Nintendo ad makes the feminist in me happy

The below ad aired some time in early May, but I am one of those weird people that only watches TV on the internet (yay, Hulu?) so the first time I saw this  ad was yesterday. Did I miss the parade?   I will admit I  spend a lot of time on here talking about what displeases me regarding gender in the video game industry, but this ad gets it whatever that “it” is.

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The 30 second ad opens up with two women in their late 20’s, early 30’s, sitting on a park bench. One woman looks professional in every sense of the word- from her attire, to her make-up, to her calm but gracious behavior – all while being sexy.  The other character in this ad looks  like she engages in a more relaxed lifestyle- she is not in business attire, wearing a patterned shirt, eating chips or cookies and  presumably slurping a soft drink. This second character gets caught up in the moment and does things spontaneously, like talk to strangers. Right off the bat we know this game is for every type of woman (well, “white” at least).

This ad puts a new spin on what many parents think of as just a child’s toy. Both of these women are beautiful and fit, proving that you don’t have to be an overweight loser nerd in their parents basement to like video games.  These video game playing gals are also outside, loving life! Perhaps employed and on a lunch break! They don’t look depressed.

The  professional woman is playing a puzzle game on the Nintendo DS.  Why play Sudoku, or do a crossword puzzles, when you can do it on a portable high-tech consumer gadget? We don’t need to chop down any trees for these types of puzzles… or be at home linked into a social network like our older aunts. The  free bird character (played by Jama Williamson, the actress who plays Aziz Ansari’s ex wife in Parks & Recreation) jumps in at the end of the commercial and helps solve the puzzle. The professional woman has enough class to not be phased and the two women move closer to each other on the bench so they can both play,  indicating that these two can be friends in real life after all! How idyllic – no back seat gamer there. Nintendo says “See, technology can bring people together!”

Way to go, Nintendo! Look at you, understanding the older untapped female market with all your research and consumer reports! Your good efforts almost make me want to go out and buy another DS game …. from the used bin.


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…..