Caitlyn: Ehh. The sexiness is starting to wear thin. The cop thing somehow justifies some of it, but it still feels weird when she keeps propositioning me as I play. Imagine if Garen were like, "To the FIELDS OF JUSTICE! ... and afterwards, let's you and me go back to my place." or "Battle the infamy! ... is that your hand in my pants?" It'd get weird, right?
  • Evelynn: Just don't get why she needs to run around in her underwear. I bet if I read her lore there'd be something stupid about her being a sexy sexsassin who kills at the moment of greatest pleasure or some clicheed nonsense like that. Can't she be scary, like Nocturne? I get that night is sexy on some level, but it feels forced.


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CupcakeTrap

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Senior Member

01-15-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyrusticae View Post
I'm also gonna link this article, because it's a very interesting (but casual) analysis of sales trends for games marketed with sexiness:

http://www.gamesradar.com/ask-gr-anything-do-boobs-actually-sell-games/
I wouldn't be that surprised if this were so. It's just kind of a media habit to pose (and otherwise present) female characters in this way. And it tends to damage the creative work as a whole, because you're stripping (lol) at least one character of personality and interest beyond sexiness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleTummysticks View Post
I just want to say, that's how I drink my tea also.

I wonder why my back hurts so frequently.
It's because your arms aren't quite right; see pics and correct your posture plz.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weenarg View Post
i agree orianna and tristana are very sexy
Trist would at least be very energetic?
Blitz <3 Ori http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RIa7JKm8ss

Quote:
Originally Posted by D1zz1 View Post
Of all the women in LoL, I find Kayle to be the most attractive by far. Is that weird?
Kayle's pretty hot.


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Eponet

Senior Member

01-15-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by D1zz1 View Post
Of all the women in LoL, I find Kayle to be the most attractive by far. Is that weird?
Not at all. She's certainly up their, though I personally prefer Riven, and Irelia.

I think the latter might be due to the bonding experience of slaying over 8000 minions though.


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UncleTummysticks

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01-15-2012

Also, maybe it's because I don't like chicks, but when they shove their ass out like that, it just makes me think of a cat in heat.

And nothing on this planet is as awkward and repulsive as being hit on by a cat in heat. All rubbing on your toes and ****. Ugh.


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Jgame

Senior Member

01-15-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by CupcakeTrap View Post
I wouldn't be that surprised if this were so. It's just kind of a media habit to pose (and otherwise present) female characters in this way. And it tends to damage the creative work as a whole, because you're stripping (lol) at least one character of personality and interest beyond sexiness.


It's because your arms aren't quite right; see pics and correct your posture plz.


Trist would at least be very energetic?
Blitz <3 Ori http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RIa7JKm8ss


Kayle's pretty hot.
Her sisters hotter.


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