Another article I found, “The Impact of Body Emphasizing Video Games on Body Image Concerns in Men and Women” published in Sex Roles in 2008, highlights the fact stated in its title: apparently, body image is of a concern for both male and female players. The link here: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.gate.lib.buffalo.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=034df319-0e97-4c4a-8732-93251b5a1315%40sessionmgr111&vid=2&hid=107
Created characters, for instance, are sometimes “enhanced versions” of the players making them. This study seems to have found that games impact players thoughts of their own body image. It mentions that a lot of body image study had been done using “female examples,” and one can easily find examples of Photoshop touch-ups and fixes to make models look impossibly beautiful on Youtube. I found this interesting because, while playing Mass Effect, my friends and fellow gamers have made numerous comments on the in game characters’ appearances and sexuality.
In several chats with a female player I play ME3 multiplayer with frequently, I have heard that there are a great many male players who find the all-female Asari race especially attractive. Their race somewhat symbolizes “the epitome of femininity” in the game, and Shepard’s singleplayer squadmate Liara also has a highlighted sex scene near the end of the game (as in the scene is a little longer and more, shall I say, “detailed,” than those with other squadmates,) should either Shepard or Femshep choose to romance her. There appears to be more of the model-type females in this game than there are males, and I wonder what kind of effect that has, and whether it agrees with this study.
Interestingly, they used WWE (WWF, at the time) Wrestlemania 2000 on the N64- a very dated game with graphics that cannot stand up to today’s standards. I also wonder if a modern game were used, one with more detail, would that have an even stronger effect? The reason they cited was the character creation- they were able to create characters specific body images for players to fight against (a really strong muscular character and a very obese character for the males), and most modern games did not have this capability, so they said.
I’m honestly surprised to see body image has such a connection with video games.