Re Blogfight: Sexism in Roleplaying Games?

March 2, 2007 at 12:13 pm (Articles, Breaking the Ice, Shooting the moon, The secret life of gingerbread men)

The dead one, I cant comment on your blog without signing up either 🙂 So its a blog conversation.

Ya, I know. The discussion is a bit heated, I’m not a very even tempered person. I had heard good things about SotC too, which is why I was dissapointed in my orginal post. It was a bit oh damn, I had hoped for better.

Anyway to your question,

Some game companies are currently trying to market cute and fluffly and romance and “social” games to women which is utterly patronising.

I cant answer this personally without examples. I see games as inherantly a social thing. Hanging out with a group of people is a social thing.

I think a lot of games have a romance angle, players like having love interests or at leasting dating interests, a game doesnt really have to add that. If a game has a good idea about the whole thing its cool to hear. So games make it not as likely, vampire (some gms leave it out, some gms bring it in), werewolf (if ur just meeting ww’s in the game dating is taboo), changling (sometimes your characters are too young). But in dnd, cyberpunk or shadowrun I dont think its all that unlikely that characters will start chasing an npc.

Cute and fluffy. Depends what you mean, Ive seen games like that I like and some I dont. Breaking the Ice is very light and I can see it running well but its just not my cup of tea. Shooting the moon has a romance and light element but I can see that running better as rivallary is very fun to play. I see a lot of fun competitiveness.

Eep must go. Ill add to this later. 


More fuffy games that might be fun, the secret life of gingerbread men. Fluff? Yes. Fun, quite likely and would be fun for kids. Aimed at women? More so aimed at mothers and fathers for their kids, as there is a mother baker with her oven and a parent can cook gingerbread men for the kids based on the recipe given.

Run Robot red. Fluff? Definately. Fun. Yep. Aimed at people who like robots. Small, light, fun.

So I do think fluffy games have a place. Just because is fluffy doesnt mean its bad. Light can be good. I’m not sure if I’d play it for 20 weeks, but that doesnt mean I wont buy it and run it 3 times.

Romance games, can work, but I dont think suit everyone and everygroup. Saying that, romance can be a part of a characters rpg experience, as can friendship, rivialary, hatred, sorrow and anger. A character can have a pc or npc best friend, someone as they see as a younger brother/sister, or as a mentor or parent, or a lover or husband/wife, all the while kicking a$$ day in, day out.



  1. lategaming » More on sexism (plus registration and comments) said,

    […] I am enjoying the discussion on sexism in RPGs which has been continued on and Mary’s blog. […]

  2. The Dead One said,

    Oh dear. You should be able to comment on my blog without logging in! I’ll have to look into it. 🙂 I don’t know if implements “OpenID”, because if it does, you can log in on the livejournal cross-post and comment there, using your WordPress URI and authentication… but I digress (I’m a big geek really).

    All along I’ve played with guys with the occasional girl in the group. The only time I’ve played with more girls than boys was at a conventions. I must admit there is a different “feel” to a game with more-than-one-woman playing. I particularly enjoy it, mostly because it’s easier to explore certain themes and roleplay social events. Most male gamers I know, don’t like imagining other male players as female roles and I think this applies to how they see male GMs portraying female characters. They have a tendency to shy away or just simple ignore them. They simple don’t enjoy it. I can imagine the guys in my group simply squirming if I brought a copy of “Breaking the Ice” along… 🙂

  3. mary gilmartin said,

    Maybe I missed it. I’ll try again. I dont know if wordpress implements open id. While I’m a bit of a techi I never really checked out open id, all that much. I’ll go find out.

    Our groups gm’s (we have 4 reg gms and 3 semi reg) are pretty used to running male and female npcs, and playing pcs/npcs with different genders and/or sexual oreintation than our own. So we are pretty used to it. Some hadn’t really before but they are good players and enjoyed trying out new stuff and got used to it.

    I think its easier for people to deal with npcs than pcs in that way. But you get pretty used to someones character after a bit.

    Breaking the ice, ya me too. We arent ready for that either.
    Its easier in other games where you have a bunch of other themes too. Plus pc verses pc romanace I dont think is likely to happen much. People get embarassed. Pc with Npcs romance is a lot easier to cover. Though for embarassments sake, people prefer out of room private conversations for anything too mushy.

  4. Mark said,

    I know there is a plugin for WordPress that allows comment with OpenID… haven’t installed it on my website. I don’t see the point seeing that posts get “cross-posted” to LJ which does support OpenID.

    I like playing female characters actually. I don’t know if I have a blog post about it but I certainly talked about it on various forums. However, our current GM is a bit of a pain when there is male players playing female characters… he expect them to act all girly and want “romance”… which is unfair. It should be upto the player to define how they want to play their character, you know. Of course if it’s a woman playing a male character… that doesn’t seem to cause the same problems. 😦

    I was, or still am actually, running a game of Nobilis. That’s a pretty good game for various themes, social situations and even romance.

  5. mary gilmartin said,

    Nobilis is a lovely game, couldnt afford the core rule book then in was in our local gaming shop. It was rather dear. I have heard a lot about it. Its diceless isn’t it? I really loved the background to the game.

    Does your gm enforce girlness? or is it just he doesnt considered that your roleplaying if your not acting like a sterotype? Does he still let you fight?

    If so, if you go through an idea with him of a character that mostly fits that but has some other aspects, (esp contrdictory aspects) you might change his mind.

    Like a character who cares about their looks but beserks? Before the fight wearing nice clothes and beautifully groomed, during the fight using their hands and teeth and covering themselves in blood and fooming at the mouth.
    Or one that chases men (the dashing lover archtype) but has the lovers sterotypically lack of commitment to any realtionship. Blowing off npcs when they get too ‘serious’.

    Either are nearly there at what the gm wants but miss the mark due to their flaws.

  6. Jade Reporting » April 12 said,

    […] Re Blogfight: Sexism in Roleplaying Games? Response to if jesus had tits would you believe in god […]

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