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Game-Favored Gender

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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 men play different from women, 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 tabletop RPG meme where female characters would sometimes be given a stiff penalty to the strength stat. While men still tend to get better stats for straight-up melee that has a tendency of becoming less effective compared to alternative methods as demonstrated by pretty much everything in Female Favoured section. Thus it's not exactly surprising that most video game RPGs tend to favor women.

Contrast with Purely Aesthetic Gender. Compare Gender Incompetence, Menswear Ghetto, and Story Branch Favoritism. 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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Male Favored

    Tabletop Games 
  • In F.A.T.A.L., this is part of the bucketloads of Unfortunate Implications present in the game. There is basically no reason to play as a woman (unless you do as the game suggests and roll for your gender) - women have worse stats, cannot access several classes, are discriminated against socially, and multiple spells (including Mind Rape ones) are explicitly meant to work on women.
  • 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 character fought a male one. 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 somehow has Testicular Fortitude without any testicles.
  • In The Greenland Saga by Avalanche Press, female characters 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.note 
  • Guess Who: The low number of female characters on the board makes them much easier to guess, to the point that picking a female character was tantamount to throwing the game. Even as late as 2012 Hasbro was notoriously insensitive about it.
  • In Lace & Steel, male characters have more options by the rules as written, as female characters are automatically forced to slight their Strength (and favor another stat; male characters can choose their favored/slighted attributes freely) and generally pigeonholed into social gameplay roles. The book's suggested fix for this discrepancy is playing a Harpy.
  • Pendragon has female characters start with extremely limited combat skills. They get plenty of non-combat skills to make up for it, but the problem is that the game is by default mostly about heroic feats of arms, and fighting is the easiest way to earn Glory.

    Video Games 
  • MMORPG 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 PlayStation 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 in the first place). This means the best strategy is to convert as many men as soon as possible, and only convert women when there is 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.
  • In some versions of the third game of The Bard's Tale Trilogy, one Nigh-Invulnerable character class is only available to male characters. This is only because this class is only available by importing from the previous game... before it was possible to generate a female character (some ports did not have the import functionality, meaning no one could get the class). Fixing this by making it possible to have female characters from game 1 was one of the reasons for the 2018 remaster.
  • 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 Baldur's Gate 2 had three love interests available for a male PC, and only one for a female PC - and he's The Scrappy, to boot. 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.
  • In ARK: Survival Evolved, player characters will grow out their hair over time, and this hair can be harvested as a crafting material. Males produce more hair than female characters because their beards can be harvested additionally.
  • Harvest Moon 3 GBC has 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, choosing to play post-plot as Aden gives the player 9 bachelorettes to choose from, while Sonja only gets 4 bachelors. This meant that players opting for Aden ended up with double the love events to observe. However, this comes from the fact that the idea of giving the player an option to choose what gender to continue playing as was not added until very late into production. And Aden is the original protagonist because plot-event involve Sonja's body disappearing and her spirit being stuck in Aden's body.
  • The WWE Day Of Reckoning series has a mix of how you can and cannot customize personal appearance with male characters coming out with much more options in the end. Game play wise, stats and weight have the same effect no matter the gender but only male characters can get the points necessary to surpass the base stat cap in a mode exclusive to them. You can train up a male created wrestler's stats as high as you want them to be then reset the body type to female to get women around the cap though, so long as you take them out of story mode. This means men are not quite as favored in exhibitions as they are in aesthetics and playable modes.
  • Paradox Interactive's examples are typically Truth in Television, since most of the company's games are historical scenarios.
    • Crusader Kings II is a simulation of geopolitics in the The Middle Ages, and so handing your country/dynasty over to a female monarch carries some harsh penalties: even a male ruler will take an opinion hit from vassals for having a female heir, and female rulers suffer opinion penalties from vassals and can freely have claimants attack them for their title(s). Depending on the starting state of your realm it can also be difficult to even get a woman to inherit in the first place unless you meddle with your inheritance laws: only a few combinations of culture, religion, and government are permitted to enact absolute cognatic inheritancenote , and none permit women to inherit first. Female characters also cannot take advantage of polygamy mechanics, and merchant republics and Islamic nations do not (and cannot) allow female characters to inherit. Averted in some of the expansions, however:
      • Followers of the Indian religions introduced in the Rajas of India expansion have no opinion penalty for serving a female ruler.
      • The Conclave expansion allows you to pass laws expanding the rights of women.
      • Holy Fury adds the ability to reform pagan faiths to hold to the doctrine of Enatic Clans, which removes the penalty for having a female ruler and locks them to enatic succession (eg. female only inheritance. The succession system existed prior to Holy Fury — along with Enatic-Cognatic, eg. female inheritance before male inheritance — but there was no way to actually get them without mods).
      • A patch later added the option for players to choose just how much gender equality would exist in-game, ranging from historical to mid-level to full equality.
      • The third game allows you to launch a crusade (or jihad) for a reform for equality, or inverted favouritism than what history has.
    • In Europa Universalis, set in the Age of Exploration, female heirs (in the nations that allow them) usually have weaker claim strengths than male heirs. Also, you cannot have an empress of the Holy Roman Empire without passing the 'pragmatic sanction' decision, which weakens imperial authority.
      • Female rulers and heirs also can't be turned into generals by default. The custom nation designer does give you the option of allowing female generals as a national idea, but that comes at the opportunity cost of not picking a more useful idea.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The MUD Dark & Shattered Lands gives male characters a boost to strength and female characters a boost to wisdom. This seems fair, since the bonus is small and they have the same amount of overall stat points. However, the game is massively skewed toward strength; almost all of the most powerful abilities in the game are keyed to strength, including the ability to stunlock your opponents. Wisdom adds to your magic resistance, but it takes something like 10 points of wisdom to grant any benefit, whereas it only takes 4 points of strength to make a difference. This means that there are many race-class combinations that gain benefits from being male, and virtually none that will benefit at all from being female. In a cutthroat player-versus-player game designed around killing people and taking everything they've worked hard to obtain, that's a really serious risk.
  • Star Trek Online sometimes takes flak on its forums for having no female versions of several Klingon Defense Force species, namely Nausicaans, Letheans, and Gorn. The typical argument that these never had female members shown in canon is immediately countered with the fact that Cryptic did make female versions of several Federation species, as well as completely making up the Ferasans KDF-side. Though at least with the Gorn, some licensed fiction indicates that, being lizards, their females are simply bigger than males, so some people just make three-meter Lizard Folk and RP them as female.
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver: The gender of a Pokémon is based on a randomized hidden value that modifies the Attack stat; higher values often result in male Pokémon (unless the species is purely female), and thus they're physically stronger. This also had the odd side effect of making it impossible for female mons of some majority-male species to be shiny. This was in place to maintain compatibility with the previous games, in which all Pokémon save for the Nidoran families were genderless. This was dropped the next generationnote , and hasn't returned since.
  • In contrast to its precursor, where the female protagonist Jill was the "easy mode" character, Resident Evil 2 makes male protagonist Leon the easier character to play. Leon can take damage better than Claire can, has exclusive access to the Shotgun and the Magnum, and can access the Custom Gun Parts, which allow him to buff up his pistol, shotgun and magnum; the pistol becomes a burst-fire weapon, the shotgun gains increased ammo and damage output, and the magnum's already-devastating damage value increases, turning it into a boss-mincing machine. In comparison, Claire's a much harder character to play as; whilst her Depleted Phlebotinum Shells make the grenade launcher powerful (and more useful than Leon's flamethrower), they're also scarcer than anything other than magnum ammo. Her Bowgun is weaker than Leon's shotgun, and while its silent status makes it good for killing Lickers, those don't show up that often, making this trait almost unnoticeable. Finally, her unique Sparkshot is a Lethal Joke Weapon that does devastating damage to G-Birkin and Mr. X, but absolutely pitiful damage to anything else, and it doesn't even have the ability to reload.
  • Done realistically in Mount & Blade, which is set in a pseudo-historical medieval world. Women are equally capable in terms of skills, but are heavily discriminated against socially and will find it much harder to convince other nobles that they are worthy of alliances or marriage.
  • In Relive Your Life, there are far, far more endings if you end up being born as a boy. Even if both sperm inhabit the egg, you play as the male conjoined twin. Out of the 29 different endings, there are only five endings for a female Player Character.
  • In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, a late-game quest requires you to defeat the Festival Dudes FOE(a monster that patrols the labyrinth and is generally too powerful for an average-leveled party to defeat). The Festival Dudes will occasionally heal to full unless you follow specific guidelines- since they are a group of four men, you must face them with a group of four for a fair fight. Unfortunately, this condition requires four men, which means that you can't include any female characters in your party.
  • Persona 5 usually avoids this, but there are some exceptions:
    • Armor for male characters has slightly better stats than armor for female characters and armor that isn't gender locked. This is only a few points difference, which doesn't make a serious difference once you get past the first dungeon.
    • Royal has a similar case to Q above. In the middle of December, Ann asks the group to change the heart of a manipulative young man who's been forcing women to fight each other. Inside Mementos, his Shadow gains his normal self's manipulative powers, and can brainwash the three female members of your party- Ann, Makoto and Haru (Futaba is not affected)- as well as resist their primary elements (Fire, Nuke and Psy).
  • Siren allows the male characters to climb higher ledges, use more complicated weaponry, navigate quicker, and just be more fun to play. The ladies on the other hand move slower, can only use knives/semi automatic pistols to defend themselves, die faster, and can't climb nearly as high ledges (with the height limit being around her hips). In stages with both men and women, the player will always play as a man and have to protect the woman, and also help her up ledges she can't climb herself. When it is a solo female mission, the player has to find long alternate routes where a male character could have just passed the road normally.
  • Genshin Impact begins with a pair of siblings who are separated before arriving in the world of Teyvat. While players have their choice of who to play as, promotional materials tend toward the brother Aether filling this role, with his sister Lumine taking counterpoint. However, this is especially apparent in-game when some spoken dialogues only use male-indicative language, regardless of subtitle texts.

Female Favored

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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 women, 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. Justified in that it's attempting to replicate mecha anime (and a certain franchise in particular), which shows a higher frequency of female psychics than male ones
  • Legend of the Five Rings:
    • In the RPG there are a small handful of schools that are only able to be attended by women, such as the Utaku Battle Maidens. There are no male-only schools.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Third-edition had several mechanically-advantageous prestige classes restricted to female characters. It had a grand total of one male-only class, and that one requires the character to be castrated. To add insult to injury, it's not even a good class. Additionally, female human, elven, and half-elven Paladins had the option to select a Unicorn as their special mount, which was far and away more powerful than any other creature that could be gained as such due to their truckload of magic abilities.
  • In the Third Edition of Exalted, The Realm is changed from an egalitarian state that happens to be ruled by a woman to an outright matriarchy. There's no mechanical difference between male and female Dynasts, but almost everyone in a position of actual influence is female and female characters will generally be treated better.
  • In the board game Dark Domains, one of the Fate cards, The Empress, gives a buff to all female adventurers. Male adventurers have no corresponding Fate buff. However, since the adventurers are your enemies as you're playing as a Dark Lord, this is actually a detriment to the players.

    Video Games 
  • Combat Arms has the very appropriate "nutshot". In previous versions it would instantly kill male characters, but only count as a regular torso hit against women. It's more of an Easter Egg than anything else really, since the nuts have an incredibly small hitbox.
  • Possibly unintentionally, a few of the DLC armor sets in Dark Souls II work better as a woman than as a man. Many of them have an effect of absorbing 10% of the damage taken per piece equipped, but only if the enemy you're facing is the opposite gender to yours. The majority of enemies in the game are male, meaning the effects of the armor favor the player character being female. While there is a coffin that allows the player to swap genders whenever they want in Things Betwixt, there are few areas with mostly female enemies and only a few female bosses.
  • In Demon's Souls, women have exclusive access to the Silver Bracelets armor piece. The Silver Bracelets increase the amount of Souls the players earns from killing demons, and stack with similar boosting effects. This means female characters will always have an easier time leveling up and earning money than male characters.
  • Many Stardew Valley speedrunners prefer to play as a female character, because the gifts you are sent in the mail differ depending on gender. If you are male, your mom sends you cookies. If you are female, your dad sends you money.
  • The Wizardry games did this, particularly starting around the sixth game. Not only did women 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 men 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 women. 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 men and women 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 women 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. Men had almost nothing to compensate for this (although it should be noted that several races were male-only).
  • The free RPG Hero's Realm also favors female characters, 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 women getting access to the "Silk Robe" while the men get nothing in comparison.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
    • Men have a higher physical attack stat, women have a higher magic attack stat. Because it's much harder to level up magic attack (which is also more useful) than physical attack, women have an advantage.
    • The "Thief" class is available to either gender, but noticeably more useful to a woman, 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...)
    • Women also have two powerful accessories exclusive to them: the "Ribbon", which negates all Status Effects, and Chantage, which gives the wearer persistent Reraise and Regen. The only exceptions are the main character and Cloud, the latter presumably being a Shout-Out to his crossdressing subquest in Final Fantasy VII. To top it all off, women cost slightly less to recruit (due to their initial equipment).
    • Carried over to the sequels; the very useful ribbon line of accessories can only be used by women, or men 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.
  • Dragon Quest
    • Ever since Dragon Quest III, female characters tend to enjoy more perks than male ones, due to the addition of gender-exclusive equipment skewed heavily towards women. Though only III, IV and 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 men 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.
    • Amusingly, Dragon Quest IX seems to have hung a lampshade on this practice... by allowing men to equip some typically female-exclusive equipment, like the Bunny Suit.
  • 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 male vampires but it is pretty much useless for a male character, as most of the seduceable characters are male and not interested in men. The plus version of the unofficial patch changes this by enforcing Everyone Is Bi.
  • Kingdom of Loathing slightly favours female characters. The handsomeness potion is twice as powerful for women, the vinyl boots confer a moxie bonus to female characterss while male ones get penalized for wearing them, men 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.
  • In Gladius there are two (plus an optional third) leagues that are required to qualify for the regional tournamentsnote  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 few attacks that work only on men. Thus it is a good idea to recruit only women for your non-story units.
  • Might and Magic Book I had a town that would drain strength away from your male members.
  • MapleStory has a sort of meta example due to having different equipment types for male and females characters. 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 The Final Fantasy Legend. Their starting weapon is a sabre, which you can sell for 1030 GP; quite a chunk of change early on. The long sword that men 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.
  • In the early Mortal Kombat games, Johnny Cage's Groin Attack would not work on female opponents. He simply does the splits, then pops right back up. This doesn't represent a huge advantage in the game as a whole or even against Johnny, but does take one of his better moves out of the fight. This is changed in Mortal Kombat 9, where the move is just as effective against women as it is against men.
  • World of Horror: Should you have the Insmasu Look as a female character, the Mad Janitor becomes a Skippable Boss. For Kouji, Haru, Yashiro and Toshiaki, Violence is the Only Option.
  • 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. On the bright side, you only need to pay 2k gold, which is refunded (along with a certificate to change back to male) after completing the quest, so the difference is minor.
  • Pangya, oh boy. While each character has his or her own stats and balances the game, the makers clearly favor the girls. New outfits are almost always exclusively female and new events almost always favor the girls. It's especially bad in Gacha where it will sometimes be months before they make anything wearable for the men. 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 women 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.
  • Rune Factory 4 feels like it favored the female player character of Frey more than the male player character Lest. They both have the same number of love interests to pick, but the children the player character can have are greenhaired like Frey, and look nothing like Lest. Frey also ends up getting very romantic dialogue with the potential bachelors very early on, and a lot of unique dialogue from them at 100 FP, and even several of the female love interests seem to have teasing dialogue with her. In contrast, Lest's romances with the bachelorettes can almost feel lacking in romance. Perhaps it's an apology for previous Rune Factory games to not have made much of playing as a female character (like Tides of Destiny mentioned above) or it not even being an option since Rune Factory 2.
  • 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 are skinnier and thus have smaller hitboxes, which can be enough to confer just enough of an advantage to swing a fight, especially since the majority of players only use the shotgun (smaller hitbox means less pellets hit you). Additionally, playing as a woman in 1000 matches gets you one of the medals required for 100% Completion, and this medal can be repeatedly earned for some extra XP every 1000 matches. There is no such medal for male characters.
  • Fallout 3 has separate perks for men and women, titled "Lady Killer" and "Black Widow" respectively. In addition to giving some unique dialog options when speaking to NPCs of the opposite gender, they also give a damage boost when fighting human enemies of the opposite gender. The dialog options don't really benefit one gender over the other, but since the vast majority of human enemies in the game are male, Black Widow is easily the better perk.
  • Fallout 2 give a moderate boost to female builds if you choose the Sex Appeal trait. Sex Appeal increase your reaction from NPCs of the opposite gender but penalizes it from members of your own gender. This meant that a female character with Sex Appeal got lower prices from male merchants (of which the game had many) and higher prices from female merchants (of which the game had very few).
  • In Starsiege 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 character in multiplayer. Tribes 2 gives the two genders identical hitboxes, though the female model still appears slightly thinner in the Scout armor.
  • While there are no immediate differences between male and female commanders in Sengoku Rance, raising the Relationship Values of female characters provides Rance with satisfaction points, which can be used to buy special bonus perks that are otherwise unavailable to the player. Many of the unique male commanders also require substantially more effort to recruit than the unique female commanders (who can mostly all be obtained simply by conquering their territory). That said, several of the unique male commanders are very useful in battle, while an option to transform generic male commanders into women for the sake of being able to gain satisfaction points from them becomes available late into the game (Rance notably refuses to allow the opposite to happen with generic female commanders), so the player is hardly punished for using them.
    • Rance X features a similar soft example of female favoritism. While the game has a wide range of male and female party members, nearly every female character is guaranteed to have at least one alternate version of themselves that can be acquired after they're recruited. These alternate versions double the character's overall stat contribution to their faction's strength, making them extremely valuable. In comparison, only a very small handful of male characters have alternate versions, and many of them are so incredibly rare that you're unlikely to get more than one of them per playthrough. While this is slightly mitigated by the fact that several male characters are among the most useful in the game, female characters essentially make up twice as much of their faction's fighting strength as the males do. Furthermore, two out of the four potential A-rank ending routes (the two easiest ones to access, in fact) lock you out of using every male character other than Rance, Rocky, Kentarou, Caesar, Pluepet, Chochoman, Asbestos, and any New Game Plus exclusive bonus characters until the final few battles. If you haven't taken the time to build up your army's female characters, you will feel it during these sections.
  • In Resident Evil, Jill is very much the easier character to play and is quite literally the Easy Mode (though she’s only labeled as such in the Japanese version). Chris has more health than Jill does. In comparison, Jill gets:
    • Eight inventory slots to Chris's six.
    • Fewer enemies, especially tough enemies like hunters.
    • More ammunition.
    • The ability to auto-pick certain locks instead of needing certain keys that Chris has to find, thus further freeing up inventory slots.note 
    • Starting the game with the pistol instead of needing to explore and find one. Her pistol also does more damage against normal zombies.
    • Being capable of getting the shotgun earlier than Chris can.
    • Getting the most powerful conventional weapon, the grenade launcher, at the beginning of the game. Chris has to go through 2/3rds of the game with the shotgun as his best weapon, and even when he gets the magnum it’s still much weaker than the grenade launcher.
    • If she gets poisoned by Yawn, Barry will carry her to the first floor east save room, where she will wake up at full health and venom free. Chris has to rely on the player briefly taking over as Rebecca, where he can die if you take too long getting to him.
    • The REmake balances things out a bit. While Jill still has the lock pick and extra inventory, enemy and ammo placement is now consistent across both characters, Chris runs faster and has a higher Critical Hit rate, and his defense items are much more useful than hers (to the point where he can essentially skip the first boss with one). Chris still doesn’t get the grenade launcher, but it’s not as much of an issue since it was massively nerfed and he gets the magnum much earlier in the game. Chris is arguably easier if you can cope with two less inventory slots.
  • When speedrunning the remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver, the female avatar is vastly preferred over the male. This is because the male avatar has a longer tutorial (because Lyra will make an Epic Fail and not show you anything on her first try) and Purely Aesthetic Gender means that choosing male gives no real advantages to mitigate this.
    • Similarly, when speedrunning Pokemon Sapphire or Emerald, the female character is preferred because it makes one of the rival battles far safer.
  • EverQuest II has a raid boss in the Rise of Kunark expansion named Ludmilla Krystov who could cast a charm that only affected male characters which forced them to fight for her. Cue a number of guilds powerleveling a female character to serve as the tank on raids in Ludmilla's zone.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition has only four romance options for male Inquisitorsnote  but has six for a female Inquisitor.note 
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: The dresses that do special things like like halve MP consumption, guard against all status effects except for One-Hit Kill, and provide Gradual Regeneration, can only be worn by girls, and there are no male equivalents.
  • The erotic Tower Defense browser game Millennium War Aigis features both male and female units. Barring a handful of exceptions, male units universally function as Crutch Characters for the player, starting with higher stats than females of the same rarity but receiving only half as many bonuses from having their Relationship Values raised, meaning that in the long run they'll almost always be overshadowed by a fully maxed out female. Additionally, almost every unit of the highest two rarities is female, meaning that it's close to impossible to have a team capable of tackling late game content that features any men on it other than the Prince. To make matters even worse for them, male units give three times as much experience as female units of the same rarity when used for fusion, meaning that the game outright encourages you to use them as sacrifices to speed up the growth of the female characters. Even the few high rarity male units tend to lean more toward being Boring, but Practical Masters of None, which are generally worse choices for tackling high level content compared to the more specialized female units.
  • Rumble Roses obviously due to being an all female fighting game where the main sell is... the girls. Girls can compete for titles, swap intros, take place in queens matches and be in photoshoots (though this isn't always something the girls enjoy being put through). The only guy in the game is more fragile than the most fragile woman in the game, has very little damage, and is slower than the slowest moving girl in the game. He also can't participate in specialized matches or activities, but this isn't always a bad thing as he doesn't have to put himself through as many degrading activities as the girls.
  • In terms of outfits, the girls of Dead or Alive are heavily favored over the men. This is reflected when it comes to who is used in the game's promotion.
  • Games in the Venus Blood series tend to focus on the romancing and/or corruption of female leaders, giving them new forms and special abilities when the relationship reaches a certain point. As such, with the exception of a lead male protagonist, male party members get no additional benefits.
  • Shin Megami Tensei if... lets you choose between a male and female character. The female character is revealed to be the canon one in the first two Persona games, which take place in the same universe.
  • In contrast to Genshin Impact, HoYoverse's next game Honkai: Star Rail tends to use the female receptacle (Stelle) as opposed to the male receptacle (Caelus) in the majority of promotional materials. This may be to simply counterbalance, in the name of fairness, the fact that Genshin clearly favours the male MC over the female MC. Or it might be a low-key attempt to Win Back the Crowd after a slight but definite majority of players chose Lumine in Genshin, despite the fact that the devs clearly initially expected most to default to Aether as the male option (and had already planned their promotional materials accordingly).

    Web Comics 

Both Favored in Different Ways

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Early forms of the game had different attribute caps for strength depending on gender, only allowing men to reach the human cap of 18/00 while limiting women to 18/50, with women never really getting anything to compensate. Then again, when a character is generated according to the rules, even a male character only has a 1-in-450 chance of getting above 18/50 strength, so this isn't much of a functional disadvantage.
    • The former trope name of "-4 Str" stems from a memetic misremembering of an optional rule from the 1st edition of Advanced Dngeons & Dragons, where demihuman women were penalized Strength points depending on their race; -1 for dwarf women, -2 for elf women, and -3 for gnome & halfling women.
    • 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 male characters 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.
    • Prior to 3rd Edition, drow got different racial ability modifiers based on whether they were male of female, the difference being that female drow got a bonus to charisma and male drow got a penalty (3rd Edition changed it to all drow getting a bonus). As Charisma was almost universally a dump stat to begin with prior to 3rd Edition, this was not really a huge advantage.
    • In Planescape, the bariaur race is actually split into subraces based on gender. The horned males are bigger and stronger; they get a +1 to Strength and Constitution, have a minimum ability score of 10 Strength and 11 Constitution, possess the ability to make deadly headbutt and charge attacks with their horns, and can take Ranger and Paladin class levels. Female characters, however, are smarter (+1 Intelligence & Wisdom, minimum 9 Intelligence and 11 Wisdom), are more resistant to spells, are less likely to be surprised, and are the only gender who can take levels in wizard... in an edition that defined the Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards trope. So, male characters will survive low-level games better, but female characters will ultimately overpower them.
  • Munchkin has a few cards that are styled for both men and women; an Amazon will give free treasure to a woman but automatically try to kill a man, while a Male Chauvinist Pig will get an attack bonus against women but is otherwise a pushover, for example. And of course there is the gender change curse, which causes an automatic -5 to the cursed man/woman's next round of combat. Alternatively, the Fruedian Slip allows the player to be both male and female, and reap the benefits of both.
  • In Rocket Age the Martian warrior caste, the Maduri, has a larger degree of sexual dimorphism than the other castes due to each sex being directed towards a different role in warfare. Women, who are bred and trained for defensive warfare tend towards the Mighty Glacier, while men are intended as faster moving, more aggressive and expendable shock troops. Men are technically slightly weaker, but gain access to some weapons women are traditionally untrained in.

    Video Games 
  • In 3D Dot Game Heroes, male characters get extra sword power, and female characters get reduced casting cost for magic. Given how often you'll likely be casting the Freeze spell late in the game, this arguably gives male characters an initial advantage, and female characters a late-game advantage. And if you don't like it, you can change your gender any time you load a saved game.
  • In Aika Online the game splits classes into gender. For example, if you choose a magic class, its 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.
  • Ape Escape 3 has two playable protagonists, a male and a female option. The male protagonist can run faster and jump higher than the female protagonist, allowing him to chase after monkeys more easily. As a trade off for her lower stats, the female protagonist is an Idol Singer, which causes some monkeys (fans of hers) to be overwhelmed by her presence, rendering them helpless. While this allows you to capture some monkeys without a problem, and at one point allows you to skip an entire mini boss, only a very small handful of the game's hundreds of monkeys are affected by this ability, making the male character have an easier time overall capturing monkeys than his counterpart.
  • In Arc Style: Baseball!! 3D, there are four male body builds while only one female build, which allows for much greater versatility for men. These get faster pitches (if you choose a Macho pitcher); a wide, effective array of pitches (if you choose a Tall pitcher); very powerful batting (a Macho character); fast baserunning (a Small character); and assisted fielding (Normal build). Women are very good at hitting for contact, though, because they have the "Concentrate" ability, which greatly increases the chance of making contact with the ball. And female pitchers don't have a bad array of pitches, either (though not as good as the Tall males). So, overall, male characters are favored, but women are far from useless in any position.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura:
    • 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 member 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.
    • Getting 20 constitution only gives you immunity to poison, which is a far less useful perk. On the other hand, constitution governs your mana pool, which means female characters can be used for efficient mage builds. Female characters can thus select to be mages and use their slightly higher constitution scores to completely disintegrate melee fighters at twenty paces.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • The erotic strategy game Daiakuji features a Relationship Values system that causes units to leave the player's forces if their loyalty falls below a certain level. While male units must be paid money to increase their loyalty, female units can have their loyalty increased by sleeping with them, which can be done for free. The player's gross income is calculated every few turns, and the game will automatically end if they do not have the funds needed to pay off their army's expenses, making money an invaluable resource that can't be thrown around carelessly. As a trade-off, male units on average have better combat stats than females do, making defeating enemies easier. Overall, female units are generally Boring, but Practical and more economically efficient to have around while male units are Difficult, but Awesome and require more effort to maintain. There are select exceptions to these broad differences for both genders, however, including female units that can't be slept with and must be paid money to raise their loyalty, male units that do not lose loyalty at all, female units with excellent combat abilities, and male units that are poorly-suited for fighting.
  • Demon's Souls is an interesting case. Judging purely from the number of gender-specific special armors, male characters 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Purposely Overpowered and coincidentally male-exclusive. 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. However, most of the first game's classes are slightly bent in favor of girls. Male and female units have different stat affinities, with the girls having higher affinities in their defensive stats while guys have a higher affinity in their secondary offensive stat. Meaning that unless you really want that warrior to cast spells, his female equivalent will be more effective.
    • 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 male units.
    • 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 D2, specific character classes and uniques have gender-related evilties. However, Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness demonstrates a slant toward female units in its item world that can get very heavy-handed after a while. Succubus can have an Evility which returns a portion of damage dealt to them when the attacker is male, even if they're wiped out in one shot by it. Due to how the item world incentivizes mass sweeping as one of the ways to increase an item's stats, and the fact that an Evility that has the same effect except against women does not exist, at a certain point you're better off using female units to avoid anyone accidentally self-destructing.
  • The erotic RPG Dragon Knight 4 features several Mutually Exclusive Party Members, often forcing the player to choose between a female character and a male one. Due to the nature of the game, female characters on average receive more events, erotic and otherwise, giving them a greater amount of characterization and content than their male counterparts. To balance this out, male characters have slightly higher starting stats, meaning that from a purely gameplay perspective they're often the better choice. Put another way, female party members give Hard Mode Perks.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • All of the main sequence of games up through Oblivion have different stats for men and women. This is most obvious with the main attributes, which generally swap 10 points in one attribute for another, although exactly what is swapped varies between games. The only consistent part is that when Strength was involved, men are always favored (at least for playable races); all other stats could go either way. Skyrim no longer has stat differences between the genders.
    • There is also a more subtle, and never mentioned in-game, difference in the height and weight of character models for all games in the series including Skyrim. Depending on the game, this has various effects on movement and swimming speed. In Morrowind this tends to give women the advantage since running speed is based on weight (although swimming is based on height, giving men an advantage), while in Oblivion and Skyrim, running is based on height and instead tends to give men the advantage. Not all races have a difference between genders in this way, such as the Bosmer, where men are shorter than women, and indeed the shortest playable in the series.
    • Morrowind:
      • Female characters have it slightly easier to finish the main quest - there is one point where a certain character has to be convinced to support you. Women can simply walk up and ask, and get 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.
      • 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 Khajiit Ahnassi, which is exceedingly rewarding, giving free disposition increases 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.
      • A full list of gender differences here.
    • In Skyrim, males have slightly faster movement speed - only slightly, but enough that it's noticeable if you try to travel alongside an NPC of the opposite sex. However, in a completely different area of gameplay, since there tend to be slightly more male enemies than female, female players will have the advantage when it comes to abilities that allow you to deal more damage to the opposite sex. Overall, the differences are so slight that most players would never really notice them.
  • Fallout: New Vegas equalizes things after Fallout 3 (see entry under "Female-Favored" above) with the "Confirmed Bachelor" perk allowing male PCs to get the same bonuses as the "Black Widow" trait along with some interesting dialogue options. Female characters can get the "Cherchez La Femme" perk as a Distaff Counterpart of "Confirmed Bachelor". Male PCs can also fight in the Legion arena, something female PCs cannot do note .
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • There is no gameplay difference when choosing the male or female avatar, and you can even freely choose to switch between the two. However, in the actual story, it is very obvious that the creators wrote things with the male protagonist in mind. Not only does the protagonist act in a very boyish way and almost exclusively get Ship Tease with female Servants, but a few story elements (such as them needing to wear a disguise when investigating a Lady Land dystopia) only make sense if you assume they're a guy.
    • Conversely, Female Servants dominate the bulk of 4- and 5-star units, and are more likely to be debuted as such compared to male Servants.
    • Female Servants are more likely to receive alts than male servants, though it's more prominent in the case of seasonal variants in which male Servants are usually relegated to just being skins or making appearances in Craft Essences.
    • Historical Gender Flip Servants are always "male-to-female" rather than the reverse. Pseudo-servants that are male Heroic Spirits inhabiting the bodies of female hosts will also always be considered female.
    • Female characters make up a majority of the Extra class servants with only the Pretender class being even with a 1:1 female-male servant ratio. As of July 2022, the ratio of female:male servants in the other Extra classes are 8:4 for Rulers, 7:4 for Avengers, 5:0 for Moon Cancers, 11:2 for Alter Egos and 9:1 for Foreigners.note 
  • 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 tend to give men and women of the same class slightly different caps (about 1-2 points of difference). Generally, men have higher Strength and Defense (useful stats where every point counts and helps) while women have higher Skill and Resistance (secondary stats where a few points won't make a difference) and higher Speed (sometimes very helpful, sometimes incidental). However, this is barely noticeable until endgame and even then, they aren't too big of a factor. Furthermore, while caps are gender-dependent, the stats themselves are character-dependent; a character with 15 Strength, a 60% growth, and a cap of 25 is not going to worry about being weaker than a character with 6 Strength, a 30% growth, and a cap of 27. More or less, men are favored, but not by much, and it's more dependent on the individual character.
    • 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 the games that feature the Build or Constitution stat, men tend to have it higher, which is very helpful in the games where it reduces weapon weight (allowing characters to use heavier weapons without taking speed loss) and largely incidental in those where it doesn't (it dictates whether you can rescue or shove another unit, in which case having it high is great if you're doing the rescuing or shoving and not so great if you're the one being rescued or shoved).
    • Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem gives women access to the Lady Sword, a powerful Disc-One Nuke sword that deals effective damage on top of its high base damage. It also gives female mages access to the Nosferatu tome, making them overall better.
    • The remake, New Mystery of the Emblem, zigzags this. The Lady Sword and Nosferatu return, albeit with the former's effective damage removed, but the game's new class change mechanics are both very unusual and gender-dependent, making things more give-and-take. More or less, the game divides classes into three categories: Male Set A (accessed by about half the male cast), Male Set B (the other half), and Female Set (the female cast). Female Set contains all the same classes as Male Set A, plus Pegasus Knight (the only unpromoted flying class) and General after promotion (normally a Set B class), making it superior. However, on a New Game Plus, male characters can now reclass into Set A and Set B, giving them strictly more options, including the Horse Archer class and everything that uses axes before promotion. The Female Set still has enough variety to cover most needs (the fastest class, the best bow class, the mounted and flying classes, the magic classes) and many female characters are more than strong enough to not need the extra classes, but it's enough that many recommend making the Avatar male, especially since Fighter and Knight are in Set B and tend to be best at handling the prologue.
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, female units get access to Galeforce, a skill which allows a unit to move again after a kill on the player phase, while male units 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. However, since Galeforce comes from a regular class (and thus can be passed down) whereas Dread Fighter is a DLC class (and thus its skills can't be passed down), a male second-generation unit can wind up with both...though this zigzags right back to making female the preferred Avatar gender since that will produce a male Morgan.
    • The way second-generation units work in Fire Emblem: Awakening tend to favor Male Robin over Female Robin, at least in terms of minmaxing.
      • All of the children except Lucina and Female Morgan are tied to their mothers, so Male Robin can either romance a first-generation woman and get two children with Robin's reclass options, or romance one of the second-gen women and get an only-child Morgan with improved stats.
      • Having two children is considered optimal because two overpowered units are generally more useful than a single vastly overpowered one.
      • However, Female Robin 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 Robin's daughter), it does mean she has fewer options than Male Robin would, and there is no advantage for Female Robin 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 Female Robin is best because they always recommend pairing Robin with a second-gen anyway, as they consider having two overpowered children to be an inferior option to having one vastly overpowered child AND allowing every single child character to be paired up romantically. And since Female Robin has Galeforce and therefore Morgan can inherit it no matter who his father is, they consider Female Robin to be the way to go.
    • Fire Emblem Fates inverts Awakening's trend by tying the child units to their fathers, instead (except for Male Corrin and Azura, who again get two children).
      • While this would seem to make Female Corrin thus the Game-Favored Gender, they're actually both favored in different ways: Female Corrin has the freedom to marry whoever she wants without consequence (whereas the male renders one child Permanently Missable if he marries a first-generation non-Avatarsexual), but the male units have twice as many gender-exclusive DLC classes as the female units, and the best female-only skill, Warp, is available to male units through a Warp Scroll (whereas most of the male-exclusive skills are not available to female units).
      • In addition, many of the previously-gender-exclusive classes like Pegasus Warriors and Axe Fighters are now gender-neutral, so male units can finally pick up Galeforce without having to inherit it (amusingly, this also includes Robin, who previously couldn't get it).
      • Lucina's Amiibo appearance also has the Awakening skill, an upgraded version of the male-only Wrath skill which Lucina couldn't inherit in her own game, both because Chrom can't get the skill, either, and even if he could, Lucina auto-inherits Aether regardless.
      • Said ability is also available to any unit that uses an Exalt's Brand to gain Lucina's class; this class is exclusive to female units, and is one of the few truly gender-locked skills since, like Warp for male units, many of the skills exclusive to the male-only classes can be acquired through scrolls as well.
      • Picking Female Corrin has Jakob join during chapter 6 while Male Corrin has Felicia join then. Jakob is generally considered the better character to have join first due to having a better attack stat and being able to reclass to a Paladin or Great Knight from the start, while Felicia often needs the Flame Shuriken to do damage and both of them can be overshadowed by Elise and Sakura for healing.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has some gender-exclusive classes. Only male units can become Brawlers, Grapplers, Dark Mages, Dark Bishops, Heroes, and War Masters; this list is strength-focused, and includes every student-available, Gauntlet-focused class except for War Monk/Cleric from the Cindered Shadows DLC. Only female units, on the other hand, can become Pegasus Knights, Falcon Knights, and Gremories, plus the Cindered Shadows DLC's Dark Fliers and Valkyries; this list is magic-focused, and also contains both the only flying class available before Level 20, and the only flying mage class. In terms of a preferred Avatar gender, a female Byleth has minor advantages. There are more Gay Options; five women can have a romantic relationship with a female Byleth, while two of the five S-Rank bonds with men (originally two of the three, before patches and DLC) are strictly platonic. There is also the ability to instantly recruit Sylvain on routes other than Blue Lions, and since Sylvain signs on early, you also get the Lance of Ruin after Chapter 5.note 
  • In Growing Up, choosing the protagonist's gender or randomizing it might look purely aesthetic at first since most of the romance options are open regardless, but some of those routes are locked out because the love interest's sexual orientation isn't always compatible with theirs. They can still try flirting or confessing their crush to them if they wish, but they'll be rejected.
  • In Harvest Moon 3 on the Game Boy Color, playing as a woman 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 men 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. The girl version of Harvest Moon DS even allowed you to choose a woman as a life partner and even be blessed by the Harvest Goddess with a child... in Japan.
  • 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. (Also worth noting is that in-universe all player characters are treated as gender-fluid; everyone knows you can reincarnate with a different age or sex at will. There's a long, if optional, metagame.)
  • A more balanced example from Maplestory comes with its Nova classes. Only male characters could become Kaisers while Angelic Busters are for girls only. In terms of story Kaiser is the main hero of the Novas and is their pride and joy while Angelic Buster does help, she is generally considered an inferior savior compared to said Kaiser. In terms of gameplay Kaiser has fluctuated in power generally being nerfed while Angelic Buster is constantly one of the highest damage potential classes in the game.
  • Mass Effect manages to bounce around this pretty wildly, especially when it comes to romance options.
    • The female romance options in Mass Effect 2 include only one human, Jacob Taylor, meaning that unless you have a thing for Interspecies Romance, you're railroaded into either ignoring the romance aspect entirely or sleeping with the least interesting character in the game (not that he's necessarily boring, just less interesting than the others). This is particularly strange because Jack describes a previous sexual relationship that involved a man and a woman, but is not a female romance option. It was eventually revealed that the reason for this was because Bioware was still feeling nervous about the controversy over the first game's sexual content and decided to not include an actual gay romance aside from Kelly Chambers (who wasn't actually counted as a "true" romance option).
    • Mass Effect 3 caused some discontent among players who play as female Shepard due to the fact that two of her potential relationships cannot last through the end of the game: Thane gets a Plotline Death, while Jacob cheats on Shepard with another woman. While other love interests (for both male and female Shepard) can die if you make the wrong decisions, their deaths are fully preventable. Male Shepard also receives one more new romance option than female Shepard, due to Kaidan becoming a Gay Option for male Shepard but Ashley not becoming a gay option for female Shepard (although that can be justified due to how popular he is with male Shepard and the fact that female Shepard has four gay options already in that game compared to male Shepard's two.
  • Mount & Blade:
    • The medieval society presented in is realistically geared strongly towards men. If you play as a female character (available starting in Warband), 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.
    • There are minor stats differences between male and female characters during character creations. Men get +1 to Strength and Charisma, woman get +1 to Agility and Intelligence. And even your stat and skill bonus vary a bit if your are male or female (namely you get different bonus if your father was a noble or a nomad, and men can't choose the "Squire" occupations and men can't pick "Lady in Waiting".
    • The Lady in Waiting occupation actually starts you with one of the best horses in the game, and the female backgrounds give non-combat skills (which can be more useful than front-line combat).
    • Male backgrounds offer better chances to pick up combat skills, but as you're leading an army, this can become somewhat redundant. Plus if you are KOed and aren't leading the army, there's a fairly large drop in competence, so going to the front lines can be a huge risk.
    • Men and women also have different mechanics for marriage. Men can easily find a potential spouse; most of the time, they just need a good relationship with her father, but there is a long process of courtship to actually get married, which involves things like tournaments, honorable duels, and poetry. Also, unless the Lady has the personality type where they'll agree with their father's choice, you may have to please both her and her father. That's not even going into other, usually more established Lords interested in the same Lady. Meanwhile, female characters have a much harder time finding a potential spouse on account of their unorthodox career path (which is to say, any career). Once an open-minded enough Lord is found, though, you can just ask them to marry you (although they still have to like you to for them to say yes). This means you only need to raise your relationship level with one person, and since the Ladies don't really have varying levels of status, there's not really much of a threat of competition. At least, none of the kind that will challenge you to a duel. On top of that, female characters marrying a noble get automatic vassalage in the faction that the noble is affiliated with, and it also opens up some rather fun options including convincing him to make certain political decisions or even start a full-on revolt against his faction. Male characters pretty much just get a status boost since you usually have to get to some level of title to be accepted for marriage.
  • Ogre Battle, men focus mostly on melee classes, while women focus mostly on ranged classes, with some exception (The male wizard/sorcerer/lich and the female Dragoner / Dragonmaster). Note however that the widely regarded most powerful class is the female-only Princess, which can use white-elemental magic (as most enemies are more vulnerable to it), and which gives one extra attack to the entire party if made party leader.
  • 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 female characters 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 women (and one very androgynous man) 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.
  • Persona 3:
    • Women get two gender-specific pieces of armour (High-Cut Armor and Maid Outfit), while men only get one (Shirt of Chivalry).
    • That said, the female play-through is considered more enjoyable and fulfilling than the male one, 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 Plus.
    • Female romance options are also significantly more limited. Only 4, one of which is a little kid, and 2 of which are removed from the story for plot reasons so they aren't around for special events. Meaning her only option for a normal love interest is Akihiko. Junpei isn't available because he has a canon love interest in story. The male protagonist meanwhile can romance every female party member and every female S link his age. However, the male character requires you to be in a romance with everyone once the Social Link passes 5, meaning that you need to carefully plan which girl you're hanging out with if you have multiple at or above 5, but below ten, where they stop getting jealous. The female character, on the other hand, only enters a romance if you choose the proper dialogue.
  • Pokémon:
    • Most times, the gender of a Pokémon doesn't really matter unless you're breeding them. But some Pokémon evolve differently, depending on what gender they are. While every Snorunt is able to evolve into Glalie, only female Snorunt can evolve into Frosslass. And then there's Combee and Salandit; only the female examples can evolve into Vespiquen and Salazzle respectively, while the males never evolve, which makes them extremely useless. There are other Pokemon that are required to be male to evolve. Gallade isn't necessarily better than Gardevoir but only male Kirlia have the option of becoming one. Kirlia can also evolve into Gallade as soon as it becomes a Kirlia, but you must wait until it's level 30 to get a Gardevoir.
    • When breeding Pokémon, the baby is always the same species as its mother,note  but may inherit moves from its father. Thus, it is preferred to use the limited-quantity Technical Machines on male Pokémon, 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 male Pokémon 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, female Pokémon endured slightly less damage than male Pokémon.
    • Though not an inherent weakness in gender, the general predominance of male Pokémon in battles gives female Pokémon 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-tier Mons with gender overwhelmingly favor being male, competitive battlers that use seduction abilities get more use out of female monsters 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 Dungeon games, 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 male characters can be a Phanpy, Shinx or Riolu, while only female characters can be Vulpix, Skitty or Eevee. The international releases of Gates to Infinity also removed the option to have the player character or partner be girls.
    • 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. Mind you, a female team won't save you from the latter two.
    • Invoked through a reference to real-life bees by Combee and Vespiquen. Combee is a pretty useless Pokémon, but only female Combees can evolve into Vespiquen. And there's a gender ratio of 7:1, males to females. Pokémon Sun and Moon follows up on this with Salandit; only female Salandits can evolve into Salazzle, and once again they have a 7:1 male/female gender ratio.
    • The female player character in Pokémon X and Y has nearly double the amount of clothing options as the male character, and most of the latter's are just palette swaps while the former has much more in terms of design variety. Additionally, the female player character has the ability to have their hair grown out long or tied into tails and to have the parting of their bangs changed, giving them nearly four times the number of hairstyles the male player character can have.
  • Bards and Dancers in Ragnarok Online. While both have similar damage abilities, they have different bonus job level stats and solo performer skills. For example, Bards get "Magic Strings" (a song that reduces casting time and cooldowns) while Dancers get "Lady Luck" (a dance that boosts Critical Rate). If both of them have maxed those skills, they can learn "Acoustic Rhythm" (which boosts elemental resistances) as an "Ensemble Song". While Minstrels and Gypsies (Trascended classes) downplay this with their new skills, Maestros and Wanderers (Third Job classes) play it straight with their "Group A Songs" and "Group B Songs" (only one song active on the party).
  • Opposing the clear favoritism the original game had towards Leon the Resident Evil 2 (Remake) is more balanced. The upgraded durability and amount of Elite Mooks means Claire's ability to one or two shot them is more important then ever, and her acid rounds cause decent stagger time. Leon can still break boss weakpoints faster and deals with normal zombies easier.
  • Star Wars:
    • Despite being "canonically" male, the female option in the first Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has more dialogue options available, a Gay Option romance, and a Take a Third Option ending (which you can 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. Female Exiles 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 cut content-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.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic generally plays Purely Aesthetic Gender pretty straight, as there are no mechanical differences between a male or female PC and gender has no real influence on the story outside of romance sidequests. However, there are fairly divisive arguments within the fan community as to which class ought to be played as which gender based on the perceived quality of the voice actors or romance sidequests.
  • Street Fighter has been rather infamous for how it treats gender, where male characters tend to do more damage per hit and have more HP while female fighters tending to get more movement abilities to get around the opponent's tricks while having less health than male fighters on average. This has worked both ways in the franchise's existence such as in Street Fighter X Tekken every single female character having below average HP to low health in the final version and no Tekken male having less than average. This leads to more male characters being considered top tier and the acceptance using a female means more quick losses. In 'Street Fighter V'' however due to the better abilities of female characters, smaller, more fragile women such as Ibuki and Karin have been higher tier than Ryu and Ken for example and despite having around 125 less health Mika has been used more than Zangief.
  • Warhammer Online
    • There are three specifically male-only classes and only one female-only class. Then there's the entire greenskin race, while fungoid in origin, but the orcs and goblins are always masculine-looking.
    • The Chosen from the heavily male-dominated tribes of Norsca are the chosen warriors of their god Tzeentch, the run-of-the-mill warriors of which make up the also male-only Marauder class. So why would a genderless ever-changing cloud of color (not color gas or something, just color) care about gender? The official reason why this was the case was that they couldn't get female Chosen looking scary enough.
    • The "favoured gender" does change along racial lines, though - if you choose to play as a Dark Elf then a female character will have more classes to choose from, while a Chaos character will have more male-only classes.

Alternative Title(s): The Stronger Sex, Statistically Sexist, Game Favoured Gender, Game Preferred Gender, Minus Four Strength