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    • Academic
    Gender and Choice of Gaming Hero/Protagonist--research project
    • I'm much more attracted to story-driven games, so as long as the main character fits the plot, I honestly don't care which gender it is.

      When I get the choice, it honestly depends on the game and the plot. If the main character's personality fits mine, I'm more likely to match my gender. It gives me more of a personal connection to the game. On the other hand, if the personality is significantly different, I usually switch it up.
    • Cishet here. I weigh literally 0% of my choice to play a game based on the gender or identity of player characters, only if I find it fun or not. I don't play TF2 because all the playable characters are male, I play it because it's really fun. I don't play Metroid because Samus is female (screw Other M for this reason), I play it because it's engaging. I also don't roleplay in video games, I just do what I'm comfortable with. Like, my current Skyrim character is based on Bob Ross as a joke, I never use third person mode, and I only do things I would do--that being, you know, not stealing and murdering.

      Although it should be noted that I'm more sensitive to sexualization of females in games. I don't play a lot of MMO's and I didn't play Xenoblade 2 despite loving the first one because I'm super uncomfortable with their portrayal of women.

      When it comes to role playing games like D&D, it's a much more delicate issue because playing the character IS the game. And in that case I do typically play men, but have played women multiple times.
    • Cisgender hetero male. I'll be as blunt as possible for the sake of your research, so I apologize if I'm TMI.

      I almost always find myself attracted to play the female characters in both preselected and character-creation models.

      For the former, there are plenty of exceptions, especially for games with high character count (Smash Bros, Overwatch), but the women are always my first pick, only exploring the male options after I have tried all the female characters that interest me.

      In most games with character creation, I always play female as well. There's been cases where I tried to play as a male and lost interest fairly quickly. Dragon Age II was the last game I successfully completed with a male character, but I had to force myself through a period of disinterest (and it probably helped that I was playing with a friend and we created a personality for male Hawke, which ironically was a hyper-aggressive "I wil rip your arms off your body if you hurt my family" character.)

      Games with character creation AND romance give me a bit more caution, as I'm not particularly drawn to lesbian relationships in my RP. Mass Effect is a great example. FemShep all the way. Romanced Lisara (That was her name right? The blue alien?) first, but it didn't really hold the emotional clout I wanted, so the second game I explored the hetero options, romancing both Thane and later Garrus, which was a different, but ultimately a pretty rewarding experience. Garrus was very enjoyable to romance, despite my own attraction to women.

      In MMOs, I also play female avatars, and will also present as female as far as reasonably possible. My "female persona" is probably pretty cliched, to be roughly labeled as a mix "big sister" and "cheerleader." I enjoy being caring, cheering my fellow players along, being supportive, and emotionally transparent. In my "waking male life," I am still caring and supportive, but I instinctively am a bit more judgmental and feel like I have to hold myself to a more rational and cooler temperament. Take that for what you will.

      Hope that's the kind of stuff you were looking for xD
    • Cis Pan Male that filled out the survey as well.


      I don't play Overwatch, but have found many of the character designs quirky and cute.


      I typically main as Little Mac when playing competitively, but I'll play on Random Selection when with my friends.


      I generally don't think about the impact a character's gender has on me.


      Online I'll typically choose to play as a female simply because the designs and such are much cuter.


      If it's an offline game, I'll typically have a save file for each gender, and play them as the mood strikes me.
    • Cisgender asexual homoromantic

      When playing video games, I’ve gotten used to playing as either gender. I PREFER it when playing my own, but very rarely are the woman options in the games I play work well with my play style.

      For example in Smash I main with Ike because he goes well with my SMASH EVERYTHING RAWR tendencies. He can take and deal a beating, and his counter is the perfect sort of “fuck you” I enjoy.

      In Pokemon, it really depends on the design. Like I liked Crystal WAY better than I liked the female design for HG/SS. What I like especially about the later games in Pokemon is I can customize and whenever I can customize I’m gonna go women. Without fail. I like being able to put myself into the situations and decide OK what type of person do I wanna be.

      I think what usually bothers me the most isn’t so much the gender but how they’re presented. Like it makes me uncomfortable knowing a woman character 9/10 is designed a certain way to hold a male’s gaze. It bothers me because I get unreasonably excited at reasonable character designs for women which don’t make them out to be out to be something to be ogled. Like Hyrule Warriors I was super worried and got delighted when I saw the character design. And then it’s like don’t even get me fucking started on armor.

      I mean I realize this isn’t 100 percent pertains to your question, but to me it does affect my enjoyment of a game to a degree.

      :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
      Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
      Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
    • You shoulda added a few questions about character creation games such as Skyrim. At a quick glance it looks like people lean towards certain characters for playstyles rather than gender, but when the two are chosen individually people have their own preferences.

      I've seen a lot of guys who play as female characters in these sort of games, mainly for eye-candy reasons. I'd say some would even have an...obsession with them. Go on Skyrim Nexus and see the kinds of mods people are making, you'll see what I mean. I answered in the survey that when I see in online games a female avatar, I automatically assume the player is male for that reason.

      As for me I always play as a male character in these games. It's just easier for me to immerse myself in these games playing as a male avatar. I've only ever played female once before with Fallout 3, and even that playthrough I've never finished. It just always feels awkward at the end of the day to me, just something I can't relate myself enough to.

      Hetero male btw in case you wanted to keep track.
    • I was just looking over the first few questions, and I thought I'd give you feedback on this one:

      "When you are playing against other players online, what are your assumptions of the other players based on the gender of the heroes they select?"


      You don't have an option that is more specific, which I think might be important. If I see a female character in an online game, I assume that the player is actually male. If I see the character is male, I assume that the player is male. Basically, I always assume players are male. I couldn't be the only one that thinks that way, right?






      Also, out of curiosity, did you have to do IRB stuff for your project?

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Jehanne ().

    • Cisgender heterosexual male. Protagonist gender doesn't make a massive difference to me. Given the option I might slightly favour a male character, depending on what other factors are to be considered. But I don't really mind either way. My go-to Super Smash Bros characters are all male ones, but I choose them because I play well with those characters, their abilities work well for me. The fact that they're all male is coincidence.
    • Jehanne wrote:

      You don't have an option that is more specific, which I think might be important. If I see a female character in an online game, I assume that the player is actually male. If I see the character is male, I assume that the player is male. Basically, I always assume players are male. I couldn't be the only one that thinks that way, right?
      Yeah I thought the same thing taking this. I assume that every player I see online is male because that's true for games I play about 95% of the time. That's not a good thing by any means, but it's true. Most women that I know that play games also don't use voice chat because then toxic boys (not men, mind you, they're definitely not men if they do this) will assume they're also male and therefore won't target them because of their gender. This reinforces the fact--not idea, fact--that most people I see online are dudes.
      Sometimes I hate people.
    • Cis Hetero Male. I play games that I find interesting, whether the protagonist is male or female does not consciously affect my interest in the game. I cannot discount the possibility that my interests are subconsciously affected.

      When it comes to character creation games, it depends on the context. I tend to play male characters online because I identify as male and that is how I see fit to represent myself. I assume other players are the sex and/or gender they have selected for their own avatars unless presented with evidence otherwise.

      For narrative focused games however, it might be different. For instance: I never got the chance to play Mass Effect, but I strongly believe that I would have preferred a female Shepard because I really enjoy Jennifer Hale’s performance.
    • Cisgender hetero female here. I'm happy to help with your research! :)

      For me, which protagonists I feel comfortable with mostly depends on the specific games themselves. If it makes more sense for the game's story for me to play as a specific character (whose gender may or may not matter), then I'll happily play as such. For example, in BotW, I admit, I was a little disappointed at first that we weren't given the chance to either play as Zelda or have a "Linkle" option. However, it makes more sense in the story of BotW (as little as there is) for Link to be the character he is.

      In games where you can choose the gender of your protagonist, I most often choose female. My World of Warcraft main, and all but one of my alts, is female (the male alt exception is a Blood Elf - make of that what you will). I always choose the girl option in the later Pokemon games. In Smash bros, I only play for fun, but I almost always choose female fighters, Peach, Zelda, Samus, even Jigglypuff! When I was a kid, I used to pretend Link in A Link to the Past was a girl, because with the SNES sprites it hardly mattered anyway, and besides, he has pink hair in that one.

      I guess I just look forward to playing my own gender when I can, because it's relatively rare in a lot of games. But will I buy a game based solely on the gender of the protagonist? No way.


      BotW Zelda in her purple Hylian Tunic, by my husband, DarkSilver.

      "Breath of the Wild: "Zelda's Redemption" Chapter 3 now up!

      After Calamity Ganon's defeat, a devastated Zelda must come to terms with her ruined kingdom, dead friends, and the resentment of the Hero who had saved her, but lost his fiancee. When all hope seems lost, she comes across a legend of a holy relic that can set things right, if she can find the ancient keys to access it. With the help of new friends, and without Link, can Zelda finally become a legend, on her own terms?
    • Interesting. You may get skewed results because of ZU's atypical demographics. But that may not matter, depending on your goal.

      I'm a straight cis male. I find that:
      • When playing role-play heavy games, like Mass Effect, I typically play my own gender.
      • When playing games where I will be projecting myself into the world with a silent avatar, such as a Skyrim or many MMOs, I also usually play my own gender.
      • If it's going to be a shorter time investment, or it's NOT immersive, or it's very authored characters (IE, not silent heroes, like Geralt of Rivia or Aloy), then gender isn't a big factor for me. I tend to pick characters I like their style or tone - which is slightly more often female characters.


      As a game designer, I've found that having a character one relates to makes it easier to project onto, or identify with, a character. Which in turn makes it easier to be immersed in the game. I rarely see players who have a STRONG need for same-gendered characters, though I do know a few. I see a lot of people who claim that it makes no difference to them - I believe some of them.

      I've also noticed that white, straight males are much, much more likely to claim that it isn't important to them. I think there's likely some blindness to this because they almost never have the experience of picking up a game and finding that there are zero options that they can relate to. When they pick other genders, it's usually by choice. That's mostly just anecdote from my personal experience though.

      I wrote an article about this for ZU once, with a focus on how and why audience surrogate characters work. Arguing for gender selection options in Zelda. One of the better pieces I've ever written I think.

      The article: namelessquality.com/link-legendary-heroine/
      Pronouns: He/Him

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Max N. ().