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Why Can't Male-Centric Sports Games Let the Ladies In?

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The football players in the NFL are male. The baseball players in the MLB are male. It stands to reason that custom characters in video games based off these sports should be male, but Kotaku commenter Seoul Sister makes a valid point: When has reason ever stopped a video game?

Someone posted in response to the MLB '12: The Show review, asking if you could create a female character for the game's ‘Road to the Show' mode.


I'd thought about this before, but now I decided to post about it. I'm a heart and a mind on the issue.

In my heart, I love almost any game that allows you to create or play female character that is a ‘serious character' (she is not fan-service, she is not an inept sidekick, et cetera). I also love baseball maybe more than I even love video games. I love the history, the mythology, and the culture of baseball. When I was little, I tried playing softball, but I couldn't get into it. It just wasn't the same – pitching is an art form that requires enormous strength and finesse and intelligence. It literally pushes the human body to its absolute limits (the force exerted on a major league pitcher's joints, according to tensile tests by Boeing, is just shy of the point where your body will absolutely snap.) And it has to be done with such precision, yet also while being unpredictable. That's something softball never gave me. Now, as an adult, I've played in amateur baseball leagues, and finally indulged that fantasy.


So I'd love to have female characters in The Show's RTTS.

On the other hand, my mind clicks in here, and points out that this would be an enormous amount of work. Not just for the commentary and the voice acting. But for creating whole new options in character creation. So much extra work for something I don't think the developers feel there is demand for (and I am skeptical as to the market for it other than myself, too.)


And the sense of realism, too, would be torn apart by this (not that it isn't already threatened by making a rookie pitcher who can pitcher 10 shutouts after being called up to the majors halfway through the season.). But wait, my heart cries! What about people like Ila Boarders, or Eri Yoshida, the Knuckleball Princess. There are women out there who compete in men's professional leagues (Yoshida played 2010 for the Golden Baseball League's Chico Outlaws). But they are still the exception, and rare. They are almost universally pitchers, and often knuckleball pitchers at that. Still.

So sure, it might be an impossible dream. My brain might know it, but my heart still wishes for it. But if Jamie Moyer (who will turn 50 this year) can play in Spring Training for the Rockies, and if Manny Ramirez can return from exile to play for Oakland, if a man named R.A. Dickey can get away with being named ‘R.A. Dickey' while throwing a knuckleball, and if Curt Schilling can release a popular and anticipated fantasy role-playing game, then maybe… just maybe… it isn't too crazy to dream of female players in our fictional video games.


About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.