Sexy women in the video game industry make better role models

American television host Olivia Munn dressed a...

Olivia Munn hams it up for the nerds: Image via Wikipedia

Naming the most public female representatives of geek (or “nerd”, what ever word you prefer) culture is easy: Olivia Munn from G4TV’s “Attack of the Show“, Jessica Chobot from IGN, and Felicia Day from The Guild. All three ladies are excellent in pandering to their horny male fan base, and each of these ladies can attribute their success on their attractiveness (yes, they are smart too, but we’ll get to that later).  If you’ve got it, flaunt it right?

Olivia Munn had a few bit parts as an actress in various TV shows before she was signed on to “Attack of the Show” ,  and her “tasteful” appearance in Play Boy, combined with her dressing up as slave Leia, cemented her status as one of the hottest geeky girls. Munn has admitted video games are her weak point, but no one has called her a faker yet, and she hasn’t received any backlash for it (unlike former youtube sensation ultraneko).  Munn just tried out for The Daily Show, did an excellent job, and judging by her performance she is also bilingual, so that makes her a favorite in my book.

Jessica Chobot’s rise to fame is based exclusively on a picture of her licking a PSP. The picture made the rounds on the internet, and Jessica Chobot was hired by IGN to be their female host for their web-based “IGN Daily Fix“.  I want to dislike her, because licking a gaming console is so easy, but Jessica Chobot likes manga and anime, plays PC games with a headset, writes on the show she hosts, and a recent tweet reveals she likes Mark Twain, so all is forgiven, Jessica.

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Gaming industry targets women with 'Project Runway' game

Victoria's Secret supermodel Heidi Klum waves ...

"give me moar money!" says Heidi Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Last Friday saw the unveiling of Nintendo’s newest game for the Wii console titled “Project Runway”.  The game is a collaborative effort between Nintendo, Atari, The Weinstein Co (producers of the Project Runway TV show) and Tornado Studios. I don’t know whether to be insulted by this development, or pleased, as this game is clearly just for the girls.  It doesn’t help when other media outlets say “This could be the future of gaming for women“. A fashion game based off of a reality show? Please! 40% of gamers are girls, and we were doing just fine before this game came along. If anything, this game ruins our cred as gamers.

First off, I am a little bit offended that this game is about fashion considering this will be “the future of gaming for women”. This game is clearly trying to get new girl gamers, and ignoring the already established gals that game. If any gaming company were to look at the games most popular with females, they would see that we like puzzle games. Just look at the  casual gamers that like internet based games like Text Twist, Bejeweled and Mahjong Tiles, to DS games like Professor Layton. Did anyone in the industry stop to think about why the horror shooting games with puzzles (Tomb Raider series, Resident Evil series, Bioshock series) are more popular with girls than those that do not have puzzles?

Second, I am a little offended that this game is being marketed to 6 – 12 year old girls, and that this game is all about fashion  and models on runways (Super model Heidi Klum is also in the game). Do we really need to make little girls that play video games feel bad about their weight? Do we need to start giving them body image problems when they are 6 years old (if we don’t already)? It is the 21st century…. why are we still boxing our genders? (Down with the system I say, quietly….)

Jonathan Anastas, Atari VP, was quoted telling the press:

“We really believe the core target audience is girls 6-12. Girls are starting to buy their own clothes around 13 and 14 and as they are learning to make their own fashion choices this is a way for them to interact and participate with style.”

via Victoria’s Secret “Angel”, Heidi Klum, to be in Wii game

Third, if I were to be one of those people that would use video games as a scapegoat, I could blame this game, and other games like it, for the vapid consumer society we live in and for the whole American way of living beyond our means.  If I could say that shooting games are responsible for all those school shootings, why wouldn’t a game like this be responsible for Confessions of a Shopaholic and our recession?

Fourth: Think about it. The reality TV show “Project Runway” has drama and suspense. Contestants don’t like each other. The judges are cruel. Does this game have any of the qualities that make a reality series good? No.

As for playing this game, of course I will play it  (will I buy it? No…). For the record, I love games that let you design costumes  or have amazing character customization (and I will admit I spend hours on designing clothes/characters within those games), but for a game that is only about clothes and fashion?  It will get boring and repetitive…. just like any ol’ shooting game.


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