The Arma Argument

The Statesman of all places recently put their own argument into the debate that’s been raging on for over a year now on the Arma forums regarding adding playable female military characters to the game. I became aware of this in the Sunday Papers over at RPS and some comments are just.. wow. Seriously, are we still having this same fucking argument. I have already discussed this exact same thing but maybe I should elaborate a little further while my blood boils over. Arma is called a military Sim which apparently makes it exempt from notions of equality in gender representation but when your talking about hypothetical wars in the future you lose all credibility when bringing up the realism argument. We are involved in a medium that is inherently fantastical in it’s ideas, themes, events and characters.. and yes even Arma is like that so spouting this nonsense just appears like you yourself are on some sort of crusade against equality.

I am aware of the facts of the case, if you can call them that. Very few modern militaries have female soldiers on the front lines and within the clutches of combat and even less females within the elite forces of these organisations. But they do and have been for years, and this is changing across many nations with the laws surrounding military service changing. But it really is pointless getting into this battle of the facts as these are mostly irrelevant to the debate at hand. I honestly don’t care if you served or are serving in the military, your argument is just as valid as anyone else’s in fact maybe even less so as that would bring about inherent bias. Games are not reality.. they are interactive fictional pieces and as such are not subject to the stupid “laws” being place on them.

It’s not just ARMA, regardless of representation in the actual military near every military shooter omits the player from choosing female avatars. It doesn’t matter if it’s all about realism or some futuristic apocalyptic world so it isn’t an immersion factor and claiming it’s a “simulation” is a cop out. Females play these games… I play these games and as such it would be nice to have my character better represent me. For me personally it improves the experience of play if I’m able to play with a female avatar, I can’t explain why to those that have never felt this. It is that sense of power and a promotion of agency but also far more.

But but but.. it takes up valuable developers time to create. Yes it does but boo freekin hoo. It shouldn’t even be a question of time and resources, it should just be an industry standard by now. What this says to many girl gamers’ is that these games just aren’t for us.. which is probably why so few (compared to other genres) actually play them. This has been said many times before but the right people don’t seem to be listening. Perhaps if they improved the equality of characters and their roles in these games we may see better diversity in the people that begin playing them. Bigger market share in the end.. more profit (hopefully).. it just makes sense from a business perspective not to mention just being the morally right thing to do.

But no lets make the same stupid games with the same inherent flaws and be completely oblivious to any other opinions. And let me just say that no, I don’t think they are being racist, sexist or whateverist when you defend this male dominated industries incessant need at protecting its status quo..but what it is is ignorant, an ignorance that is becoming rather inexcusable. It makes me wonder if girls still have cootees.. because that’s the impression I get.