I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve been struggling to find games in my wheelhouse. This is partly my own fault, as I am really picky about what kind of games I’ll give my money to. When I was only playing World of Warcraft, I had never considered what other games I would like. I had WoW and just didn’t care about finding more. It wasn’t until I had branched out into Dragon Age: Origins and the Mass Effect Series that I started discovering my preferences. Indeed those games formed my preferences. Now I find myself asking a couple of questions before I even consider a major game.
Is it story driven?
A game for me must have a strong story, at least for the big titles. I want to be shocked, I want to feel the need to yell or cheer at my screen. I want to feel emotionally invested in both my character and the world around her.
Can I play a female character?
This actually should have been listed first, because if the answer is no…I stop reading. This particular requirement has gotten me quite a few odd looks and questioning responses. The first question is usually why. Well that’s simple. Unlike books or movies where you are not an active participant but an outsider watching from afar as the story unfolds, a game is inviting us to be PART of the story. It’s an invitation to be the hero, take part in the world, change it as you go. As such, I must relate to the character be it pre-made or custom.
As a woman, I find it near impossible to relate to gruff grizzled scruffy dude #24672. There’s no immersion for me. I don’t feel connected to it, or reflected by some scruffy dude.
I don’t feel I’m missing out on much by putting my money and time behind companies that provide what I enjoy, and not putting it behind people that do not. My husband buys and plays many of them, and I can watch the story just fine while I do other things.
There have been few exceptions to this rule, and those were the Bioshock games. Other than that, every game I play has a female in the lead or the OPTION to do so.
“Female characters don’t sell!” They shout.
Tell that to Commander Shepard, or Lara Croft, or Emily Kaldwin (Dishonored 2). Tell that Skyrim, Fallout, or Dragon Age because each has either a female only, or a female option and from what I’ve seen have been pretty successful.
“Your principles won’t change things!” They’ve told me.
Well, I beg to differ. It hasn’t happened overnight, and it is dreadfully slow in coming but change is happening. Look at Farcry 5, due out on March 27. A customizable character, with the option to play as a woman. This is a really big deal, as it is the first time in the game’s history that they’ve done this. And it’s a really good step forward. I for one cannot wait to buy it and play it. Because it might as well say right on the box “Hey, we made this game for you! too!”.
Indie Games catch a break on my first point. But not on my second. I loved Stardew Valley to death, in fact I might play through it yet again the next time I’m between games. For Indie games to suck me in the need to be cute, charming, have a female option, and depth in what they do, be it farming or puzzles or crafting or exploration. Those are my favorites in the Indie world. Platformers are out, I have never liked them they make me /hulksmash.
So there you have it, Story driven games with the ability to play as a woman and charming indie games that keep me clicking but don’t make me jump with any degree of accuracy. That’s what’s in my wheelhouse.