Sexist game-world balance
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Tyche



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:

Quote:
It's about creating gender differences in games, and how inferior
women are to men.


So she hasn't actually read the thread, then?


Dunno. It was posted on November 21st. So I expect she had read up to June.

KaVir wrote:

I'm sure another reason why 'gender' is usually treated as cosmetic fluff is because of the whole "political correctness" thing, but personally I've never been one to ignore contraversial features just because some wannabe mud admin takes offense. If mud designers only ever pandered to the lowest common denominator, "mud development" would be an oxymoron.


Perhaps ninety percent of mud papers, theses, and "research" dwell almost entirely on sex swapping, sex roles and sexism. It's certainly within the realm of plausibility to wonder about the reasons for investment and interest in that research, specific topics, lines of inquiry and outcomes. Would that they spent more time and energy on game theory.

Secondly, there's a much stronger negative reaction to implementing sex differences than implementing eating and/or defecation. So it isn't about realism or fantasy or game mechanics. It's a social issue. I surely get the sense that a number of people are really saying "You MUST NOT do this".

So yeah it ought to be done. Wink
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder why people - especially feminists - always take gender issues so bloody serious. Razz

I don't think gender should affect the playability of the game, that would be totally unfair. But it sure offers some opportunities to add extra twists to quests - you can for instance send players on different paths in a quest based on gender just as well as on race, class or level. It prevents blabbing quite a bit and can also be set to a create a funny effect.

For instance I have a zone where female players get frog-marched off to the Harem, when entering the Seraglio. (Which can be a bit annoying the first time it happens, but actually is an advantage rather than the opposite, since finding the ways to get into that secluded part of the palace can be quite tricky for the poor males. But they do exist, so it's not that big a drawback).

And it always amuses me to see some of our more macho players strut around in obviously very female garments, just because said garment has some good stats they are after. (We do have the ability to make equipment gender specific, but we rarely use it).

But then again, our mud isn't very RP intense, it's more goofy...
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Kjartan



Joined: 13 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And surely there's a demand for misogynist muds. Is there a Gor mud? Maybe someone should make one...
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Tyche



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kjartan wrote:
And surely there's a demand for misogynist muds. Is there a Gor mud? Maybe someone should make one...


Maybe there's a demand for misoandrist muds. Is there a Mists of Avalon mud?
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Spazmatic



Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 76
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There seems to have been a lot of interesting, insightful conversation on the pros/cons of gender differentiation, etc.

Okay, cool. I like it. However, I've been gone (Thanksgiving!), so I just now have time to get to a post from page 2, which I feel a dire need to reply to. Don't mind me!

Namir wrote:
Go rooting through psychology and neurology journals in your local library.


Namir wrote:
There have been studies of the learning abilities with males and females, but, I am not going to go looking for them to post them. Smile But yeah, that part of my post should be taken with a grain of salt (as I am recalling it from memory, from a report I did two years ago), and I am not a psychologist.


I'm not a psychologist, but my graduate training program's home department is psychology. And my work is in the learning sciences. And, yeah, bull.

All evidence points to a) a correlation between gender and learning style, and b) no causal link between gender and learning style. Yes, you can measure statistically significant differences - however, they're different depending on culture (some isolated populations show the exact opposite correlation). Please don't propagate such myths. They're extremely harmful and have done massive amounts of damage to society. I know many young women who had promising mathematics careers destroyed by these myths.

Also, please understand the difference between cause and correlation. Hormone effects were determined through experimentation. Learning styles are generally measured through observational studies, and very weak ones at that.
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arrowhen



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Molly O'Hara wrote:

I don't think gender should affect the playability of the game, that would be totally unfair. But it sure offers some opportunities to add extra twists to quests - you can for instance send players on different paths in a quest based on gender just as well as on race, class or level. It prevents blabbing quite a bit and can also be set to a create a funny effect.


I think this is the best and most "realistic" way of instituting fair but meaningful gender differences. We can argue all day about the presence and extent of physical differences between males and females, but no one would seriously deny that men and women are often treated differently based on their gender. A mud should work the same way: give players the freedom to create the characters they want, and then provide a variety of in-game experiences based on those choices.
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Alister



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 62
Location: Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tyche wrote:
Amberyl says...
Quote:
Speaking of MudLab, there's a funny thread going on there at the
moment, in a kind of sad, pathetic way:

http://www.mudlab.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=81&start=0

It's about creating gender differences in games, and how inferior
women are to men.

The earnest debate going on in that thread is an interesting example
of how MUDs-for-experimentation can differ from commercial gaming
projects -- but also a worrisome illustration of how far embryonic
future game designers still need to go in their thinking.


-- Lydia



Does anyone know if this comment was followed up on MUD-Dev? I get a bit delete-happy with emails from MUD-Dev so I have no record, and the archive at kanga.nu seems to always be down. If there were followup comments, and someone happens to have a copy of them, I'd be interested in seeing them. My email address can be found in my profile info. Thanks.
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Alayla



Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Prague

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's only been one follow-up on MUD-Dev, a not particularly interesting "me too" from Amanda Walker. I'd forward it to you, but your e-mail is not in your profile. Wink
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Alister



Joined: 13 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alayla wrote:
There's only been one follow-up on MUD-Dev, a not particularly interesting "me too" from Amanda Walker. I'd forward it to you, but your e-mail is not in your profile. Wink


email should be displayed now. I read that one followup. Heh, ohh well. No matter then. Thanks anyways.
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Tyche



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some of my own observations on FRP games from a historical perspective.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974) - No mention of sex game differences in the entire book. Although one of the original classes was "fighting men", although it was a race reference; the books used the word `men` instead of `human` throughout. This sexless game does have an illustration of a witch and amazon. Amazons of course wore bikini bottoms and went topless, which coincidently is pretty much how I imagined them after all. And the Eldritch Wizardry supplement had a nekkid lady laying supine on a sacrificial altar on the cover. This caused other problems for D&D.

--------------------------------------------------
Tunnels & Trolls (1975) - Book was heavily edited by a woman in the 1978 edition which includes the frequent use of the "he or she" phrase (very annoying IMO). Same woman did all the illustrations except for a handful. Lots of females fighters illustrated but all stitched up tight in armor and what look like oppressive turtle necks. Not a single cleavage shot among them, except for one illustration done by .... a man. Yay! It's the only illustration with nipples too. This might be one reason why T&T didn't gain the popularity of D&D.

Now there is only one mention of sex in the rules. Height and weight tables mention sex and I quote, "If you want to be chauvinistic about it, you can subtract 2" and 10 lbs. to arrive at typical weights for feminine characters, but we have always played our Amazon warriors as big and heavy as the dice make them".

I've played this game with women and have never encountered one who wasn't willing to drop 10 lbs from their character. It's just the phrase "If you want to be chauvinistic about it" that still sends me into titters.

--------------------------------------------------
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1978) - Max stats for females are less than max stats for males for every race. Here's the rules on max strength:

Race female max. male max.
halfling 14 17
gnome 15 18/50
elf 16 18/75
half-elf 17 18/90
dwarf 17 18/99
human 18/50 18/00
half-orc 18/75 18/99

This is the only game I could find where sex has an influence on character potential.

--------------------------------------------------
Top Secret (1980) - Height charts differ for males and females. Female base height is 5'5" and male base height is 5'10". No weight tables.

--------------------------------------------------
RoleMaster (1982) - RoleMaster was one of the first FRP games devoted to fantasy realism. It was of course quite unplayable in it's full form, so people picked which rules they used depended on whether they were willing to do the housekeeping to implement the rule. As such it's very good source material when you have computers to do housekeeping.

The 1st Edition has some optional rules for height, weight, and body build type tables and mechanisms for determining size of body areas for determining whether one could wear equipment. There are of course sex modifiers. It sounds like a neat idea for a mud anyway. It's hard to find combat boots in size 7. Wink


--------------------------------------------------
Ars Magica (1988) - Storyteller game with no sex differences but some very obvious medieval role restrictions and themes. BTW this game was a much different game than after White Wolf got their hands on it and made it all dark and evil.

--------------------------------------------------
It looks to me like AD&D introduced sex differences. That is ones that had a significant game effect. I could not tell you whether these are still in the 2nd or 3rd edition rules as I don't own either.
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Massaria



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 31
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Here are some of my own observations on FRP games from a historical perspective.


Impressive. Truly, it is.

Quote:
This sexless game does have an illustration of a witch and amazon. Amazons of course wore bikini bottoms and went topless, which coincidently is pretty much how I imagined them after all.


I remember seeing those 15 years ago. I was stunned. Sold. Hooked. Anything with women like those in it must necessarily appeal to a 14 year old boy.
No doubt TSR knew how to target a segment, but when it comes to reading, they did for teen boys what Penny did for teen girls.

Quote:
And the Eldritch Wizardry supplement had a nekkid lady laying supine on a sacrificial altar on the cover.


I think I know the one you're talking about. Awesome lady, but I never saw that suplement - think it must be a popular pic Smile


Quote:
RoleMaster (1982) - RoleMaster was one of the first FRP games devoted to fantasy realism.


The correct phrasing here would be: RoleMaster was one of the first FRP games succeeding with fantasy realism.

Quote:
It was of course quite unplayable in it's full form,

Outrageous!! Solid proof that even smart people are wrong from time to time.

Quote:
so people picked which rules they used depended on whether they were willing to do the housekeeping to implement the rule.


No. That depends on whether you want to play RoleMaster or not.

Quote:
As such it's very good source material when you have computers to do housekeeping.


The design originality and minute planning which this RPG exemplifies is worthy of introduction into the curriculum of elementary schools all over the world.

Quote:
Ars Magica (1988) - Storyteller game with no sex differences but some very obvious medieval role restrictions and themes.


We used to play this a lot back in the days. While our kids might find RoleMaster a tough nut to crack, Ars Magica is much more accessible - but no less original, I'd recommend any game developer to devote a thorough study to the magical system.


Quote:
BTW this game was a much different game than after White Wolf got their hands on it and made it all dark and evil.


If I'm not much mistaken (I very well could be!), this game spawned the World of Darkness series (Werewolf, Mage... and the other three I can never remember). Never cared much for RPGs with present-day or futuristic settings though, so don't know much about them.



Quote:
It looks to me like AD&D introduced sex differences. That is ones that had a significant game effect.


Right. Sorry for strawing a bit.
The topic does seem close to exhaustion, in my defense Wink

Quote:
I could not tell you whether these are still in the 2nd or 3rd edition rules as I don't own either.


I remember AD&D 2nd ed. certainly had height and weight tables for both sexes, but I don't believe they enforced stat modifications due to sex. Can't even find it in my old Drow module Smile
I haven't played the new D&D (2000), commonly understood to be 3rd edition, very much - and I don't have a copy of the Player's Guide, but I see no mention of sexes at all in the Dungeon Master's Guide, and it uses he/she interchangably from article to article.

Massaria,
Female clone of yourself? Anyone?
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
While our kids might find RoleMaster a tough nut to crack, Ars Magica is much more accessible - but no less original, I'd recommend any game developer to devote a thorough study to the magical system.


In my opinion, the Ars Magica magic system is a good example of how something can look far better on paper that it works out in play. Although to be fair, I only played a single game...but let me tell you about it, and perhaps you'll see my point.

Our party of mages had only recently set out on their first adventure when they reached an apparently unpassable canyon. There was no sign a bridge, and as we were quite eager to test our abilities we decided to pool our magical resources and see what sort of solution we could come up with.

The debate raged for quite some time, until eventually I decided to draw upon my powers to summon a giant beaver to chew down one of the trees, the idea being that we could place the felled tree across the canyon. An axe or saw might have been more effective, but none of us were powerful enough to summon anything like that. As it was, it turned out that my animal summoning magic wasn't too good either, as the best I could conjure up was a beaver's tail.

I then decided to try something smaller, and summoned a termite. Even my mediocre powers were enough to manage that, and the entire party then gathered around casting 'grow' spells on it. After several intense minutes of making the terminate alternately larger and smaller (due to a mixture of luck and incompetence), we ended up with a fairly normal-sized termite.

At this point, frustration had set in, and everyone started trying their own separate ideas. I ended transforming myself into a panther (about the only thing I could do with any sort of success) and attempted to carry another player (who had been knocked unconscious by his own magical failures) across the canyon by leaping over it - unfortunately I wasn't quite strong enough, and fell short. My poor attempt to cushion my fall with further spells was thwarted by another member of the party, who'd chosen that moment to unleash his own spell, conjuring a bridge out of thin air. Unfortunately he wasn't strong enough to make the bridge big enough for our purposes - it was a good couple of metres short on either end - and so it fell on top of me (and the player I'd attempted to carry over).

And so ended my first and last session of Ars Magica, in which a party of incompetent mages were defeated by a geographical landmark.

I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned in there somewhere Wink
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Massaria



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 31
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In my opinion, the Ars Magica magic system is a good example of how something can look far better on paper that it works out in play. Although to be fair, I only played a single game...but let me tell you about it,


Heh, I rather enjoyed the story, but I don't think the outcome is a result of a poor system as much as it's a result of a poor master.
Ars Magica is decidedly unfit for adventure style play a la D&D, mages aren't meant to wander about flinging spells, they're supposed to be hunched over arcane tomes or thwarting the plans of other covenants through diplomatic schemes.
This is a fine example of what happens when a different style of play is enforced on a system unfit for that style. Imagine the subtle horror of Call of Cthulhu superimposed on Werewolf, or the silly atmosphere of Toons in a setting like Paranoia.

Bad Master! No cookie!

Quote:
I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned in there somewhere


I think the lesson is 'pick your master with care' Wink

Mass.
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Tyche



Joined: 13 May 2005
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Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Massaria wrote:

I remember seeing those 15 years ago. I was stunned. Sold. Hooked. Anything with women like those in it must necessarily appeal to a 14 year old boy.


The T&A demographic is far larger than that, it's males from 14 to death. Including this sort of artwork is a critically important incentive in reading a long rule book. For instance, I would never have gotten through a paper on semi-conductor physics, until I ran across this one. Smile

Massaria wrote:

Tyche wrote:
It looks to me like AD&D introduced sex differences. That is ones that had a significant game effect.


Right. Sorry for strawing a bit.
The topic does seem close to exhaustion, in my defense Wink


On second thought the AD&D 1st edition strength restrictions aren't that significant anyway. IIRC raising stats used wishes, so hitting the glass ceiling would have been rare indeed, unless you were running a munchkin game. I think it was probably put in place to ensure the supremecy of Conan (and other male heros). No mortal woman could ever be as strong as Conan. No, not even Wonder Woman.

Anyway the point of my post was to relate sex restrictions I found in FRP games for comparison purposes, whether you be exhausted of the topic or not.
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Tyche



Joined: 13 May 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with Massaria that the style and approach to the playing the game from what I can glean do not seem

KaVir wrote:

Our party of mages had only recently set out on their first adventure when they reached an apparently unpassable canyon.


Usually you have some players playing their mage characters while others play their companion characters. But more importantly, where are the grogs!? Newbie mages only go out adventuring with a lot of grogs around to aid and protect them. That's the Ars Magica way, even for high level mages. Of course if the storyteller had given grogs, you'd could have ordered them to chop down the trees and build a bridge.
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