I have always really loved The Sims. I enjoy how much creativity players are allowed when creating their virtual world and one of its most important aspects of this freedom is character design. Recently, the game released an update that allows for more options for character design. After choosing whether the character is male or female, players now have the ability to access all of the character design aspects for either characters, including clothing, accessories, and different hairstyles. In their news statement, Maxis stated, "The Sims is made by a diverse team for a diverse audience, and it's really important to us that players are able to be creative and express themselves through our games. We want to make sure players can create characters they can identify with or relate to through powerful tools that give them influence over a Sims gender, age, ethnicity, body type and more."
Personally, I think this was a great decision. Identity in gaming can be made up of a lot of factors. When I am designing my characters, I either design them to represent me as I am or as who I would like to be. For some players, their characters have no representation of their identity, and for others, their characters are who they really are, even if it is not what their outward appearance appears to be. This is where this update is really nice. It continues to give flexibility to the players, allowing them to put as many aspects of themselves into their characters as they would like. For people who do not identify as their culturally assigned gender, this update would allow them to create a character to represent who they are. Or, if a player is more gender fluid, it would give them the opportunity to combine whatever masculine or feminine identity traits they see fit. It is now up to the players to determine how immersed they would like to be in their virtual world with their characters. As the video included in the article states, "Create Who You Want."
I would like to see more games adopt this style of character creation. However, I do recognize that in some games, character creation may not be that important. For example, I am currently playing Destiny. From my perspective, my character is really awesome, and I particularly love the mohawk that I chose for her. Yet, I am the only one who can see this; all of the other online players only see my character in her armor, which makes me pretty disappointed. I prefer to be more immersed in my gaming experiences; therefore I would enjoy having more options to make my character whoever I wanted them to be. For games that rely more heavily on a storyline, these character design features may also be less important. Either way, it will be interesting to see how the gaming community overall reacts to this update, and I am looking forward to seeing some of the many characters that will be created as a result.