March 9, 2012 at 3:07 PM ET
"Minecraft," indie gaming's sandbox sensation about building a shelter before a monster comes, has many fans, especially women. And that makes sense, given the types of gameplay that supposedly appeals to females, who are less about shooting stuff and more into making things. The social aspects are another big plus.
So why are you given only one default character, a male? Why is there no default female avatar? Those questions were brought up at this year's Game Developer's Conference, Kotaku reports. And the answer given by the game's creator, Markus 'Notch' Persson, is how the sharp edges found in "Minecraft" are not very lady-like.
"I've tried making a girl model in 'Minecraft,' " says Notch, "but the results have been extremely sexist." One basic conclusion after giving a default female avatar a go is: "Blocky things are more masculine."
Still, the animals in "Minecraft" are not identified as male or female. And anyone familiar with the game knows that the dude you start out as, Steve, is essentially gender-neutral and simply a canvas to be embellished. The sheer number of female skins currently available supports this belief.
Yet Notch's assertion that blocky things are too masculine might seem odd, especially to anyone who is an avid LEGOs collector and who owns sets that contain pre-fab female characters.
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot, and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.