POLL - What types of Protagonists/Main Characters are you open to playing in a Hosted Game?

Pretty much the only thing I don’t want to play in an upcoming HG:

A knight

And even then, it’s not because I’m opposed to it. It’s just that there’s a glut of games lately where chivalry and knighthood are either core features of the story, or the entire point of the story. Let tbe beggars and thieves and undead owl-based monstrosities have a spot in the sun.

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if you’re pedaling this I am buying!

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I like to play a game where your character is strong and can achieve things by themselves instead of being useless and relying on others. You don’t have to be overpowered or anything but I hate it when you’re all weak and can’t beat anyone in battle or feel helpless in general.
I mean if I want to be weak I’ll just see my real life self instead of playing a game :o

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I’m peddling! I’m peddling! And I just updated it a few minutes ago.

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uh…

there are stories of animals you could write…and play as though…only if you were perhaps more in favour of animal rights.

perhaps the life of a cow trying to figure out some way to liberate its species?(or any other creature we enslave for our own personal benefit without to much real care for what it goes through.) i mean i imagine it’d be quite graphic and…probably wouldn’t go well with many people but…it would be one way to be more or less ‘political’ i guess.

as for playing an animal i’d happily play an animal protagionist over an actual ‘human’ . perhaps because i kinda identify more with other species than i do with my own.

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Have you seen @Samuel_H_Young’s Winter of the Bovine? It explores some of these themes; maybe you would like it.

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@Eric_Moser Hope you don’t mind if I reap that sweet, sweet karma post the results of the voting because this is a rather interesting topic, and one that is perhaps more important than ever now that the omnibus is imminent.
Future Hosted Game writers would do well to note these results, as they give a glimpse at what types of games have the widest market appeal, at least when it comes to forum goers.

Eric, you wouldn’t happen to remember how long you set the voting period for, would you? That seems like very useful information to note.

Ahem, without further adieu…

The Results:

For reference:
The average amount of voters for each question was 378.
These results are for March 27, 2018.
Voters can change their vote even after polling period, so it’s possible that some people may change their answers after this date.



  1. Would you consider playing/buying a Hosted Game with a protagonist who was gender-locked to a gender not your own?

395 total votes

41% I might consider buying it, but I’d be more leery.

38% Yes, that alone isn’t a game-breaker for me.

21% No, I would never buy that sort of game.

Result:

To about 79% of voters, genderlocking to a gender that isn’t their own is not a deal-breaker.


  1. Would you consider playing/buying a Hosted Game with a protagonist gender-locked to you gender?

378 total votes

70% Yes that isn’t a game-breaker for me. As long as I can play as my gender, I’m good.

26% I might consider buying it, but I’d feel guilty that others can’t play as their own gender.

4% No, I would never buy the game because it excludes others from playing as their own gender.

Result:

96% of voters would probably buy a game that was genderlocked to their gender.


  1. Would you consider buying/playing a Hosted Game with a non-human animal protagonist (cow, owl, cat, etc), and does being able to pick the protagonist’s gender affect your answer?

381 total votes

32% I would prefer that the protagonist be a human, but I might consider buying it.

30% Yes, I would consider buying it. That’s not a big deal to me.

24% Yes, and I might be even more excited about buying it, because it would be different than most other Hosted Games.

7% No, I would never buy a game with a non-human protagonist.

7% Yes, but only if I could pick the protagonist’s gender.

Result:

93% of voters would be willing to play as full non-human protagonists. However, 7% of those respondents would be under the condition that they could choose their protagonist’s gender.


  1. Would you consider buying/playing a Hosted Game with a non-human supernatural protagonist (ghost, alien, demon, vampire, etc), and does being able to pick the protagonist’s gender affect your answer?

379 total votes

44% Yes, and I might be even more excited about buying it, because it would be different than most other Hosted Games.

28% Yes, I would consider buying it. That’s not a big deal to me.

24% Yes, but only if I could pick the protagonist’s gender.

3% I would prefer that the protagonist be a human, but I might consider buying it.

1% No, I would never buy a game with a non-human protagonist.

**Result:

99% of voters would be open to playing a non-human humanoid/supernatural protagonist. However, in this case, 24%–nearly a quarter–would be under the condition that they could choose their protagonist’s gender.


  1. Would you consider buying/playing a Hosted Game with a set protagonist where you guided the protagonist’s actions but did not play “as” the protagonist? Would the protagonist’s gender affect your answer?

370 total votes

37% I would prefer to actually “be” the protagonist, but I might consider buying it.

23% Yes, I would consider buying it. That’s not a big deal to me.

21% Yes, and I might be even more excited about buying it, because it would be different than most other Hosted Games.

11% No, I would never buy a game where I could not “be” the protagonist.

8% Yes, but only if I could pick the protagonist’s gender.

Result:

89% would be willing to “guide” a set protagonist that they did not fully create themselves, but 8% of them agreed under the condition that they could choose the gender of the protagonist.


  1. Would you consider buying/playing a Hosted Game where issues of gender, orientation, identity, and romance simply were not factors in the story?

367 total votes

45% Yes, I might buy/play it, but I would prefer that there be at least some exploration/acknowledgement of gender issues/identity/orientation, and/or romance.

44% Yes, I can see how a story might focus entirely on a non-romantic relationship, or a quest, or a mystery, or any number of plots that don’t involve gender issues at all.

11% No, I would never buy a game completely devoid of these issues.

Result:

89% of voters would be willing to try a game devoid of gender issues/identity/orientation or romance.



Interpretation:

While gender-locking isn’t a deal-breaker for a majority of forum players, the desire for gender choice actually increased when talking about non-human humanoid supernatural protagonists; on the other hand, it decreased drastically when the gender choice was for a full non-human protagonist (such as a cow, dog, or barn owl lawyer).

Premade protagonists are also not a big turn-off, neither is excluding gender issues/identity/orientation or romance from a game.

That said, I believe we would do well with creating another, more exhaustive and detailed poll, because some of these questions could have been broken apart to get a better and more nuanced understanding.
For example, Question 6 lumps gender issues and romance together, when I can easily imagine a romance game with no gender issues for miles.

The unfortunate part is that there’s no way to keep track of demographic details like a voter’s gender or age to give a more full picture, so an off-site survey may be a better choice than another forum poll.

All in all, this was very enlightening.

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@rose-court, I think the poll is still actually open. I see “close” buttons I can push, but I haven’t done that yet.

And my “vague premise for a space opera where you play as an alien” gathered about 10 times more interest than did my (pretty well-written, I think, 8,000-word demo) owl attorney story, so for now I am going with the perceived demand.

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Market trends can be a real kick in the creative testicles sometimes.

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Similarly, my horror fantasy with a human protagonist has got about twice the interest in half the amount of time as my bovine story, but this is to be expected.

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It is a little disappointing, but we have to be realistic. What is the last major motion picture (non-animated) that featured an animal as the MC?

I mean, you have a few movies like DragonHeart (Sean Connery as the dragon) and some dog-centric movies, but those dogs are not sentient; they are just a woofing plot device to make us cry.

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Hmm…probably Milo and Otis :stuck_out_tongue:

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Oh, really? I feel silly, now. lol Any idea when you’d like to close the poll?

I think there’s only so many active forum goers, so it’s diffcult to tell when to stop.

And yeah, it is unfortunate, but not unexpected, that people would prefer human protagonists. It’s especially limiting to full-time authors who wish to survivd on their writing, you could eke a living, I suppose, with less marketable games, but not very much. I imagine the most innovative stories would then have to come from authors who don’t write full-time and can thus afford to make a game with smaller appeal, or first time writers who…kind of don’t have marketability in mind so much as the desire to push their story out.

And for the life of me, I can’t even answer your question of a non-Disney animal MC movie…Homeward Bound? lol

Personally, I chose “I’d have no problem with that” for supernatural beings because they’re just overpowered humans (except for the aliens, and that depends of the kind of alien). If you’re ok playing as a superhero (and I am), I don’t see why would you be against supernatural beings. And since they are human on the most part, the experience of playing as them would not be much diferent (so, not necessarilly better or worse) than other HG.

But I did pick “I’d be excited for that” for animals because an animal would not think as a human and would not see the world as a human. And I’m really interested to see the author’s version of how they see the world.

There are a lot of dangers in the wild. Carnivores have to spend most of their time looking for a pray, while herbivores have to make sure they’re not hunted. Add to that, deadly illness (keep in mind, animals don’t have medicine). And if you add humans to the equation, they’ll also have to face poaching and contamination to the enviroment.
So, the conflict is there. I think you could make a great story about animals.

I think CoG and HG are ways for us, the players, to experience adventures or stories as if we were the actual protagonist. The MC is less a caracter in the story and more an extension of ourselves. And since the reader could be from any gender or sexual orientation, to better archieve this purpose, there most be no genderlock.

But I think there are some stories that cannot be told from all genders’ perspectives. For example, a story about a pregnant woman trying to hide her pregnancy has to be genderlocked. The story just doesn’t work otherwise.

So, I’m ok with genderlock as long as it has a purpose, and it’s not just an obstacle for the reader,

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Real animals aren’t used very much in movies because they are difficult to train. I can’t imagine a Lion King with real lions being very safe or easy to do. Animals and children are one of the two hardest things to work with in show biz. The last live action animal movie I remember was Air Budd and Charlotte Web and the animals were sentient.

I think that Hatoful Boyfriend (not a movie, but a game) was so successful because of pigeon boyfriends rather than despite pigeon boyfriends. Even though MC was a (hunter-gatherer) human, I think it could have worked with a non-human MC. I think My Lovely Daughter was so popular because the idea was so original and most people wouldn’t sacrifice their new children to save their old one, although I do remember a story about a couple having a child so they could harvest its bone marrow or something to save the old sick child .

The game platform has a lot to do with what will and won’t work. It’s so easy for CoG games to have make male and female protagonists compared to complicated (code wise) visual game character creators and changing each CG or animation like Bioware games or Sims games. Text based games are more personal like the many dating Sims and otome visual novels where the player wants a MC similar to themselves. I’m OK with playing a sentient wheel barrow real estate tycoon in Monopoly because the character doesn’t matter much in board games or platformers. But, you have to either be similar to or be interested in the concept to make choices for a character.

I’d be more interested in the space opera too, though it’s less because of being an owl and more because of the attorney part. I don’t really like games focused on law and I didn’t play Choice of The Deathless cause of that.

The movie you’re thinking of is called My Sister’s Keeper with Abigail Breslin and Cameron Diaz. Cameron Diaz and her husband have Abigail Breslin’s test-tube baby of a character in order to treat her older sister’s leukimia. I know this by heart because I have cried many times at this movie. Ugh, my heart. :sob:

And idk what versions of Monopoly you’re playing where the wheelbarrow is sentient, lol.


Certainly one of the biggest issues between human and non-human protagonists is that the human protagonists become extensions of the player. It’s a lot easier for people to empathize with a character who is…like them, but once you start adding things like, “My tail twitched” that people might start experiencing species dysphoria.

I dunno about you, but for me, contract law is suddenly more exciting when you can use the metaphysical bonds of a contract to slice demons into tiny bits. I’d honestly not consider Choice of the Deathless a game about lawyers – especially not the second one, which is basically a cold war story that also happens to feature weird magic law.

That said, @Eric_Moser, I actually enjoyed Talon City. It reminded me of Phoenix Wright.

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Personally I prefer playing interactive novel type titles rather than CYOA, which I lean on the side of disliking. They simply resonate with me much better since it gets me into a very deep RP mood. I play these titles to experience new situations or explore new worlds.

So for me I couldn’t care less what the protagonist is. I don’t see why I should or how it would impact anything. So for me everything is “I don’t care” just make an interesting title. In fact I’d rather be put into situations that are outside my comfort zone rather than always defaulting to what I am comfortable with. Which is simply much less memorable and doesn’t have as big of an impact on me. If I am forced into roles outside my comfort zone I am forced to think about what it is like to be in said role when I otherwise would not have. Perhaps even see it in a new light.

But I’ve grown up with a strong belief that you should always look at other view points and consider them. So that might be why I don’t particularly care about gender choice in games.

Though I’ll admit I also enjoy when a world feels real and accurate. Even if it has magic and so on, using the excuse of “but magic is real why cant you do x” feels like an extremely lazy and horribly thought out excuse. Usually this means gender issues are present, as a person studying psychology it’s pretty clear that humans would require some key biological differences for this not to be the case. And honestly? Having such issues only lets you explore the topic. Heck its far from being the norm these days anyways, so when a title set in a medieval era has it that’s just weird.

Then again I personally feel like the more differences titles have the better. If every title for example had a gender choice we would just be poorer for it. Though we do seem to be lacking in terms of female gender locked titles, which is a shame. But I’m sure eventually that area will be filled in by others.

Welcome to the internet where it is not considered “eww” but “Oh hell yes, who cares about normal humans?” in many, many, many circles. I have quite a lot of friends who even fall into that category. As weird as that is whatever floats their boat. Replace animal with monster and you’ll get a ton more circles pop up :joy:

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