Mojang Adds Default Female Character
After a couple of years Steve finally has a female counterpart, and players now have the choice between playing as a male or female character.
Alex, the female counterpart to the default Steve character, will be officially released sometime this week. Steve has since the beginning of Minecraft has been the only player available. Minecraft’s Owen Hill wrote on parent company Mojang’s blog, “When most players begin their Minecraft adventure there aren’t many looks to choose from. In fact, you only get to play as our blue-shirted friend. Now, everyone loves Steve – he’s probably the most famous minecrafter in the world, and has excellent stubble. But jolly old Steve doesn’t really represent the diversity of our playerbase. For that reason, we’re giving all players opportunity to play with an Alex skin instead. She brings thinner arms, redder hair, and a ponytail." This is cause for excitement for the many female players that have longed to be represented in the infinite world of Minecraft.
Many players are already familiar with the character. The Alex skin debuted on the Minecraft PC version last summer and the mobile alternative in December. Compared to most online games, Minecraft has been very female-friendly. The signature blocky figures lack the sex appeal that is found on almost every other online RPG type game which allows the target audience to include families and children.
Minecraft is not the only game to start appealing to a female player base. Temple Run 2 made Scarlett Fox a free character earlier this month. The decision came from a persuasive and eye opening letter written by a 12 year old girl. She observed that in popular “endless running” type games, “Of the apps that did have gender-identifiable characters, 98 percent offered boy characters. What shocked me was that only 46 percent offered girl characters. Even worse, of these 50 apps, 90 percent offered boy characters for free, while only 15 percent offered girl characters for free.” And she cautioned,"If our character choices tell us these games aren't for us, eventually we'll put them down."
It is refreshing to see large game makers start appealing less to sex and more to their entire player base. I applaud Minecraft in their decision and hope to see more games take this approach. Maybe the next big hit will boast a respectful female character along with male character alternatives.