As a follow up on the discussion we had in class today on the male character of Doom I found an article on GameStudies.org that provided some evidence and insight into this discussion. Michael Hitchens surveyed a range of FPS games to look at the trends of the avatars we play. Hitchens surveyed 566 games and obtained information on the gender of the avatar for 482 games. The following charts from Hitchens article show the clear trend of avatars in FPS games.
As this table clearly shows the vast majority of the avatars are male.
Not only do the avatars of FPS tend to be males they also tend to be Caucasian.
The background of the Avatar also tends to be military.
Hitchens surveys provide empirical evidence that in FPS the vast majority of avatars are male, Caucasian, and of military background. “81 percent of titles require a player to play a male avatar, and this shows no signs of decreasing (if anything, the reverse is true)” (Hitchens). This data provides good insight into what we think an avatar should be. I think that this is a very interesting trend to discuss. I think these FPS games provide a clear image of what we as a society view as correct avatar. It is not as if FPS games that do not have a male, Caucasian, military man have not enjoyed success. Metroid Prime for example has enjoyed tremendous success and the avatar is a female. I believe that society is stuck in automatically thinking of a Caucasian military man as the perfect avatar. I personally enjoy games with a less traditional avatar and I hope that the trend will shift away from being predominantly Caucasian males.
Hitchens, Michael. “A Survey of First-person Shooters and Their Avatars.”GameStudies.org. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://gamestudies.org/1103/articles/michael_hitchens>.