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Sexy Jerks

Written By mista sense on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | 9:43 AM

If I go on Twitter or read blog comments or engage with strangers from the internet for too long, I become annoyed and depressed. So I set about a new game of Fable 3 last night, resolving to be the biggest asshole Albion had ever seen. Like, I was just gonna pretty much kill shit, I said to myself. I was gonna have like five wives living in hovels and wear mad tattoos and belch on everyone.

It wasn't just that I was feeling sort of irritable and wanted to expunge some anger. I mean, Fable 3 provides for me to be pretty much as big of a chicken-kicking scumbag as I want, so it's not like it's even real rule-breaking. It's more I've never been very good at playing the bad guy in games. I want everything to come out nice. I care what people think.

When I'm looking at some happy video game villager, I just don't have it in me to do the wrong thing. I've watched friends playing Fallout 3 blowing away innocent folk and their two-headed cows with a sort of envious glee, but with a vague anxiety in my gut. It's not I want to be a goody-goody; I think moral ambiguity makes interesting characters.

It's just I kind of want to make a really bad mess of my gameworlds and laugh about it and not take it seriously. I wish I could say it's because of really compelling design that I'm never able to do it, but no. I'm just hard-wired to be a good girl. I think that's why people really like Grand Theft Auto games so very much: There's no good-guy option. Messing the world up is what there is to do.

I mean, we'll see. I don't have to shoot a housewife in the face in order to be a really big jerk, so I might still be able to achieve my dreams.

Speaking of wanting everything to look nice, I'm for some reason preoccupied with how my hero looks. I futz around with his hair and outfits until I think he looks "sexy." I can't really tell what drives my character-creation decisions most of the time; sometimes I go with an intangible "tone" that suits what I hope to get out of the story, others I make people I'm attracted to, or sometimes I develop an idea of a character and then assign looks that go with.

But I do notice there's a strong correlation for me, when I'm playing a game that requires me to make my own hero, between physical attraction and character admiration. I don't want a bad-looking person. I have to stare at them for hours. I'm objectifying them like paper dolls. Is that what male game designers do when they're creating sexy female heroines -- you know, the kind we have so much trouble with? Kinda scary thought.

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