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In the fight between skirts vs. vests, who reigns supreme?

Video games have come a long way since the days when you were forced to play as one specific main character. If you were a girl who didn’t want to play as a boy character, or even if you were a boy who was tired of playing as a burly man, then your gaming options were limited.

But nowadays, plenty of games let you choose the gender of your character. Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, Dark Souls, Pokémon, even Super Mario 3D World finally lets you play as Peach after a 25 year hiatus since Super Mario Bros. 2.

But then that brings up the question: how often do gamers pick a character whose gender doesn’t match their own?

To find the answer, the Japanese website MyNavi recently conducted a survey of 400 college students to see if the sex of their in-game characters matched their real-life one. Here’s a translation of the surprising results:


Play as a man: 155 people, 76.4%

  • “It’s easier to play when I’m the same sex as the main character.”
  • “It’s easier for me to relate to a male main character.”

Play as a woman: 48 people, 23.6%

  • “Since you have to look at the main character a lot, I prefer to look at someone cute.”
  • “Playing as a woman makes me want to get all the best equipment for them.”


Play as a man: 76 people, 38.6%

  • “Playing as a man feels stronger.”
  • “It’s a lot cooler watching a guy using a special attack.”

Play as a woman: 121 people 61.4%

  • “I’m a woman, and I see the game’s main character as a part of me.”
  • “I love watching a cute character taking down enemies one after another.”


Play as their sex: 276 people, 69%
Play as the opposite sex: 124 people, 31%

That’s quite a lot of people who choose the opposite sex! Almost a quarter of men choose to play as a woman, and over a third of women choose to play as a man.

The reasons for picking a man over a woman seem to be due to him looking stronger or cooler, whereas the reasons for picking a woman over a man seem to be due to her looking cuter or having better equipment and outfits.

While it may come as a surprise to some that so many people choose the opposite sex when playing video games, there could also be another factor at play: the character designs. For example, when I played Pokémon Diamond/Pearl, I chose to play as the girl character.

▼ I wouldn’t be caught dead playing a character with a beret like that.

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To see some more opinions on the matter, here’s what Japanese netizens had to say:

“Wow. I thought the number of guys playing as girls would be even higher.”
“There’s just something so satisfying about beating up baddies as a woman.”
“If it’s a game with other female teammates, I play as a guy to live out my fantasy.”
“I do both, depends on how I’m feeling at the time.”

No matter what character you choose to play with in your games, it’s great that we have the option, and even better that people mostly base their selection on the characters they like, regardless of their sex.

Will the number of people playing each gender change in the future? Perhaps, but one thing is for sure: if the male character in the upcoming Pokémon SUN and MOON has a beret, I will happily keep my name on the list of guys playing as a girl.

Source: MyNavi via My Game News Flash
Images: Tumblr/Pokémaniacal