Players object to video game characters’ ‘unrealistic physiques’

Washington : As per a recent study, players object to extreme physique of video game characters.

College students playing Japanese fighting video games often object to the unrealistic depictions of the characters, drawn with exaggerated and highly sexualized physiques, but they say the mechanics of the game itself are more important to them.

Those findings come from researcher Rachael Hutchinson of University of Delaware’s , who conducted four years of surveys of students’ attitudes toward the games.

In these particular games, the characters-male and female-have very extreme, exaggerated physiques, Hutchinson said, adding that these are very unrealistic body types.

She said that her question was: “Does this detract from a player’s ability to identify with a character [he or she is controlling during the game] or from their immersion in the game?”

She found that players noticed and had negative feelings about the exaggerated body types and that there were differences between the reactions of men and women, although both genders expressed worry about the influence on younger players.

Men, she said, were more concerned about the extreme body images of the male characters, drawn with such exaggerated muscles that even a student who was a bodybuilder called them unrealistic. In contrast, women were more likely to criticize the sexualized depiction of the female characters as an indication that men dominate the videogame industry as designers and corporate executives.

Despite these objections to the images of characters, students told Hutchinson that other factors were much more important to their identification with characters and their immersion in a particular game.

Much more important to the players were such factors as whether they were winning the game and whether they could easily direct a character’s actions.

The research also shows the value in studying a particular type of game, rather than the industry as a whole, she said. Japanese fighting games give players a choice of dozens of characters and the ability to engage in short fighting sequences that last only a few minutes. After a fight, a player can change characters if she or he wants to.

In a different kind of game, where a player directs a single character through a narrative that might take hours to complete, the findings might be different, Hutchinson said.

The study is published in Journal of New Media and Culture. (ANI)