Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Girl Gamerrrrrr (I hate that term)

This is a link to an article about the annoying treatment of girls and girl-gamers in and by the gaming press, which Kim (check her blog, link in the sidebar!) write about.

I don't think I would classify myself as 'a gamer'. I haven't ever played World Of Warcraft, after watching my dad become a willing zombie to it (my dad is not cool for plaing WOW. Please do not tell me that he is.) And whilst I do have a PS2 and a DS and play them sometimes, I don't go apeshit over new consoles (like my brother, who IS a gamer) or play every game that comes out etc etc. I play games, but I am not a nerd about games. I get really excited at the prospectof a new Metal Gear Solid, but not to the point of dressing up as Meryl (and what a great female character she was) and waiting outside the store on launch day.

So I am able to talk a little bit of game-speak, and I agree with the tone of that article. The gaming press, even the better end of it, still has a tendency to slide into 'hur hur.... Lara Croft has big tits!!!'.

I used to buy a magazine called Jack, and another one called Bizarre magazine. They were both mens magazines but they were something slightly different at their inception, Jack being more gung ho and James Bond/Boy Scout and arty rather than porny, and Bizarre being about bizarre shit. These magazines over the course of about a year a piece became hornier and sluttier and cookie-cutter FHM-like til they bore no resemblance to what they once had been, and I no longer had any interest in buying them.

This is what I think the gaming press (Nintendo official magazine is really the only offline gaming publication I have ever really read. Otherwise I might read can't help but succumb to. The target audience is never changed, and even though 60% of the market is (supposedly) now women, the press still targets the horny teenage boy, because that's what it's used to dealing with.

The treatment of women IN GAMES is more worrying to me than the gaming press' disregard for women players/constant reverting to porny-ness and mysoginy. The 'annoying girl character' that is in so many games (MGS, for example- girl character freaks out at the sight of bugs, you have to schlep all the way around with her being really fucking slow) The bizarre prostitutes you can fuck in a car to regain health in GTA... Damsels in distress all over the place (Mario, Zelda).
And I love all these games, I love playing them but when I take a step out of them, they make me annoyed. I played Princess Peach, in which she is the main character, and she's saving a dude. But her weapons?? Emotions.


Anonymous said...

*you're right about some of the gaming magazines
*OMN ftw!
*You should play Metroid Prime 3: Corruption ... Samus (woman) kicks ass! lol

Scott said...

There are a few games where you can chose the gender of the character you play, but they're pretty rare these days. I remember playing the old Ultima series of games on my Commodore 64 and you chose the sex of your character, but about all it changed was the pronoun the game used to refer to your character. Morrowind is one the current crop of games where you can chose the gender and then make the character look any way you'd like.

Until there are more female game developers, I don't see the malecentric games going away anytime soon.

Sonance said...

All this is an unfortunate side-effect of the industry being male dominated.

I can't think of a single development studio with a female creative director. Sierra's Roberta Williams is perhaps the only significant name that springs to mind, but she retired from the industry about 10 years ago.

There are plenty of women working in development studios (the late, lamented Looking Glass had a high-than-average number of female employees), it's just a shame they never ascend to the upper echelons and have more creative control over a game's artistic direction.

Gaming journalism's just as bad. Again, male dominated. There's a few females flying the flag, but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

You'll probably want to take a look at Edge magazine. It's pretty much the only gaming magazine in existence that doesn't automatically assume all its readers are 16 year-old boys with a penis where their brain should be. It's intelligently written and that seems to scare off some gamers, who find the lack of tits and arse bewildering.

psycoticsinginchick said...

They've studied and taken polls for years on how to make more women be into games. And so far they haven't come up with anything. The problem is, they're polling women who are already into their games. I say add more puzzles and make the female characters slightly less appealing to the horny teenage boys, and more realistic to the athletic girl types.

Tomb Raider is a great game with the exception of her having giant boobs which becomes the only reason why guys like it.

And they keep that because they don't want to loose their male audience.

Austin said...

I have no problem with girls playing video games so long as it is after the shirts are ironed and dinner is made.

Also, I agree with pyschoticosininchick, they should make games with more puzzles. Just think about the benefits of a game aimed at girls that would help with the memorization of recipes. Betty Crocker or Aunt Jamima are lead characters with no sex appeals, ftw. If you beat the game, you get the right to vote.

ps. does anyone know how to submit a game idea to Sony?

paperlilies said...

in response to psychoticsingingchik: I kind of get you, but I like action as much as the next person, and I am not an 'athletic girl'. I HATE those godawful games like 'My Baby' or whatever crap it is. I like the games as is... I just want them to change their tone a little.

Dan said...

Male domination is definitely what's keeping the industry from representing women better, but by the same respect I don't see a lot of women who are interested in breaking into it. Hopefully the growing number of female gamers will change that, but they'll need to embrace the mathematical and technical aspects of game development as well.

As for game journalism, I don't think there's much of an excuse other than it being an out-of-touch boy's club. There's a real opening there if anybody has the time and money. Until then there's always the web. I don't know a lot about what's out there, but I have seen some decent community blogs, like and

butterfly2729 said...

Well I can agree about the magazines, look at car mags too!! It's the same stuff.

This is exactly what society wants. Then it will get worse and worse as people see that doing certain things is ok and then go another step further.

Now these days they say its perfectly fine to enter the porn industry, manufacture thongs for 11 year olds, show page 3 girls in every page of a newspaper, magazine...

Then all modesty and respect is lost.

And which sex loses out?? It's always the WOMEN!!

and just to add, Islam does not allow this sort of thing as a womans dignity and modesty are respected and secured. And people have the right to say Islam degrades and oppresses women - wth??????? So that makes porn absolutely marvelous!

Sorry to go off sub' but its a point that needs to be said!!

Anonymous said...

Wasnt raiden a woman to?!?

The irony of the fhm thing is that now all its clones have gone further with there filth, fhm is turning more into a car magazine.

Goose said...

I remember ultima aswell, i had it on the atari st though, ultima 5. Games were much better in the 80s and 90s, you had doom and quake, wolfenstein, now its all about graphics and realistic gameplay. Why do people care about realism, its about taking some time to escape from reality.

I cant wait for MGS4.