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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One Comment on “Gaming industry targets women with 'Project Runway' game”

  1. jcalton says:

    “The future of gaming for women who don’t game” would be more accurate.


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