Why are there so many HGs genderlocked to male?


This thread isn’t so much of criticising gender locked games simply because they’re gender locked. I’d think that the discussion here is centered more around a debate about gender locked games vs those with gender choice. How they measure up to one another, as well as the appeal and pitfalls of the former (with justified reasoning behind each stance).

And like @MadMinnie mentioned, it’s a platform creators can also refer to to avoid the pitfalls of a gender locked game, and to carefully consider the points raised here before making one.


That’s kind of a nuclear option, though, isn’t it? I play lots of games that I think could be improved. Noting the ways they could be improved seems a better response to their imperfections than boycotting them.

That said, plenty of people who address this topic on the forums do say exactly that: “I’d never play a male genderlocked game.” Does that really piss you off less? It seems to be precisely what triggers a pissed-off reaction (or accusations of attacking the creative freedom of authors, etc.) for lots of people.


Really? People feel like someone not buying a genderlocked game is them attacking the author’s freedom? Feels more like them respecting it to me. The perfect way to acknowledge that someone has the freedom to make a thing you can’t stand is to just let it pass by. There’s no sense in you buying something that you already know you’d be presdisposed to dislike, after all. And most authors would gladly refund the purchase price of the handful of nuts who gave middling or negative reviews over stuff like this if it meant the review itself disappeared. That individual 35 or 52 cents worth of commission sure isn’t equitable to all the potential buyers scared away by such harshness.


No, I suspect it’s more like someone saying, “I won’t buy a male genderlocked game” is an attack on creative freedom. Simple silent not-buying would be fine; it’s telling the author that you won’t buy their game if it’s genderlocked that gets some people’s backs up.


Meh. Just don’t get that. I disagree with people who say “I would never buy a game that has/does not have X”. Only Sith deal in absolutes, after all. But I don’t know why one person’s list of necessities to enjoy a game matters to another, so long as the first person doesn’t go popping off in the review area like a fool.


After having to pass up on so many potentially interesting games just bc of something stupid like the author, game developer etc. only thinking of the male audiences it can get kinda tiring even frustrating. But how could you understand this? After all assuming based on your username you are male so you must be doing fine being a part of the target audience.


But at the same time, you’re choosing to pass up on things. If it frustrates you…then don’t? It’s a self-imposed limitation, so you can’t really get mad at others for it.


then that would apply to gender locked content…its self imposed limitation…and all those exuses…are just that…exuses…


It’s not that simple I think. Another thing besides male what I can’t play as is an animal yet for example when I gave a try to playing Choice of the Cat it never left me with the feeling that it’s purposufully blocking some of the potential audiences bc there was a choice where you could pick the cats gender.
Also once again about the most commonly brought up reason: historical accuracy. That one stops making sense too when you can only play as a male but there is a female warrior NPC. If that NPC can fight against norms then why not the MC?


or the ‘I can’t write from the perspective of female gender…so I can’t let you play as female!!’ then proceeed to make tons of female romance for the mc male…:unamused:


I figured I would post a link to this poll from earlier this year because I found it immensely interesting and revealing. And it has a ton of voters, over 500, so a decent sample size, albeit from this forum only.

So here are some takeaways from this thread, and from the poll link…

  1. gender choice for the protagonist is pretty much always just a “skin” choice
  2. still, 20% of respondents would not play a game “locked” against their gender
  3. still, 4% of respondents would not play a game “locked” against a gender not their own

So even though “gender” doesn’t affect gameplay in a direct way, we are to infer that it enhances player immersion, at least for at least 20% of respondents. Personally, as I writer I want those 20% potential customers to consider buying my game, so unless I make gender relevant to the story, I’d likely allow for gender choice to cast the widest net.

Now when you get to protagonist choices that DO affect the plot (protagonist being an animal, or a ghost, or protagonist not being romantic or having any romantic options, or being a set character), you have a wide range of responses. Folks seemed most open to protagonists of a fantasy variety (vampire, alien, ghost), and less open to protagonists like animals and pre-set characters. Across the board, approval of a given protag type went up when gender choice was allowed.

Some folks, including myself, asked, “Why can people imagine themselves as a dragon or a cat or an alien or an owl, but they can’t imagine themselves as a human of another gender? Isn’t it a bigger ‘stretch’ to play as a fire-breathing reptile or an alien from another planet than it is for Eric to play as 'Ashley the single mom?”

I remember someone answering something like, “Eric it’s not about being able to relate, it’s about the author taking away a choice from the player.” To which I think I said something like, “Well when the writer writers the protagonist as a dragon, they are taking away your choice to be a cat or an owl, so how is it different?” I don’t remember where it went from there.


That’s the thing that kills me, that everyone pretty much agrees gender difference in most stories is nothing more than a difference of variables and maybe a couple minor text bits (and one could argue that in non-romance-based games, that’s as it should be), yet people treat it as such a big deal. Of course, it in turn begs the question of why more authors don’t include both choices, since it’s an issue you really can resolve just by paying lip service to it, apparently. Sad as that is.

But you know, this obsession with self-insertion is not really anything new. I was thinking about it when starting Shining Force 2 the other day, where the intro shows a king and his stereotypically bald and chubby minister. I remember thinking, “How crazy if the minister ended up being the main character?”, knowing full well it wouldn’t happen. Because gamers wanted the MC to be more like them, or if not, then like their idealized self. Usually male, and also usually young. And it’s ironic that the people tired of that seem not really to rebel against the concept, so much that they were on the losing end of it. That’s what I read from only 4% complaining at having the opposite gender gated.


I’m male, but I have no problem playing a gender-locked female character like Guenevere as long as I’m not forced into a relationship with a male NPC (Team Morgana all the way!). Ace is fine by me too, but I quit in the middle of Delight Games’ Alice in Demonland the moment the genderlocked female character was forced into a relationship with a male character. OTOH, I love their Demon’s Choice where you play a female succubus, which while not yet complete, is one of my favorite IF games. So I support your right to play only games that call to you and to express your feelings on the subject.


Yep I am 100% there too. I don’t necessarily understand it, but I respect it because it’s obviously important to those folks. And I am mindful that being a straight white guy, I always had tons of entertainment options growing up that featured front and center a straight white guy!

GI Joe was mostly white guys. Transformers had a white guy sidekick. Heman was white. Thundercats…well they were cats, so I guess neutral. Even Ninja Turtles had white girl sidekick. So it’s probably empowering to folks not like you and me to be able to take a story and select a choice that positively affirms “Yep, the hero in this story looks at least sorta like me.” (although characteristics like race, religion, etc., are not always delved into, and one could argue that race or religion are as “central” to our identities as is gender).


Well, in my case it is about relating.

I would say the difference is, mostly everyone disassociates from a dragon, if you play as one. And is so far away from human that is not something that it bothers anyone. Instead, if you play as a human, you are way more likely to find yourself identifying yourself with the character. Is way closer to reality, and as such, it affect us more.

Same way as if you see a fictional racist world, you can get upset about it, but not near as close as if you put actual, real racism in the game.


Well, race and religion don’t come up because a lot of these stories don’t really go into areas where that would have an impact. The only reason gender always does is romance, or in non-romance games, the need for pronoun definition.

I can totally appreciate people who have been marginalized in entertainment being glad to have options that reflect themselves. But it still feels strange for so much value to be placed on something that everyone admits is just a blatant reskinning with no impact on story content. Especially when you consider that a lot of these characters never even get a visual depiction thanks to the text-only nature of CoG and HG.


because…of being deprived in other medium ? because it feel good to imagine whatever I want ? because I play insert self here alot ?

because you already have your answer right there in your question ?

I could ask the same question actually . why does it feel strange for so much value to be placed on something Imaginary like a Story ? whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

because it make peoples dream ? its thrilling , enjoyable…relatebale…scary…funny…sad…heartbreaking…romantic…smutty…whatever…you can add alot of thing for the why here .

So its similar with the gender thing . everyone is different . Some peoples role play their characters and create multi-persona . Some play self insert…

the strange part…the real strange part at least to me , is how many peoples want that Gender have an Impact . Like a difference between Man and Womens . right ? But never between a Man and another men . Yet…we are ALL humans of different shape…color…weight…heigh…

but the only ‘impact in difference’ and make a big deal out of it…is between 2 different gender . where it should be in everything…

if you make a story with gender difference , you should also make it apply to every character . not just the MC if its a male or a female .

and I personally don’t like the gender difference , because its too cliché…and horribly unfair . when its written…its often written in a way that demean the women and in some case even the male counterpart .


I’m really sorry. I want to understand what you’re talking about, but your post is a bit garbled and hard to decipher. Are you saying you wish there was more description of physical characteristics in these games, like weight and height? I would argue that as valuable as that is for self-insertion, it also really should factor into the story; if you pick these things at the start and they never come up again, did they have any value as choices at all? It was really just a fake choice in everything but name. But having numerous characteristics would make giving them each significance difficult. I think that’s why most games don’t go that far down the descriptive rabbit hole.


I think you’re missing the boat on this one, and even more when you called it lip service.

For many people who grew up not seeing protagonists (of games, stories, movies, etc) who looked like them, the fact that nothing else in a story changes along with your gender/skin color/orientation isn’t a missed opportunity. It’s the whole point.

Most have already got more experience than e.g. this straight cis white male will ever have in putting themselves in other people’s shoes.

If you could understand their desire to be able to play the same damn hero as everyone else (just one who looks like them), I think you’d take a less caustic tone about it…


Given that many dragons are serpentine, and female serpents tend to be larger and stronger than males, dragons offer an interesting possibility to reverse the usual sexual dimorphism where males are physically stronger.