Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, May 30, 2008

My Avatar's a girl, damnit.

For a short week, this one has been REMARKABLY tiring. I've been working on a paper of reasonable importance and that's eaten up a lot of non-work time.

On the other hand, I did manage to replay a bit Ultima VII, one of my favorite games ever, before the paper started consuming my soul. I dig cartoony ritualistic killings and unsubtle scientology parodies like nothing you can imagine.

I wonder if they've ever made a comic book of that series. The long, spidery, convoluted and often contradictory continuity would seem inclined to suit it. Obviously they couldn't NOW, but it seems like a missed opportunity.

Then again, they'd probably just make the Avatar a male character, and that would annoy me same as it did when Pagan and Ascension didn't let one choose a female character. I get that the game resources wouldn't allow two alternate figures.

But then why not make the one figure female? (or for that matter non-blond/non-white considering those options were finally available in serpent's isle! It was such an irritating step backwards1) Make the geek boys play girls for once. Some of them would probably like it!

It reminds me of things like the Baldur's Gate novelization. I mean, I get that it's rough to take a character that the player can pretty much customize ad nauseum and write a book for it. You have to pretty much design your own version and write about that.

But it just irks me that ALWAYS in a game in which you have the options to make a character male or female, white, black, and so on, once it's ever narrowed down to any "official" depiction ( in illustrations, novelizations, or as in the case of Ultima, when the graphic resources only allow one), it's always back to the white male character. I guess because that's considered "the default". Bah.

The whole thing annoys me especially because I tend to fancy the notion of taking one character concept through all of the games. And since, I prefer playing girls in Ultima, it's annoying. I'll have to name it something vaguely androgynous and then tell myself that the Guardian switched her gender while transporting her to Pagan just to fuck with her.

...which would be pretty funny. I'd totally do that if I were an obscenely powerful malevolent creature.

But I still resent the fact that I have to. Just once I'd like to see a series of games start with any and all options have a black woman as their official-type depiction. As a player, it would make me very happy.


  • At May 30, 2008 2:40 AM, Blogger Toriach said…

    I would suspect that the problem is one of money. I don't imagine that most game publishers are quite brave enough to risk even a penny on principle, so I doubt that they are going to do anything like what you suggest as it might make the cash cow that is gamer geek boys low nervously and wander away from their product to something that doesn't in any way shape or form challenge their comfort zone.

    Honestly I sometimes wonder about the gaming industry. It seems to me like it is a lot less responsive than the mainstream comic industry to criticism and let's face it the mci isn't real real great about that its self.



  • At June 01, 2008 1:10 AM, Blogger Rocketlex said…

    The whole "money and resources" thing reminds me of the game Crackdown, where you play a clone supersoldier fighting gangs in a city. All the available characters are male, and are actually just reskins of the same character used over and over (animations, etc, are the same). The developers said they wanted to add female characters, but this would mean creating a second character model and a new set of animations, and they just didn't have time before release. :\

    On the one hand, it's bothersome, but on the other hand I CAN see the developers' side of it, especially on smaller projects like Crackdown was.

  • At June 09, 2008 10:38 PM, Anonymous MR Maresca said…

    I'll admit it's a somewhat obscure reference, but in the novelization of the game "Planetfall", the character was black. So that's at least one exception to the usual rule. Not much, but it's something.


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