I Don’t Play for Gender. I Play for Skills.

In light of all the controversy going on in the gaming community over gender equality, I would like to share some things with all you fine people.

Firstly, if I want to play as a dude in a game, I’m going to play as a dude. I don’t care that some games have the main character as a guy or a girl. I’m playing to enjoy the game.

I had a conversation with someone recently dealing with the new Borderlands game coming out Oct. 14th. For those of you not familiar with the Borderlands franchise let me give you a quick rundown. In Borderlands 1 you play as a vault hunter. You’re looking for a massive treasure with lots of loot. In Borderlands 2 you are a vault hunter that must stop the villain, Handsome Jack. In these games you can play as a male or female. In the first installment of the game you have the options of Brick, Roland, Lilith or Mordecai. They all have different skill sets and special actions. None of them are alike in the least. When I play a game, I usually go for tank or sniper so obviously I would pick Brick or Mordecai. Their stats and action skills are set to those specific gameplay styles.

Mordecai, Lillith, Brick, Roland

Mordecai, Lilith, Brick, Roland

In Borderlands 2 you can choose Axton, Slavador, Maya, or Zer0 (Krieg and Gaige came with downloads). For this game I had two choices for “tank:” Salvador the Gunzerker or Krieg the Psycho. The sniper or rogue character was Zer0. Now the skills and actions are a little different from the tradition tags of tank or rogue/sniper, but it’s the same idea. Salvador’s action skill is to wield two weapons at once; any gun could be paired with any other type of gun. Krieg had his buzz axe which made melee such a thrill. Zero has sniper stats, but his action skill was to make a clone so you could get some distance from your enemies or (as you built up your skill tree) to keep melee actions going so long as it was a one hit one kill or enemies were present.

Axton, Maya, Salvador, Zer0, Gaige, Krieg

Axton, Maya, Salvador, Zer0, Gaige, Krieg

Now in Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, it takes place on Pandora’s (the planet the previous games take place on) moon, Elpis. You are helping the villain from BL2 (Handsome Jack) take his place over the Hyperion company. It’s like an origin story, but in space with the most kick ass villain I’ve fought against except you’re not fighting against him. You learn the backstory of how Jack got to power in the Hyperion Company. In this game you can play Wilhelm (a boss in BL2), Athena (a former ally from a DLC in BL1), Nisha ( a boss from BL2) and everyone’s favorite robot Claptrap (or CL4P-TP Interplanetary Ninja Assassin).

Not his official title.

Not his official title.

Now the decisions for these characters are a bit taxing. There’s no set label such as the tank, rogue, magic user, etc. So right now, I don’t know who I am going to play. I’m leaning more toward Wilhelm because of his drone action skill. I will go more into The Pre-Sequel in a later post.

But this brings me back to the conversation I had. I was explaining all this to a person who does not play video games. Yes, she has played a few but it’s not her hobby. I told her about the characters and the vast amount of options you had with each one. It was kind of cool to have someone listen to me babble on and on about a game that wasn’t my husband. She paused for a moment and asked,” Which character are you going to play?”

I responded that I didn’t know, but was thinking of Wilhelm or Claptrap. Her brow furrowed and she tilted her head a little. “You’re not going to play a girl character?”

What? I… don’t think so… I don’t like their gameplay styles. I might when I do a second playthrough just to get the experiences for that particular character. What she said next made me realize that gaming related gender issues come out of the community and leak into the rest of the world… at least a little anyway.

“But you’re a girl. Why wouldn’t you want to play a girl character? The people who made the game put the girls in there so chick gamers can play as a chick.”

Me^

Me^

I’ll admit that game developers have come a long way to include the female gender in the gaming world, but that’s not the reason there are female protagonists in games. For instance you have women like Mrs. Pacman, Lara, Faith, Samus, Sonya…. I could keep going. Some games you don’t have a choice but to play a female just as there are games where the main character is a male. If the game gives me a choice, I’m going to play the class I feel will get me the best results in the game. Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Skyrim, and Fallout are wonderful examples of what I like most about picking a character. You can be a guy or a girl while customizing that character to your specs. It’s freakin’ awesome.

So while I don’t mind playing as a female character in most games, I will pick a character to play that I feel will benefit me most in the game. If I like what that character’s stats are then I will pick them. The gaming world has become largely more inclusive to women in the recent years and I’m glad that I’m here to take advantage of that opportunity. Just don’t think differently of a person by the character they play.