By: Hannah Becker
Video games have been male dominated for years. This is in part because teenage boys and young men are the main demographic that video games advertise themselves to; companies obviously advertise to the people willing to spend the most money on their product. This is also in part because many aspects of video games such as fighting, ruling, stealing and killing are often associated with males more so than females.
Although there are many females placed in video games solely for sex appeal, the same could be said about almost any medium. Sex sells when it comes to anything from video games to movies to even the written word. While focusing on the “sexy but useless” females in video games, people tend to ignore the strong female protagonists. To name just a few:
Jade-Beyond Good & Evil
Joanna Dark-Perfect Dark
Jill Valentine-Resident Evil
Alyx Vance-Half-Life 2
Although pushed to the wayside when it comes to trying to attract attention from them, females have by no means ignored the wonder of the video game epidemic, and companies are starting to take notice. More and more we are seeing the option to choose a male or female lead, such as what happened in the Pokémon games, beginning with the Crystal version.
Mike Hoye, a father of a 3 year old girl, Maya, has taken matters into his own hands to speed up the process. Hoye wishes for Maya to be able to play video games and visualize a good role model for herself, rather than seeing males play the majority of lead roles. He wanted her to learn while she is young that woman can be the hero too. So while playing The Wind Waker with his daughter, he would read aloud the dialogue, switching the pronoun “he” to “she” whenever it came up; but he did not stop there because it was not enough. Using a hex editor he got rid of anything that would refer to link being a boy, sometimes altering whole sentences. This is more difficult than it sounds because the changed version had to be a byte-for-byte alteration of the original; they had to contain the same number of characters. Because he could not just replace “he” with “she”, he had to get more creative, such as swapping “master” with “milady”.
When it comes down to it, more men play video games than women do; hence the heavy male focused advertising and high percentage of male protagonists. But it is heartwarming to see how far a father will go to make sure his daughter believes she can be the hero. Companies are realizing the female interest in video games is growing and it is not being ignored. Props to Mike Hoye and his sure to be bad ass little girl, Maya!