DEVELOPER PERSPECTIVE How the design of video games are based on stereotypes and ideologies within society

The popularity of video games can be credited to those who are part of the creation process. The creativity and customizability within video games appeal to the consumer in several ways. As successful as these video games may be, they are based on stereotypes and ideologies within society.

Players are able to experience a realm that is creative and often exaggerated. A large aspect of this comes from the freedom to choose and create characters. Although, the design of these characters and how they play in the virtual world are often times impressive, it brings underlying gender issues to surface.

The following video explains the sexualization of female characters in video games and uses Sarkeesian's concepts from "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" to relate back to the examples shown.

World of Warcraft introduced a character named Ji Forepaw that sparked up some controversy with its greeting (Braithwaite 2014). Depending on the chosen gender, Ji Forepaw greeted male characters referring to them as “strong”, and the female characters referring to them as “gorgeous” (Braithwaite 2014) The character does compliment each gender, but one can see how this greeting is embedded within further stereotypes in society. Both can be said to be greeted by their physical appearance, but the word “strong” associates the character with their ability as opposed to just their physical appearance, as opposed to being “gorgeous.”

Men are often associated with their physical abilities as opposed to women, where they are often associated with physical appearance.

The fact that this dialogue was intentional speaks to how much influence stereotypes in the offline world appear in the online realm. The developers could have easily used the greeting they used on male characters, with female characters as well because the attribute of being strong is not limited to a specific gender. Many of these stereotypes may exist because of the simple fact that,

"22% of the video game workforce is made up of females and 76% of game developers are men" (Lofgren 2015).

The biases seen throughout these video games can be a result of an industry that is primarily consists of males. Although changes were made to the character greeting after the popularity of the controversy, one can see how the workforce of the video game industry can be just as flawed as the stereotypes that exist.

Created By
Jamie-Lee Santos
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Credits:

Created with images by LTDSupport - "technology classroom education" • JBLivin - "Tomb Raider"

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