Writing from opposite gender's view

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dstarsboy
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Writing from opposite gender's view

#1 Post by dstarsboy » Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:37 pm

So I'm thinking... if the market consists of 50% male and 50% female... most females seem perfectly comfortable playing a BxG game (This is speculation, but it seems to be true. I am not sure why though.)... males are less likely to play a GxB game (This is speculation, can any males comment and verify?)... so you would statistically get more play if you made BxG games, right? or wrong?

That being said, do most guys on this forum think they're capable of creating a believable (from a girl's point of view) GxB game? Do most girls here believe they can make a great BxG game?

I just wanted to hear some opinions. I'm thinking of making my next game a GxB set during the crusades but I am wrestling with whether I actually can. On one side, I'm think, "I'm a guy, I know what guys want to hear, it should be easy to create a female character's dialog with me." but on the other hand... you have to write her thoughts and her feelings at every moment...

Has anyone written from the opposite gender's point of view? If so, any tips would be great.

edit: changed the subject so it matches the content better
Last edited by dstarsboy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GxB vs BxG?

#2 Post by Wintermoon » Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:28 pm

So you just want opinions? I (male) prefer female characters. In romance-oriented VNs, that means I prefer BxG over GxB because the character(s) to the right of the "x" tend to have a larger role in the story than the protagonist. I prefer GxG or GxBG over BxG. In non-romance-oriented stories, I prefer a female protagonist.

If you can write likable yet interesting male characters, I don't mind GxB or even BxB. I just don't find very many male character interesting.

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Re: GxB vs BxG?

#3 Post by PrettySammy09 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:30 pm

Interesting subject. :)

Well - you're right in assuming that girls are plenty fine with playing BxG games. At least the girls I know. I belong to a forum of Otome (GxB) game-players, and the general consensus is that girls like playing VN/Dating Sims that are BxG strictly because of the romance factor. They, and I include myself in this group, like to pursue their "straight OTPs". If you think that the main character and a member of the cast are a good match, you'll want to see them get together. And what girl doesn't like a sweep-you-off-your-feet love story?

At the same time, I prefer GxB games simply because they are targeted towards girls and include loads of bishis and whatnot. I like being swept off my feet by a plethora of attractive men - what can I say? :|

I don't know if guys would want to play Otome games. I'm not a guy, so I can't really say. Maybe if the main character was hot? XD

As for a man writing an effective GxB -- I suggest you check out the Nettestadt Troll, a game by DaFool. VERRRY effective. :DDD

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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#4 Post by sake-bento » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:01 pm

I (female) am actually more likely to enjoy a BxG game over a GxB game because I'm not really the type who goes for the super lovely bishonen that often, so the look of the guys in GxB games doesn't appeal to me.

As for writing...I think I can do a decent job writing from a guy's point of view. At least, I have yet to receive any comments on my writing not being believably from a male point of view. Of the games I've written, three are from a male POV, and one is from a female POV. And of the ones I'm currently writing, two are from a male POV, and one is from a female POV. I don't really think too much about "what would a guy do in this situation?" as much as I think "what would this character do in this situation?" Not all guys think the same, so there's no real drive to write from a "male" mind as much as there is to write from my character's mind.
Last edited by sake-bento on Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#5 Post by x__sinister » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:17 pm

I'm a girl, and I most definitely prefer male characters over female ones. I've always been the type of girl to have a lot of male friends, so it's easy for me to create a believable (hopefully) male character. Even in romantic plots, I prefer male characters. However, this may be just because I'm fascinated by gay romance (*hides romance novels*) and find that the whole homosexual 'genre' is a refreshing change from the typical heterosexual one.

Regardless.
I think that I do fairly well with both male and female characters, though males I do better with.
In order to get a better grasp on a character, I watch TV. Think about the character personality I want (say, sarcastic) and watch a TV show where I might find one (say, HOUSE). It helps me get aquainted with a character's reactions, etc. The only thing you have to really be careful of is basing your character totally off the one you watched on TV.
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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#6 Post by Marcelo_Orlando » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:54 am

My next project will have a female protagonist, it will be interesting to see if I can pull it off. I guess it will prove how much I know women......or how little. Then again I could just throw in a few different reactions to different scenarios and let the player control how girlie or boyish the character is. :mrgreen:
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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#7 Post by Koveras » Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:28 am

I have written female protagonists before and haven't noticed much difference to male ones. :3 But then again, I was mainly writing mystery and horror, not romance, so that might not be something you are looking for. ^^

I also found it an interesting experience to role-play female characters in tabletop games. Other guys always found them moe and wanted to marry me them. :D I also role-played some GxB romance (if you don't mind such mishmash of the terms), but mostly with girls playing the male character. Which we both found kinky btw. You may try it, too. ;)
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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#8 Post by jack_norton » Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:41 am

If you're talking about who play casual games (in general) is more like 65% females and 35% males. I don't think the percentage changes so much vs more males in dating sim/VNs.
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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#9 Post by Hime » Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:11 am

Hmm, I'm a female and prefer BxG over GxB for several reasons, so I thought I'd contribute.

First of all comes that like sake-bento, I don't like the men in otome very often. When it comes to appearance, there are two things I don't like: extreme leanness and extreme muscularity. These usually mean that the man (or woman for that matter) is trying very hard to be macho or good-looking, which tells of superficial values and insecurity, which many don't find attractive. All men that act like machos or super "manly" fall into this category as well. Another physical thing one might feel strong about is extreme feminity. It isn't very believable and well... if I want girls, I play BxG or GxG, not GxB.

Mentally speaking, the utter supposed perfection the men very often carry seems annoying to me. Rather than a stereotypical romantic knight, I'd like something more realistic... in a way, the typicality kills the romance in their actions. I don't like the idea of an extremely self-sacrificing or protective partner either. I like a mutual, loving and equal relationship as opposed to one in which the partner is personally serving you. ^^;


But the protagonists to me seem like the biggest reason I prefer BxG. It seems to me that in otome they are often extremely passive, with the guys making most romantic advances, which you just choose to accept or not to accept. This may not appeal to people who aren't entirely submissive and/or passive. Not everyone wants to wait for the prince on the white horse, or even likes the idea of it. It can be frustrating that there aren't many chances to make advances. Another thing I dislike about many female protagonists is their common helplessness. This is why I don't like the idea of playing say, Yo-Jin-Bo. I like independent and strong protagonists that don't need to be rescued or helped too much or too often. This is particularly unfortunate if the protagonist's apparent major problems seem very minor to you.

Spoilers for Heileen:
For me this was the largest problem in Heileen, which I played a while ago. The girls cry over a man they met yesterday seemed exaggerated and helpless to me - especially in the supposed 17th century, where an average person probably saw a lot more death, crime and horror than we do in the present day. Also to be honest I didn't see why Marie slit her wrists - she hadn't even confessed yet. I saw no problem. If I was her situation, I would have been happily thinking about what to do. While the romantic interest(s?) in the game was(/were?) okay, I found it extremely hard to relate to the girls.

If too long and didn't read, the reason I prefer BxG over GxB is macho/feminine men and passive protagonists. It may be surprising, but overall it seems to me that GxB has a lot more gender bias than BxG, generally speaking.


As for the topic question, I don't find it hard to write from a male perspective. I don't think there's that much difference between a man's and a woman's brain in the end. Actually it looks like my writing is less convincing if the protagonist is a female, which would mean that I supposedly think like a man... but I think there's a lot more to one's way of thinking than just gender. The only things I see could be hard to write about are one's that you haven't experienced yourself, but even thinking so, it should be just as hard to write about wearing a skirt as it is to write about killing people with a sword - assuming you haven't done either, that is!
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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#10 Post by jack_norton » Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:19 am

Yes what you say is true. On Heileen was done on purpose, since she is clearly a snob girl, never used to experience real life, etc. So she is shy and not really an active girl. A game I'm planning to do with sake-bento involves a more strong female character. In Heileen 2 she'll still be helpless like in the first episode in the beginning, but as the story goes on (depending on your choices) she'll take big decisions that would make her more a strong character than in first episode (or at least I hope so).
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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#11 Post by papillon » Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:07 am

most females seem perfectly comfortable playing a BxG game (This is speculation, but it seems to be true. I am not sure why though.)... males are less likely to play a GxB game (This is speculation, can any males comment and verify?)
Angry feminists and mainstream producers will explain that it goes like this:

girls are generally seen as 'less than' in Western culture. Any movie, game, etc that is made 'for women' is therefore automatically suspect and even girls may be embarassed about enjoying it. Whereas things designed for men are usually considered the default, completely normal and ordinary and a thing that everyone should want... especially women, if they want to prove that they are 'real' people and not 'girly'. Advertisements will show girls playing things viewed as male far more often than boys playing things viewed as female. Studies also used to show that in commercials that showed boys and girls competing, boys would always win, because no one would buy a product if they saw it "beaten by a girl".

Now, disregard all that. ;) Because it's talking about 'mainstream' culture, and we're talking about niche stuff, anime fans, and geeks. There are plenty of geeks willing to project themselves into cross-gender shoes.

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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#12 Post by Vatina » Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:53 am

My first game was with a male lead (BxG). I don't find it particularly hard to write a male lead. Like Sake-Bento said I usually just write from the characters point of view instead of thinking "he must be as male as possible, how do I do that?"

I can also relate to Hime's thoughts about otome games. I have played more BxG games than GxB games for the same reason as her - many otome games and the men in them seem shallow and pointless, which was a reason for me to avoid them for quite a while. Since then I have tried a couple of otome games that I quite liked though, so I have become more accepting of them recently. So now I just play any game, as long as there is more than just fluff in there.
(I am just as annoyed by cliché moe girls as I am by superficial bishies after all...)

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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#13 Post by dizzcity » Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:51 am

Well, my last project (Wedding Vows) was written with an exact 50-50 split between female and male POVs, and it's been getting generally good reviews from both sides of the gender fence, so I don't really think that writing from the opposite gender's perspective is that hard. Especially if you spend a lot of time listening or hanging out with people from the opposite gender. I'm a guy, and I roleplayed a female character for two years in an MMO once, without ever being discovered. (Actually, when I announced my true gender, many people refused to believe it... huh.)

When writing from a female POV, as far as I can tell, things to keep in mind are:

(1) Your character should be strong internally. The milktoast female is even more repugnant to readers than the milktoast male. That isn't to say that the character must always be decisive and strong-willed... you can cause them to have doubts and fears. But the doubts and fears must be scaled up to levels that are appropriate to their strength of character - like financial security, loss of family members, change in lifestyle and self-identity. Not things like why the neighbour's dog hates her, or whether the guy she likes is going to like her hairstyle today or not.

(2) The male love interest should be both worthy of respect and willing to give respect. That is, the relationship should be one of equal but different people. He mustn't overpower her in terms of sheer perfection (white-knight-always-rescues-damsel-in-distress), but shouldn't always been clingy and dependent either. He should have weaknesses that corresponds to her strengths, and strengths which corresponds to her weaknesses (eg. hot-tempered versus patient, enthusiastic versus reserved). The male lead should be given a situation in which his weakness causes him to fail, and the female protagonist to step in and save him with her strength, and he should appreciate her for that. However, there should also be situations in which his strengths can shine - preferably not in comparison to the protagonist, but against difficult circumstances, or against other rivals - to show that he is worthy of respect.

(3) Some stereotypes are generally true, but must not be taken to extremes. That is to say, "men find self-worth in the quality of their work, women find self-worth in the quality of their relationships" is generally true, but this stereotype is slowly being eroded with the gender-blind cultural trend. So while you should have a tinge of it in your writing (to appeal to the hidden subconscious), don't let it overtly dominate the character roles throughout the story. And if you have a large cast of characters, it's always nice to have an exception to the rule. Likewise, other stereotypes such as "men desire to pursue, women desire to attract pursuit" can also be used and subverted. So this, for example, would indicate that maintaining a good appearance IS important for females, but you should situate it in the context of specific relationships, not just generally because they want to always look pretty. Also interesting: "When men talk to men, they talk like men. When women talk to women, they talk like women. When men talk to women, they talk like women." I'll leave you to figure out what that means and how to use it. ;)

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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#14 Post by maybox » Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:55 pm

Personally, I think we're very much alike. Girls and boys. I'm a girl but I'm not very sensitive, I don't worry about small things, I hate shopping clothes and I don't know sh*t about soap operas. These facts doesn't automatically make me lesbian or a tomboy.

Girls can be so different I'm sure a man could easily write one believable. Same thing goes for boys.

The only differences one must keep in mind are the physical.

+ I like playing both GxB and BxG games! also GxG and BxB! lol

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Re: Writing from opposite gender's view

#15 Post by Poketto Kunoichi » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:18 am

Dizzy, that was well said. :D

In my opinion, yes, any game could be successful since the stereotypes for each gender are probably just a generalization. In other words, any gender can have any kind of personality. As I girl, I would take blowing up zombie heads than taking five hours to try a pair of sandals. I also find burping hilarious and a test of skill.

I've only played games with a male's point of view so far, though.

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