Women and Games

I must say that this video was quite insightful.

I do believe that there is and has been a bias against women in gaming culture.  It seems that it is more socially acceptable for a guy to be a gamer than a girl.  A lot of women play casual games such as flash games or The Sims, but gaming seems to be male dominated.  Why is it that women aren’t perceived as being gamers?

The industry is portrayed as full of action games with a more masculine feel, but now-a-days you can see loads of more feminine and gender neutral games on the shelves.  There are tons of casual games out there, and these casual games may be the key to changing the way that the gaming industry works.  The video shares the idea about getting more women into games by starting them out on casual games and working their way into other games.  They use these casual games as a gateway to gaming.  This is a very interesting idea.

But why aren’t there as many women gamers as there are men?  A lot of people believe that it is the portrayal of women in games that drives them away.  Some games are full of scantily-clad women, which are used as a selling point.  You can almost tell that these games are written by men and for men.  However, those who always blame the game designers for this sexuality are mistaken.  As mentioned in the video, it isn’t always the game designers that make these female characters into sex icons.  He gave the example of Lara Croft. She is the idealized female character and sex symbol of gaming, but she wasn’t created as that.  She was meant to be a strong female Indiana Jones type character.  It was the marketing department and others that made her the sex icon that she is now.  Nevertheless, the sexuality exists and could be driving women from games, and if games hope to bring in more of a female audience, this may need to be changed.  Women don’t necessarily want to see or play as any of these sexually charged characters, however, as the popular advertising slogan goes, “sex sells.”

Hopefully with the earlier introduction of girls to games and through more casual gaming, more women will feel welcomed into the gamer community.  If we can get more women into the industry and create more diversity, games can only get better.  Having a women’s perspective on a game during creation can greatly impact it’s design.  Men and women view things differently and adding this viewpoint can add elements to games never before thought of.

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