The gaming industry is adding a little more padding to female characters in games, but the padding isn't going where you might think.
Among the many panels offered at Salt Lake Comic Con, a Women in Gaming conference offered a room full of expectant listeners an earful about ways in which women inside the industry and those playing the games as consumers are creating a demand for modifications to the stereotypical all-bust-no-brains female characters so prominent in games. The all-female panel included producers, engineers and artists from the gaming industry including Jenna Kemker, Tara Swenson, Connie Beaty, Lauren McLemore, Amy Frederico, and Amy Adkins.
The panel reports more women are getting involved in gaming, a population too large to ignore. The industry realizes women should not be an after thought, or considered just a tag-along player. In resounding agreement, the panel members assert that, “girls like to blow up *&$#, too.” They also agree that “girlfriend mode,” or the term used to describe a setting that makes gameplay easier—think bowling gutter guards—should be abolished. Panelists assert the industry will respond to the collective voice of players as they speak up about the portrayal of women.
The mechanics for making a game for either a man or a woman have a similar baseline psychology: As long as the character has depth and a good back story, people will want to play. Players—women and men—want to connect with the protagonist, escape from reality and enjoy an experience. Keep an eye out for games coming to market starring characters with curvier . . . brain cells.