With the Tomb Raider released in 1996, the female character in the game world has become a hot topic because it is kind of against the stereotyped game culture that most female characters in the game are the weaker ones waiting to be rescued by the male protagonist. However, does the increasing number of female characters in the game mean that the door of game world is open to female?
Obviously, it is still the problematic. Some people argue that with female characters popularized, players are allowed to experience different outlook on life by emotional connections between players and their avatar in the game world. Basically, there are two types of games that involve female character: adventure game which is role-playing game (like Final Fantasy) and mainly aimed at male gamer (like Tomb Raider). Based on emotional connection, the female characters enhance the agency and immersion. For example, female characters in a Chinese game Star Dream appeal to me to play it because it seems like my dream that is to be a popular super star when I was young. Therefore, the female character offers a kind of emotional connection for players especially for female players.
On the other hand, a great number of games take advantage of female characters to fulfill male’s need to promote the game. The images of female in these games, particularly in adventure game, are sexy and beautiful, which might reflect the position of female in the real world. Can you image that if Lara is switched to a strong guy, do you still like it? Therefore, the beautiful female character in the game might imply the position of female is a sort of ‘the vase’ in real life.
Furthermore, Lara is not just a general female character with attractive appearance, but shows the agility and reflexes to complete the adventure. Lara is built as a heroine in the game world. In other word, Lara might be seen as a synthesis of female’s appearance and male’s behavior, which is satisfy the players’ need for sexual fantasy and excited gaming experience. Thus, these kind of female characters are a sort of ‘doll’ for male gamer to ‘consume’ it.
To sum up, personally think female character is a double edge. For female players, it increases the gaming experience. However, for male gamer, it might reflect their stereotypically perspective and fantasy about female in real society.