Sometimes a game designer wants to have the player's choice of gender be more than purely aesthetic. So, the designer adds things that makes males play different from females, such as adding gender-specific armor, gender-specific character classes, and so on.
Sometimes intentional, sometimes not, some games just seem to love one gender over the other. Perhaps women get all sorts of cool and powerful armor that the men do not, or men have naturally better stats while women get bonuses to the Dump Stat. One way or another, one gender ends up completely winning over the other, making it so that there's no reason to ever roll a man because a woman is always better, or vice versa.
Used to be named "Minus Four Strength"note A Wiki Word version of "-4 STR"), a tabletop RPG meme where female characters would sometimes be given a stiff penalty to the strength stat. Oddly enough, most video game RPGs tend to favor women instead.
Contrast with Purely Aesthetic Gender. Compare Gender Incompetence. May lead to Women Are Wiser or Men Are Better Than Women. Sometimes one is better early and the other better late, in Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards fashion.
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In FATAL, men are favored to the point of outright misogyny. There's no benefit whatsoever in playing as a woman unless you really stretch the rules. Well, there are some details that could qualify as benefits but they're overwhelmed by the explicit (in every way imaginable) disadvantages. Weirdly enough, for all the time Byron Hall spent writing up rules about how women are functionally retarded and weak as kittens with scurvy, he didn't bother giving them a penalty to the urination skill, which... yeah. It's just that kind of game.
According to a review, Spawn of Fashan has the same kind of problem: In this one, a woman's physical traits are halved.
At least one Professional Wrestling RPG did this too, if your female fought a male. Oddly, the WWE licenced game only did this with weight. And as weight can be assigned (and substitutes for "race" in other RPGs), there really isn't anything (aside from snarky GMs) stopping you from building a heavyweight title contender who, while having Testicular Fortitude, lacks testicles.
In The Greenland Saga by Avalanche Press, females get -3 Strength, +1 Dexterity and +1 Constitution, with a sidebar saying (not a paraphrase) that "Life is not fair. Deal with it."
In Exalted, in the West, men have an advantage in that the storm mothers usually don't hate them, while to avoid their ship-sinking attentions women have to have red hair, join the Tya, or - should they be Exalted - kick the crap out of any storm mother who screws with them until they get the hint.
Guess Who?: The low number of female characters on the board makes them much easier to guess.
There are three specifically male-only classes and only one female-only class. (Which is, of course, slutty.) Then there's the entire greenskin race, which is genderless according to some fans, but the orcs and goblins are always referred to with male pronouns.
Even more so with the Chosen, who of course are the chosen warriors of their god, in this case Tzeentch. So why the hell would a genderless ever-changing cloud of color (not color gas or something, just color) care about gender?
In A Tale in the Desert, there was an announcement that an NPC would show up on a certain day with rare goods, including some unique goods. Players lined up to trade with him, but when a female character tried to trade with him, he told her that he does not trade with "property" and inquired if she herself is for sale. Since there is no combat in A Tale in the Desert, some players just started dropping piles of sand to lag out the NPC. The whole thing calmed down when the developers apologised.
In the original PS One game Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, you can play as Rikimaru (male) or Ayame (female). There's one mission where you have to reach a corrupt magistrate. If you play as Rikimaru, when you reach him there's a cut scene where he ruefully confesses to his crimes, and asks to be at least granted an honorable death. Still in cutscene, you assist him while he commits seppuku by cutting off his head after he cuts open his stomach. If you play as Ayame, however, he's enraged that a woman has had the gall to attack him, and the cutscene ends and goes into a boss fight — you actually have to fight and kill him.
This was one of the main criticisms of Left Behind: Eternal Forces, although it's very much in keeping with the values of the books and their writers. In the game, you can "convert" members of either sex to your cause and give them an occupation. While male characters can become Builders, Soldiers, Medics, Disciples, and Musicians, women characters can only become Medics (though not as effectively as males) and Musicians (more effectively than males, but not a particularly useful class). This meant the best strategy was to convert as many males as soon as possible, and only convert females when there was no other option. Later patches would grant female characters more abilities, but still not at all comparable to males.
Farming sim Shepherd's Crossing 2 gives the male character up to 9 chances to run out of food and firewood and be redeemed. If he fails completely, he's "rewarded" with marriage to a character that can't be married any other way. The female character, on the other hand, will be kicked out immediately she first runs out of food. Marriage requirements are easier for male characters as well.
One Nigh Invulnerable character class is only available to males in the third installment of The Bard's Tale Trilogy. This is only because this class is only available by importing from the previous game... before it was possible to generate a female character.
In Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, the male player character has two love interests available to him. The female character only has one. This is actually quite important, as persuading your companions to fight with you against the final boss is much easier if you've romanced them.
The original Baldurs Gate 2 had three love interests available for a male PC, and only one for a female. User mods have since adjusted the balance.
Age of Conan has female characters doing less damage because of slower attack animations, although the bug was eventually fixed.
Harvest Moon GBC 3 had different perks for both genders. The boy would get better at farming and using tools, but couldn't take care of some of the animals on his own, while the girl got better products from the animals and didn't technically need help with them or the fields, though she'd never get better with the fields. The girl was also the only one who could get sick, and while you could always get a game over from being a bad farmer only those who play as the girl get a game over if they marry someone.
In Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny, the male PC had nine eligible bachelorettes (including the female PC), while the female PC had only four (including the male PC). As characters eligible for marriage were the only ones who could go past a plateau on the Relationship Values system, this meant that choosing the male meant for literally more than twice as many story options as the female. Although this was not the case of developers deliberately favoring one gender over the other so much as the decision to give a gender option coming later in development, after a fair amount of plot and character building had already been worked out. (This is also why you will always starts as the male PC, and only have the option to change to the female once the plot is cleared, as the circumstances revolving around the girl's inaccessibility are highly plot relevant.)
In Crusader Kings, handing your country / dynasty over to a female monarch carries some harsh penalties - it's also extremely difficult to do unless you meddle with your inheritance laws. Given that the game is a simulation of Euro-politics in the High Middle Ages, this is pretty much Truth in Television.
In The Lord of the Rings Online, you can play male or female versions of any race except dwarves. Only male dwarves are allowed. This isn't so much because of gender favoritism, though, as it is because Tolkien never said whether female dwarves have beards.
In a similar vein, Mount & Blade has a sandbox feel in a fictional setting where you take over the career of one mercenary and his or her band. A female character has significant penalties towards things like finding a spouse, being recognized as a legitimate ruler, and so forth.
Final Fantasy VII has both male-specific (Escort Guard) and female-specific (Minerva Band) armors, each conferring different immunities, some of which are only available on these particular items. However, all female party members join at a noticeably lower level than their male counterparts, for no adequately explored reason. Unless the player takes special pains to select female party members over male ones whenever the opportunity is presented, they will stay this way throughout the game.
Late-80s RPG Knights of Legend features four female-only classes, six gender-neutral classes, and twenty-three male-only classes.
Several Munchkin games give more benefits to women than men in terms of female-exclusive items. Your sex is whatever sex you actually are, but there are cards that Gender Bend players. Official T-shirts, when worn by a player, can cause the player to be considered a specific sex while worn, overriding the primary effect of such cards. T-shirts are removable during play. Notably, this means the advantage here of being female can be assigned a rough real-world monetary value (probably about $18 U.S.).
Many games that have hit location systems make men more vulnerable to a Groin Attack. In GURPS, called shots to the groin have no special effect on females, but males get double the usual pain penalties.
In Mekton, the only mechanical difference between men and women is that (if psychic powers exist in your game) women have a slightly higher chance of having psychic powers.
In the Legend of the Five Rings RPG there are a small handful of schools that are only able to be attended by females, such as the Utaku Battle Maidens. There are no male-only schools.
In the D&D version of the setting, you got two choices of bonus starting equipment based on the family you picked. Playing a male of the Utaku family lets you choose between a horse, which the fluff text restricts to female members of the family, or a naginata, a traditionally female weapon. While the rules don't prevent a male from choosing and using either, it can easily make you a target for a certain sort of DM.
The Wizardry games did this, particularly starting around the sixth game. Not only did females have access to the Valkyrie class, which was generally better than the gender-neutral Lord, but they also had access to a slew of armors and powerful accessories that males did not. In contrast, there is only one male-only item in the games.
At least in Wizardry VII, female characters get -2 to Strength, +1 to Personality (=charisma) and Karma (=luck), sending them toward non-melee classes (except ever-shiny Valkyrie) — especially Bishop which uses Personality bonus for Diplomacy.
This extended into Wizardry VIII as well. In particular, there's some very nice magical amulets available early in the game that regenerate stamina constantly, but are only available to females. A decent male-equivalent item is not available until much, much later.
Taking quite a bit from the Wizardry series mentioned above, Wizards and Warriors (the PC game, not NES) also had a female-only elite class. The stat differences between males and females were otherwise very small, making them not matter at all in the grand scheme of things.
In Chrono Trigger, the Prism Dress, which provides the most powerful defensive option (permanent Magic Barrier, reducing magic damage by 1/3) is only usable by Ayla, Lucca and Marle. Robo, Chrono, Frog, and Magus are out of luck.
Chrono Cross has dresses which only females can wear, all of which give sizable bonuses to magic defense.
In NetHack, the only gender-exclusive role is the Valkyrie (considered by some to be the strongest role for melee combat), which is accessible only to female characters. Understandably, female characters are also the only ones who can lay eggs when polymophed into an egg-laying monster type.
With the exception of the male-only races, a female character in Dungeon Lords has access to a guild with a slew of very powerful classes that could make her an exceptional spellcaster or hybrid. Males had almost nothing to compensate for this (although it should be noted that several races were male-only).
The free RPG Heros Realm also favors females, providing many sets of armor for them while providing nothing for the guys. This gets very obvious very early on, with armor like the "Leather Dress" offering more defense than the gender-neutral "Leather Armor", and spellcasting females getting access to the "Silk Robe" while the males get nothing in comparison.
Males have a higher physical attack stat, females have a higher magic attack stat. Because it's much harder to level up the magic attack (which is also more useful) stat than the physical attack stat females have an advantage.
The "Thief" class is available to either gender, but noticeably more useful to a female, due to the "Steal Heart" ability — a high-accuracy "Charm" move that only works on the opposite gender. Very useful, and of course, the vast majority of your enemies are male. (It also works on all monster types, but let's not think too much about that...)
The "ribbons are for women only" mentality is fortunately averted with the main series, where the designers have realized that if a male character was given the choice of either wearing a girly ribbon or dying horrifically because a plant breathed on him, he'd man up and put on his ribbon.
Carried over to the sequels; the very useful ribbon line of accessories can only be used by females, or males with a specific support ability (and you can only have one support ability at a time). Though this ends up being more of a racial divide as, excepting two characters in A2, all playable members of races only have one gender. As the all female Viera really only face serious competition from humans in overall ability and the all-female Gria from the 2nd game are usable in pure offense (unlike Bangaa, who are too slow), it's mostly just icing on the cake.
While Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and its sequel give us racial classes, with all non-Viera, non-Gria except for a few plot-related examples being male, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 gives us Al Cid, whose only abilities...are much better when he's surrounded by women.
In Mount & Blade, while Calradia is said to be a heavily sexist land (a bit of an Informed Attribute before Warband's revamp of the political system) it is a tad ironic that females have a marked advantage in terms of starting abilites. They can start with one of the best horses in the game (provided they pick "Lady in waiting" as their background) and while male backgrounds offer better chances to pick up combat skills (which is not only a tad redundant in a game about leading an army, but your army has horrible drops in effectiveness if you are KOed and aren't leading them, so going to the front lines is a huge risk.), female backgrounds give non-combat skills (which you are encouraged to put on your player instead of leaving to a companion, as they get a bonus).
Ever since Dragon Quest III, female characters tend to enjoy more perks than males, due to the addition of gender-exclusive equipment skewed heavily towards women. Though only III, IV and now IX allow you to choose your hero's gender, later games in the series have steadily added more and more female-exclusive equipment, in the form of dresses, tiaras, bustiers, and accessories. Male-exclusive equipment tends to be of the sillier kind, like boxer shorts.
Remakes of III included a Personality System, along with a handful of exclusive personalities (Tomboy, Amazon and Sexy for women; Lewd for men). However, only males could access an amusing Easter Egg in Assaram/Ashalam, though this had no impact on gameplay. It's worth noting that Sexy and Lewd come from answering the starting personality test the same way, but being of different gender. Lewd is mostly balanced with great stamina but weak agility & luck, but Sexy has bonuses to all stats with great agility and luck. One of the pieces of equipment added to the remake is the Sacred Bikini, which rivals the hero's own special armor in defense and even restores HP outside of battle.
In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, there is a Seduction stat that allows you to achieve certain goals if you are female. The stat is available to males but it is pretty much useless for a male character. Then there's the bit where you can sleep with a female NPC but not a male NPC.
Ape Escape 3 has two playable protagonists, a male and a female. The female is an Idol Singer, which causes some monkeys (fans of hers) to be overwhelmed by her presence and rendered helpless. The male... no dice.
Kingdom of Loathing slightly favours female characters. The handsomeness potion is twice as powerful for females, the vinyl boots confer a moxie bonus to females while males get penalized for wearing them, males similarly get penalized for eating quiche and the only gender-specific item that does not have an equivalent item for the other gender is female-only. It's not noticeable in normal play, though.
At the same time, KOL is one of what must be very few games which allow you to change gender, repeatedly if you like (there is even a trophy for doing so more than 30 times), and relatively cheaply. The Vinyl Boots description even notes that you are probably willing to change your gender to get that bonus.
In Gladius there are two (plus an optional third) leagues that are required to qualify for the regional tournamentsnote beating these is your goal in each area that only allow female units to participate (to contrast, there is only one optional league that requires you field a male/female duo) and Amazons have a fewattacks that work only on males. Thus it is a good idea to recruit only females for your non-story units.
MapleStory has a sort of meta example due to having different equipment types for males and females. Both have equal chance of dropping but the preponderance of males in the player base means that male equipment is far more expensive on the player market than female equipment.
Downplayed in recent years since most of the newer equipment is unisex. In fact, this trope is nearly averted for Pirates because they have no gender-exclusive gear of their own.
You can get an early boost if you pick a female main character in Makai Toshi SaGanote Final Fantasy Legend in the USA. Their starting weapon is a sabre, which you can sell for 1030 GP; quite a chunk of change early on. The long sword that males start with sells for a measly 66 GP. The battle system also favors agility over strength and uses the classic women = speedsters; men = strongmen approach.
In Mario Golf: Advance Tour you can pick from one of two characters, Ella or Neil. While their starting stats differ slightly, the big difference between the two is the way their drive heights "decay" (the game averts No Stat Atrophy). Ella skews naturally low while Neil is naturally high. Because it is very rarely an advantage to have high height (wind, which is very prominent on latter stages, will be a severe hazard if you do), especially if the characters are not imported to Toadstool Tour on the GCN (which, unlike Advance Tour, has detailed z-axis use that might warrant a high drive on some courses to bypass obstacles), Ella has the advantage.
One quest in Runescape caused some controversy when it was first introduced. It involved fighting an NPC who would constantly shout, "No man can defeat me!". While a player with a female avatar can squash him flat with no trouble, those who had a male avatar had to figure out that they need to leave the area, go to a special NPC to pay for a sex change, and then go through the entire gauntlet again, up to that point.
Pangya oh boy. While each character has his or her own stats and balances the game makers clearly favor the girls. New outfits are almost always exclusively female and new events almost always favor the girls. Especially bad in Gacha where it will sometimes be months before they make anything wearable for the males. The boys do get some nifty things from time to time but it's no surprise that about 3/4 of the population plays as the girls.
For the most part, in Romancing Saga 2 things are fairly balanced. Gender doesn't factor too heavily into anything that can't be worked out, but females are inherently immune to Rocboquet's Charm spell. Only one male class, the male-exclusive Mole Men, has a natural immunity to Charm, and all other male characters need some sort of protective measure.
In Persona 3, females get two gender-specific pieces of armour (High-Cut Armor and Maid Outfit), while males only get one (Shirt of Chivalry).
That said, the female play-through is considered more enjoyable and fulfilling than the male, given the FeMC has Social Links with all of the S.E.E.S., meaning that characters like Junpei, Akihiko and Shinjiro get actual character and backstory, while MC gets a bunch of random school friends. It balances out, though, as FeMC (and MC in Portable) loses the ability to wield almost any weapon, rendering some of the fusion weapons like Mjolnir useless until New Game+.
Virtual Magic Kingdom, a now defunct MMORPG based on the Disney Theme Parks, had a number of character costumes you could dress your sprite in. Female sprites could wear any costume, even one emulating a blatantly male character such as Captain Hook, but male sprites were restricted from wearing Princess dresses and other girly costumes.
In Gears of War 3, male and female Gears have the same combat abilities, but female Gears have smaller hitboxes, which can be enough to confer just enough of an advantage to swing a fight. Additionally, playing as a woman is required for the 100% Completion achievement, while playing as a man is not.
Fallout 3 has separate perks for men and women, titled "Lady Killer" and "Black Widow" respectively. Both grant bonus options while dealing with members of the opposite gender. However, given the huge disparity in NPC genders, Black Widow is easily the better perk.
In Starseige Tribes male and female characters are identical in every way except for one: the female character model is smaller, meaning that she is harder to hit than the male character model. As a result, everybody plays as a female in multiplayer.
As for SBURB's mechanics, it varies. The male Page of Hope and the female Rogue of Void have essentially the same powers, even though the boy's outfit is much sillier looking than the girl's.
Both Favored In Different Ways
Any game that keeps track of characters' heights and weights may have unintentional gender-related consequences because men are on average larger than women — these effects can and do work in both directions (Mounted character? Enjoy your mount being able to carry a few dozen extra pounds of gear if you are female. Want to crush enemies with your weight? Extra damage if male.).
Early forms of Dungeons & Dragons had different attribute caps for strength depending on gender, only allowing males to reach the human cap of 18/00 while limiting females to 18/50, with females never really getting anything to compensate. Then again, when a character is generated according to the rules, even a male only has a 1-in-450 chance of getting above 18/50 strength, so this isn't much of a functional disadvantage.
A minor advantage for female characters in early editions was that some creatures have magic powers (mostly charm or beguiling) that works only on a specific gender, and those targeting males are more prevalent than the reverse. Thus, a woman would be immune to the influence of several feminine monsters (notably Kelpies, Nymphs, Nereids, Harpies...) while rarely the subject of such (like the hypnotic music of a satyr...). How much this would come into play depends entirely of the GM, of course. Starting with 3rd Edition, those powers tend to affect both sexes.
Atlantica Online allows most player-classes to be either gender with no difference, but the recently added Atlantean Blademaster and Battlemage can only be male and female respectively. And the mercenary classes are always limited to one gender.
When breeding Pokémon, the baby is always the same species as its mother, but may inherit moves from its father. Thus, it is preferred to use the limited-quantity Technical Machines on males, so that other Pokémon can inherit the move. TM moves in Generation V still kept their inheritance qualities even though Technical Machines gained infinite use, making this largely irrelevant.
The second generation of Pokémon, to maintain backward compatibility when trading to and from the first generation, derived certain aspects of a Pokémon from its individual statistics — gender was based on whether the individual's physical attack power was higher or lower than average for its species, with males being the stronger sex. This was addressed in the third generation by separating a Pokémon's gender from its statistics, and using a hidden "personality value" to determine other individual factors (such as coloration). Ironically, this also meant that if a Pokémon hurt itself in confusion, females endured slightly less damage than males.
Though not an inherent weakness in gender, the general predominance of male Pokémon in battles gives females with "Attract" or "Cute Charm" a distinct seductive advantage. Of course, this can be inverted if a male Pokémon with those abilities is put up against a majority of female opponents. More of a Metagaming point, but due to the fact that most of the upper-tierMons with gender overwhelmingly favor being male, competitive battlers that use seduction abilities get more use out of females when using them. It's generally not given much attention due to how infrequent such builds are (plus the fact that, regardless of the gender in question, any one of the multiple genderless critters will stop the strategy cold).
In the first two Pokémon Mystery Dungeons, your hero's species is determined by a Player Personality Quiz and gender. Certain mons are only playable as one gender, which is especially evident in Explorers of Sky. There, only males can be a Phanpy, Shinx or Riolu, while only females can be Vulpix, Skitty or Eevee.
The mirror to Attract and Cute Charm is the Rivalry ability introduced in the fourth generation. It gives the user boosts to its attack stats by 25% if the opponent is the same gender as the attacker, but weakens the attack by 25% if the opponent is the opposite gender (with the ability ignored if the opponent lacks gender). With the upper-tier Pokémon typically appearing with a 7:1 male:female ratio, trainers who do use the ability typically make sure the user in question is male. Similar to Attract and Cute Charm, there are typically better strategies using any of the Pokémon who get Rivalry (such as more powerful attack boosts across the board or Power Nullifier abilities), so these builds are also infrequently seen.
Pokémon Gold and Silver (as well as their remakes HeartGold and SoulSilver) slightly favor the catching of a female Pokémon at the beginning. This is because a male-only team can be annihilated in seconds by the third Gym Leader, Whitney, that uses a powerful combo with her female Miltank: Attract (which only works on Pokémon of the opposite sex), then spam Stomp or Rollout to death.
Invoked through a reference to real-life bees by Combee and Vespiquen. Combee is a pretty useless Pokémon, but only females can evolve into Vespiquen. And there's a gender ratio of 7:1, males to females.
Zig-zagged with the Ralts line: only male Kirlia can evolve into Gallade, and only the more feminine-looking Gardevoir can Mega Evolve... but male Kirlia can also evolve into Gardevoir.
In Harvest Moon 3 on the Game Boy Color, playing as a female cut short the length of the game. Once you got married, the game ended right then and there, and you couldn't keep running your farm. (The same thing happened in Harvest Moon: Back to Nature for Girls on the PS 1.) Male characters could keep playing, and even have children — no such luck for girls. However, in the male version of Harvest Moon DS, marriage to a town girl ended the game, while in the female version marriage to a town guy allowed you to keep playing, effectively giving female characters access to an additional five candidates to which males did not have access. Later games in the series are more egalitarian; for other handheld games, the female versions even included fixes of some Game Breaking Bugs.
Female characters get a one-point strength penalty and a one-point constitution bonus. While this is a very minor matter, choosing to play as a female of a race that doesn't get a strength boost does prevent attaining 20 strength and the giant damage bonus that comes with it, making the female option somewhat less desirable if you want to play a melee fighter. This is remedied by the "Tomboy" background, which gives female characters the male stats.
Of course, a male character is capable of maxing out both their Strength and Constitution for the respective benefits, making them a monstrously powerful Magic Knight, especially if they have Tempus Fugit. A female character needs the "Tomboy" background to get this, which prevents them from picking any other background.
Despite being "canonically" male, the female option in the first Knights of the Old Republic has more dialogue options available, a Gay Option romance, and a Take a Third Option ending (which you could access by modifying a single line of code). The second game, despite the "canonical" gender being female, was the opposite. Male players recruited the Handmaiden, who was a truckload of Fanservice, had much more extensive Character Development, and accessed some very interesting abilities. Females recruited the Disciple... who could have his entire Dialogue Tree exhausted in a single conversation, and most of the special abilities he granted were Dummied Out.
The Dummied Out-induced bias in the second game led to the canonical situation being established as one that cannot exist in an unmodified game: the Exile was female, but she travelled with both the Handmaiden and the Disciple.
Oracle Of Tao has an interesting variation of this. The male version of this is played straight (for the most part) with the two warriors of the game, while females have more versatility. In the later game, with better levels and gear, men can come out ahead, especially with some of the combo attacks from weapons. Usually, though, physical attack is lacking due to weapon availability in the early game, while in terms of magical damage, it's just a matter of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors. Also, most of the females (and one very androgynous male) have the ability to wear dresses, most of which provide elemental protection not found on heavy armor. Worse, many of the females can also wear heavy armor and use swords. So this would be technically a female-biased game, despite the advantages. The solution for male characters? Disguising yourself as a girl in a changing room, and then putting on the female armor. Doing this suddenly makes the game male-biased (if you can still call it that), since now they have the decent attacks, plus the decent armor.
In 3D Dot Game Heroes, males get extra sword power, and females get reduced casting cost for magic. Given how often you'll likely be casting the Freeze spell late in the game, this arguably gives males an initial advantage, and females a late-game advantage. And if you don't like it, you can change your gender any time you load a saved game.
Demon's Souls is an interesting case. Judging purely from the number of gender-specific special armors, males have it better, with Saint set, Venerable Sage set, the badass looking Shaman set, Dark Silver set and the Old King set, which makes defeating that Optional Boss all the more rewarding. However, female-exclusive armors are easier and can be obtained earlier, such as the Old Ragged Robes set (minus the Witch's Hat), and if the conditions are right, a female character can access the powerful and lightweight Binded Cross set. The majority of armors, and especially the starting armors are unisex, and since starting classes only affects starting stats, any gender can become almost any build they wish. One can certainly see a female character dual-wielding Berserk-style BFSes with no penalties just fine. However, only female characters can wear the Silver Bracelets, which increase the amount of souls you gain from killing enemies, meaning that female characters will get soul levels faster than male characters.
Disgaea series in general zig-zags this trope a bit. Only a handful of classes have male/female counterparts at all and even they are different.
In the first game, there are two incredibly powerful unlockable character classes that eclipse everything else. One is male only, one is female only. The male class is unquestionably superior in just about every conceivable way. Note that in Disgaea, you can change the sex of Player Mooks very easily. Also, the female class has the (admitedly very small) advantage of being able to learn magic on her own, though the male class can learn it too through other methods. That is more because the Majin class is Purposefully Overpowered and coincidentally male. Until they become available, the genders are mostly balanced, save that women get Ronins, which are exceedingly good front-line fighters until near the end of the game. Also the unlock requirements are a lot less stringent for Ronins (2 starting classes whose total level is greater than 20) than it is for Majins. (you need to get half a dozen classes over level 200, many of which need to be unlocked themselves) So it's relatively easy have Ronins in your party fairly early in the game, while Majin will require quite a bit of grinding to get and will likely only be available in the post-game.
In Disgaea 2, generic male monsters have an advantage over the female ones as they aren't subject to gender specific Dark Sun effects, as well as some other ones that are supposed to affect both genders, due to the fact that they're erroneously considered to be genderless for gameplay purposes; a luxury that unique male monsters like Tink and Taro don't have. Oddly, they still get boosted by effects that increase the strength of males.
And finally in Disgaea 4 the Infinity+1 Class is changed to female Androids. Everything said above about Majin class applies to them.
Also in Disgaea 4 and Disgaea D 2, specific character classes and uniques have gender-related evilties.
In Morrowind, females have it slightly easier to finish the main quest - there is one point where one character has to be convinced to support you. Females can simply walk up and ask, and gets four expensive scrolls as an added bonus, while males have to make an active effort to make her accept you and only gets one of those scrolls. Full list of gender differences here.
There is another very minor example where a female PC will have it easier. There is a bandit not far from the starting village who will demand 50 gold from a male character, but only a kiss from a female one. If you run into him early enough in the game, he will be challenging to defeat, so simply kissing him is the recommended course of action.
Male characters on the other hand have access to an entire quest line that female characters do not. They can start a romance with the Khajit Ahnassi, which is exceedingly rewarding, giving free disposition to several notable characters (like the Acrobatics master trainer), a key to her house which you can now use freely, several skill books and a handful of miscellaneous items. Note that this is the only romance-type quest in the game.
Mabinogi seems to favor creation of a female character more near the beginning of the game mostly by giving women fancier clothes, such as one shop where 2/3 of the clothing are for women, and there's one monster-slaying quest which rewards you with a pair of woman's gloves, regardless of your gender. Later on store options cycle between favoring men then favoring women again.
In Aika Online the game splits classes into gender. For example, if you choose a magic class it's boys are wizards and girls are healers. Technically neither gender is favored as they both have their uses in combat but one could argue that healers are more useful due to them being necessary for any group.
Several characters act differently in Deus Ex: Invisible War depending on what gender Alex is. For example, in a side quest to sneak into an apartment, male Alex can act as a page boy and get the keys to the place, but female Alex can't. Female Alex however, can get a discount using Sid Black, one of the pilots you can hire.
In some Fire Emblem games, caps are universal for all classes, but in others (including all the ones released outside Japan) each class has unique caps. The latter also give men and women of the same class slighty different caps (About 1-2 point difference). Generally, men have higher Strength and Defense (Useful stats where every point counts and helps) while women have higher Skill and Resistence (Secondary stats where a few points won't make a difference). Men also have higher Constitution, which on some games helps to avoid losing Speed from heavier weapons (In others doesn't and having more has both pros and cons) - but women have a higher Speed. However, this is barely noticeable until endgame and even then, unless you're doing Character Tiers, they aren't too big of a factor. Furthermore, while caps are gender-dependent, stat growth is character-dependent and that makes about as much of an impact as caps do. So at the end men are favored but not by a big deal.
It should however be noted, that magic-using classes have the advantages reversed — just replace strength with magic.
Though Mystery of the Emblem and its remake go the opposite route with the Lady Sword. It's female-only, and it's a majorDisk One Nuke. (Especially in the original, where it did massive damage to Thieves and Bandits, which made up about 90% of the early-game enemies.)
Females also tend to have a higher cap for the speed stat, so it's pretty well balanced.
Mage units who are males tend to have a higher cap for Speed than females in a magic class, presumably because magic-using classes have the advantages reversed as noted above.
Lampshaded in a short conversation between Lissa and Alm in Awakening:
Alm: They say women have a high resistance to magic. Lissa: Maybe chauvinism is just highly flammable.
In Fire Emblem Awakening, females get access to Galeforce, a skill which allows a unit to move again after a kill on the player phase, while males get Dread Fighter, a class which offers one good skill and one Game Breaker godly one that boosts their attack on player phase. Coupled with a myriad different ways to break the game besides those skills, and the fact that each unit has different class sets and modifiers, gender has less of an effect on whether a unit is good in this game.
The way second-generation units work in Fire Emblem Awakening tend to favor a male Avatar over a female one, at least in terms of minmaxing.
All of the children except Lucina and female Morgan are tied to their mothers, so a male Avatar can either romance a first-generation woman and get two children with the Avatar's reclass options, or romance one of the second-gen women and get an only-child with improved stats.
Having two children is considered optimal because two overpowered units are generally more useful than a single vastly overpowered one.
However, a female Avatar can only get two children if she marries Chrom, and while this isn't a bad pairing by any means ( Lucina benefits greatly from being the Avatar's daughter), it does mean she has fewer options than a male Avatar would, and there is no advantage for a female Avatar to marry a first-generation man (other than Chrom) as opposed to a second-gen one.
Yet again, the general consensus among the metagame seems to be that the female avatar is best because they always recommend pairing the avatar with a second-gen anyway, as they consider having two overpowered children to be an inferior option to having one vasty overpowered child AND allowing every single child character to be paired up romantically. And since the female avatar has galeforce and so can her kid, they consider female to be the way to go.
The medieval society presented in Mount & Blade is realistically geared strongly towards men. If you play as a female character, you may face some social roadblocks and find it harder to advance in society; for example, some kings, such as Sultan Hakim and King Harlaus, will not gift fiefs to a female player character (although they have no issue with you taking fiefs yourself). However, female characters gain Renown a lot faster than male ones do, so female characters find it easier to build up large armies and build alliances. Consequently, female characters are often more successful as bandits and mercenaries, or starting out their own kingdom once they get enough allies in the right places, rather than joining an existing faction and trying to climb an obstructively sexist social ladder. It should be said that female characters do not differ from male characters at all as far as stats or experience growth are concerned; a female character with a combat build will perform just as well as a male character with similar stats.