2006-03-04 | 6:15 a.m.
Why I play female characters in RPGs (both MMORPGs & P&PRPGs & even CRPGs when available).

There are a lot of reasons guys give for playing female characters in RPGs. My reason is no less or more valid than any other, but it's sufficient for me, so here it is.

As a writer, one who prides himself on his talent and skill with characterization, I have always found it easier to write female characters.

I can give you all sorts of excuses for this. I was closer to my mother than to my father. Most of my friends until I went to university were female. Women tend to have more personality than men, and frankly are more interesting altogether. Women display more variety.

But the real reason is, I'm not a woman.

Okay, okay, I'll clarify. Like I said, it's simple really. I'm not a woman, so when I'm writing a female character, or playing a female character, even when I'm doing something out of character (like private messages in game to friends), I'm still in character. Because it's just not natural to me to be female.

Whereas, with a male character, there's always the constant temptation to act, not as my character would act, but as I would act.

Essentially, with a male character, there's always a chance I'll stop being my character and start just acting like me, at which point the games fantasy to reality ratio drops dangerously, and begins to be less fun.

With a female character, even when I'm not actively RPing, I'm still technically in character. I played Horizons (another MMORPG) for 2 years, and even some of my closest friends from that game never realized I was actually I guy until I specifically told them. In these situations, I don't hide my maleness, but I don't advertise it either. I let everyone come to their own conclusions, unless they decide to ask me (or something weird happens like them trying to ask me out, which so far has never happened).

And it's the same thing when I'm writing. When writing a female character, I can always look at it as, "What would she do?" Sometimes, when writing a male character, I forget about, "What would he do?" and write "What would I do?". And when I go back and read it, I end up having to rewrite entire paragraphs to fix it. In some cases the entire course of the story changes because a character made a choice that just wasn't appropriate for them, so I end up losing entire chapters.

Of course, some characters are easier to characterize than others. The less like me a character is, the easier it is to not slide back into doing what I would do instead of what the character would do. Also, the more over the top a character's personality (for instance, my primary CoH character, Bob the Guy) the less trouble I have staying in character.

So, that was just another little insight into the world of Chris. Draw what conclusions you can. Most of them will be wrong, but at least it's worthwhile.

recent...
2006-03-04 - Female Character Choice
2005-11-04 - Death of Innoncence.
2005-10-29 - Backhandling tires.
2005-07-20 - some sorta stuff
2005-02-24 - Dur-rama!


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