Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

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wulfmune
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Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#1 Post by wulfmune » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:15 am

I realized that I'm pretty picky with the gender and personality of the protagonist before I will even look at a VN to try. I'm not very proud of this and I'm trying to be less bias and more open minded. I usually don't like empty slate protagonists, but I'm willing to give a game a shot if given the option to choose/customize the protagonist.

Just wondering how others feel about it and what kind of protagonist they gravitate towards.

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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#2 Post by Elsa Kisiel » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:44 pm

I don't like "empty" characters either, but I have no problem with gender. Nor with personality, as long as they have one. I read "visual novels" like I read a novel, so, the main character need to be compelling.
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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#3 Post by mikey » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:18 pm

I'm one of those people who prefer "playing as myself", so I actually like relatively bland or less defined characters, best if not even shown on screen.

In my own VNs I like to often do things differently, treating them more like stories where readers can influence the outcome, but not necessarily the personality of the protagonist.

But this is not something I see as a conflict - it took some time to realize, but I'm okay with making the kinds of VNs I would not typically play, and playing the kinds of VNs I wouldn't typically make.

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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#4 Post by Imperf3kt » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:19 pm

I'm one of those people who is fed up with the whole gender equality bs.
if the protag is a boy, it's a boy. if it's a girl, it's a girl.

I apologise in advance if I offend anybody, my opinions tend to be rather blunt.

so many games try to cater to everyone and the result ends up making the choice feel forced and in my opinion, comes across as more sexist than simply not giving the player a choice of gender. if you want gender equality, then stop making a distinction between genders.

The harvest moon series is actually a pretty big offender in my opinion, where not only is the game different depending on whether you play as a boy or a girl, but you must buy a separate version of the game entirely in order to do so.
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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#5 Post by GNVE » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:11 pm

An empty character is not a problem for me per say. It does need other characters to have a decent personality and my choices need to have an impact on those characters.
What I really hate are protagonists that are full of themselves. I guess it comes from the Hero thing where you need to make the protagonist the hero of the story but bad writing makes the 'hero' just look like a douche.

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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#6 Post by Mutive » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:25 pm

To me, a lot depends on what the game is trying to do. If the goal is to explore the world myself (e.g. as the protagonist, using a first person POV), I probably want a fairly blank slate protagonist without a super distinct voice.

If the goal is more to tell a story about a protagonist, I prefer more personality.

Of course, I'll usually decide which of these games I'm playing based on the options available to the protagonist and how voice-y their inner monologue and dialogue choices are, so I suspect it doesn't matter too much. :)
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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#7 Post by papillon » Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:54 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:19 pm
I'm one of those people who is fed up with the whole gender equality bs.
if the protag is a boy, it's a boy. if it's a girl, it's a girl.

I apologise in advance if I offend anybody, my opinions tend to be rather blunt.

so many games try to cater to everyone and the result ends up making the choice feel forced and in my opinion, comes across as more sexist than simply not giving the player a choice of gender. if you want gender equality, then stop making a distinction between genders.

The harvest moon series is actually a pretty big offender in my opinion, where not only is the game different depending on whether you play as a boy or a girl, but you must buy a separate version of the game entirely in order to do so.
I'm afraid I can't understand your point at all. You start out complaining about games that cater to everyone by giving you a choice of genders within the same game, but then you end by complaining about games that don't do that at all and have totally separate games.

You complain about gender equality being bs but you also complain about the game being different based on gender.

Do you want the boy/girl versions to be the same, or do you want them to be different? It's confusing if you hate it either way!

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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#8 Post by Imperf3kt » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:57 pm

I'm sorry, that post was a rant I should have kept to myself. It was also probably not appropriate here, as my rant isn't specifically directed at this subject.

I apologise to anybody I offended, as I'm sure there were one or two people at least.

Essentially though, I was meaning that a story is a story, the protagonist is normally defined not ambiguous.
Visual novels can get away with it a bit due to the inherent choice driven storytelling, but I find it dulls the story.
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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#9 Post by RicharDann » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:50 pm

Generally I prefer male characters, mostly because the abundance of them in most VNs and games I've played have made me more familiar with their usual tropes. That doesn't mean I don't sometimes play games centered on female characters, however, though it heavily depends if the story or gameplay catches my attention. For example I really enjoyed VA-11 HALL-A even though I don't usually read it's genre.

I mostly tend to like "blank slate" protagonists that give, through their choices, a way for the player to influence how the other characters and the world reacts to them.

Games like the first two Suikoden, most Shin Megami Tensei / Persona, Undertale, enter into this category. Though not VNs, these share some common VN traits, where you're given a character who has a past of which you mostly know nothing about, but you are given the opportunity to shape their future, and choices are cleverly written as answers or things the protagonist might do or say, things that the rest of the characters react to, eventually having an impact on how the story unfolds towards the end.

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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#10 Post by gas » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:17 pm

I don't have any problem to play a game with a female protagonist (who got any in Tomb Raider?), but I usually don't read or play entertainments (like VNL) with female MCs just 'cause I'm unable to fully perceive the psychology behind.
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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#11 Post by Sleepy » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:33 pm

gas wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:17 pm
I don't have any problem to play a game with a female protagonist (who got any in Tomb Raider?), but I usually don't read or play entertainments (like VNL) with female MCs just 'cause I'm unable to fully perceive the psychology behind.
Why? What about the female psychology is so hard to understand? Is Tomb Raider suddenly less understandable than Uncharted because Laura's female? Or would Uncharted become much more difficult to understand psychologically if Nathan was female?
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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#12 Post by papillon » Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:47 pm

While I don't mind reading opposite-gender protagonists, I should say it's not really the same thing being a distant viewer watching your avatar run around doing things and being in the head of the character reading their first-person-perspective. (Which often ends up being much more the AUTHOR'S head than the character's, as making distinct first-person voices is harder than distinct third-person ones.)

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Re: Gender and personality of the protagonist bias

#13 Post by arty » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:58 am

I don't care what gender the PoV character is, in my opinion it's the genre and the author that matter here. The following assumes we're not talking about a blank slate character - those are the most uninteresting to me.

the Genre: In a romance-focused story, I've come to expect certain stereotypes. You will often have the same five character types interacting, and their roles tend to be gender-coded. I am not interested in certain archetypes, even less so when they're the PoV character. If you imagine your typical female MC romance VN, I am really not interested in following the shenanigans of the PoV character, even though I am female myself. It's not my world, and it's not what I want my world to be like; so it's neither katharsis nor wish-fulfillment for me. If you present me a certain type of drama, however, I will gladly follow and empathise with any gender of main character.
In summary, if the genre is not your cup of tea, or if your preferences for stereotypes don't align with the story at hand, no PoV character will resonate with you, no matter the gender. Which leads us to...

the Author: You can just painfully tell when male authors who have certain "ideas" what women "are like" (or "should be like") are writing female characters. Whether it's the PoV character or another character who shows up a lot, it tends to get very cringe-y. A character can always just be as good as the writer's skill. If you end up playing a game where the characters are written poorly, it's no surprise you won't be able to relate/empathise.

But I guess there's also a third component: your mindset.

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