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WaCiVG: Invisible in War

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AmericanWikiCultural PracticesWomen as Characters in Video Games: Invisible in War

Invisible in War

This is a sub-page of Women as Characters in Video Games

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault



            According to Kline, et al. in Digital Play, most video games represent “militarized masculinity” (256). It is certainly true that a majority of mainstream video game titles occur in “militarized” spaces: that of the battlefield, be it on the beaches of Normandy in 1944 or extraterrestrial planets in the near or far future. The modern military apparatus of the United States is still largely a male space, despite the advances that women have made in the military. Game makers expect military games to appeal mostly to men, so they don’t worry too much about including a female perspective. This adds up to making women invisible on the battlefield, wich is vastly unfair to reality, as it is to women who play games.


            While it is true that there were few if any women on the beaches in Normandy, women have historically been very important in war. In addition to support roles such as nurses and now doctors, women have long occupied positions of importance in both regular and irregular fighting forces. It is only recently, though, that the majority of military positions have come to be able to be occupied by women, so their exclusion from games that take place in World War II such as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is understandable. It should be noted, though, that Medal of Honor did include a single female on the battlefield in the form of a fighter in the French Resistance, a thankful but small admission.



The main characters from Gears of War

            Games set in the future, though, aren’t held to these rules of modern and historical military gender deployment. Even so, games such as the first Halo and Gears of War have few women in the game at all, and none on the battlefield in combat roles. To be true, this omission was rectified in the fiction that was later produced around Halo, and future games in the franchise included women on the character’s team, but Gears of War specifically excluded women from combat, as the narrative made them too important for re-population of the human race. Both Halo and Gears of War are notable for their inclusion of a woman as the Voice of God, further divorcing women from the combat sphere.


            This invisibility of women on the battlefield is nothing new, and it has been happening in books and films for years, most notably in regards to Vietnam. This lack of visibility makes connecting with women gamers more difficult, and may discourage women from playing these games, continuing the male-only stereotypes. That the few women in the games lack agency further removes women’s experiences from those of the narratives of these games.



Works Cited


Main Page

Narrative in Video Games


Role Portrayal of Women


Voice of God

Background Support

Sexual Objects

Invisible in War

Women as Enemies

Positive Characterizations 

This is a list of works cited on this page. To see a list of works cited for the whole article, as well as short annotations, click here.



2015, Inc. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Redwood City, CA: Electronic Arts, 2002. Video Game


Epic Games. Gears of War. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Game Studios, 2006. Video Game.



Kline, Stephen, Nick Dyer-Witheford, and Greig De Peuter. Digital Play: The Interaction of Technology, Culture, and Marketing. Montreal: Queen’s University Press, 2003. Print









AmericanWikiCultural PracticesWomen as Characters in Video Games: Invisible in War

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