The Sims 4 Is Still the Best Game for Gender Representation

The gaming world has never been more divided over the issue of gender.


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One trailer featuring women in a game centred on World War II gets endless trolling. Just one trailer. This is against a backdrop where a community launched a hate campaign against women in gaming and while it is several years on, things haven’t really gotten any better.

The content for women in video games is sparse. That’s not to say that there aren’t great women in games, but it’s just rare and most women only exist to further the plot of men (especially if they happen to feature in a David Cage game). But gender is also almost always treated in a binary manner. It isn’t even enough to get women’s representation right – we need good representation of the genders across the spectrum.

“It isn’t even enough to get women’s representation right – we need good representation of the genders across the spectrum”

The only game that has ever come close to getting this absolutely bang on is The Sims 4. The franchise has long been one of the gaming world’s most progressive titles around. It’s had same sex marriage and adoption before most countries. But the fourth game in the series allows users to choose whether their characters prefer masculine or feminine clothes (or both), whether they have a masculine or feminine frame, whether they can be pregnant or get pregnant and whether they can stand up to go to the loo. All of these choices are made independently so you can get a variety of characteristics. ‘Man’ and ‘woman’ aren’t spoken about. It’s way more diverse than that.

It’s still the only game – and the only role playing game – that really goes to such lengths and even though it is a few years old now, it is still the game leading the industry in that way. This is despite the fact that we have some amazing role playing titles out in the next year – as well as games which aren’t strictly role playing, but allow great character narratives and/or customisation. It takes the hype away from these games because the options within them already feel quite limiting before they’ve even been played.

The Sims 4 is awesome for its diversity and games should pay attention and embrace the challenge of continuously evolving. That’s so much more important than graphics or even cool game mechanics.

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One thought on “The Sims 4 Is Still the Best Game for Gender Representation

  1. I agree! I cowrote an article for The Queerness last year about gender and sexual identity in the Sims 4. What I love most about the game’s AI is that it responds and adapts to the Simmer’s style and choices, even in very subtle ways. As an ace, I have a lot of asexual Sims in my games , not because I consciously chose to , but because the game is sophisticated enough to respond to my style of game play . My queer friends notice the same response from the game to their identities and orientations. It’s subtle and brilliant ! The Simming community also has some circles in it that are incredibly supportive and diverse. For the most part, it’s easy to avoid the toxic corners.

    Like

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