What do you think of the whole "representaation in gaming" thing?

This primarily about the feminist aspect of it but it can apply to anyone else who is similar in the expectation of entitlements.

Basically, ever since a small but noticable amount of women have taken an interest in gaming feminists have been complaining about gaming. One thing they say sticks out to me, though, the whole "lacking of female protagonists in gaming".

I don't understand this. Do they think that people are entitled to making content makers make certain content that can take years simply because a group demands it?
Why do feminists feel entitled in to making content makers make their games how they want it to be? It seems that they think the game makers should work their assess off to get as far as they have then get forced to make content for feminists even though the people in the position worked their assess off to be there and are entitled to making their own content...I also don't understand why feminists feel entitled to making people make content in the way they want rather than doing the work others did to make their own content how they would like.

What are your thoughts on this?

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  • I think women are under-represented and poorly represented in games, generally. The female characters that exist are more often than not secondary and/or sexualised ideals.

    That's not to say there should be 'token' female characters, or positive discrimination to shoe-horn female protagonists into existing projects.

    But I do think it'd be great to see game companies open up to the idea of more female protagonists in major releases, and to be more creative with the female secondary characters (imbue them with interesting personalities and appearances).

    Tomb Raider showed it was possible to have a successful action/adventure game with a female lead (even if her proportions were ridiculous).

    Beyond Two Souls (2013) was also an unconventional release with a female protagonist.

    I think what would really make the difference is for more women to play an active role in game production, then perhaps the time and effort spent on shaping diverse and compelling female characters would occur naturally.

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    • I think you have to consider that most gamers with story structure are typically played by male gamers, an although if the story is good enough they will play as a female character, they prefer playing as male ones due to it being something they have in common with the protagonists, and the more attractive a game is the more money it will bring.

      If more women played these types of games then I am sure it would happen but given there aren't expecting it to have the same number of female protagonists or leading cast members wouldn't make sense.

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      • Almost 50% of all game players are women, but when you look at the depiction of women in games, I think many are poorly characterised or sidelined as sex objects or 'prizes'.

        You say that most games with a story structure are played by male gamers, but that raises the chicken or egg question; are they marketed and designed to appeal to men instead of women because males are the only ones who play these games, or are males the only one who play them because they are marketed and designed to appeal to men instead of women?

        It's a self-perpetuating thing, in my opinion. Because game producers are selling a product, they want to ensure it appeals to the demographic most likely to buy it. That means they often stick to what they know - designing games targeted at males. However, if they were a little braver, and willing to put effort into creating interesting, subversive female characters in action games and RPGs, they might tap into a sizeable chunk of the gaming market hitherto sidelined.

        From my first-hand experience, I know a lot of girls who enjoy games such as The Last Of Us. Games with long and winding narratives, action, gore. But many (not all) gaming companies are too stuck in their ways to produce a product marketed to men and women equally, with female characters as important and interesting as their male counterparts.

        My opinion, although I understand if you don't share it.

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        • Yes, but not in the sense you wuld imagine. When considering what comes under as "games" it makes more sense. Yes, women make 50% of gamers when we include things like candy crush, farmville, brain tester games, and so on, which women are in more so than men, however they aren't 50% of the demographic that purchase videogames with story structure where there are protagonists and so on.

          I wouldn't say they are sidelined as sex objects or prizes, I think people tend to forget that exaggerated female bodies tend to have more poking out bits, such as their backsides and breasts, however men's aspects of sexual appearances are just as much used and exaggerated from body types to body structure, it's just that their version of sexual attraction don't have aspects that poke out more due to their biology. As for the prizes part, I get the feeling you are taking this part from Sarkeesian and forgetting that these women are not used as "Prizes", they are used as emotional attachments to the protagonists in videogames such as a soullmate, and I think claiming a story about sending out to save your loved one is about "claiming a prize" is a very gross interpretation of it. Would you consider it "fighting for a prize" if your partner or daughter was kidnapped and you knew were and set out to find her and deal with any trouble in your way? I would call that love and seeing the person as someone you care for not something to be won.

          "or are males the only one who play them because they are marketed and designed to appeal to men instead of women?"
          I would say the first one considering that there have been numerous female lead characters ever since the start of gaming, especially in Asian made games right back to early gaming where women were even less likely to play videogames.
          There have been numerous video games right back to the arcades with female characters but women still did not take much interest in those games and the gaming scene was still male dominated. I suppose we could figure it out if we even look at the people that purchase the videogames with female leads today, and in my experience and observations from walkthroughs/playthroughs, those games are still male dominated, although I would suppose a proper look in to it would be required.

          The thing about making games to include different demographics is that it is a risky gamble and there have been plenty of games with female characters that look alright, such as Remember me, I believe, that sunk. But again, I still notice male dominance in games with female leads, such as Final Fantasy (the ones with Lightning as the main) and games that include the ability to create your own protagonist that includes choosing to be male or female.

          So, I don't think the idea that making strong and interesting female protagonists is going to bring in the large demographic of women to play those games due to what I have said above and I do believe it's because women are just less likely to be attracted to the types of games involving protagonists and story structure.

          From my first hand experience, I have met very few that play video games. Maybe three out of my entire years of moving place to place, in which two of them only really played Mario Kart and the type of stuff you would typically see on Wii. There was one girl in college that was a full on gamer, though, possibly a bigger one than myself but then again there are females like such, I just don't think a big enough audience that making a game to appeal to that audience would be a good idea for any game developer.

          Ofcourse, I also went through the large amount of "Gurl gamerz", which was disapointing each time.

          I can't say I agree with your opinion but that's what discussions are for, so we can share opinions and come to an accurate conclusion from two different perspectives.

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  • Just because people who make things are allowed to make what they choose, doesn't mean no-one is allowed to criticize them. Criticizing doesn't mean you are "entitled", and it doesn't mean you want to "force" people to make something different. It just means you're criticizing. It means that you wish they would make something different. Stop making out a feminist critique to be something sinister when it's not.

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    • When people criticize something it is because they believe that something is wrong and want it ti change because they don't like it. Yes, people can criticize but when there are legitimate reasons for the way something is it makes the criticism pointless and more about the person doing the criticism's selfish wants.

      "Criticisms doesn't make you entitled".
      Not always but yes it can depending on what the critisism involvess and if you think that something is wrong even though there is no reasonable criticism to be extracted because the reasons justify it.

      No, criticizing is not implying making people make/do something different, that is only half true, it is claiming the way something is is wrong or is less accepting for whatever difference in the subject they want to see.

      They see something as wrong because it is not made how they want it to be even though there is reasons for that and that it risks part of the purpose of making content which is to make as much money as you can then they expect it to be how they want it to be because the way it is now.

      Painting something as wrong and then something else as right is an attempt to manipulate the subject in to making people say "Well, I don't want to be a bad person" and then try to make the change because they were emotionally manipulated.

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  • Idk I don't care. I mean in a game like Brawl, I would like to see more female characters because you get to CHOOSE who you want to be. But if it's just one protagonist then eh I never really cared.

    Personally what I want is more races represented in video games. Most of the people are either asian or white...idk, I'd like to see characters of other races and ethnicities more than female. Maybe that's just me?

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  • Actually I think calling for a certain type of game to be made is completely reasonable, as long as you actually play the type of game you're talking about. The implication is "you make it, I'll buy it". Pretty hard to argue with that. Of course if only a few people want something they're not likely to get it, but you can't fault them for trying.

    What I do have a problem with is telling people what kinds of games they SHOULDN'T make. Whether it's violence, perceived sexism, a genre you don't like, or whatever, all it means is YOU don't like it. There's probably someone else who does and is willing to pay money for that. Telling people they shouldn't make something even though there's a demand is ridiculous.

    Incidentally I almost exclusively play games where you can pick your character's gender. It's kind of odd because I don't specifically seek that out. I guess it's just because they're mostly Fantasy games which have roots in pen and paper RPGs, so character generation is an expected part of the format.

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  • what bout that chick in portal

    and the computer were an evil chick with pms too

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    • I didn't claim female protagonists are bad, just that forcing people with shaming to put female protagonists in is.

      Portal was badass, and Glados is one of my favorite characters.

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  • You have to look at more than just the percentage of players, because most players aren't actually developing video games. A majority of game developers are male. This is important since it should be noted that, at least in the indie community, games made by women tend to have female protagonists.

    This might mean that most games have male protagonists just because most of the developers are men. Remember, people do design these games and not every game is a AAA title. I seriously doubt that they design the games thinking "female protagonists don't sell", they just didn't design the game like that in the first place. It never came up.

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  • Strictly speaking, content producers are entitled to make whatever they (legally) can.

    But you need to consider the laws of supply and demand.

    The female gaming demographic is no longer a minority. In fact "the number of women playing games on both consoles and mobile devices is up to 48 percent, from 40 percent in 2010" (source: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/female-adults-oust-teenage-boys-largest-gaming-demographic/). Having a female protagonist will appeal to a fair portion of consumers.

    tldr; representation in gaming should be more of an economic decision (i.e: one that will accurately depict societal makeup) rather than fussed up over what gender the lead character is.

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  • I think if there was a demand for more female protagonists, somebody would be producing them, so these feminists are just causing another shit storm for the hell of it, as usual.

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  • Are feminists really trying to force the makers of games to make more female characters? I mean, is that what youre saying? That's pretty pathetic. I'm a female, I love gaming, and I think its pathetic to see females as characters in games. I mean, most of the games I've played and am still busy with do have a few female characters but the main character, as in the one you are in the game, shouldn't be female in my opinion. Why? Because women aren't scary. Or tough. Or killers. I don't even take interest in a game if it has female characters as main characters. This might make me sexist, but its just how I feel. Women are generally more fragile and seing a woman in a game, or a movie even, wielding a sword and fighting it just makes me think, "Oh for the love of god, this is so pathetic." I wish feminists would just stop everything they're doing. Honestly. Why should game companies make their games look pathetic because women want to feel important? Women are already important, we don't need to be included in games as characters to have the point proven. Games like final fantasy or tomb raider or any other weird girly shit doesn't appeal to me at all. I will never play those games.

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    • There's nothing wrong with females in games aslong as it's the content maker's decision. I'm not downing the idea of female protagonists just the idea that there must be a 50/50 male and female protagonist idea rather than content makers creating their own protagonists.

      I do see your point on the fact that the features that are made in the protagonists, be it strength, military experience, and so on are things men primarily represent in the real world, however the great thing about gaming is that it escapes reality in to a universe were those things shouldn;t factor in unless the game is trying to be realistic to that extent.

      I personally am with you on that I can rarely get interested in a game were I am forced to play a female character. Some will be good enough for me to play but when playing as a female there just doesn't seem like someone to relate to physically, so I feel a bit disconnected from the protagonist.

      I don't think you not wanting to play as females makes you sexist, however I would say that your idea of women not having a place as protagonists is. I don't see why you can't simply refuse to play as female characters but understand that female protagonists shouldn't be wrong if the content maker wishes their lead to be female.

      I agree with you on feminists should just stop what they're doing (I'm not a fan of feminism as I am sure you can tell), however I can't say that I agree with your reasonings on the topic.

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      • "when playing as a female there just doesn't seem like someone to relate to physically, so I feel a bit disconnected from the protagonist"

        That sir, right there is why female gamers want more female characters. Not a pair of tits, a pretty face or a "score", actual meaningful and contributing characters.

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        • There are many games that give you the option to play as female characters. Not sure how your comment opposes my point, though...

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          • I saw an opportunity to show you the other perspective and went for it. How you feel about games with female characters is the same way many females feel about male-dominated games or even video games in general.

            You're right, but that's usually in rpgs, casual games, or games with customization protagonists. Sometimes not even then. Whether you believe it or not there are plenty of hardcore female gamers in this world, yet hardly any of the most popular or best games make an effort to even acknowledge them.

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            • But I already know there are females that will feel the same, I don't think that changes what I said, that content makers are entitled to their own content and make their protagonist how they would want them, and given that most gamers are male, or most games played which have protagonists and story structures, it is reasonable that most of the protagonists would be male to appeal to their far larger demographic.

              Yes, there are some hardcore female gamers but not enough in comparison to risk making characters female for the reason we're talking about, and game developers are not obligated to make their content to make everyone happy, especially if it's near to impossible, if not impossible.

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  • It's called "catering to your audience" and the majority of the audience is male. Gaming, especially RPGs, is about imagination. You want to play a character who is familiar to and who you enjoy being on some sort of level. Male players outnumber female players in the gaming community by a long-shot so games make characters that more closely align to the kind of character a male would want to be in that game.

    I definitely would like to see more females taking roles that add more to the story than "damsel in distress", useless supportive character or token sex symbol. The kind of female who would ACTUALLY be able to do a lot of the physical activity represented, though, isn't always the kind of woman that appears on the screen in media: petite, thin with hardly any muscle mass, perfect, intricate, hair and makeup while the males appear more practical. (Edit: Scratch that, not more practical but they look like dudes who can lift shit and run fast).

    Reality doesn't sell games, though. And that is the whole point of the industry, creating games that borderline reality and fantasy enough to be both fun and relateable. Fuck, I kept trying to spell "relatable" correctly that I gave up and won't take the effort to look it up, nope.

    TL;DR thegypsysailor hit the nail on the head. If there was more demand from the gaming community in terms of actual dollars and not just web-activists raising a stink, there would be more female protagonists. I guess the whole "every man is a potential rapist" bit got boring for a few of them.

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  • Ummm, because feminists are women, who are human beings, which game characters usually consist of and all games are played by. Yet despite the fact that women make up about half of the population and also play games (no, NOT just candy crush by the way) they get only a few characters who represent their sex in the form of pretty faces, a pair of twins, or a fuckable prize. No one's asking for entire new games to cater to women, just to make an effort to include women in already existing projects and future ones. It's honestly not that hard and it's common sense. Its idiotic to think only men play games or that including women is in any way difficult. Saying women don't play games with complicated storylines makes you sound as dumb as Ubisoft

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    • Wrong, feminists are men and women, not mutually inclusive with women, and no, not all games are played by women.

      Yes, women do make up half of the gamers but no, they do not make up half of the video gamers that you assume, they did infact include games such as candy crush, farmville, and so on in those games. Wmen do not play video games with strory structure and in depth protagonists half as much.

      Yes, and men also have characters with handsome faces, cool guys, and people to be fed in to the meat grinder.

      Yes, infact it is that hard. It takes money and space to do that which would mean that they would have to remove something in their content just to include women, such as the situation with Assassins creed unity.

      I never said women do not play them, I said they do not play them nearly as much, and they don't.

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      • That was my mistake. I was saying human beings play all games and women are also human beings, anyways I guarantee you every single video game that exists has been played by a female

        You keep repeating the same point, but even if they don't play them "as much" there are still many more female gamers than you think. I think it's really annoying that you keep saying females primarily play games like farmville. Unless you're talking about 40-year old ladies that's just not true.

        The difference is the men are also catered to men. They're not catering to females by being buffed up, gritty, and ruggedly handsome or having alpha personalities. That's still catering to male fantasy. The female characters AND male characters usually are made to please the male consumers.

        Holy fucking fuck no it's not if they would just keep females in mind while designing games it would be irrelevant it doesn't take resources to make female characters in games, it takes resources to design games entirely for males and add some females in afterward. Ubisoft is made up of idiots

        White people are the most populous race in the united states. Does that mean everything has to be designed for white people? Like i said you're underestimating

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        • Honest mistake, I was duped in to thinking that once upon a time, too. So no hard feelings.

          I do not agree that all videogames have been played by a woman, although it is a possibility, ultimately it would still be irrelevant.

          I do keep repeating that point because I don't believe it has been given enough of a rebuttal. I'm not saying that only 5% of gamers are women, I would say that the most that I would go to is between 39% and 35% of gamers being female if we consider the typical mainstream games we see today as the only game types that would make you a gamer rather than mobile games and so on. Either way, if those games were to be games you can play that make you a "gamer" then that is irrelevant and I wouldn't care much because games and gamers are not just big one thing with no walls between them, there are different types of games and gamers, quite like groups withing groups, and the type of games we are talking about here are ones that are male dominated in the sense that primarily men purchase them, so ofcourse the games will be catered to the demographic most likely to get a gaming company profit and ability to make more games.

          I'm sorry that you get annoyed by me saying that, but it's true. When it comes to videogames, men are typically the majority of players in games such as RPGs, shooters, and most of the other mainstream gaming types, it's just how it is. Here is a link, also:
          http://uk.ign.com/articles/2014/08/07/women-spend-more-time-and-money-on-mobile-games-than-men

          "The difference is the men are also catered to men. They're not catering to females by being buffed up, gritty, and ruggedly handsome or having alpha personalities. That's still catering to male fantasy."

          Yes and no. I can't see it as fair to say that making a woman the stereotype of attraction is for men but making men the stereotype of attraction makes is for men, too.
          Myself? I don't like the bug muscular male characters that look like they've been on steroids, most people don't, which is why most male characters are not "ruggedly beefed out" and so on, they are slim but muscular characters with masculine faces but without big masculine beards.

          That said, even if that was what men wanted and male developers made it so that is what they got, there is nothing wrong with that. If they want to make content that they want and tweek it so that it is what their primary consumers want, then all they are doing is business in the right way.

          I'll speak from both sides here. It does take more to add in new aspects of games such as a new avatar (I believe that is what it is called or it is template?) with movements that fit that avatar/template even if they are the same as the male ones, and then it takes the cosmetics, clothing, etc, how their movements would look while those things are considered.
          I'm not an expert on it, but I definitely know that you can't just fling something in to content as if space and money is not an issue for it.
          This is why they did not make new characters for A.C unity for the multiplayer, they simply used the same main protagonist with different colours.

          "White people are the most populous race in the united states. Does that mean everything has to be designed for white people? Like i said you're underestimating".

          That's not exactly rational given that not everything, not even most things, depend on races or gender. For example, a car is not going to be different to different races like a white male straight character would fit male consumers wants in content when other sexualities, races, and genders would prefer something else.

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          • I don't believe all feminists are female, it was a slip

            Isn't 30+ percent enough to expect some kind of appeasement? I think it's idiotic that developers can go out of their way to give fanservice, develop new laws of physics for breasts, and make the girls in game fuckable but can't even give female gamers a hint of the representation they want. Hows that for expending resources? I don't really agree that it's just about business but what can I say, difference of opinion. I thought we were beginning to consider video games a part of culture and an art form, and leaving out women and other race characters is just not what I expect from contributors to our "progressing" culture. I'm looking at it from a perspective of ethics and future business growth, while you're looking at it from the perspective of current business. Our priorities are different.

            And like I said, older ladies play those games. Not saying they aren't popular with younger people but I highly doubt they make up the whole of the demographic. You also have to remember that on those types of games women can have a social experience, just like men can on shooter games. If younger women try to be part of that kind of community, they often get a whole lot of sexism, dismissal, or unwanted advances. Not an encouraging experience. Mobile games offer a relaxing social and personal experience that's safe for women

            Sorry but I just don't agree with your point, there are so many extras, easter eggs, and surplus time and money and effort put into games that it just sounds like excuses and pure unwillingness /laziness from game makers when they try to pull that "adding girls takes too much effort"

            A lot of things do count on it. And video games are one of those things. Media in general is

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            • Alrighty.

              "Isn't 30+ percent enough to expect some kind of appeasement? I think it's idiotic that developers can go out of their way to give fanservice, develop new laws of physics for breasts, and make the girls in game fuckable but can't even give female gamers a hint of the representation they want."

              No it isn't. I think you have the wrong idea of what the gaming industry is. It isn't a service they give out to people that want it, it's a business they make their products to the largest demographic they can to make a profit. Some people, maybe all, care about their gamers but their first priority is always to make a profit. So expecting them to appeal to the 30% rather than the 70% would make them lose profit.

              With the breasts, again, it is to attract customers. Sex sells, and they definitely aren't the worst to sell it. If they make something more likely to attract the 70% of gamers rather than the 30% then they have higher chances of making a profit.

              Again, you need to realize that these people aren't obligated to represent any other group, it is their content and their business to make money. Nobody is entitled to make someone else add things on to their content, especially when they recieved no help from those people making demands in their process of gaining their position to make their own content through their hard work and time to get there.

              "Hows that for expending resources? I don't really agree that it's just about business but what can I say, difference of opinion."

              It's definitely not "only" about business, however it is the primary point of it.

              "I thought we were beginning to consider video games a part of culture and an art form, and leaving out women and other race characters is just not what I expect from contributors to our "progressing" culture."

              It is part of our culture, and it is definitely art. The thing about art is that it is supposed to come from the artist, otherwise it is just a bland and soulless, and people making them make art they don't want to make rather than those people doing the forcing making their own art destroys the purpose of art and makes it more of a negative than a positive.

              I don't believe that a progressive culture is one that stamps its feet and expects others to make content how they would like it rather than doing their own work to gain the same position through the hard work, learning, and time to make their own content and make it how they want to. I don't view that as a progressive culture, I see that as a culture of entitlement.

              The thing is, with feminists (and others but primarily feminists), they expect the work of everyone else to get what they want, they do not consider or work to make the change they want, and that's one of my problems with feminism. You can't stomp your feet and expect others to spend years making content they wouldn't make for you, you go out and get those positions yourself to make your own content.

              "I'm looking at it from a perspective of ethics and future business growth, while you're looking at it from the perspective of current business. Our priorities are different."
              And I would see your idea of future business to be one that takes business back rather than forward.

              "And like I said, older ladies play those games. Not saying they aren't popular with younger people but I highly doubt they make up the whole of the demographic."
              I'm not saying there aren't hardcore gamers that are female, just that out of all the female gamers, the largest demographic of female gamers are ones that play mobile games and similar ones and not the ones we see people expecting more representation of women in.

              "You also have to remember that on those types of games women can have a social experience, just like men can on shooter games. If younger women try to be part of that kind of community, they often get a whole lot of sexism, dismissal, or unwanted advances."

              This is something a lot of feminists or female gamers don't understand, not all but too many. Competitive gaming is warzone. Women are not the only ones to face negativity, they just experience a different version of it just like men experience a different version of it than women do, and if it becomes too much of an issue, there is a mute option brought in to it which most gamers in these types of gaming environments know.

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  • When boys play girly ass games like FarmVille , they can pick girly protagonists. When feminists play mortal combat with soul crushing violence, they can pick masculine protagonists. Truth is that they never play these games. They just whine, bitch, and act superior because they want to rid the world of masculinity. Disgustingly arrogant and insecure.

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    • I was raised on video games, not "girly ass games" like Farmville. Real Games. All my female friends also play games. And guess what? We would like to feel fucking represented and included as consumers, even acknowledged as gamers instead of written off by asshats by you. Women play games. And the more time goes by, the more women become interested in video games and the industry. So I would start getting used to the idea.

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