E3 2014: Genre/Gender Breakdown

Continuing my research of video game genre and protagonist/main character gender, here is the collected data from E3 2014. The sample list of 152 video games was sourced from IGN’s Games at E3 2014, platform data mapped to a quantifiable “TRUE”/”FALSE” list, genre lists collected from both IGN and Wikipedia (limited to primary genre), and the main character gender researched to the best of my ability.

Elaborating on the gender categories:

“Multi” being either:
a) multiple characters to select from (ie. Mario Kart 8 / Killer Instinct receive 1 count for “multi” although there are several characters to select from)
b) customizable gender
c) large customizable party

“n/a” being a:
a) gender ambiguous character
b) God-view game
c) first-person with no direct gender association

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Some key points:

  • My data can be found here. (Numbers online)
  • Sample size = 152 games
  • 13 exclusively female protagonists/main characters vs. 47 exclusively male protagonists
  • Female protagonist by year
    • 2012: 2%
    • 2013: 6%
    • 2014: 9%

Additional reference:

Re Netflix-Zelda: What is Game of Thrones without George R. R. Martin?

The Wall Street Journal:

The video streaming service is in the early stages of developing a live action series based on “Zelda,” about an ordinary boy named Link who must rescue a princess named Zelda and save a fantasy world called Hyrule, said a person familiar with the matter. As it seeks writers to work on the show, Netflix is describing it as Game of Thrones for a family audience, this person said.

As it is still seeking a writer to work on the series, Netflix has a long road to travel before a “Legend of Zelda” series actually becomes a reality. It’s also possible that Netflix or Nintendo will kill the project before it gets off the ground.

Considering Netflix’s vision without a writer, I’d say this has a very long road to travel.

Provisional Reviews on Polygon

Arthur Gies:

Whatever factors were preventing publishers and developers from setting their games loose upon consumers in an unfinished state have become less pressing, apparently. I’m not actually interested in calling any particular publisher or platform holder out here, as I don’t think I have enough fingers to point at them all. The point is, simply, that it’s becoming harder and harder to know, even on release day, if a game will function on day one, two, three or indefinitely.

I don’t think this is going away. In fact, for the time being, I am absolutely positive it won’t. It will be some time before publishers get the hint that this isn’t ok, where they move beyond lip service about “making it right” and actually start doing the right thing and delaying games that aren’t in a state fit to be sold. I don’t know what it will take for this to happen. I don’t know what the final straw will be for consumers to push back.

That said, I think there’s more we can do to serve our audience and offer some modicum of caution and warning about games we have reservations about.

Like clocks and cars, video games are two-fold: wondrous products made functional by mechanical innards. Video games are at once magical experiences full of narrative, music, design, and animations; at the same time highly mechanical, dynamic pieces of software full of the nuts and bolts of computer science.

Playing a video game is an individual, singular experience. As Griffin McElroy has stated before, “games by their very nature are interactive, meaning… your experience playing the game is going to be different.” Therefore, the critique of a video game’s artistry (design, narrative, visuals, music, etc.) should hold little weight to an individual. Where a video game’s critique should be heavily considered is it’s functionality. If a manufacturer isn’t going to hold up their end of the consumer protection bargain (or be legally held accountable), the duty must fall on the media outlets to inform the public of faulty products and bad business, even better if the outlets can forewarn.

I am excited by this stance from Polygon. Video games are artistic illusions that only work if they are fully functional. If the undying mechanics are broken, the illusion is broken, too.

Fun v. Experience

Justin McElroy on the Dying Light episode of Polygon’s Quality Control podcast, edited for clarity:

I think in our profession, our desire is to have an experience and then be able to move on to the next one. There is a pressure on us to be comprehensive in our knowledge and awareness of the medium. So, for a game that can reveal everything it has to say in three or four hours, there’s a real attraction because we can have the entire experience and move on to the next thing.

I think that people who are playing games for fun maybe don’t have the same sort of voracious compulsion to get to the end, which I would separate from rushing through a game. I think it’s more of a desire to have had the full experience and then be able to move on to the next thing.

This describes exactly the reason I play video games now. Unlike McElroy, I am not expected to have comprehensive knowledge and awareness of the medium, but for the sake of my blog and personal interests, I try to. I certainly love writing about video games and the industry at large, but actually playing video games has become more about connecting with the zeitgeist rather than enjoying and immersing myself in the experience.

In my gaming heyday, I could pour countless hours into Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Starcraft, and Heroes of Might & Magic III simply for pleasure and to perfect my strategies. I played Star Fox 64 over and over just for fun. I spent an obscene amount of time playing Final Fantasy X just to be swept away. Today, there are plenty of video games I enjoy (see my reviews of Monument Valley and Rocksmith 2014), but it has been a long while since one has repeatedly beckoned to me to spend hours playing for fun. Instead, I find myself dipping into a game for a few hours to understand it on a mechanical, design, and experience level just to be part of the conversation. Hell, I spent $60 on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U only to tap out after 2 hours. (Queue Nani McElroy.)

Square Enix Profit Doubles


In the home console space, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX sold well, and catalog sales were also “strong,” Square Enix said. Meanwhile, the publisher added that Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X are “making favorable progress.”

Unrelated: Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX is what prompted me to sell my PS3.

To my surprise, an Amazon shipment notice informed me that the game was on its way. The pre-order had slipped my mind as I had placed it nearly a year prior. I was already on the cusp of pulling the trigger on a PS4 when this IGN bit put me over the edge. I stuffed my unopened Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX back into the post, traded-in my PS3 and Xbox 360, and picked up a PS4.

I have no doubt that these games will end up on PS4. Worst case, another reason to subscribe to Playstation Now.

There is No End

Ludwig Kietzmann, Joystiq:

How can you envision an end when your purpose is to be in motion, always? Where do you stop if what you make, write and think is inextricable from the moment? We poured a bit of our heart and humor into each little vessel – a news story, an opinion, a review – paraded it for thirty minutes and then watched it fall off the page to make room for the next one. And the next. And the next. There is no end.

I just compared blog posts to heart vessels, by the way, and you should know how irritated I am by that. It’s just reporting. It’s just video games. It’s just … what we did.

Club Nintendo Experiencing Heavy Traffic

Club Nintendo:

We’re experiencing heavy traffic at the moment, so accessing your account may take a little longer than usual and you may see display issues with your account when logged in. Please note that you’ll have until 6/30/15 to redeem your rewards. Thank you for your patience.

Yesterday, Club Nintendo announced a massive sale in conjunction with the discontinuation of the loyalty program, offering physical goods as well as Wii U, Wii, and 3DS downloadable titles at discounted redemption rates. I have since experienced issues a) accessing the page or b) signing in.

In May 2014, Club Nintendo experienced similar server strain due to heavy traffic generated by the Mario Kart 8 free game offer.

Garena Philippines Limiting LGBTQ Women from League of Legends Competition

Garena Esports (empahsis my own):

For any events we do, we always want to make sure we are able to have an inclusive environment where no one feels left out, and of course for everybody to enjoy.  On this angle, we believed that allowing more to be eligible to join is obviously the answer and as many of our female teams have expressed — Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Women members are their friends too.  On the other hand, for any competitions, we seriously look at ensuring there’s a fair level playing field for all participants.  And there are arguments and concerns from other participants who disputes that Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Women members may probably have some unfair advantage.

I have zero tolerance for the twisted logic/suspicion/assumption that one’s physical traits, let alone sexual orientation, “may probably” provide them “some unfair advantage” in a competition based purely on mental prowess. Unbelievable.

[Via Polygon]

Heroes of Might & Magic III HD Edition

One of my all-time favorite games has been re-released on Steam, iOS, and Android. I spent countless hours with Heroes of Might & Magic III growing up, and during my late-twenties nostalgia trip, had been itching to play again. The HD sheen doesn’t do much more than make the game look like what I remember playing, but I’m thrilled they kept the jagged animations around.

Steam | iOS | Android

[Via The Awesomer]

Pissing into the Wind

My phone has become a magic 8-ball of sorts; more 8-ball than magic. It can do phenonominal, unimaginable things but it can’t give me existential answers. No matter how many times I race to it when it vibrates; wake it, hoping to find an at-reply from someone of notoriety; imagine WordPress telling me my blog “is on fire”; there is never an answer. Nonetheless, my phone is a little black oracle. Today, it showed me some great things: Song Exploder with John Roderick, Marc Maron on The Moment with Brian Koppleman, Andrew Sullivan’s departing post:

How do I say goodbye? How do I walk away from the best daily, hourly, readership a writer could ever have? It’s tough. In fact, it’s brutal. But I know you will understand. Because after all these years, I feel I have come to know you, even as you have come to see me, flaws and all. Some things are worth cherishing precisely because they are finite. Things cannot go on for ever. I learned this in my younger days: it isn’t how long you live that matters. What matters is what you do when you’re alive. And, man, is this place alive.

I started Zero Counts to express my thoughts on the video game industry. Back then, I called it “The State of Gaming”. Shortly after it’s inception, I was quoted on Daring Fireball. Now, not a day goes by that there isn’t an urge to appeal to John Gruber. Every word I write, every passage I compose is critiqued by the “Gruber in my head”. I can’t shake it. Every entry comes with hopeful anticipation that my phone might vibrate with a Twitter notification— Gruber favorited or, better yet, retweeted the associated tweet. Or best case scenario, he linked to my post on Daring Fireball, hopefully leaving an inkling of praise or simply stayed neutral. It would be enough to validate me, at least for a little while longer; until I had built a sustained audience.

This wasn’t the first time this itch came alone. In 2008, my one and only vlog was posted to the front page of CNN.com for my favorite music of the year. (I still agree with my picks.) Maybe I was supposed to be a Youtube music reviewer. If so, I probably missed my opportunity. I never posted another. In 2010, I was cast into IGN’s Community Spotlight for blogging about non-gaming topics on a gaming website. Maybe I was supposed to be a non-gaming gaming blogger. If so, I probably missed my opportunity. Which brings us to the Daring Fireball quote for a piece on Mario Kart 8. Maybe I was supposed to be a games journalist or analyst. I am currently trying to ride that wave.

I’m pissing into the wind; throwing mud at the wall; hoping and praying that I will find exactly what it is that sticks for me. That thing that I can’t go another second without writing. There is an itch for conversation; I can’t help myself from blogging and tweeting throughout the day. And I will continue to piss into the wind and throw mud at the wall. I will look to my phone, listen to an inordinate amount of podcasts, and scrape my Twitter feed for answers. Surely, someone out there knows who I am, but it sure as hell isn’t me.

I’ve never read anything from Andrew Sullivan. For a Political Science major, that appears to be a crime. No doubt an influencial man and writer. The recent news surrounding his departure from blogging has me thinking a lot. If he can give this platform his all for fifteen years, I know I can too. I just hope I find a little something along the way.