I remain unconvinced by the "women don't play video games" assertion, though me saying "most of my gamer friends are also women" isn't any more convincing than saying most seem to be men on the basis of one's own experiences; but I recall various surveys indicating it's closer to parity than sometimes assumed. Though as ever the devil's in the detail, I dare say.

There is a conspicuous lack of female gamers on a lot of forums, similarly to how there're fewer "older" gamers in spite of the fact that video games have been a popular pastime since the '70s. I facepalmed when someone said without irony, "we're the first generation to play video games" and thinking, I'm more than twice your age and we weren't the first.

I suppose in both cases I'm reminded of e.g. "women in IT" or rather the lack thereof. It wasn't always so and when I started off, we had a near 50:50 mix of people at my employer in what was one of several fairly large teams. We weren't unusual in that respect. What started to put women off wasn't a lack of interest nor a "macho culture": it was toxic management which started to grow out of control through the '90s and has never got better.

"Toxic": there's that word. It's why I don't bother with the Steam forums, for instance. I know whenever a search takes me there it's going to be two or three posts before I see someone being an arse and as a result I often don't bother even trying to find information there let alone participate. And that sort of environment tends to distil down very quickly to include only those with the endurance and willpower to bother with it; increasingly large swathes eventually conclude "life's too short" and move on. Young guys do have more endurance than most of the population, whether through genetics or social conditioning, so ultimately that probably explains it, especially when the ripple-effect of the respective demographics has time to develop.

As for bikini armour, as far as I'm concerned, Boris Vallejo's style has its place and that place isn't everywhere. I don't dislike it but equally I'm also not a huge fan. It's not some stereotype feminist miserableism, just personal preference. Same reason I feel no inclination to parade around in a bikini IRL, which isn't (just) down to... well, I did title my avatar "fat old goth", but even if I had a much shapelier figure and was 20 years younger I still wouldn't. Some people like that style, whether for themselves or others, other people are "meh".

So that's pretty much my view of video games. Actually I do like some realism, such as with swords, as mentioned: I like them to look like actual, real swords, but at the same time nice examples thereof. They can be embellished a bit, but I'd rather not see swords with huge pointy bat-wings and encrusted in jewels because I think it looks daft and it actually takes away from the aesthetic of what makes a sword a sword. And it's much the same with armour or its absence. I may not care for Vallejo-style bikini armour but neither do I want... well, Brienne, who was making a point both within the story but also to GRRM's readers. I find it an interesting point at that; just not all of the time. And I did feel sad when DOS's high-heeled armour was dropped, along with handstands after climbing a ladder and so on because they were too "unrealistic"; I suppose at least the sneaking barrels survived the cull.

I may like realism, but there are limits. If I wanted absolute realism I'd go through the front door and venture... outside. *shudder*

J'aime le fromage.