I have already been accused of it a few times, so I would like to make it clear at this point: Of course, I don’t write my columns or choose topics because I hope to be able to enrage as many people as possible. I have an opinion that I defend, I hear good counter-arguments, I adapt them under certain circumstances, and should anyone get angry because of this opinion – yeah, I’m sorry, but there is nothing I can do about it.

And the fact that even with the absolute soft topic “Ten wishes Zelda: Breath of the Wild“Got on the head by some people in the social networks shows that you can never please those who want to get upset anyway.

In any case, after this brief excursus, now on the topic of my column this time – the debate about the relevance of identification with video game characters and why I think they are stupid! Eieiei, I should have reconsidered …

About the author

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (6)

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (6)

Source: Lukas Schmid

Lukas Schmid has been working in various functions at Computec Media and thus at PC Games since 2010, first as an intern, then as a freelancer, then as a trainee, editor and now as editor-in-chief for pcgames.de, videogameszone.de, gamesaktuell.de and gamezone.de. He loves action, adventure, action adventures, shooters, jump & runs, horror and role-playing games, you can hunt him with strategy titles, most rogue likes and military simulations. Every Saturday at around 9 a.m. he tells you in his column what is annoying or happy about him. Hate comments and love letters in the comments under the column [email protected] or on Twitter @Schmid_Luki.

Is there some women here?

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (2)

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (2)

Those: buffed

The question comes up again and again in one context: when a woman takes the lead in a video game. In the meantime, this fact should be in view of Horizon: Zero Dawn, Tomb Raider, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and many, many other titles actually no longer ensure that the monocle falls into the champagne out of sheer shock, but it is still an issue. Regardless of the announcement, including on our pages and channels, those who explain that game A or B are unplayable because you cannot put yourself in the shoes of the character are always ready.

Sure, it’s actually a niche topic because, as is so often the case, it’s a small, noisy group that keeps screaming. But, and here, as with so many other supposedly controversial topics on the Internet, the problem is: If you shout out loud, you listen, and non-topics are suddenly assigned relevance.

Am I part of the problem because I address it here? Definitely, but that’s the way it is with vicious circles of this kind – if you refuse to react, the other side gains influence, if you react, you gain it by taking note. In my opinion, however, silence is the wrong way to go, because it is too often and quickly mistaken for acceptance.

So let’s deal with the argument as soberly as possible. So, as a man – I claim that the emotional upheaval caused by virtual ovaries in your field of vision primarily affects representatives of my gender – you cannot identify with a woman.

A somewhat limited perspective, I would rather focus on aspects such as the character of the figure, its imprint and so on, but yes, absolutely legitimate. Men are men and women are women, it’s hard to argue against that.

… and immediately afterwards the argument falls apart. Now I don’t have to unpack any cheap tricks like “and in the racing game do you identify with the Mercedes?”, But can also simply remain as a character in games with living beings or thinking beings.

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (3)

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (3)

What: Rare

If someone doesn’t really go through with his identification interpretation, then he has probably not been a man in his gaming life. Even if you are not into cuddly games, in the course of your gambling life you will often come across a character whose gender and, above all, species affiliation is such a thing.

A squirrel in Conker’s Bad Fur Day? An alien in Destroy All Humans? A little boy in Inside? Mega Man? Some completely freaky beings in Japanese role-playing games?

It does not make sense to work with lists or dozens of examples here, because it is clear: If a woman is not suitable for identification because you have chosen the sack between your legs as a unique selling point, then congratulations on getting a blue one, for example Hedgehog as looking closer than someone who carries more pronounced mammary glands than you yourself.

Emotionally moving angularity

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (4)

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (4)

Those: PC Games

In short: It is absolutely stupid to attach identification to gender, because immediately dozens of games, which are still possible for the person making the argument, expose this supposed conviction as nonsense.

If a character is well written, it doesn’t matter what it is. In Thomas Was Alone you play a bloody square, and that has more character than some cardboard noses from blockbuster games made to death. To focus on such an insignificant factor as gender shows, at best, a terribly restricted view of the world, otherwise misogyny and nothing more.

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (5)

Identification with video game characters: a bizarre sham debate (5)

Those: PC Games

And where does this madness come from that it doesn’t work without identification? How boring is it, please, to only play characters who, ideally, are as exactly as I am? I want to feel strange emotions, not approve of decisions, sometimes really hate a figure that I control – otherwise I can look in the mirror and pat myself on the shoulder with satisfaction.

I’m not saying that it can’t be satisfying to control a character based on yourself. This is especially the case with certain types of role-playing games, and in most cases there is also the option of gender selection, see Mass Effect or Fallout. But games are so much more than just this niche, and at least I personally find it more appealing to create a character that I am not in real life – be it simply a woman, or an orkin, an elf man, a robot, an android, a dwarf or any other fantasy creature. Divinity: Original Sin 2 here is a good example. In view of the fact that in games with such options it is definitely not just proud human beings that are racing through the pampas, I now just assume that many players are not that far off with their belief in identification.

In this respect: I cannot take such concerns about videos and articles seriously because they are simply hypocritical, nonsensical and ultimately self-exposing. You don’t even have to argue for a long time, just a short one is enough: “This is nonsense, and I don’t even get involved with relevant ‘arguments’.”

Sometimes it doesn’t take more than that.

My other columns

Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 – 10 wishes to the Switch successor
Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right!
They all look the same: Why do modern graphic styles bother me?
Nintendo Switch 2: a flop with an announcement? That’s why Nintendo has to be careful …
Electronic Arts vs. Creativity: At the end of the day, everyone is spoiled
Is violence awesome? Why some games go too far for me …
Remakes, remasters, and reprints are a mistake
Well-known on the PS5: Sony has a creativity problem
Whistle on creativity: Dear developers, steal ideas!
Achievements, trophies and co .: Stop doing stupid tasks!
Realism is annoying: Why games should just be games

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