Poll: What kind of gender options do you prefer in games you're playing?

  • Writing a story from one definite point of view is fine, so I’m okay with not choosing my main character’s gender.
  • Let me choose my gender and those of my love interests.
  • Let me choose my gender only, but give me plenty of options for love interests that might be my type.
  • Let me choose my gender only, and if that means fewer dating options that’s fine with me.
  • Gender is largely predetermined in real life, and by the way, let’s talk about race and sexual preference being choices…
  • None of these are what I prefer, thanks.

Poll: How much intolerance and/or tragedy should games have?
Questions on storytelling with choices [all opinions welcome]
Gender-locking ROs and importance of gender in relationships
Is having gender choice important to you?
The Myrmidon (WIP) (Minor update 03/10/2017)
Monsters of New Haven High - last update 4/02
How do you feel about gender-locked romances?

I just wanted to laugh at that one.


The way I see it’s okay to have your gender chosen for you if it suits the game but having the option is good. As for romance if a writer can make the option to select other characters genders work then go for it, otherwise it’s fine.


I prefer to be able to choose gender and orientation in my games. Gender and orientation of LI’s I’m happy to leave to the writer.

“Nice to haves” include ethnicity, race (if sci-fi/fantasy and more than human is possible), personality (kind, mischevious, aggressive, etc), appearance (hair length, clothing style, etc). Eight Thrones was a pleasant surprise offering hair length choice. That was a new one for a text adventure and now I’m spoiled :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess I’m also spoiled by Fenoxo’s games (if you google him be aware his stuff is very 18+ - I can link to him if such links are allowed here)


All I ask from c.o.g games is for me to play me. Dude and straight. That’s all I want from any c.o.g when it comes to gender and preferences


I generally think games need to be very good to justify limiting the gender or orientation of player characters, otherwise it’s putting off a lot of potential readers. Some games do have a pretty good in-story reason for limiting gender though, and it is ultimately the author’s decision to do what they want.

Sometimes I wish Fen made games that weren’t strictly 18+, I would love for that level of customization to be in more games.


assuming this is a poll about things in general and not for a special game, I’ve voted for option 4, for these reasons:

  • Although the pre-defined gender fits some games better, in most games the MC’s gender doesn’t matter much for the main plot and therefore they should offer a choice of the MC’s gender.

  • As to the ROs, if they have predefined genders, orientation and other aspects of personality they usually have more depth. But again, an RO gender selection can be justified in few cases (like the Companion bot in Robots who is created by the MC)

  • If all ROs in a game are MC-sexual, it makes the MC kind of a MarySue/Marty Stu, therefore I prefer it if different MC gender means different ROs.


What do you think about the trope “Everyone is bi”? If we’re being realistic, bisexuals are fairly rare (either by inclination or expression.) If everyone is bi, then LIs/ROs (romantic options, right?) can all swap genders without trouble, but bisexuals have twice as many options for romance if the NPCs have a static gender. Making bisexuals have only as many options as other players means either swapping all LIs from straight/gay to bi, or trying to somehow balance bi, gay, and straight males and females - it’s enough to make a coder’s head spin.

Yes, I am working on coding for a specific game, but wanted to know opinions in general so I could get a sense of how best to design romantic interactions. I currently have three different sets of code for asking someone to the dance… not options, entire sets of code. :grimacing: It’s time to commit.


I’m trying to balance having multiple possible LI’s for any gender/orientation with avoiding “MC-sexual” cookie-cutters. Maybe it’s not possible….



I think the “Everyone is bi” trope can be justified depending on the context. But Zombie Exodus for example has been criticized by some for having all ROs bisexual.

Bisexuals having more ROs is justified and realistic, I don’t see this as a problem. Games that go for more realism offer less ROs for gays (most extremely in Choice of Broadsides which has three possible straight ROs but only one same-sex RO), but if you want to give the player maximum choice you should make an equal number of straight guys, straight girls, gays and lesbians and add as many bisexual ROs as you like.

As for Monster High, since it features vampires and demons who have mind-control powers, it might be good to reflect this by allowing MCs from these classes to romance everybody while characters form other classes would have to deal with the possibility that some people are not into their gender.


I can see some people Bi but don’t think everyone should.
I liked Mecha Ace where everyone had a default gender but could be changed.
I always prefer picking my gender and preferences.


I dislike games that force you into playing as a man, and will hardly if ever play them.
I’d rather have no straight male option, or at least, the game-favoured gender is not male. Men get all the mainstream games, and I’ve found men are the ones always seen defending their “masculinity” when they play a game with a female lead. They shouldn’t need to. If more interesting and feminist games were made with well-developed women as the lead, maybe the mistreatment of women in the gaming community would stop. I’ve had enough of it, and I’m not even female.

To that, where’s a non-binary option? That’s always what I’ll be asking. “Gender is largely predetermined in real life”. Yeah. It’s assigned at birth, you don’t have to stay with what you’re given, where’s this idea of “everyone has to stick with the gender they’re assigned” come from?

What is a Mary Sue?/Marty Stu? A powerful, important character with barely any flaws: hell, we play these games for escapism anyway, I don’t particularly care if the characters are all MC-sexual as long as they’re well rounded and developed. Dragon Age 2 pulled if off, and Zombie Exodus was great.
Bi/poly/pan (and gay) people tend to flock together, too; it’s not as unlikely to have a group of bi/pol/pan people together as you’d think.


Honestly, I’d go with the realistic approach of giving all ROs their own interests, and allowing the player to hit on whoever they want. This way, you could potentially end up developing a close friendship (and a secret crush) on someone of the opposite sex, only to find out that they’re gay/lesbian. It gives more scope for player choice. You might actually end up with someone falling for you, but you’re not into their gender. See? Almost emergent gameplay!


I never understand why “everybody’s bi” should be an issue? I mean the default forever have been “everybody’s straight” and that is clearly not true either.

Especially in games, I see every playthrough as a singular experience for the player. Just because person A played through it once and had a let’s say m/m relationship, and person B played it and had a m/f relationship with the same LI doesn’t make the love interest bi in my book. They might as well have been gay in person A’s playthrough and straight in person B’s. The LI is only bi if they for example has had a boy/girlfriend in the past of a different gender than the MC, and this is mentioned in the game.

After all, otherwise any MC that has the option of choosing gender automatically becomes genderqueer… because in some playthroughs they present as males, in others as females.

Also, bisexuality being rare? Is that even a thing? The vast majority of my friends and aquaitances I know the preference of are bi.


Heh, good point.

Yeah, I could see that. “Everyone is MC-sexual” would be the better way to state the potential issue I guess?

Bisexuals do tend to, as @Bagelthief said, flock together. Most of my friends are bi too, but statistically speaking we seem to be pretty rare (which would explain all the flak and confusion from the gay and straight communities-at-large.)


To much push-back if the Bioware forums are to be believed. I think the issue lies more in representation, but that isn’t a point I’m able to articulate much. I tend to follow David Gaider’s viewpoint that the “default straight white male” situation with western society has lead to a gender and orientation privilege situation where it seems strange to do anything else. He articulates my feelings far better than I.

At any rate, I enjoy being able to play lesbian women in my games and I’m more than prepared to support developers who provide that and other options in their games be they Bioware or small independent authors as are found here.


Non-binary options are great. All that means is the terminology gets more complicated (who’s gay or straight, if a male or female is neither the same or opposite gender?) In my code I solved it for the time being by writing in a “preference” and “orientation” hidden variable - a third-gender person who likes only girls has the same preference as a gay female, but a different orientation (I called it “prefers girls”.)

I said “largely” predetermined because, you’re right, gender assigned at birth is not carved in stone. But changing your identity isn’t as simple as snapping your fingers and saying, “I’m obviously female, whatever my chromosomes might be, so treat me like that.” My game is set in high school, before a lot of trans people will have had a chance to transition, so I have tried to provide for emerging genderqueer or trans identities by calling my third gender “it’s complicated” and allowing that to mean a small group of things. Or a trans person could just play as a character who was born with their gender, and skip the hassle… games ARE partly wish fulfillment.

EDIT: I also gave people an option about halfway through the game to question and change their orientation (which characters they are attracted to, regardless of how they answered earlier.) Because, y’know, high school.


Ah, Scandinavia… :slight_smile:


With CCH I made all of the RO (romantic options) bisexual. I did that because…

  1. some readers may only read it once so if the reader takes a liking to a RO, let them go for it!

  2. I wanted to design characters who were different in other ways so that their individual attributes other than sexual orientation or even gender/gender identity, would be the primary appeal for a reader to pursue a relationship with them.

  3. I also allow for non binary gender for the MC and trying to figure out how a straight male RO might respond romantically to a MC who was biologically female but viewed himself as male or something like that was way too complicated for me to figure out. All problems are solved if the reader is potentially able to pursue a relationship with any RO.

  4. Shhhhh don’t tell anyone, but it’s easier to code this way too.


In Zombie Exodus not everybody was bi. Mindy and Heather both identified as bi, and discussed past lovers. Devlin was either gay or straight depending on if you were playing male or female. I’d argue that Tom was straight, but made a single exception during the zombie apocalypse, and that exception may have been as much about power, control and manipulation as it was about lust.

I’d argue that the male, same-sex, romantic options tend to feel shallower than the alternatives and that if we didn’t have everybody is bi going on, then there likely wouldn’t be any real options. Case in point, Tom from Zombie Exodus, and Josh from Choice of Robots.

I’m queer, as a result I have a lot of queer friends, certainly more of a percentage than are in the general population. You might, in fact, say the number of GBLTQ people I know is unrealistic. I’d say that during the Zombie Apocalypse the last thing I want to be dealing with alongside the zombies is prejudiced douchebags. Especially with guns.

I like everybody is bi as an option, especially if they acknowledge the bisexuality, and don’t treat it as all bisexuality is equal.

Hmm high school. Personally, high school was hell for me. I’d rather have a setting like in Psy-High (or Glee or Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan) where there’s some degree of wish fulfillment to that setting. While it might not be ‘realistic’ I’d like that idealised setting, the high-school experience where there are queer kids around, where there are trans characters.