Is It OK To Play A Character Of The Opposite Sex?

When I first started playing MMORPGs (all of those moons ago) I took it for granted that male avatars were played by men and female avatars were played by women. Suffice to say, I quite quickly learned that this wasn’t the case at all. In fact, back then, almost every female avatar was a male player. It’s not something I’ve thought too much about before (I was in prime gaming mode when the whole Lara Croft “OMG play as a girl!” craze was going on remember) yet it’s never something that’s appealed to me in any way. All of my avatars have been blokes and that’s the way it’s going to stay.

I guess I never understood the appeal, as a man, of playing a female character. Not that I perceive female characters to be weak or anything, I just feel that my avatar presents myself to other players and the community in the way that I desire and I want that to be male. Maybe it’s a bonding thing but I don’t feel like I can relate with a female character. I’ve tried but it’s never been my cup of tea and, even in games like Diablo 1 and 2, I never played the female characters.

Perhaps it’s a psychological issue of mine. I went to all boys private school after all (feel free to email me your sympathies) and I’m aware I’ve got a bit of a Nietzsche complex. I usually want my characters to be the biggest, baddest, strongest lug that’s available so I want walk right up to stuff and smack it in the face. I put the T in subtle.

So I’m really interesting in hearing people’s feedback on this. Do you think it’s strange for a man or a woman to play a character of the opposite sex? Are you worried about being perceived as someone of the opposite gender? Do you even care and is it just part and parcel of gaming now?

Oh and yeah, I’m perfectly aware that this article will probably convince people that I’m either a mad chauvinist or a raving homosexual :)

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99 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Not at all, MMO games generally have ugly male characters, for example I used to play a MMO game called Fiesta, and the male mage’s face looked really ugly, and so I never bothered to play them. Even their armor looked awful.Eventually I changed his look and realized mages are quite good, but I messed up his build so I decided to make a new mage. I didn’t want to buy another face change and the male face makes me want to barf so I make a female character. They look much nicer and the armor doesn’t look like rocks so I’ve enjoyed it ever since. On the other hand I sticked with a male fighter since they didn’t look as bad and the armor are quite well designed. The healers often looks better as female characters, and games that have classes like healers, tricksters or dancers obviously have better looking females avatars than males.

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