Heroine Complex PDF Print E-mail
Written by Adam (Vergil)   
Sunday, 08 May 2005
I need to stop playing as female characters in Online Games.

I’m not particularly sure as to when it started. Perhaps it was Aya Brea of Parasite Eve, Makoto Kusinagi of Ghost in the Shell, or maybe it was Dana Sterling of Robotech, or maybe it was Chun Li in Street Fighter 2. Whatever it was, for some reason, I have always been fascinated by the heroine in works of fiction.

It’s a phenomena I really can’t explain. I suppose I could take the simple answer that most of heroines, especially in action stories like Ghost in the Shell, Robotech, and Street Fighter, tend to be extremely attractive. Yet somehow I feel like my fascination goes deeper than that. Perhaps it is because I've grown up with women who like sports and don't take crap from men, like my sister for example.

Well regardless of the reason, a good heroine is likely to attract more of my praise than a good hero. Chun Li has always been my favorite Street Fighter character with Ryu, the story’s typical protagonist, falling second. I liked Dana Sterling of Robotech more than Rick Hunter or the protagonist of the third season, who’s name has totally left me. In the original Ghost in the Shell, I liked Makoto Kusinagi more than her loud mouth partner Batou (this is not as much the case in GitS: Stand Alone Complex where they develop Batou’s character significantly.  I like them about equal in that story).

 Those of you familiar with my fictional writings may have noticed a trend like this.  In Rhapsody & Requiem, I spend a lot of time in the story focused on Crystal Graves, a character who was only supposed to be a plot device, not a main character. In Trigundam Bebop, I had to invent a new heroine to follow around Mach and Vergil in that alternative universe (for those of you who remember Naomi the Half-Vampire Magic Knight, good for you).  Of course, the condition is that the character is a "good" heroine, unlike Faye Valentine of Cowboy Bebop who is just there for fan service.

Yet despite this, I don’t really identify with a female character. I can role play one, but it is not like I envision myself at all a female. It simply is a byproduct of my own uncontrolled desire to understand people and why they do what they do.  I can act like a girl, but that doesn’t mean that I behave like one naturally.

This is where I run aground some interesting problems with the MMORPG. Those of you who are not familiar, these are online games that allow the player to create an avatar that will represent them in the game world. In most of these games, the choice of your character’s gender is purely cosmetic, while in others, certain character types are always either male or female. For example, in Priston Tale, all archers are female and all knights are male. In Guild Wars, your character can be male or female regardless of character class.

So most people are smart enough to approach these character generation engines and say “Well, this character is going to be an extension of myself, so they should be the same gender as me. I mean come on that just makes sense.”

I instead feel the need to create a new personality with the engine. This character is not an extension of Adam. No, the character is a new persona, that Adam will pretend to be, but is by no means, a reflection of Adam. As a result, this character that I make is free to be whatever race or gender that I whimsically feel like at the time. While this is a liberating thing in a game like Diablo 2 or Priston Tale where if I couldn’t get over that I’d never get to play as some of the character classes, it gets me in trouble in games where I have control over it.

You see the problem is, the vast majority of people who play online video games are horny twelve year olds. Or at least, they act like horny twelve year olds.  So when they see some one logon to their game with an attractive female avatar, they immediately assume I’m some naïve young woman at least as attractive as the avatar who is willing to give up playing the game to have cyber-sex with them.

At first it’s funny. You just make fun of them as you inform them that the person on the other end of the keyboard is also a male. Then of course, they can’t handle that and begin to get all immature about why you are playing as a girl. After the 700th time it stops being funny and it starts getting old. So old in fact that you shut yourself off the community and don’t communicate at all in an effort to avoid such assholes.

Women, I have no clue how you put up with this on a day to day basis. And those of you who like it, I absolutely don't get you guys.

The point is, one of these days I’ll figure out that there aren’t enough people playing MMOs that respect good role playing and can handle me playing a heroine maturely. Until then, I guess Emi Hanoi, my Level 8 Monk/Warrior in Guild Wars will continue to be a stone wall coldhearted woman who speaks to only those she knows she can trust, like characters made by my friends or my guild mates for example.

Time to make a new character.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 July 2005 )
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