Video game industry still doesn't understand women

Alison Carroll, the official Lara Croft model ...

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I just read this article over on G4tv.com by Kevin Kelly titled “Sex in the City 2: Gaming with the Girls“. I think the article was aiming to be a list of games you can get your girlfriend, who is a Sex in the City fanatic (hence the title). The games listed in the article aren’t half bad, except for the “soulless” Imagine: Fashion Designer, and Kelly wrote the article in an attempt to be humorous but happened to fail miserably. I know I shouldn’t get offended at Kelly’s attempt at humor, but Kelly wrote in exactly the way the gaming industry views women, a view that is insanely offensive considering  we now make up more than 40% of the gaming population.

Any female I know that happens to like Sex in the City already plays video games. What video games do they play? At least some sort of web- based puzzle game when they are at work,  and another normal game on their Wii, Xbox, DS or PC. The rest of the women I know that like Sex in the City are 40 and above, and are already playing some Bejeweled-type game online, which is, surprise, also A PUZZLE GAME.

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Are female exclusive gaming clans anti-women?

Imagine Dream Weddings: girl-game comes with f...

All female gaming clans are the reason they make games like this one: Image by gruntzooki via Flickr

I have long puzzled over the validity of  “all female” gaming clans… and as more young ladies get involved in the competitive gaming industry, more and more all female gaming clans are popping up. The following is a rant of ideas that have been around since 2006.

I understand women feel the need to band together as the video game industry is male dominated and women can feel marginalized,  and granted, some male gamers are still shocked to find a girl gamer online, but that novelty is disappearing as more and more women play video games. There is no need to segregate competitive clans based on gender, and  exclusively female clans hurts the female gamer in the long run.  It is already hard enough to be a female gamer, from the cracks at my voice sounding like a 12 year old, to all the close-up porn sprays I am subjected to, that the idea of me asking for special attention because of the genitalia between my legs is just mind-blowing. I just want some R-E-S-P-E-C-T,  nothing more, nothing less.  I just want to be a person that plays games. I don’t want to be a novelty.

By having the female gamers separate from the males in competitive gaming clans, you are asking that the females in the gaming world be treated differently.  By asking that females be treated differently, you are perpetuating the myth that women in gaming is a novelty, and is something special.  By having an all female gaming clan, you identify yourself as the other, as the outsider, and how can you ever be fully integrated into the gaming community if you wish to remain in your gender-based group? It doesn’t happen.  All female gaming clans, while sounding good initially, just make it worse, especially when you never hear of them winning a single tournament (or maybe that is the gaming media’s fault?).

(Side note: why does it matter how good these ladies look, any way? Shouldn’t their skills matter more than their appearance? These gaming clans are marketing themselves to women, not men, so why all the revealing pictures? I’d rather join a clan where everyone was dressed like a classy lady, thank you very much.  Is this why females have yet to win any major titles? I don’t see competitive male gamers being judged on both their appearance and gaming skills, so why do women need to prove that they are hot AND a good gamer? Hot women who play video games are not a novelty any more, sorry.  If over 50% of us play games now, chances are, many of us are attractive.)

I can’t think of a clan that claims to be all male (it happens by default), so why are there all-female clans? It’s not like the competitive gaming community has different categories for male and female gamers, right? Competitive gaming is not the Olympics in the physical sense, so we ladies don’t need separate teams…the sooner we are integrated the sooner we will gain respect in the community.  If women ever want to be treated like normal human beings in the gaming community, they have to start acting like it.  Female gamers need to get into the habit of viewing themselves as plain ol’ ordinary gamers, not OMG “girl gamers” in need of their own special “girl gamer” clan.

If I see one more profile with the words “I’m a hot girl gamer, deal with it!” or another attention whore-y profile (I get it, you’re insecure!) next time I log on I think I will riot. Somewhere. On the internet.   Or maybe I just don’t understand, because I am no longer a teenager and I don’t play with teenagers…..


Indie Fallout 3-inspired movie in the works

I have long been saying that Fallout 3 was an amazing game, if not one of the best ever made. From the story line, to the creatures, to the post-apocalyptic  environment, the game play to the music (I cannot decide if “Mighty Mighty Man” is my favorite song, or if “I don’t want to set the world on fire” is ), to showing women have hair above their lip too… oh my lord, just talking about Fallout 3 gets me excited in a variety of ways.  It’s not just me though, that adores this game in a borderline fanatical way. Check out this fan movie inspired by Fallout 3 titled “Desert Story”:

[youtubevid id=”dw1Vh9Yzryo”]

You may be wondering why at the end of the film the two females didn’t go with the male hero, off into the wilderness. The Fallout 3 universe includes people who are not cookie – cutter good or bad, or who think logically- these two females decide to stay in their home. Most likely they were raped, mistrust all people except for themselves (because how could you get by in that world looking like they do without becoming prostitutes or sex slaves?) , and figure they’d be better off without the male hero.

If you want to be good in Fallout 3, you have to accept that sometimes you will save bad people from bad people, or saving people doesn’t necessarily influence their decisions in any way. Even if you saved two females,  that doesn’t mean they’d join your party. By staying with each other, the freed  “prostitutes”  are unintentionally feminist,  as opposed to the hero who is  intentionally feminist by treating the hookers as people.

I now have a small writer crush on Tim Pape  (why didn’t I think of this, dammit!).  Wild Gunmen has an interview with the Papes here, where it is revealed there will be 2 more episodes in the same vein, and a feature length movie that is already “partially funded” titled Black Velvet.  (oh, what would I do to be cast in this?!)  For another interview with the Papes, check out Co-Optimus.com, where the Papes mention the next two short installments are inspired by Zelda and The Princess Bride (<3!!!!!).

Another fan movie worth checking out is Law Abiding Engineer. Suck on that, Ebert!