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I read an article in Google's "Currents" that talked about how hard it is to balance removing offensive content, while at the same time keeping good content that may be controversial from being removed. The article talked about a series of videos under the title of "Tropes vs Women In Video Games"*. Because Google is omnescent, one of these videos came up in my generic YouTube video feed, so I watched it. The video was Damsels In Distress: Part 2 - Tropes vs Women In Video Games. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't a rational discussion of women as they are portrayed in video games. It wasn't even very reactionary. I recommend people watch at least one of these videos.
Anyway, on to the discussion. It seems obvious if you think about it that women are more or less a stage prop in video games, a macguffin to push the male character along and give them a reason for existing in the video game world. There are exceptions, but not too many, especially in big budget games. What struck me was how formulaic and consistent the representations were. My question is whether or not this is necessary. Sure, indie games can break away from the formula, or avoid it entirely, but it seems the bigger budget a game is, the more likely it is to adhere to the woman as a prop mechanic.
Would the gaming public, who is largely male, but with a growing female population accept different formulas and spend as much money on video games if the existing "Damsel" formulas were reversed or abandoned? Would game sales suffer if this mechanic was abandoned?
* The series of videos was mentioned because as soon as they were posted, they were flagged as inappropriate content, removed, and then promptly returned.
I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.