It took several years until I decided to really get into the world of the first person video-game (And yes, not all first person games are shooting games, though a vast number of them are). I had played Halo and a little Call of Duty but could not get very engulfed in them because I felt like they lacked character depth when played (as I was playing them) in multiplayer mode. Then I found Bioshock. Bioshock became my first big experience into the world of First Person story line gaming.
The plot was tight and when you move through the world in bioshock, you move through the story, picking up on characterization and plot details more subtly. Bioshock also did away with the cutscene cinematic almost entirely. You are allowed free range of camera movement even during explanatory sections.
Despite Jack being unable or unwilling to speak, as a player I began to understand things about him as a character and I eventually realized that many of the characteristics I attributed to him in my head were really characteristics I used to play him. I, a small female teenager, succeeded in playing a hardened noir-level antihero strongman. I realized I was associating freely as this character, this tall mysterious man (who is, in my own vision of him, a straight male), despite associating in the real world as a straight cys-gender female.
It was this that sparked my interest in how others play such games. Many women who play video-games are forced to play as male characters often. Some videogame designers (*ahem* Assassin's Creed *ahem*) site a doubled workload for animators would be required to design female playable characters as reasons for not giving players choice, despite having enough time and MANpower to create almost overdetailed worlds.
Look, men doing manly killing amid three million different blades of grass, but creating a female avatar is too much effort
I wish to learn more about how these women play as men, and if they find a gender diaspora between themselves and the characters on screen or if they play into this role of masculinity and cross the gender divide. In addition I wish to understand why some women choose, when given the choice, to play as men, and why some men choose or refuse to play as a female character. From unofficial conversations the reasons seem varied: Some play as opposite gender characters because they prefer the method of game-play. Some do it because they have some voyeuristic attachment to the character. Some refuse to play as women because of this voyeurism and their discomfort at watching a women get hurt, even in a virtual setting. I want to explore whether we can call this free association as an opposite gendered character a type of Transgendered game play or if we should be calling it something entirely different, such as a cross-gendered game play.
I believe it is worth exploring.
Some playable female characters:
Do not turn off the power while your progress is saving.LEX saved the Game