A Question for the Ladies

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jul 29, 2008

Filed under: Random 156 comments

Yesterday’s discussion of Geralt got me thinking, which is never a good thing and should be avoided at all costs. But it’s too late now, and I can’t rest until I get the answer to a simple four-paragraph question:

We have many fetching female leads in videogames. In fact, off the top of my head I can’t think of ever seeing any plain or unattractive ladies on the cover of a videogame. Maybe my standards are low, but it seems that most are either genuinely attractive in a realistic sort of way (Alyx Vance) or idealized fantasy supermodel boob-job Maxim-style attractive. (I’m not personally such a fan of the latter, but I’m also a grouchy and possibly senile old man who has tastes out of alignment with most of the rest of our culture.) At any rate: Women protagonists in videogames are invariably attractive on some level.

(Let’s just pretend I made a “John Romero is a hot chick” joke somewhere in that last paragraph. I know I’m supposed to, but after all these years my heart just isn’t in it anymore.)

But as far as I can tell, the same doesn’t seem to be true of the men in American / European games. (We’re ignoring Japanese games, which is another whole subject entirely and will threadjack this whole discussion before it even gets going if we don’t disqualify them right off the bat.) I realize tastes vary, and answers are likely to be all over the map, but I can’t help but notice that aside from their muscles, most male videogame characters don’t look anything like the average male sex symbol. “Grizzled” is a word that can be used to describe about 90% of them. “Horribly deformed or scarred” applies to a good percentage as well. And of course there is the ever popular category of “faceless“.

But there must be a few good-looking men in the world of videogames. For my own curiosity, would you care to list who you think is attractive? And in case you’ve forgotten the title of this post already, this really is a question for women. If I wanted the clueless half-guesses of a hetrosexual male I would have just asked myself instead of typing 373 words on the subject.

 


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156 thoughts on “A Question for the Ladies

  1. Shamus says:

    Wait! I just thought of a game with an Ugly Woman on the cover: Lands of Lore, a super old-school RPG. Had a witch on the cover.

    Oops. Did I just threadjack my own comment thread before it even got started?

    I’m an idiot.

  2. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Well.. my personnal point of view about it, Shamus, is that the video game are trying to appeal to it’s core audience:

    Young Men (who are become less young every year)

    So.. the Women are boobilish, and the Men are idealized version of the genre, but the Man’s vision of how a Man should be. But we are as much riped riped over.

    The thing is, they don’t think they’d gain more sale by having a female-friendly male character rather than a Testosterone-monster.

  3. Yspoch says:

    Microsoft Word counts 376 words. Now, who has it right?

    *ducks, runs and hides*

  4. Murphy says:

    That witch is totally hot. 10/10. As the kids say, ‘doable’.

  5. Illiterate says:

    Gortana is afar from unattractive, and master chief is a tin can. which of those has any bearing on this? what does halo have to do with the topic at hand?

  6. Kaorael says:

    The only western game I can think of with attractive male heroes is one you’ve recently reviewed, Guild Wars.

    Of course it being a pseudo-MMORPG I don’t know if it would count…

  7. StingRay says:

    [Lands of Lore]

    Wow…. That’s a GILF if ever I saw one!

    I think there are plenty of attractive male leads, but, being a guy, I can’t comment. :-)

  8. Jez says:

    I always thought Duke Nukem was perilously close to being a village person.

    Not that many big games have female leads anyway. Look at the No-One Lives Forever series, both of which were terrific games but performed poorly, perhaps because of the female lead, despite her attractiveness.

  9. Nixorbo says:

    Gordon Freeman?

  10. Eric says:

    Homer simpson from the games, and the guy and chick from DAIKATANA, and I thought most women who play video games were lesbians. no offense to anyone just what i read in statistics.

  11. kmc says:

    You know, I’ve never thought about it much (i.e. cared). And maybe that’s your answer. I’ve heard lots of guys say that, for instance, on WoW, they play a female character because “whose butt do you want to look at for 70 levels?” But since I don’t play to get my lack of rocks off, it doesn’t have much of a bearing on my preference. Short answer: they don’t make game characters for women, and women as a group don’t care one way or the other enough to protest. That’s my guess.

  12. The Lone Duck says:

    As I guy, I won’t answer your question (question being “would you care to list who you think is attractive?”). But I will say, aside from the larger, outside my scope, question about the fundamental differences between men and women, that men have more “Easy Buttons” than women. To make an attractive videogame girl, put a face that doesn’t make you turn away and some boobs on to a moderately skinny sprite/3-d model. And that step about the face isn’t always necessary, if you go with some creepy mask, etc. Women don’t have that. In the 70’s they had mustaches, but that no longer applies today. (Why else does Mario have a mustache? 70’s residue).

    (I know why Mario has a mustache for real, so please don’t act all high and mighty by correcting me when I’m plainly joking. Sorry to be heavy handed, I just to nip that comment in the butt.)

  13. Sarah says:

    Well, let me see…

    Solid Snake is pretty attractive, if you’re into the Rambo-Aragorn facial hair sort of thing. Also, penis jokes.

    Link of Legend of Zelda fame has gotten steadily more sexy with every iteration, and at this point, I can’t think of anyone who’d not want to jump on that, if the aforementioned were real.

    A lot of Final Fantasy characters are considered to be the ultimate in sexy video game men. Y’got Cloud, Sephiroth, Vincent, Squall, the list goes on for quite a long while.

    Riku, of Kingdom Hearts and it’s sequels, and of course the major portion of the Organization Thirteen…though don’t these guys pretty much come from the same mold as the previously mentioned Final Fantasy man-candy?

    Games for boys (or games that are generally perceived as For Boys) don’t tend to have the cute ones…

    *errhmmm*
    Gordan freeman’s got a good look going? Sure, why not!

    and in WoW?
    Not a whole lot there. The human men are…well…is clunky the right word? They’re too busy having big shoulders to be attractive, and the torsos on most races leave something to be desired in the ‘is that deformed or not’ category. Oddly enough the Tauren and Draenei seem to have the least odd chestular areas, probably because they share polygons there.

    I’m not sure if that makes it beastiality of not, but…eh.

  14. Zack says:

    I think part of the issue is that society is obsessed with female beauty. Most females would love to be thinner, more beautiful, in better shape. Society doesn’t put nearly as much pressure on guys to be physically attractive. So there are multiple incentives to represent the more attractive end of the spectrum.

    Actresses careers are generally declining by 25. At 30 they are asked to play mothers rather than love interests. I remember one actress who was paired with the same leading man as daughter, lover, and mother in different movies.

    It is all a matter of disposable beauty. Women are expected to provide a 21-25 year old supermodel physique, while males only need to be financially successful CEO making over 6 figures. It is a rather rude double standard. It is much easier to do the latter and for much longer.

  15. Conlaen says:

    Don’t forget there have been “faceless” heroines as well. I know of at least one anyway, Samus Aran!

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ive been asking the same question for years.Aside from a few portraits in a few games(like baldurs gate and heroes of might and magic 2&3),Ive almost never seen a good loking male protagonist,nor an ugly female one.Although,lucas from fahrenheit looks handsome.At least in his office he does.

  17. Hal says:

    Sarah
    I think our host wanted to avoid those androgynous Square-Enix characters in this discussion. Arguments about how much they actually look like males probably wouldn’t get us anywhere.

  18. You don’t have to be “attractive” as a man to be *sexy*–just look at Jason Statham. Myself, I prefer men with some personality, intelligence, and experience. That tends to rule out vapid pretty-boys like Leonardo DiCaprio and Orlando Bloom.

    Granted, I’m not a fan of the super-ripped look, either. Bodybuilders always make me wonder whether their muscles are about to burst out of their skin, Alien-like, and start eating people’s faces off. Seriously.

    I haven’t played any of the Half-life games, but from the cover I’d have to say that Gordon Freeman is pretty sexy. Most of the male romantic interest characters in Bioware/Obsidian games are pretty well done–Sky from Jade Empire, Casavir and Gaan from NwN2, Carth and Atton from the two KotoR games, Kaiden from Mass Effect.

    If you want to make a male character in a video game sexy, get a good *voice actor* and give him some really good lines.

  19. Sarah says:

    Hal

    He asked me what womens find attractive,and as someone who has a uterus I’m entitled to mention what many uterus-bearers find to be sexy men.

    It’s not my fault that many women like men who have delicate facial features and slim feminine hips.

  20. Feylamia says:

    For my own curiosity, would you care to list who you think is attractive?

    Gay female here, so this may be kinda off, but I think Carth Onasi (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic) and Max Payne are pretty darn attractive. (And so’s my mohawky red-haired warrior in Guild Wars. :D)

  21. Miako says:

    Truedat about voiceactors. Anyone got someone to nominate from Star Control 2? I kid, I kid.

    I think it’s mostly the first person shooters/brainless rpgs that give the ripped look — and lets face it, carrying around that much metal that poorly means you have to be big.

    Anachronox’s lead is pretty hot. Garret too.

    I don’t play too many other first person thingummies, actually — more of a strategy gamer, so…

  22. Miako says:

    The Last Express’ lead is cute — not my type, but pretty on the eyes.

    Het fem here.

  23. Rhykker says:

    Hey Shamus, I’m not sure if you were disallowing guys from commenting altogether or simply from answering the question; if it’s the former, then I apologize in advance. I just wanted to comment on something you indirectly brought up.

    Many women say that women are portrayed unrealistically in video games – and I agree. But men are portrayed unrealistically as well; as you alluded to, they are all overly-muscled epitomes of “coolness” and “badassery.” In games, you can expect guys to be wearing the most badass armor possible over their hulking, towering figures of absolute manliness, while a lady’s power is essentially directly related to how much skin she is showing without actually being nude.

    Now I know a lot of women feel that one cannot make that connection. They’ll protest, saying, “it’s not the same thing!” Well, maybe I just don’t understand it because I am not a woman, but I believe that both men and women see unrealistic portrayals that they cannot hope to live up to. No matter how much I work out, I’m never going to look like Reaper (maybe I don’t want to, but that’s not the point).

    Now I know you’ve had nothing positive to say about UT3, and the testosterone-pumped male characters don’t help its case, but one must admit that the female characters, in general, are portrayed fairly well (relative to other games, at least). The women are realistically proportioned (ie, they don’t have huge breasts), and they are, for the most part, realistically armored (some show a bit of skin, but they all have at least some clunky armor that does not flatter their figure). In fact, UT2 was perhaps the best, because it had plenty of female characters with ugly faces and far-from-supermodel figures.

  24. As someone who possesses two X chromosomes, here’s my opinion on the subject:

    – Garrett of the Thief series
    – The Prince of Persia
    – Any Blood Elf from World of Warcraft
    – Gordon Freeman (being smart is HOT!)

    Rather than having an attractive male protagonist in a game, I would prefer to see more strong, independent and capable women.

    I don’t care how attractive a woman may be in a video game. But I do care if her sole purpose for existing is to gratify the ego of the game’s male characters. (Or the game’s male PLAYERS.)

  25. Lady Kat says:

    Um, I’m only coming up with Japanese games here. Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and the like…

    Well, I guess we could call Solid Snake attractive, in a gruff, rugged sort of way.

    I also think that many of the men from the Silent Hill series are attractive; Vincent from SH3 has a studious look, but with an evil edge. Love that. Henry from SH4 is also cute.

    I hope that helps. Probably not. Oh well.

  26. MRL says:

    Is it all right if a bisexual male puts his two cents in?

    Gordon Freeman is an exception to my normal dislike for full beards; he’s definitely cute. It’s really hard to avoid any Japanese-made video games here, so my choices are somewhat limited…

    How about the Prince of Persia? Tall-ish, dark, most certainly handsome, AND he goes from fully-clothed to half-naked over the course of the game. His personality changes from “immature, sexist jerk” to “somewhat more mature, decidedly less sexist semi-jerk” by the end, as well.

  27. SkeevetheImpossible says:

    I have to agree with Sarah that chick from final fantasy 7 with the big sword is hot

  28. Fritha says:

    Attractive males in games? Uh, to be honest, none really leap to mind. I’m not playing the games to look at hot men. It’s the characters “personality” that will stand out for me, more then their looks.

    So I’d like to second the comment above about the Bioware charcters (Sky from Jade Empire, Casavir and Gaan from NwN2, Carth and Atton from the two KotoR games – haven’t played Mass Effect though).

    Make the male characters interesting – that for me is far more important then what they look like.

  29. Maddy says:

    I’ve never played Hit Man, but I like the guy on the cover.

  30. Freykin says:

    Don’t forget that Metal Gear Solid is also a Japanese game. It feels less like one, but it sure is one.

    Discounting Japanese games, with which I could list tons, the list becomes pretty small. Gordon Freeman has some charm to him, judging from box art. Kaidan from Mass Effect aint bad, but could be better. Some of the possibilities in Age of Conan or Everquest II don’t look half bad either.

    Edit: Completely forgot about the Hitman guy. He can take me out to dinner anytime.

    And while I’m a guy, I feel quite capable on commenting on this since I’m interested in both guys and girls.

  31. Craig says:

    I am still waiting to play as an ass-ugly female lead in an rpg. Preferably if she had sexual conquests.

  32. Chris says:

    Sorry to be a male responding, but I think Jennifer Snow’s perspective hit a lot of fine points that bring a lot to mind what I’ve been told by other women: it’s more about personality.

    To put things into perspective, let’s think about the show Firefly. The actor for the character Simon (the medic/doctor) has that “handsome pretty-boy” look to him. However, the actor Nathan Fillion, who played as Malcom, has developed an insane number of fangirls from Firefly alone, let alone anything else. The guy doesn’t have the same stereotypical attractive features, so why would he be more popular?

    Simply, the character himself had a great personality, and Nathan Fillion brought it to life with superb acting. Meanwhile, Simon’s character, while also a good one, is a personality that is conflicting between different worlds, and so sometimes he comes off as an unlikeable asshole or as a coward.

    Now, Nathan Fillion does actually have a really cool personality, so he’s had more and more fangirls amass as the years after Firefly continue, but the primary thing that got girls interested was personality, even if it was of the fictional character before it was the actual actor.

    Now I’m not claiming to know what women are thinking, but Jennifer pretty much said the same I’ve heard from a lot of women. Or rather, the women that are more likely to be playing video games. I think the sort of girls that go ga-ga over boy bands are also attracted to the personality conveyed in the music, it’s just…a very different personality.

    I think there are two major problems with games when it comes to making truly attractive male and female characters: writing. Sure, female characters tend to be hot, busty beauties, but their dialogue and personalities are often cardboard-thin. Of course, male characters may often be the same way, or they are the stereotypical one-liner cracking bad ass. I think this is ultimately why there’s a common trend that gamer girls often enough lean to Japanese made games, where even the characters with DD-cups and a t-shirt ten sizes too small have some level of a personality, even if, to some of us, it’s trite and right out of “how to write an anime 101”. Hence Sarah mentioning so many JRPG type characters.

  33. Brian says:

    From Richard Cobbett’s blog about a year back:

    When Dreamworks approached Clive Barker with the original design for would become Clive Barker's Undying, their main character was a tough, hard-headed baldie called Count Magnus Wolfram. “You've got a gay man in charge here,” warned an unimpressed Barker. “Bring me someone fabulously sexy. Bring me somebody I want to sleep with.” Ten days later, Magnus was gone, Undying starred handsome Irish rogue Patrick Galloway, and the games industry had its only major male character to date designed specifically to be sexually attractive to other chaps.

    Not exactly on-topic, but the story always amused me.

  34. Brad says:

    “Don't forget there have been “faceless” heroines as well. I know of at least one anyway, Samus Aran!”

    Actually, she does have a face. Though it remains covered for majority of the games, she does take it off at the end of each game (if certain requirements are met). In fact, you see her without her Power Suit in the beginning of Metroid Prime 3.

  35. Dacendaran says:

    Well speaking as a Totally straight male i would have to say I would turn gay for Gordon Freeman.

  36. Liz says:

    The blood elf males in World of Warcraft are pretty hot, actually, though their “personalities” (as evinced via /emotes) are vain and self-centered.

    The dilemma, as near as I can tell, is that you want your video warriors to be ripped and muscular and gritty with grim experience… but most of *my* female friends are more physically attracted to slender, almost “pretty” men. What I’d love to see is for WoW to offer multiple body types — or at least, alter body type based on character class, for men and women both. Make the warriors and paladins ripped, make the mages and priests scrawny. Or something like that. (Actually, what I’d love to see is an adjusting musculature that responds to some formula based on the character’s stats, but that’s a little more involved than a game needs to be, at least until the rendering engines get a LOT better.)

  37. Inna says:

    I know you said no Japanese games, but the only one that comes to mind is Dante from Devil May Cry. Maybe also Lara Croft’s coworkers in Tomb Raider: Legend.

    But the thing is, even when guys in games are hot, I just can’t bring myself to care, or even notice that much. I don’t know how guys react to women in video games, but given the prevalence of incredibly weird armor for women, I would guess that they must care at least somewhat. (Although really, the best warriors used to go in to battle naked, to show that they won’t make any mistakes… so maybe it means that the women are just that much more awesome?)

  38. Zack says:

    Sarah: You said “It's not my fault that many women like men who have delicate facial features and slim feminine hips.”

    As an slim androgynous male who had long hair and well defined Swedish facial features, I have to disagree. (I modeled a bit, so I am probably at least above average.) As a slim “pretty” male I received derision from “typical” females and had them describe me as “too pretty” or “gay looking”.

    SOME females love the “pretty-boy” look but it is a small subset kinda like the number of women who love lots of shirt busting muscles. I have a woman (Into Japanese pretty-boy video games, no less) who really digs my type of looks, but there were years where I was passed over for other types of builds.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No one is beautiful to everyone. I think it is interesting that Western games focus on the extremely musclebound males and top-heavy females. I mean the guy from gears of war, unreal tournament, etc must weigh 300 pounds and clearly has a 60 inch chest. That is just beyond reason.

    I find it interesting that the male figures in many American made games are built like linebackers or professional bodybuilders. It is what I expect teenage males to picture as male perfection and not what female seem to appreciate. (I have only met one woman who really likes body builder physiques)

    I think it is an artifact that games are still designed as if the target market was teenage boys. The market is no longer really that demographic but the industry is very slow realize this and to change.

  39. Derek K says:

    A big todo was made about Jade (?), from Beyond Good and Evil, being a “normal” girl.

    I’m amused at the “no, no, we don’t want to talk about girly boys” comments – so far, it’s been pretty clear that a lot of women are fond of the girly boys, even if the boys don’t want it to be so. ;)

  40. Chris says:

    Something that popped to my mind after the mention of Devil May Cry, actually, is that Capcom has tried to bring more girls to some of their games by taking celebrities popular among the female fan base and making a character around their likeness. They did this with their Onimusha series, and Lost Planet as well. I believe Square tried it themselves for Final Fantasy X.

    Don’t know if it really adds to the topic, but I figured it was worth noting. Whether it works or not is something I don’t know, but maybe if we started having heroes modeled after Brad Pitt (who is an awesome actor anyway so go for it) then we’d see how girls reacted.

  41. Teppesh says:

    Well, if we are going to talk about unattractive female characters, we can’t forget about Oblivion, which has a deep, detailed character-generation system that creates characters that range from homely to downright hideous, for BOTH genders! In fact, you will never meet a single attractive character in that game.

  42. Lain says:

    If I would be a lady, I would fell in love with Garrett from Thiefs. Mysterious men alway seem to be sexy.

    You all should look into the free MMORPG “9 Dragons”. The Lads and lasses there seem to be attractive for both kind of players. Ok, Its asian, but definetly NOT Manga.

  43. Bonejesta says:

    My wife just gave me her top 5 Male Game heroes:
    1: Dante (Devil May Cry)
    2: Raiden (Metal Gear Solid)
    3: Albert Wesker (Resident Evil)
    4: Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)
    5: Chris Redfield (Resident Evil)

    Honourable Mentions go to Billy (Resident Evil Zero), Walter (Silent Hill 4) and Samonosuke (Onimusha 1,3 and 4), although Samonosuke was modeled after and voiced by Japanese movie star Takeshi Kaneshiro.

  44. jbrandt says:

    I am told by my young lady friend here that the real-world protagonist in Assassin’s Creed is “fine-looking.” (I think she means he looks okay, not that he’s one fine hunk of manflesh, but she says “I wouldn’t mind looking at that while I was playing a video game.”)

    She likes Gordon Freeman as a person. Poor Gordon. :(

  45. jbrandt says:

    Teppesh: My girl is right now playing through Oblivion with a character she managed to make look just like Rose Tyler from Doctor Who. I’m not sure how she managed this, but there you go– it’s an attractive character who doesn’t look like she was hit with a shovel.

  46. Oleyo says:

    “while males only need to be financially successful CEO making over 6 figures. It is a rather rude double standard. It is much easier to do the latter and for much longer.”

    Um, got any hints you can pass along? It doesn’t seem so easy for me…

    :)

  47. Klepackage says:

    I’m wondering what some of the ladies think about Altair of Assassin’s Creed. He’s quite athletic, but he’s not pumped up on steroids like the UTIII or Gears of War characters.

    Also, what do people think of the characters from Faith and a .45? The male character again is fit, but not completely ripped with obscenely large muscles and Ruby is dressed much more conservatively than the typical video game heroine.

    http://kotaku.com/351387/faith-and-a-45-trailer

  48. The Lone Duck says:

    @ Jennifer Snow: You made a distinction between “attractive” and “sexy”. I’m curious as to what defines that distinction. Obviously, there are physical traits that are attractive/sexy/whatever, and there are personality traits that do the same. It’s been my experience that more women are driven by personality and physical traits. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some traits you value more than others.

    I must be getting old, I forget where I was going with this. :P

  49. Samalander says:

    As a gay man, I guess I don’t quite fit in with the requested demographic, but it hasn’t stopped everybody else so here goes. ;)

    Nathan Drake (from “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune”) hasn’t been mentioned yet and he’s pretty attractive to me.

    I’ll also second a lot of the other nominations.

  50. Blackbird71 says:

    @Rhykker

    “Many women say that women are portrayed unrealistically in video games – and I agree. But men are portrayed unrealistically as well; as you alluded to, they are all overly-muscled epitomes of “coolness” and “badassery.” In games, you can expect guys to be wearing the most badass armor possible over their hulking, towering figures of absolute manliness, while a lady's power is essentially directly related to how much skin she is showing without actually being nude.”

    Got some good points there. I found the typical video game male figure particularly annoying in games like NWN. Here I am, trying to play a spellcaster with 6 STR and 8 CON, and I’m every bit as built as the barbarian… All props to Bioware for making some great stories, but the character models were often a huge immersion-breaker.

    @Derek K
    “I'm amused at the “no, no, we don't want to talk about girly boys” comments – so far, it's been pretty clear that a lot of women are fond of the girly boys, even if the boys don't want it to be so.”

    I don’t think it’s as much about people not wanting to talk about it as it is the fact that Shamus laid down the ground rules for the discussion, including the following:

    “We're ignoring Japanese games, which is another whole subject entirely and will threadjack this whole discussion before it even gets going if we don't disqualify them right off the bat.”

    Unfortunately, people seem to either not care about or not notice the disqualification, so Shamus can consider his thread jacked.

  51. Kristin says:

    Carth. I love him so much that I wish his character had stayed on Voyager longer, just so I could listen to the voice.

  52. Jagyr says:

    As a bisexual male, I can say that neither the male nor female characters in most videogames appeal to me. Maybe this is because my tastes don’t match those of the target demographic. (However, some Japanese game male characters aren’t half bad, but we’re not including Japanese games)

    It does seem to me that all videogame lead characters are targeted towards heterosexual males: females must be attractive, if not Hustler-esque, while males must be “manly.” Not necessarily attractive, but definitely masculine.

  53. Kristin says:

    Forgot to say and my post isn’t showing up so I can’t edit it: I’m another one who loves the androgynous look.

  54. Emily says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Jennifer Snow “If you want to make a male character in a video game sexy, get a good *voice actor* and give him some really good lines.” The first characters that came to mind when I read Shamus’s post were Kain and Raziel–neither are good-lucking (quite far from it!) but they have excellent voice actors and interesting dialogue. I also rather fancied the Druid and Necromancer in Diablo II, for their dry wits and semi-creepy natures. (To break the rules of the topic, Auron from FFX was pretty hot, and not at all “girly”.)

  55. Ran Kailie says:

    I’m gonna have to go with Solid Snake.

    But again I also think the Punisher and Nick Fury are hot…

    Rugged guys… moar plz.

  56. Laura F says:

    The only one I can think of is the guy from Prince of Persia. That’s one game that I really don’t mind watching my brothers play for hours, because WHOO. I’ve also always liked Link, but that’s Japanese, isn’t it?

  57. Eric says:

    What about that chick from devil may cry, she was sexy in a ugly way.

  58. I play WoW mostly, so I’d have to say out of all the men, the night elves are probably the most attractive. Then again, I’ve always been a sucker for elves. But not blood elves, they’re too PrettyBoy for me ;p

    Some of the guys from Soul Caliber were pretty cute. :)

    But really, I don’t care what the character looks like, just what they can do to make the game fun for me to play.

  59. Derek K says:

    Personally, I often find it hard to make a male character that I want to play, because of the above mentioned manliness. My tastes in RPGs run towards dex-fighter types, or tank-mages. So it’s rare that I want a bulked up badass.

    I had to go download some new models for KoTOR and KoTOR II because I didn’t like any of the portraits, frex.

    However, I would like to point out the prime example of hunk of man:

    MINSC.

    As the man himself said:

    “If you have any need of a stout blade, and an even stouter man to swing it, do not hesitate to call on me. ”

    “You point, I punch.”

    “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, watch it! I’m huge.”

    and, of course,

    “Go for the eyes Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!! RrraaaAAGHGHH!!! “

  60. David V.S. says:

    From Sarah, #14
    > and in WoW? Not a whole lot there.

    Since Shamus asked about attractive, not sexually desirable

    My gnome gets frequent comments about being cute, in part because male gnomes are somewhat cute and in part because of his huge green mustache. I even have one male friend whose wife has repeatedly asked him, “When is your character going to adventure with that cute gnome again?”

    This amuses me since I don’t find the ‘toon cute myself.

  61. Spider Dave says:

    The good looking guys I can think of have already been touched on, Atton Rand and Gordon Freeman. But if you’re looking for unatractive women, Oblivion is where it’s at.

  62. Guile says:

    I’m surprised no one has made the stupid joke about Gordon being attractive to women because he never talks. Hyuk hyuk.

    In any case: Siegfried from Soul Calibur has a reasonably buff, Nordic look to him that I like. Nathan Drake has the Indiana Jones-esque adventurer thing going, although he’s also kind of a smarmy dick. And also, although it IS a JRPG series, Shadowhearts has some nice protagonists: Yuri is pretty hunky (also kind of a dick, but on him it’s attractive), and that kid in the third one is young, but adorably awkward and sure of himself.

    As you can see, I’m kind of all over the place.

  63. Stray Silvers says:

    The Prince from Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. Garret from the Thief series, for the voice.

  64. Feylamia says:

    Chris wrote

    However, the actor Nathan Fillion, who played as Malcom, has developed an insane number of fangirls from Firefly alone, let alone anything else. The guy doesn’t have the same stereotypical attractive features, so why would he be more popular?

    Are we talking women or teenage girls here? Now teenage girls might go for Sean Maher (Simon) with his boyish looks but older women wouldn’t, really, I think. Nathan Fillion is a very attractive man.

    Blackbird71 wrote

    I don't think it's as much about people not wanting to talk about it as it is the fact that Shamus laid down the ground rules for the discussion, including the following:

    “We're ignoring Japanese games, which is another whole subject entirely and will threadjack this whole discussion before it even gets going if we don't disqualify them right off the bat.”

    Androgynous males are not limited to Japanese games. Guild Wars, for example, has lots of ’em and it was made by ArenaNet (who are based in the States). World of Warcraft has ’em, too – again, not japanese.

  65. Liz N. says:

    I’m going to respond to a much earlier comment.
    “Short answer: they don't make game characters for women, and women as a group don't care one way or the other enough to protest.”

    No.
    Well, you’re half right.
    They don’t make game characters for women, and women as a group are thus far not considered enough of a market for anything to change.

    Of course, the creating for the female market (even in terms of “attractive” male characters) means more than making males HAWT.. as people have said here, for most women it’s a little more complicated than just looks- which I’m sure is true for many men as well, but probably not as much.

  66. Katrani Merack says:

    Unfortunately, I can’t think of any American/Western games that I’ve played with human-types that appealed to me. I have played Sly Cooper, but since they’re all furries, I won’t mention them. Just ot keep the comments from getting more slightly-off-topic on if those count or not.

    In general, though, video game characters that appeal to me look sort of like Link, from the Zelda games. Yeah, he’s slim and could be mistaken for a girl from far away. But he’s still obviously a guy, but isn’t overmuscled. Sorry, Zelda’s a Japanese series, but that’s the best example I can think of.

    But here’s the thing. I like personality more, not looks. Okay, so I probably wouldn’t play a game with a character that was ugly. But if it’s written poorly, I’ll have no emotional link ot the characters. That’s probably why I like SNES-era games better. THey needed writing to make up for the poor visuals that the developers knew would be improved someday.

  67. Katrani Merack says:

    “Now teenage girls might go for Sean Maher (Simon) with his boyish looks”

    Uh. No. I actually liked Badger a lot better than Simon, and wished he could’ve been in more episodes. I also liked Wash more. But I did think Simon was better than Jayne (?? not sure on spelling) or Mal. Not to say I hated any of them, that’s just how I rated them- taking looks first.

  68. Lady Kat says:

    @Klepackage

    The guy from Faith and a .45 is exactly my type. Love!
    Thanks for giving me a new video game to obsess over. :3

  69. khorboth says:

    I have been trying to crack this mystery from another angle as well. It’s a difference in psyche at a fairly basic level. Look at advertising…

    Covers of trashy men’s magazines (Maxim) feature heavily photo-shopped pictures of scrawny women with large breasts who look like they want to have sex with you.

    Covers of trashy women’s magazines (Cosmo) feature heavily photo-shopped pictures of scrawny women with large breasts who look like they want to have sex with you.

    Shouldn’t Cosmo be putting some beefcake on the cover? Men don’t seem to go for “here’s a picture of . People you want would like to have sex with them and we can make you look just the same!” as much as women do.

    I’ve banged my head against this one for years, and talking with my female friends hasn’t really clarified it any.

  70. Sandrinnad says:

    well, given a choice I prefer to play a female character anyway, and if I can customize the look to whichever character I’ve got in my head so much the better. Give me a range from hideous to breathtaking and I’m a happy camper.

    other than that I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a video game character and found them attractive – they’re there to move the story along (or fight, or whatever the game is about). I’d say go for good voice talent, but most of the time I play without sound so that’s lost on me too.

    honestly, I’d be happy with the old blocky 20-pixel characters from the old gold-box games as long as the story is good :D

  71. PinkCoder says:

    I am agreeing with a few female responses here, when I say that it’s not how the character looks, but their personality that makes the difference to me.

  72. @Feylamia – I totally agree that Nathan Fillion is amazingly sexy. Even as Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible (with the cocky attitude and all), I wanted to tear his clothes off.

    *cough*

    Ok, maybe I’ve shared too much. :)

  73. Derek K says:

    Re: Cosmo – I think that’s related to the fact that many men are absolutely terrified of the suggestion that they might think a man is attractive, and thus be labelled “Ghey.” Women don’t seem to have that particular weirdness going on.

  74. Zukhramm says:

    Well, everyone is gay for Big Boss.

    Personally, I play mostly female characters in MMORPGs and such. It’s simple really, they look better.

  75. Sam says:

    The whole “pretty boy = attractive” thing is a societal construction. Most women are instinctually attracted to men who seem big and strong and capable of protecting them. Grizzled may not seem sexy to guys but a girl, there’s that visceral feeling of “He looks like he’s seen more than a few fights and come out OK, he must be good for protection.”

    Then again, most women won’t admit that because that’s just not what society demands any more and it CAN get you in trouble: gruff looking man = rough lifestyle?

  76. msgoldcup says:

    I can’t help but point out that the faceless/masked man is attractive to women — possibly because anonymous sex is sorta especially taboo for women?? *shrug*
    For whatever reason, in the movies, Zorro is much hotter with the mask than without. I don’t see why that wouldn’t carryover to video games.

    I also agree with the point about voices being important.

  77. Melfina the Blue says:

    Well, the Inquisitor from BG2 was kinda hot. (Kel something or other). That’s the only one I can think of, but I am kinda picky with virtual men. And just for comparison: real men I think are hot…
    Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, Sir Ian McKellan (okay, really old, but his voice!), Nathan Fillion, and the guy who played Harry Kim on Star Trek Voyager.

    Honestly, playing a game where my avatar is the opposite sex (whether it’s Gothic or a MMORPG or BG) makes it nigh impossible for me to immerse myself in the game and enjoy it. And plot and characterization are more important than looks.

  78. James Pony says:

    What about heavy weapons guy?

  79. Nathan says:

    Discounting JRPGs, I can’t think of much…

    Amazingly, the first character to come to mind was Dom Santiago from Gears of War (ignoring the ridiculous muscularity), but that’s not because he good looking (well, he’s not quite AS ugly as Marcus Fenix, at least), it’s more because of his voice and personality.

    And then there’s Psy-Ops’s Nick Scryer, not for his face, voice, or personality, but for his very shapely and well animated posterior (when you spend a large amount of game time with the camera positioned behind your avatar, it’s bonus points when your avatar has a nice behind).

    Yep, I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel, here..

  80. Eldiran says:

    I have to echo this opinion: “However, I would like to point out the prime example of hunk of man:

    MINSC.”

    Hecks yeah. He doesn’t even need a good Charisma score. (Or Wisdom, or Intelligence…)

    “SWORDS, NOT WORDS!”

  81. IronCastKnight says:

    If I have to spend an entire game staring at the back of my character, I’d prefer my character not to have an ass. Thank you, Assassin’s Creed, for at least fulfilling my wish on that one.

    Even as a good old fashion tits loving guy, I prefer game characters of both genders to have personality, over ripped muscles and big tits. Or, barring personality, at least a badass suit of armor, like Samus Aran(Master Chief need not apply, as he has a personality, it’s just generic and boring. Plus, his armor is sub-badass).

  82. Jeysie says:

    Aside from Christopher Blair from Wing Commander and Gordon Freeman, most of my “cute video game characters” come from adventure games:

    Gabriel Knight (and Von Glower) from the Gabriel Knight games
    Prince Alexander and Prince Edgar from the King’s Quest games
    Tex Murphy from the Tex Murphy games
    Roger Wilco from Space Quest
    Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island
    Boston Low from The Dig
    Robert Foster from Beneath a Steel Sky
    George Stoddard from Broken Sword

    …actually, now that I think about it, there’s really quite a fair number of attractive guys in adventure games. Maybe that’s part of why there’s a lot of women who are adventure game fans. ;)

  83. Flying Dutchman says:

    Geek’s Dream Girl
    “But really, I don't care what the character looks like, just what they can do to make the game fun for me to play.”

    If you see “games” as a metaphor for life, I would think this would be the raw essence of what women look for in men anyway. You could write entire books (and many have done so already) about this topic, but I think that the fact that a lot of women in this thread don’t really care about how attractive the male protagonist is, says enough about what women look for in men.

  84. DarkLadyWOlf says:

    I don’t play an awful lot of games, just a few games a lot. But from those I do play:
    GTA:IV – Niko. He’s my kind of yummy. So is Little Jacob.
    GTA:SA – Woozie.

    Then again, I don’t think I go for the ‘standard’ hunky guys. So maybe you should ask someone else.

    For the record, I and many of my girlfriends enjoy playing hot women characters. Bloodrayne really caught our imaginations :)

  85. Jeysie says:

    Oops, double post, sorry…

  86. Jeannie says:

    Solid Snake is delicious.

    Kyle Hyde of Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is attractive in a burnt-out deadbeat kind of way.

    .hack//G.U. had some pretty nice looking guys; not so much Haseo in my opinion, but Silabus, Matsu, and Kuhn were all fairly pleasing to the eye. Of course those were just their online avatars, so they were probably fat guys in real life.

    In Guild Wars and City of Heroes, I try to create characters who are visually appealing to me; I would call some attractive.

    The hero in Fable doesn’t look half-bad if you get some meat on his bones before he gets old.

    Kratos from God of War is my secret shame.

  87. Dix says:

    Plenty of MMO avatars can be attractive men. Disqualifying MMOs…

    The Bard isn’t bad. A little dirty. Purely to look at, mind you; his personality’s amusingly abhorrent.

    And that’s the thing. Someone’s already said it, but beefcake – muscle, brawn, dirt – isn’t unattractive. The personality that goes with it (in the stereotypes of video games) usually is.

    Regarding Cosmo: Women’s mags feature women on the cover because they bank on women’s poor self-esteem and/or inadequacy issues. They figure you want to look like the hot girl on the cover; they’re suggesting that if you read the magazine (and do as it says) you’ll be more like her.

  88. Alexis says:

    There was a wow insider post a while back on much the same subject. Consensus seemed to be all the human males were spade-in-the-face fugly, but the trolls were kinda cute.

    comments: IIRC the thing with Jade wasn’t her normalcy; she’s a caricature like most women in pop media. The point was the complete indeterminacy of her race. She could easily have been from the Mediterranean, Africa or any part of southeast Asia. Lots of non-whites said they assumed she was their race.

    Don’t mock the ass-theory of wow-gender until you’ve played for 50 hours looking at an ugly behind. It’s more like having nice wallpaper than pinups.

    Women – do you think the ’empty shell’ theory of player background hinders potential attraction? Seems to me it should, if personality is important, but then Link and Freeman are both shells and from the comments above, hawt.

  89. Shishberg says:

    Wait! I just thought of a game with an Ugly Woman on the cover: Lands of Lore, a super old-school RPG. Had a witch on the cover.

    On the same topic (slightly off-topic for the main question, but I’m a (straight) guy, so that’s off-limits): wasn’t Kreia on the cover of KOTOR 2?

  90. Kotenku says:

    For women, it all comes down to confidence. Does he look confident? Act confident? Attractive.

  91. Peggy says:

    Ok. I 100th the Gordon Freeman. He’s hot. Not as hot as Barney from the same series, but I love me some law enforcement types.

    NOT a Half-Life guy? How about Salem and Rios from Army of Two. Young hottie and older scarred hottie. :) I think they’re both fun to look at.

  92. Brandon says:

    I am a guy, but as a decidedly average-looking male who’s had many female friends, let me say that a few people in this thread have it right. Men are driven more than women by physical beauty. Yes, women can recognize physical beauty as readily as men, but they are less emotionally driven by it. So for “girl gamers” it’s (probably) less about what the male characters look like and more about what they do, what they say, the attitudes and personality that goes with them.

  93. Submarine Bells says:

    Bi fem here.

    Re attractive men in gaming: of the games I’ve played, I’d have to say that the closest to “I’d do him” that I can think of right now is Gordon Freeman. But that’s mostly because he’s the spitting image of a friend of mine that I had *such* a crush on some years ago. The friend was smart and witty and fun and I guess I tend to project these traits onto the tabula-rasa-ish Freeman. Garrett from the Thief series doesn’t do it for me at all, on the other hand. I agree with the folk who said that what would really work for them would be a good voice actor delivering great lines. An awesome voice can be deeply sexy, and if it expresses wit and humour this is definitely a plus! In general, I’ll take smarts and wry or deadpan humour over muscle any day, and I do tend to like *some* pretty-boys (although Simon Tam from Firefly isn’t my type – far too stuffy, serious and pompous for me!)

    On the subject of attractive women in games… hm. That’s trickier. I mean sure, there’s lots of shapely women in games, but they’re almost all rather interchangeable, with “plastic” faces rather than plausible ones. Alyx Vance is a delightful change from this type – she does look as though she could be a real person. And she’s certainly hot. :-) A character type I’d *love* to see more in games would be a female heavy weapons specialist – think Vasquez from Aliens, that sort of thing. Mmm!

    *thinks some more* Do characters from the “Battle for Middle Earth” RTS series count, given that they’re based on characters from the LoTR movies? Because if they do, then I’d add Aragorn and Arwen (in her Feisty Battle Elf incarnation rather than the drooping flower we see in the 2nd and 3rd movies), and possibly in a somewhat warped fashion, Dark Galadriel.

    Speaking of warped, would it be too weird if I said that I had a soft spot for that famously annoying entity Guilty Spark from Halo? I’ve only played the first Halo game so I can’t comment on the later ones, but I found the cheerfully androgynous voice endlessly entertaining, and it amused me to imagine its utterances said in a wry and playful spirit. But maybe it’s just me. :-7

  94. J says:

    Here’s a Games Radar article on the “Mediocre Babes of Gaming”:

    “Whether through their critical overdressage, boring personalities, chestacular overkill or “˜80s mall hair, these are the in-game dames that made us all say “Maybe. But we'll pass for now.”

    Mediocre Game Babes

  95. Daphne B. says:

    @Jeysie: Gabriel Knight — YES. In GK2, for me. (I haven’t played the third one yet, but I know it’s not the same actor.)

    Also, Illidan (pre-demon or whatchamacallit) is pretty hot. That’s mostly voice acting (as was said earlier).

  96. smIsle says:

    khorboth (70): Women’s magazine covers are pretty messed up in general. Headlines like ‘Loose 30 pounds in two weeks!’ are right next to ‘Super-Calorie Chocolate Mega Cake with five layers of frosting and a side of grease’ … it’s just wrong.

    I really like most of the Japanese guys … mmmm – even Luigi is good looking … this has been going on since the beginning.

    Otherwise, The Prince of Persia, I’m having trouble thinking of any others off the top of my head. I tend to play more RTS style games that lack any main characters.

    JUST going off of looks, Gordon Freeman isn’t hot at all to me. But, I haven’t played Half-Life either, which might prove a lot of people’s theories.

    Just because the personality of a guy is usually more important than the looks, doesn’t mean that we don’t know HOT when we see it, even if there is no personality to speak of (Link, etc).

    When I play an RPG, I usually play a guy, because they are usually a lot more realistic looking, and playing a pair of bOObs with legs is distracting to the immersion.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I read a study where they tested a group of ladies for what kind of guy they thought was hot, using paired pictures etc. Apparently, they found that we typically like the rough guy more when we are fertile, and the “pretty-boy” otherwise. The idea that the pretty boy will stick with you and be there for you, and the guy who looks like he’s been in a few bar fights and hasn’t shaved for a couple days (and is ripped) will give you stronger kids.

  97. Ugh, surveys? Correlation is not causation. If you don’t mind some armchair psychology, I’ll give you the skinny:

    Any person, male or female, will be sexually attracted to the features that they believe are *concretizations* of the *abstract traits* they find attractive. If you value intelligence, for instance, you may find piercing, alert eyes or glasses (or both!) to be attractive . . . provided you have previously come to identify those traits as *signs of intelligence*. (And, yes, I know, this may not be true, which is where a lot of the complaining about “stereotyping” comes from–but your mechanism is going to latch onto something whether you like it or not.)

    It would probably be fair to say that most people are so poor at introspection that they can’t even *begin* to consciously identify the chain of concretization-abstraction-concretization that leads to an emotional response. From what I understand, most people experience their emotions as irreducable primaries that can barely be identified, much less questioned or changed. Couple that with the fact that many of our emotional responses get set when we’re so young that many of us can’t even remember it clearly, and you have a situation that can quite easily get completely Fubar’d.

    I don’t think the presence of specific body types in video games has anything to do with an intentional appeal to any particular demographic on the part of the game company. I think it has a GREAT deal more to do with the creative people involved in the project–the artists in particular. Art creation is a largely subconscious process just like sexual attraction. If you were to survey the artists responsible for various games, I would not be surprised if you find that, say, comparatively more Valve employees started out working on more realistic projects, while the people with the super-buff tough guy characters started out in, say, comic books. Once you get yourself locked into one methodology, it’s very hard to change and everything looks “weird” to you.

  98. Captain Kail says:

    Alright, gay male here.

    I’m also with the Solid Snake groupies here. He’s hunkolicious.

    As far as Oblivion goes, if I squint my eyes and just let Boromir talk to me, he’s pretty attractive.

    I also don’t play the Lord of the Rings games just because I enjoy high fantasy. :P

    There’s also the recent James Bond games. They got Brosnan’s face down to an art in Everything or Nothing, and seeing a young Connery again in From Russia With Love was pretty groovy.

    And if I could take Shadow the Hedgehog’s voice out to dinner, I would.

  99. Cuthalion says:

    As a straight, zit-faced, non-muscular guy, I’m pleased to hear repeated once more on this blog — by several apparent straight females — that personality is more important than looks. Now if only I had a personality…

    EDIT:
    I also had a friend who used to go out with zillions of girls. He said he “had it down to a science”, but he wasn’t very attractive as far as I could tell. Short, skinny, half-Mexican. By the time I met him, he had not only changed his ways but had also sworn off women for a year to (I assume) re-align his priorities. But the fact that it was mostly about how he had acted and talked rather than what he looked like coincides with what I keep hearing about what makes guys desirable.

  100. Rick C says:

    I’ll admit–too many comments for me to bother to read, but I searched the page for the word “porn” and didn’t find it, so:

    It could well be the same reason men in porn these days are so damn ugly.

  101. Kevin says:

    Uh… girls like grizzled?

  102. Cuthalion: the personality vs. looks thing depends on the woman. It is *generally* true, I believe, because more women pick up their sexual abstractions from, say, reading romances or similar methods, while men *seem* to do more looking at pictures. (Is true?)

    Remember that your “personality”, as far as other people are concerned, is 100% what you say and how you act. You may have a fascinating personality inside your head, but if you’re not capable of transmitting it, you’re going nowhere romantically.

  103. anathema says:

    I’ll have to echo the idea that personality is key for many girl gamers. Link and all the Final Fantasy boys are cute, but it’s characters like Raziel and Kain in the Soul Reaver series that draw me back to replay. I’ve played the Soul Reaver series more times than any other games I own. Top notch smooth voices for all the boys, intricate plot, and characters I actually care about draw me in much more than just pretty boy looks. And after awhile, I came to really like the way Raz and Kain look.

    Plus I immediately find myself drawn to the bad guy turned good, so while yes, Riku from Kingdom Hearts is from a Japanese game, it isn’t just because he’s cute that I love his character. I can go all the way back to the SNES and cite Magus from Chrono Trigger, too. Angsty bad boys relucantly on the side of angels, that’s where it’s at.

  104. Nixorbo says:

    @Jeysie:
    Roger Wilco from Space Quest
    Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island

    Marry me.

  105. Pete Zaitcev says:

    How would you classify Wing Commander 3? Malcolm McDowell as Toolwin was pretty nice, for his age bracket.

  106. SK says:

    Reading this thread has reminded me of a character named Scree, from Primal.
    Looks… none. He’s a gargoyle, literally.
    But the voice, and the lines, were wonderful. Andreas Katsulas will be sorely missed.
    It wasn’t a bad game, either. Underrated, I think.

  107. Actually written by a female (GASP):

    Well.. you can say that there are so many ugly men left in the world that we have to raise our young women into believing a guy can be handsome even when his face is fucked up. Teaching us to pay attention to their other good qualities which will obviously win over the ‘looks’ category. Thus teaching us that not every man is a Brad Pitt, and that in time they will lose their good looks and all looked fucked up in the face anyway. (Need I mention I wouldn’t have touched Sean Connery until he was way past his prime? The old guy is a chic magnet! He’ll die during sex with someone half his age -at least- for sure!)

    Then again we have games like Final Fantasy which show us the YAOI boys which are in every fan fic pairing possible in which every girl on the planet is enrolled to but won’t admit.

    As for the hot chics, well we are already taught to do our best into looking like barbie dolls, so this is just one more way to drill it into our skulls that if we don’t start being anorexic and buy fake boobies we aren’t going to catch even a ugly guy with a fucked up face.

    On a side thought, do I really HAVE to mention all the guys that create girl chars just so they can watch a wiggling swaying girl ass through the entire game. I once asked how they saw anything else? They said.. preferal(sp -side-) vision.

    Men…its all YOUR fault.

  108. AngiePen says:

    I actually haven’t run into any computer game characters that made me think, “Whoa, hot!” The closest to get there was Oblivion, and that was just for the voices. I spent a lot of time talking to Brother Martin, just because it was Sean Bean doing the voice. [wry smile] Looking at the face, though? Nah.

    I think what’s going on is that most of the artists, art directors, producers, etc., in the industry are still male. They know well what they think is hot in females, but don’t care whether the males are hot or not. Or maybe it bothers them to even be thinking about whether or not the guys are hot…? [wry smile]

    Angie

  109. Avilan the Grey says:

    Rabid:

    (Heterosexual man doing a drive-by)
    I have always found it interesting that it is almost exclusively media for women by women which broadcasts the ultra-thin ideals. The fashion- and lifestyle mags has a(I believe) far more negative impact on the self image of women, since they for some reason trusts and believes these size-zero ideals that are promoted by other women and a certain type of gay men (who tend to design female clothing made to fit male bodies, to put it bluntly). This, however, is almost never brought forward in the debate where it is constantly claimed that it is the ideals of heterosexual men that ruins women’s health.

    I admit I don’t have the data in front of me, but from memory:
    The average weight of a Playboy centerfold has been lowered with about 2kg since the Marilyn Monroe issue. The average weight of a fashion model in Vogue has in the same time almost been lowered with 50%!
    The heaviest Playboy centerfold of all time was Anna-Nicole (I know she had other issues, but her weight was not one of them, at least not until later in her life).

    Now I admit there are men who prefer petite women. There are women who prefer the female-in-drag look on men (again, Japanese games!). We are all different.

  110. Zaxares says:

    As a heterosexual male, my response here is probably irrelevant, but if I was a woman, I would go for Barney, from HL2. He’s got a personality, is dependable in stressful situations, has a good moral stance, and not a bad looking mug. (He needs to lose the beard though.)

  111. Kristin says:

    I remember from college psychology that given a cartoon with a sliding scale of body types, from obese to anorexic, men tended to choose somewhere a little towards anorexic of middle, while girls tended to choose a lot towards anorexic of middle.

    The guys were asked “Which of these is most attractive?”
    The girls were asked “Which of these do you think guys are most attracted to?”

    It’s a messed-up world for girls, but I think the girls have themselves to blame more than the guys…

  112. Chris says:

    Re: Rabid Purse Squirrels

    “Men…its all YOUR fault.”

    Men don’t design women’s clothes, nor do they make women’s magazines.

    My brother got into a conversation with a woman one time about this sort of subject, and I think part of it is women don’t understand how men actually see the Playboy/Barbie type. As he was talking with a girl, they passed by a magazine rack. He pointed directly at a cosmo, a women’s magazine, and said:

    “That’s the woman we’d have a one night stand with, but it’s NOT the woman we want to be married to”

    In other words, to a guy, yeah we’re sexually attracted to big boobs on a thin body (well, some of us more than others: I hate when they get too big because gravity takes control), but we don’t have any desire to love that girl. Particularly because that girl isn’t the one that’s going to understand a lot of our hobbies. That’s the kind of girl that, when given the choice between the Dark Knight or Mama Mia! is going to choose the latter.

    Again, guess which one we’re going to want to marry? (or at the very least have a meaningful relationship with)

  113. Jeff says:

    It could well be the same reason men in porn these days are so damn ugly.
    When watching porn, men generally imagine doing what is shown, while women generally imagine it being done to them.
    Which is why women can watch gay, lesbian, and straight porn, while hetro men are squimish around gay porn.

  114. Katrani Merack says:

    What does it matter if a girl would choose Mamma Mia! over the Dark Knight? That’s one trivial example that ANYONE could argue over. Maybe try something else, like something with three options (good, alright, bad?) from your point of view?

    But I do see where all of you are coming from about the magazines. Reason why I only read Newsweek. Everything else makes me mad because they’re trying to make everyone into carbon copies, basically.

    Also, I would choose the Dark Knight first, but only if my dad was asking. It’s our father-daughter thing to go see superhero movies together. Hah.

  115. Mari says:

    Erm, well, I have…unusual taste. For instance, Carth Onassi in KOTOR is not remotely attractive to me. I generally make fun of him as the sniveling emo jellyfish he is.

    Oddly enough, though, I have a fondness for Tommy from GTA: Vice City. Minsc in Baldur’s Gate was reasonably attractive, too. Elco in Sudeki is pretty hot. I like eye candy as much as the next girl, but it takes a certain level of weirdness to really catch my fancy.

  116. WWWebb says:

    So the consensus answer seems to be

    “There are lots of hot guys, Shamus. You just don’t notice them because you’re straight”.

    It’s a perception thing. The reason bread always lands buttered-side-down when you drop it is because you have an emotional reaction to dirty butter (DANG IT) and not dirty bread (ho hum). Thinking back, you only remember the times you had an emotional reaction to dropping your bread.

    See also: any time statistics say something different than anecdotal evidence.

  117. Blackbird71 says:

    Ok, backtracking a bit, but this thread grew incredibly fast :)

    @Derek K (#60)
    You forgot my favorite Minsc line: “Butt-kicking for Goodness!”

    @Feylamia (#65)
    “Androgynous males are not limited to Japanese games. Guild Wars, for example, has lots of “˜em and it was made by ArenaNet (who are based in the States). World of Warcraft has “˜em, too – again, not japanese.”

    True, but the conversation at that point had hardly mentioned these games, had it? At the time when I made that statement, the examples of the androgynous type that had been given thsu far come largely from games of the Final Fantasy variety. Please take my comments in the context of the conversation in which they were made.

    And a little further down the line:
    @WWWeb (#117)
    Ok, so you’re pulling me a little off topic here, but regarding the bread thing, it’s not as much perception as you’d think, at least not always. If you put any stock in the show “Mythbusters,” they once showed that the chance of bread landing buttered-side down was related to the force with which you buttered the bread. As the knife presses on the bread, it forms a concave shape. The harder you press, the greater the indent. The greater the indent, the greater the chance that the bread will land buttered-side down, as the shape causes it to flip. Also, bread slid off of a flat surface into freefall at average table height has enough time for one-half rotation before hitting the ground, yet another factor increasing the probability of butter-down bread.

    Anyway, there’s your random useless fact for the day. We now return you to your regularly scheduled madness…

  118. Miako says:

    Khorbeth, 70:
    That’s because female porn is found in a bookstore. Look at romance novels sometime. Trashy womens stuff is akin to the bodybuilder stuff on the guy side — wish fulfillment.

    yes, both men and women are drawn inaccurately. Problem is, this leads to gendered power dynamics. Men have more muscles, which indicates a better ability to control their surroundings, women have more breasts, which indicates that they’re supposed to be looked at, and not realistic for the genre, typically.

    Oblivion is all about the Moon Sugar!

    Oh, and yeah, Minsc deserves a mention. Definitely dateable, just for the personality.

  119. Miako says:

    @ Sam

    No, sorry. Women are attracted to good breeding material, first. At least for sex. For mating, yeah, you might have a point. But that doesn’t go for sexy, attractive, whatever. For that, you’re looking for charm and seduction and good looks.

  120. Miako says:

    Vasquez from aliens… Yeah, we should do more of that.
    Psycho bitch with something to prove and a hell of an attitude
    [that sums up anyone taking point on missions, not just girls]

    But, yeah, she seemed, realistic.

  121. Miako says:

    Thanks everyone for the eye candy!

    Yeah, it appears that first person shooters are the worst in terms of “making attractive people”. Adventure games, by in large, have the art budget to make someone reasonably attractive, and the story budget to make good dialogue.

    I’m generally a strategic gamer, but some of these people look hot!

  122. Jeff says:

    …I just wanted to say that the Guild Wars men don’t look girly to me.

    As in, obviously male, not androgynous.

  123. Neither women nor men are attracted to “good breeding material” first, last, or ever. Why? Because there is simply no means by which to detect whether a person’s GENES are good. Characteristics are such a complex mix of genes and environment and choices that it’s impossible to make such an appallingly oversimplified statement. Period.

    If it WERE true that we were all looking for “good breeding material” then genetic disorders would be *nonexistent*. Since I don’t have any real interest in breeding why would I choose someone on that basis?

  124. Jeysie says:

    “Roger Wilco from Space Quest
    Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island”

    Marry me.

    *wonders how she should interpret that, exactly…*

    How would you classify Wing Commander 3? Malcolm McDowell as Tolwin was pretty nice, for his age bracket.

    He is pretty handsome; I was remiss in forgetting him. (Tom Wilson is also good-looking, but Maniac himself, not so much…)

    And I also forgot Barney, too. There is something rather attractive about everyone’s favorite security guard.

  125. Lena says:

    Not really answering the question, but making a female observation in reference to hot video game chicks. I think guys want to do them and girls want to be them.

    I don’t think girls care too much about cute video game guys. Outside of making them butt-ugly, I don’t think we care. We tend to be more practical and don’t see a future with a “cute video game guy” and, if you instead imply we might want to fantasize about bumping fuzzies with them, you are just going to get a weird look. We aren’t wired like that.

    Of course, that logic goes out the window when viewing movies with Vin Diesel or Jason Statham… cause I can somehow imagine that future happening and my husband being okay with it. “Here. Wear this napkin, make it look good, and scrub my toilet”.

  126. Namfoodle says:

    @ Jenifer Snow (#124)

    I think some of the things that folks find physically attractive in others are potential indicators of general health and nutrition. Someone in good health who has had an adequate diet while growing up will generally make a better “breeding partner”. So people subconsciously respond to those indicators, and many people try to influence each other by highlighting their positive physical traits.

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting the we’re doing subconcscious gene-mapping on each other. Genetic disorders persist for all sorts of reasons. Not all “disorders” are a disadvantage in all environments, for one thing. And some don’t express in all carriers or at all stages of life, etc. And even if “CON is your dump stat”, you may have high social value. (Shamus and Stephen Hawking, to name but two).

    There’s also a huge social/cultural component to attraction, where all sorts of weird stuff can get added into the mix.

  127. AlphabetFish says:

    I tend to play games without human protagonists (like Black & White, Pikmin, and Yoshi games) or puzzle games. I will admit that Leon from Resident Evil 4 was extremely hot… but otherwise I don’t really notice their looks.

    I don’t believe that women generally categorize men in the same way that men categorize women (that is, when it comes to looks). Usually what I like is an interesting looking character–in WoW, which I’ve played for years, my favorite males are Orcs and Tauren because I just love their designs and animations (then again, I prefer larger, hairier men–skinny men remind me of teenage boys). It’s the same with real people for me–an interesting looking person is much more attractive than a person that would generally be considered good looking.

  128. Nico Bellic

    I’m a guy, but I can see why girls would fall for him. Hard outside, soft inside and a man of principles

  129. Maija says:

    Here’s my list of attractive male leads in games:

    Prince of Persia – The Sands of Time: Prince (obviously)
    Sid Meier’s Pirates! – The pirate boy
    Monkey Island – Guybrush Threepwood
    And I think there was an ok-looking guy somewhere in Knights of the Old Republic.

    WoW males look quite terrible, but I’m not all against troll males, the only race where males look better than females.

  130. Avilan the Grey says:

    Still staying borderline off-topic:

    One way that the beauty ideals (as seen from a male’s perspective) HAS changed is the acceptance and enjoyment of a more muscled body. That is one of the reasons why women in playboy and other men’s magazines look slightly thinner than they did, but still weight as much: Muscles are heavier than fat. (Speaking of that I do look forward to playing a female barbarian in Diablo III :P )

    As for beauty and how physical appearance is judged as important:
    A British survey among an equal amount of Gay men, Straight men, Straight women and Gay women showed that it was almost exclusively they straight women who was the least interested in physical beauty in their short- or midterm sexual partner (I guess that means a ranger from One-night stands to Summer flings, or something). Men went for hot Men or Women respectively, and so did the women that preferred women.

  131. Miako says:

    @ Namfoodle & Jen Snow

    The social/cultural stuff shows up later — the younger the person, the more in touch with instinctual behavior they tend to be (I think it has something to do with ‘growing into’ being a sexualized human).

    Jen,

    Instincts are funny things. YOU, personally, may not have had any experience with instincts overriding or influencing conscious behavior. But, the BEST choices (not just sexual) are made subconsciously. I know someone who does select based on “good breeding material”, with a bias towards exotic. Interestingly enough, he says that he’s managed to fuck so many girls because of his voice. This despite being the shy one!

    Most women are wired to cheat, just like most men. However, most men are socialized to be betas or gammas, not alphas. Women tend to respond to alphas (this plays back into the whole confidence that someone else mentioned) — at least for a one night fuckfest during breeding season.

    Humans judge attractiveness in no small part based on symmetry, and in another part based on “is the person groomed” (note, looking scruffy is one thing, looking like you don’t care about your appearance is more what I’m talking about).

    On the subject of large muscles — I know an extreme mesomorph, who doesn’t bulk up like that. Force him to do lifting, and he grows extra muscle to compensate. He’s still on the slim side.

  132. @Namfoodle and Miako: What criteria ARE there for “good breeding material” aside from the genetic? Or are you basically saying (like most determinists) that people are attracted to whatever they have DECIDED indicates good traits in other people? Come ON.

    Humans don’t *have* instincts, which are automatic and *inescapable* behavior patterns. If we did, then there *wouldn’t be exceptions*, and there *are* exceptions to every proposed theory other than the one I stated, which is that you gradually form a habitual generalization that serves to trigger certain emotional states.

    I’m not attracted to “alpha” males–I find them to be dull self-absorbed status-conscious pricks. Nor do I find it appealing when clueless persons announce that I’m not *capable* of knowing my own mind or making my own decisions. Any semi-rational woman should find that insulting in the extreme.

  133. Miako says:

    Jen,

    How much neuroscience and hard psychology have you read again?

    I quote this just off the top of my head:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19231906
    There have been studies done that show that people who have suffered non–cognitive brain damage are POOR decision makers.

    If I give you a project, and give you a few breaks in between, you solve it faster than if I just ask you to work straight through. That’s because your mind is subconsciously solving it.

    This is twenty year old science, it’s well understood.

    I do not consider these to be ‘IDEAS’ but to be ‘FACTS’, as close as we can tell by the scientific basis of things.

    Here’s an odd article, you might be interested:
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/104060.php

    It’s no surprise that people can smell pheremones, even if they don’t consciously identify them as “come fuck me”.

    Here’s a GOOD ARTICLE:
    http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/003279.html (links may prove more useful than flavortext).

    If you don’t decide on which car to buy consciously, why should deciding on which lover be any fucking different? Humans are essentially a single conscious mind superimposed on a vast parallel subconscious. The conscious mind is capable of noting patterns, and so it’s quite probable that someone would begin to notice who they were attracted to. That doesn’t meant that the attraction is done on a conscious level, though.

    If all the decisions on who to bang were done consciously, I think there would be fewer teenage pregnancies.

    Humans, in general, tend to develop instincts based on the exposure that they’ve undergone. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a good example. You hear bang, you go for gun. It’s instinctual, and you can’t stop it.

    But I was talking more about a subtle affect that the instincts can have on decision-making, functioning through your lizardbrain (err, have I mentioned how much I hate that?). Cognitive decision making takes longer than emotional decision making (phobias still make people jump), but it also gets superimposed on the emotional decision making — humans are very rarely purely rational beings, and when they are, they are not good decision makers.

    Sorry, I’m pounding on the soapbox again.

    Jen, in case it’s not clear, I do to some extent agree with you. People do socialize, and that does color who they respond to. [why else do 50% of American women get off on Bondage??] HOWEVER, there are more fundamental, baser drives, and they activate first, and in some people are less overridden (and some people are more in touch, and able to identify their instincts).

    A guy has to be something of a catch to make a woman in a committed relationship decide to have a one night stand with him. This is the type of attraction I’m talking about, and it’s important to make the distinction between that and the more long term partnerships. One’s about lust, the other is about love?

    I find it insulting that an ill-informed person presumes to think that everyone is as ill-informed and incapable of citing studies that support their argument. I await your citation of other studies that contradict mine. ;-)

  134. Miako says:

    Oh, and as for what good breeding material is, there are a lot of different phenotypes, and it’s pretty safe to say that morbidly obese or starving are both not sexy. We’re talking phenotypes, we’re talking appearance (is taking good care of self? is capable of supporting baby?), we’re talking social role (will I get killed for sleeping with baby brother — versus tribe strongman?). Also, inbreeding was a far more prevalent problem way back when, so anyone exotic or from the next town over (tall dark stranger) automatically gets mondo bonus points.

  135. Miako says:

    It’s not necessary to ‘decide’ — and I’m not ruling out the nurture thingummy, as much as I feel that it is relatively inapplicable to lust. I believe that it is much, much more applicable to ‘permanent mate’ versus one night stand.

    Of course people have instincts. They tend to be warped by experience. Like post traumatic stress syndrome. hear boom, grab gun.

    But i’m talking about something much much more subtle. Instincts influencing emotions influencing decisionmaking.

    Now, give me ten, I’m going to go grab some good sources on why humans aren’t rational decision makers ANYTIME, not just with sex. Also humans who are rational decisionmakers based on brain damage make BAD decisions.

    Allow me to educate you on the psychology and neuroscience.

  136. Miako says:

    I’m not so sure your definition of alpha and mine coincide. Sure, there are the caveman-alpha types (jocks), but there are also the kitsune types.

    ymmv.

  137. Minnie says:

    Knuckles the Echidna fo’ sho’. Can’t go wrong with dreads, even if he is pink and furry.

    And Raiden, but only as far as physical attractiveness goes but he’s a bit too screwed up in the head.

  138. Tola says:

    make the mages and priests scrawny

    Ever seen some of the Warcraft 3 artwork for the Elf Priests(Example-the Warchasers loading screen)? Even they’re fine, fine specimens of Elfdom. It’s…interesting.

  139. Silver says:

    At first, I admit that i couldn’t think of any guys I found attractive in non-Japanese video games, but after perusing the comments a bit, I was reminded of a few. So, here goes.

    Carth Onasi (Atton Rand was fairly attractive, but not nearly as sexy as Carth)
    the prince from Prince of Persia
    Garrett from Thief (though it might have just been the sexy voice, I mean, you hardly ever see his face, but his voice is just damn sexy. There’s no way you could be unattractive with a voice like that)
    Altair from Assassin’s Creed
    The Bard (Bard’s tale)

    I definitely think that a huge amount of being attractive is in the voice. You can take a relatively average guy and give him a deep, sexy voice and women will go nuts.

  140. Jeysie says:

    @Miako:

    Mmm. Well, if instincts do always factor into sexual attractiveness, then my instincts are just as “off-typical” as Ms. Snow’s, because I never find “alpha males” attractive no matter the time of month.

    Or to be more precise… I may find some alpha males nice to just look at… but when it comes to actually “being turned on”, it’s always men with several stereotypically “geekier/preppier” features: red hair, freckles, glasses, a bit of pudginess, neat & clean hair & clothes, an open & friendly face, clearly enunciated voice, shy & sincere manner, etc.

    I always want a guy who’s likely to be intelligent, honest, and treat me right… bad boys might get a “he’s fun to look at,” but that’s about it.

  141. Shamus forgot to mention homosexuals, but wanted me to let you know that you can’t comment unless you’re at least hard gay.

  142. David says:

    Jeysie:
    “red hair, freckles, glasses, a bit of pudginess, neat & clean hair & clothes, an open & friendly face, clearly enunciated voice, shy & sincere manner, etc.”

    Wow, that almost perfectly describes me. Well, 7 out of 8 ain’t bad. And I’m not so sure about that ‘etc’ …

    It’s nice to know there’s someone out there looking for someone like me.

  143. Derek K says:

    @AlphabetFish

    “I tend to play games without human protagonists (like Black & White, Pikmin, and Yoshi games) or puzzle games.”

    I think Yoshi’s kinda sexy too.

    That’s what you said, isn’t it?

    @Maija:

    “WoW males look quite terrible, but I'm not all against troll males, the only race where males look better than females.”

    Are you playing the same WoW I am? My first female WoW character was a troll, because I really wanted to try them, but couldn’t handle the gangly mohawked freaks they called men. I made myself a dainty little troll lady with a nice long blue braid, and proceeded to freeze people to death…. And since it’s how my life works, she’s still my main – any time I make a single female character in the game, I will inevitably find out I’ve hit on the precise class/race combination I most enjoy.

    This was prior to the tribal art the men have now, but they’re still pretty danged ugly imho.

  144. Miako says:

    Jeysie:

    Your definition of alpha isn’t mine, again. Alpha guys are the ones who can convince girls to do a quickie with them.

    The guy I was referencing as a bona fide alpha was geeky and rather shy (though I believe the shyness was to avoid having unprotected sex with the entire student body).

    From my reading of the lit, the only truly unusual thing you’ve got there is pudgyness, and I did say that experiences do modify things.

  145. Jeysie says:

    @Miako:

    Well, then, my confusion, at least, probably stems from the fact that the de facto definition of “alpha male” generally refers to guys who are macho, aggressive, powerful, confident, etc. That’s how the term is generally used, usually in contrast to the “nice guys” who are claimed to be the type women don’t find attractive.

    In other words, an “alpha male” is usually the sort of man that women are stereotypically considered to find attractive, whereas my own preferences run counter to that stereotype. If you define it by your method, then the matter pretty much becomes meaningless as any general base to reason from, since every women has their own individual standard of what is sexy.

    @David:

    There definitely is. Now if only there were guys out there looking for geeky, pudgy, shy-looking girls…

  146. David says:

    Jeysie:

    If only I had met you in real life…

  147. Derek K says:

    @Jeysie: I married one!

    Best damn thing I could have done, except when she frags me in TF2. Then I regret it, just a little. ;)

  148. kmc says:

    @ Liz N.: I agree, and what I was trying (and failing) to say was that the gamers who want to see hotter men in games form a relatively small portion of gamers overall, and the effort to get the industry to change would be huge. This high “effort density” probably has a significant effect on the lack of protest.

    It’s amazing how many people are making such grand, sweeping statements on groups of people–women like personalities, men like boobies, humans don’t have instincts?!? Wtf? I don’t care whether you’re part of a “group” or not; you can’t speak for everyone or even most people in that group. There seems to be a lot of discussion on a theoretical level, but I think ultimately, we know very little when it comes to each one of us individually.
    It’s been interesting in my experience–on the subject of attractive women, most men of my own acquaintance, whether in person or online, have said something along the lines of “Well, most men just like thin women with big boobs. It’s not my type, though–it looks weird and I like women with good personalities.” It’s like the women who say “Oh, I would hate to go to a women’s college. Girls are so bitchy and petty in big groups like that.” Ah, how poorly we know our own identities!
    Everybody has individual tastes. That’s all there is to it. Some of it is directed by instincts, most likely, and some of it by socialization. Most “grown-ups”, people who have some life experience and realized that not all their initial elements of attraction lead them to good relationship partners, are attracted to a very general type of person who has come to a similar decision.
    I will use myself as an example, and I am only speaking for myself–not for women, engineers, gamers, twenty-somethings, the employed, ruggers, or any other group to which I may belong. I have dated complete jerks in the past who were very confident. I’ve always found confidence attractive. I know there are nice confident people out there, but I realized, eventually, that it wasn’t a good judgment standard for me because I was so easily mis-led. Then I dated a beautiful (seriously! whoo!) and sweet japanese guy with whom I am still friends. Even still, to me he is an icon of serene beauty, especially when we are at martial arts seminars. But when my current boyfriend came along, the choice was clear. He’s not particularly “hot” and he’s very shy–he’s thoughtful and fun (totally geeky and full of ideas), with a compatible life philosophy, and he’s simply the best man (for me) I have ever met. I wouldn’t give him up for the world.
    So yes, there are things that people find attractive, but in this day and age there are so many other factors that I really don’t think the first-glance ones bear much weight at all.
    Sorry, Shamus; I think this thread has been well and truly hijacked and not even by JRPG pretty-boys!

  149. Miako says:

    Alpha male is defined by promiscuity, more than anything else. The sort of guy who thinks he can/should/Will be able to fuck whomever he wants.

    So, yeah, it’s about confidence, but just related to sex.

    You can have a CEO (practically the definition of Alpha — in a social not sexual sense), but if he’s not confident about being able to get with the ladies, he’s probably a beta or gamma.

    Since the alphaness only relates to sex, you don’t really say much about the rest of the guy’s interests/looks/etc. (though they can’t be absolutely hideous).

  150. Derek K says:

    The problem is that there are a lot of studies out there done by people like Desmond Morris (a whileish back) and others more recently that suggest that there are, in fact, some biological foundations for a lot of what we consider to be free choices.

    Then there’s a lot of studies that say it’s all hogwash.

    So even the experts can’t figure it out. ;)

  151. Jeysie says:

    @ Miako:

    Even aside from that being a rather different definition of “alpha male” than the definition that is typically used, it doesn’t make any sense either. I’ve known guys who think they’re hot stuff and should be playboys, yet girls won’t touch them with a ten-foot pole; and I’ve known guys who don’t act at all playboy that the girls would go for in a hot minute.

    Confidence may be an important factor in the type of male that women are stereotypically considered to find attractive, but it’s not the only one.

    I have to admit I personally find outward confidence a complete turn-off… partly because I’m rather shy/insecure and being around someone who’s self-confident makes me feel even more so, and partly because a guy who really awesome and/or can already get lots of women hardly needs me, now does he? (Inward confidence – simply being OK with who you are – is attractive, however.)

  152. Miako says:

    Err… Alpha males get what they want, by force or by the sway of their words. Rhett Butler is an alpha male, and he ain’t exactly strapping.

    When I say that an alpha knows that he will be able to have sex with anyone he wants in the room — that pretty much excludes “wannabes”.

    Alpha isn’t terribly well defined for the human race — it comes from studies of more pack-structured animals. Changing it so that it works for a pair-oriented mostly monogamous species is bound to cause discontinuities.

  153. Jeysie says:

    @ Miako:

    Given “alpha male” already has a standard definition/connotation in conversation that I (and presumably Ms. Snow) was drawing from… I’m not really sure why you’re saying it’s not “well-defined”. If you want to have your own personal definition, so be it… but it means there can’t be much of a discussion, since you’re not on the same page as everyone else.

  154. Felblood says:

    A worthy footnote to this topic is that the idea of the perfect female form has been flanderised, far beyond reason.

    Big boobs test well, so even bigger boobs should test even better, right? –And to make those boobs look bigger, we can make her torso smaller!

    When you’re done, you’ve got a creature that won’t be found attractive by anyone who hasn’t got their ideas about female beauty from a woman’s magazine.

    There’s been some pull away from this extremeism as polygon counts have gotten high enough to support something resembling an actual woman who has undergone thousands of hour of surgery. People have started to notice just how weird things have got, now that they can see them.

    Contrast Sigma Star Saga (tiny pixilated sprites, thin totally impossible forms) with Dungeon Lords (high polygon models with highly improbable forms, but wierdly narrow shoulders)

    Look at Laura Croft. Here is a character whose models could be used as a graph for what marketers think men want over the past couple of years.

    She started out fairly normal, but as fanboys demonstrated an ability to turn hormones into money, she quickly became a line with two bulges, representing her boobs and butt.

    As people started to realise that this didn’t even look like a woman, let alone a hot one, she morphed back into something slightly more human like.

  155. BLARG says:

    That devil may cry guy is designed to be attractive, I think. Also, grizzled can be good sometimes…it is a matter of taste. Not that it really matters, if the game is fun.

    Whatever the sex of the character, it should hopefully fit the context of the game. A realistic style demands that the character should have the physical appearance matching their activity, a more ‘artistic’ approach may not.

    The thing that irritates me is not the necessarily the unnaturally high standards of beauty (it is fantasy, after all) but rather generic quality of it.

    Attractive things come in many forms, but this is not yet reflected in games…and interesting is not necessarily pretty, either.

    Finally, they (the developers) probably should make sure the gameplay and story are taking precedence, otherwise what is the point?

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