Everybody Wins: Games Keep Growing Up (A response to “No Girl Wins”)

IMG_8678

A few days ago, I read an opinion piece on girls and gaming that I felt the need to respond to. But first, I want to give a little bit of my personal history as a woman who plays video games. I’m going to skip the early boring stuff and go straight to high school, where I found myself playing them the most. I enjoyed some PC games like Might & Magic 6+ and online games like Runescape. There was a point in high school I also spent an embarrassing amount of time playing Neopets. I hated my high school and used my Game Boy Advance as an escape. I would often sneak it under my desk in classes where the teachers were too oblivious to notice or care. I never really played any “girly” games on my GBA. I would play Pokemon, Zelda, Fire Emblem, Breath of Fire and Golden Sun. I consider these gender neutral games. They’re not geared towards either sex, but meant for all to enjoy.

College was the exact opposite of high school for me. It was freeing and enlightening. Most of the classes I took were ones I wanted to take. I had some amazing English literature professors whose enthusiasm for the material rubbed off on me. I don’t remember playing my Game Boy in college because I always had a book with me instead. I was also busy with a lot of other things at the time, so video games just weren’t on my mind.

It wasn’t until several years after college when I got an iPhone that my love for games resurfaced. I stopped carrying a book with me everywhere because I had a world of entertainment in my pocket. My iPhone felt like magic (and still does). Some of the first games I played were Infinity Blade, Dungeon Hunter, Dungeon Defenders, Antrim Escape, Contre Jour and World of Goo. It was a mixed bag of different genres and I sank a lot of time into all of them. In 2011, I realized I was spending so much time playing games on my iPhone that I thought I would start a blog for fun and see how it goes. My blog has since become my full-time job and I’m proud of what I’ve built. (Although I do need to get back to reading more!)

The first game I wrote about was some short, offbeat room escape game called Atmosfear, which had you turning around in your real environment to move around in the game. It was almost like virtual reality. It’s a short game, but it represents the magical feel you can get from an iDevice. I think it’s a good example of a game that is accessible to anyone.

Just recently, I even decided to put together a list of games I recommend, to separate all the good stuff from the mediocre ones I’ve played and written about. Going through my games history has reminded me of so many great titles that I had forgotten about. I’m just amazed by the number of truly unique, smart, fun games I’ve played on this little device that fits in my pocket. And most of these games cost under five bucks each! I had far fewer games on my Game Boy because they each cost about $30 new. So I think it’s safe to say my iPhone renewed — or even increased — my love of games.

(null)

And that brings me here. A few days ago, Juliet Kahn wrote an article on Boingboing about her 17-year-old sister who used to love video games but no longer does. She says “My little sister wants games to be for her exactly what they are for boys and men: easy to love. Why does that have to be so hard?”

And I’m thinking…what? I love so many games. There have been some I’ve even shown off to friends who have no interest in them, like Contre Jour, World of Goo, Oquonie, Monument Valley, The Room, and most recently Her Story and Prune. I know there are plenty of other women out there who love games and they’re not all playing first-person shooters (FPS).

The author goes on to say:

We’re not gamers. We don’t play real games. We should stay out. My proximity to nerdhood, her proximity to the mainstream—neither matters. Video games did not grow up with us; video games did not grow up for us.

I’m not sure where they got this idea that video games haven’t grown up with us. The majority of my site’s audience are adult women. If you grew out of video games, maybe it’s simply because you have other things going on in your life and you don’t really have the time or need for them. That was my situation in college. Her sister is a cheerleader and runs a One Direction Twitter account. It sounds to me like she simply found other interests. Why blame games for that? Why even be bothered by it in the first place? I have plenty of male friends who don’t play video games because they simply have no interest. They wouldn’t even know the latest popular AAA game. Not everyone wants to play games and that’s completely fine.

The author then says that “there are three forces at work in teaching girls that video games are not for them.”

The first force is disqualification: It takes into account the fact that girls almost certainly have played video games, but then carefully categorizes the games they’re most likely to play as illegitimate. It’s not hard to find this attitude wherever games are discussed. A mystery thriller like Her Story, a narrative exploration game like Gone Home, bestselling titles like Animal Crossing and The Sims, all manner of virtual pet sites: Not real games! Walking simulators! Boring! Easy! Dealing with women’s emotions, not having guns, or simply being enjoyed by women en masse—all of these qualities act as disqualifiers. It’s not just that women supposedly aren’t interested in games; it’s that the mere presence of femininity defines the games they like out of existence.

I understand the frustration at hearing your favorite game being called a non-game. But Her Story and Gone Home both earned near perfect scores on Metacritic, with almost every major (and minor) critic — male and female alike — hailing them as great interactive works of art. I haven’t played Gone Home yet, as I don’t have a decent PC at the moment. But I’ll talk about Her Story a bit. It was the first game that made me feel like I was back in college, dissecting a novel for a term paper. It hijacked my brain and wouldn’t let go and I love it for that. Did I notice that a few people called it a non-game? Sure. But why should that bother me much? The creator, Sam Barlow, recently announced that the game sold over 100,000 copies across platforms in only a little over a month. That hardly sounds like an unpopular game to me. He also said that most of the direct responses he gets about the game are positive, including Steam and iTunes reviews. Even the “not a game” or “what about his story?” comments on YouTube or Steam forums, he said, are drowned out by the positive ones. I myself have had plenty of people to discuss the game with, all as obsessed as I’ve been (or more so). The positive reactions to the game far outweigh the negative. And the few naysayers can’t take take the game away from us, so why should they even be relevant? Why does anyone need their approval to enjoy a game?

As long as developers see an audience willing to buy and play their games, they’ll make them. And that’s the important part here — are the games being made? Hell yes! I have a bigger backlog of games than I could possibly play in this lifetime. And that doesn’t include PC games or all the games coming out on a weekly basis! The world of gaming is evolving, and I think we need to acknowledge that and not brush it away because some online trolls scream “not a game!”

(null)

Ms. Kahn continues with the second “force” keeping girls from gaming — marginalization.

This is the second force that teaches girls video games aren’t for them: the social hierarchy of the gaming community, and the narrow, deforming spaces it offers to the women who do persevere. “They have to become one of two types. There’s the one gamer boys think is really hot, and they want her around, and they want to play games with her. But they’re still going to make her uncomfortable and say really explicit shit. I see it happen. If she’s cute, they tell her, ‘oh, I want to fuck you,’ and if she says no, she’s a bitch. She can’t complain.”

And the other type? “The other type,” she says, “is the ‘weird’ gamer girl who sits alone in the cafeteria with her DS while the gamer dudes call her fat and ugly. Both girls get put down by guys. And anyway, gamer boys try to own gaming. They claim it as theirs, as a boy thing. They automatically think girls are doing it for attention. No girl wins.”

Marginalisation happens — there’s no getting around that — and it’s horrible for everyone affected. I’ve personally been fortunate to not receive such negative attention, to the point people are often surprised to learn I’m female, and I know other women writing about games who’ve never felt threatened. But that’s not to say it doesn’t widely happen, and that things need to change. I therefore think it’s vitally important to acknowledge it when we see positive things occur, and then champion them, using relevant titles as examples of how things can change for the better. And based on the games currently available to us, I do believe progress is being made.

Besides the examples I’ve already given, we have Broken Age, which features a female protagonist who both bakes and throws a mean punch! There’s also Piloteer for iOS, which I haven’t played myself, but features a female character in stilettos flying a jet pack. The developer, Whitaker Trebella, even refused to add a male character because he wanted women and girls to feel what it’s like to have the only playable character be geared towards them. There are developers making conscious decisions to be inclusive with their games, but you have to want to find them. And more importantly, you have to support them. The best way to see more of the games you like is to buy them and spread the word about them. Don’t ignore them or dismiss them just because someone else does. Perhaps even tell the developers directly that you appreciate their efforts to be more inclusive.

The third problem, Ms. Kahn says, is marketing:

“There aren’t really any games that seem positive to me,” my sister explains. “They’re all about violence and nudity. I don’t like how the female body is made out. It makes me really uncomfortable. All of the commercials are for guys.”

I agree with this to some degree. It is off-putting as a woman to see so many advertisements geared towards horny men. But it’s nothing new — we see it in all advertisements across the board. It’s a problem with marketing, but it doesn’t have to stain the entire games industry and nullify the amazing things happening in the gaming world.

The author continues to say:

She doesn’t know about Never Alone. She doesn’t know about Gone Home. But she knows about Kate Upton in a strategically knotted bed sheet. She knows about Booker DeWitt and his face-shredding skyhook. Anything beneath that top stratum of blood and jiggle is invisible to her. So why would she go spelunking into gaming with no clear purpose? Why would she assume there’s anything worthwhile out there for her to discover? Without me, she’d never have heard of all the progressive indie titles I rattle off, and would have no reason to believe they exist. She doesn’t know about Steam; she doesn’t even really know about PC gaming period.

And this is what really bothers me. She blames advertisements for not telling her sister about games she’d like and GameStop for not carrying games she wants to play. I agree that it would be nice if GameStop had a larger variety that appealed to her. But GameStop is a small store — at least by me — with a small selection. And she herself has pointed out that these games do exist. Her sister just never went looking for them outside of advertising and game stores. How can anyone expect to learn about the world from advertisements? I don’t even see that many commercials for games and I watch a lot of TV. If you’re shopping for a car, TV ads might be helpful (and even then, you’d do research before buying). But not for games. Just like one wouldn’t expect to learn everything about food or other necessities from ads, one shouldn’t expect to learn everything about their hobbies from ads.

IMG_8647-0

Music is another passion of mine. I don’t play any instruments, but I’m always looking for new music that appeals to me and I try to see as many of my favorite bands live as I possibly can. But I don’t listen to the radio. I don’t listen to most mainstream music. I discover music either by hearing the band live and falling in love with them, hearing a random song somewhere and using Soundhound to identify it, looking online for music similar to what I’m listening to, or simply from friends who share similar taste. I don’t expect to walk into a music store and find a list of music tailor-made just for me — especially with music stores shrinking and disappearing due to digital downloads. I don’t expect to turn on the TV and find advertisements geared towards my tastes. I explore and do research! You can’t expect to learn about all the great things in the world from advertising!

The same goes with games. You need to put in a tiny bit of legwork if you want to find the games that appeal to you. It’s not that hard, though. Most of the information can be easily found online. And even the games themselves are online! Most games are digital now, which makes them more accessible than when they were only available in stores. I believe we’re living in a golden age of games. I only play on my iPhone and iPad, but some PC games have me strongly considering getting a new PC to play them. Gone Home, Dear Esther, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the upcoming Fran Bow and Tsioque, just to name a few. I tell myself I don’t play PC or console games because I don’t trust myself to have a life outside them if I start. But just the short list above has me strongly reconsidering.

The author’s sister says she wants more Cooking Mama and games on her phone. A quick Google search — not even the App Store, but Google! — brought up a Cooking Mama mobile game for both the iOS App Store and the Google Play store. A little research can go a long way! I don’t think it helps our case for inclusiveness to ask for games that already exist. If there’s a game you want to play, research it before assuming that you won’t find it.

I don’t play Cooking Mama, Diner Dash, Candy Crush or that Kim Kardashian game. But I also play very few games about war, guns or hunting. And I don’t feel the need to explain my choices to anyone. I’ve built up an audience of readers who are interested in my opinions because they like the same games. I don’t expect someone who only plays FPS games to ask for recommendations. And I don’t expect them to validate my choices in games.

Her sister says, “I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t grow out of video games. Maybe video games just didn’t grow up with me.” I disagree with this. Video games have grown up, but she didn’t grow with them. There are mature games out there now. You don’t have to be a “gamer” to find something of interest. Games like Monument Valley and Her Story have proven this. They have mass appeal from people who play games on a regular basis as well as those who rarely even touch a game. They’ve even evolved enough to draw in older gamers. Joel McDonald, the creator of Prune, has gotten emails from 70-year-olds who never play games but love playing his. If that’s not an example of games evolving and becoming inclusive, I don’t know what is. Games aren’t just for boys anymore. The meaning of the word “gamer” is broadening to include more types of people and more types of games. And many games aren’t made specifically for girls or boys. They’re simply games. And they’re attracting intelligent, thoughtful people, along with insightful discussions such as this one. But you have to want to find them.

(null)

I usually avoid these topics, trying not to stir anything up. But I felt I needed to say something this time because articles like this just make us all look bad. It’s fine to ask for more diversity in games. We all want that. But don’t give examples of those games and then sweep them under the rug. If you want to find good games, look for them. You can’t expect them to just fall from the sky onto your front porch. Do some research if it’s really something you’re interested in. Go online to sites that cover the genres you like. Ask around. But you can’t blame indie developers for not knocking on your door to let you know their games exist. They can’t afford the advertising that bigger developers can afford, so you’re going to have to do just a little bit of work to find them. In fact, if you do find games you like, try to spread the word so more people find them. The best way to ensure that you’ll see more of the same is if they sell well.

On a similar note, I’m not a fan of games with pay-to-win mechanics. So I go out of my way to point out quality games that avoid them and give them extra attention. I also rarely cover a game that has monetization I don’t agree with. I’m not sure how much of a difference my small site makes in the big scheme of things, but I’m trying to do my part. And I do the same for games that I feel go out of their way to be inclusive.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think there’s still a long way for us to go to make gaming more inclusive. But we have to acknowledge the battles that we’ve won or we’ll never win the war. We can’t pretend no progress has been made when clearly there have been many positive changes. We can’t blame the entire games industry for our own oversights. Use the examples of inclusive games to spread awareness and show what can be done instead of trying to create new problems. Instead of widening the gap between so-called “gamers” and “non-gamers,” share your favorite games with people who think gaming isn’t for them and maybe you’ll find another ally to join the war.

**In the spirit of sharing, I’d like to add a few more of my favorite games that weren’t mentioned here or in the original opinion piece that I would consider gender neutral or “female-friendly.” I encourage others to add their own recommendations in the comments section:

Forever Lost by Glitch Games (iOS, Android)

God of Light by Playmous (iOS, Android)

The Inner World by Headup Games & Studio Fizbin (iOS, Android, PC, Mac)

The Lost City by Fire Maple Games (iOS, Android)

The Silent Age by House on Fire (iOS, Android)

Alto’s Adventure by Snowman (iOS)

FRAMED by Loveshack (iOS)

Spirits of Spring by Minority Media Inc. (iOS)

Little Inferno by Experimental Gameplay Group & Tomorrow Corporation (iOS, Android, PC, Wii U, Mac, Linux)

Jenny LeClue – Playable Teaser by Mografi (iOS, PC, Mac, Linux)

**Note: The images in the top banner are from these games: Prune, Monument Valley, Contre Jour, Broken Age, Alto’s Adventure, God of Light, Oquonie.

***
Note: Sometimes a promo code is provided for a game, but it does not affect the review in any way. At AppUnwrapper, we strive to provide reviews of the utmost quality.

Check out my recommended list for other games you might like.

If you like what you see on AppUnwrapper.com, please consider supporting the site through Patreon. Every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated. You can read more about it here. And as always, if you like what you see, please help others find it by sharing it.

I also offer affordable testing and consulting for iOS developers.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE © AppUnwrapper 2011-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to AppUnwrapper with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

64
Leave a Reply

18 Comment threads
46 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
26 Comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Tanya D.

I don’t know if you’ve heard the saying, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something. It applies to this “response” to the great Offworld piece that you completely missed the point of. Your article reads as a very polly anna, omg this never happened to me; therefore it simply can’t be real type of response I see online all the time. Just because you lucked out and never have been harassed, disregarded as a casual and not real gamer for only liking mobile games doesn’t mean other women haven’t been pushed out of gaming. I’m… Read more »

Linda

So in the grand scheme of things her personal experiences do not matter, only those of you and those like you should ring true.

Jo

What you are trying to do is called “silencing” and perhaps even “erasure”… It’s not very nice of you.

As every woman on this sorry little planet, the author is entitled to her unique lived experience that should be appreciated, not torn down.

Jo

Hey, did my larger response get eaten by filter or something ( comment-221807 ) ?

Lil

Evidently, people who think mobile games are not “real games” only think this when it’s a woman playing them. Right?

Ata Vax

If you’re being harrassed and told games aren’t for you in real life, you have shit friends. If you are being stereotyped in stores based on sex, you’re choosing to go to shit stores. If you are being harrassed by online gaming communities because of your sex, you are visiting shitty communities. There are good versions of all 3 available to you now. If you choose to continue to visit the shitty ones, then bitch about them online, you’re still supporting the bad ones and are part of the problem. I am a long time male gamer and I have… Read more »

Mirjam Heijn

Tanya D, Have you ever considered that your negative experiences may not always have been the result of you being female but rather thanks to a sensitive overreaction and belligerent attitude? To call an article like this a “slap in the face” is needlessly polarizing an already too polarized issue. I’ve started using female names online, because for everything without voice chat or ultra-competitive environments, I get better ratings on games where players rate each other and better responses if I’m being a bit grumpy or gruff (I use games to blow off steam most of the time). It’s shitty… Read more »

WBurr

That’s incredibly rude, to suggest that the author “doesn’t get the point” of the “great” Offworld piece. Obviously she does, because she took the time to pen this piece, which is a great refutation and rebuttal of the Offworld piece. We all know what the point of the other article was–it was yet another voice in the crowd wagging their finger and scolding, saying “Games are sexist!” This author explained *her* experience, and you should examine your own motives in telling her that *her* experience doesn’t count, or counts less than that of the author of the article you happen… Read more »

thedarkmage

So he’s not your boyfriend or friend…he’s your male partner? Well I recommend you get ready because I’m a male and I wrote a response to the bring being article which will be on thegg.net soon. Unfortunately you may disagree which Is your right, but that’s what debating is for.

JP Fairfield

I’m still trying to understand the point of this article. In fact, I’m not sure the author knows what the point is either. I read the piece from Offworld and I feel the author of this rebuttal didn’t really comprehend the piece. To be frank, I could care less about your gaming credentials. For me, your history has no bearing on fact the gaming industry & community makes it uncomfortable for women and girls to take up games (no matter the genre). First of all, the author of the Offworld piece is NOT saying that games mentioned were non-games. It’s… Read more »

Lil

“Personally, I’m tired. Tired that the onus is on me to find good games that will not stereotype, over-sexualized, or promote violence.”

Games you like are not the kind of games that are most popular in the gaming community. Therefore, this is an attack on your gender.

As a woman who loves violent games: go to hell. The only people saying games like Skyrim and Halo are “for boys” are people like you who derive an idiotic sense of superiority from distinguishing “good wholesome games for women” from “stupid immature crap for stupid boys”.

JP Fairfield

Um, what? I never said that certain games are “for boys”. What I’m saying is that there is an assumption that certain games are “only for boys”. There is an assumption a woman wouldn’t play Skyrim or Halo cause she’s a girl. I’m tired of having to prove that my gender doesn’t determine the type of games I like. “The only people saying games like Skyrim and Halo are “for boys” are people like you who derive an idiotic sense of superiority from distinguishing “good wholesome games for women” from “stupid immature crap for stupid boys”.” There is NOTHING in… Read more »

Gary

Skyrim contains female characters in the character creator. Looks to me that they’re assuming girls WILL play it.

Jo

What about women who like violent, even ultra-violent games? Do you seriously believe that two X chromosomes are somehow supposed to reshape a woman’s brain into liking non-violent games, and thus my lived experience (and that of those like me) is too unlikely, too fringe to even consider? Would you prefer the onus to be on women like me to push through walls of technicolor cotton candy to find myself some Doom :)…BTW not that I mind, it’s not like I would literally have to push through something, instead of, you know, typing some words into Google 😀 – which… Read more »

Jacob Stone

You “could care less”? So that means you care quite a bit, because you can always care less, right?

Moron.

mzinn

Very well written and you are right on point! Nicely done 🙂

Craig Grannell

I grew up with games (and in those days, was relentlessly bullied for playing them), lost them and then found them again (largely via mobile). And so although my experience is clearly different from the author’s, this piece nonetheless chimes with me, notably the joy in playing games again, the imagination evident in iOS games, and the increase in games being ‘for all’ that started to become especially prominent with the DS. Naturally, though, I’ve become increasingly aware of issues relating to gender in gaming over the past few years, and more so with the likes of the GG awfulness… Read more »

Lil

“FemFreq’s great videos.”

You might want to play the games she talks about, because then it’s painfully obvious how much of her crap is cherry-picked or outright bullshit.

Her entire philosophy revolves around treating female characters like children.

Jo

And on a lot of unexamined, implied, and vastly unscientific assumptions about “fictional narrative effects”

Though at least she’s consistent. She believes that observing “damsel in distress” narrative in a story about a plumber, a princess, a bunch of ambulatory fungi and an evil (or possibly just very sexually confused) fetishistic tortoise-dragon would shape the mind of the player towards sexist biases and disregarding female autonomy. AND she also believes that playing ultraviolent games is “unhealthy” due to similar “mind-shaping reasons”

Both beliefs are unscientific crap, but credit where credit is due, that is consistent unscientific crap

Tally

That’s just the thing, her examples AREN’T consistent. Her use of academic theory is just bizarre, she fails to utilize any of them properly. Sometimes she’ll use feminist buzzwords like “patriarchy” without bothering to define them, a rather serious intellectual sin for purported academic educational videos. Also the categories she uses, the tropes, aren’t even stable and she shifts their definitional goalposts around to make insane claims about games. Her videos involve academic plagiarism, stolen artistic content, countless factual inaccuracies, a bizarre and improper application of any of the current academic theories she uses, debunked scholarship, and abuse of statistical… Read more »

Craig Grannell

I have played a whole bunch of them, thanks. And I’ve been playing games since the late 1970s—from the original Space Invaders—and writing about them for over 15 years. In my opinion, FF’s videos are making interesting and useful points. Are they perfect? No. But what is?

Iggums Nastygum

Nobody said they’re perfect. They’re boldfaced lies made to conform to a narrative Anita insists exists. And it does, when she selectively ignores important details of the game. Easiest example: Anita claims that the strippers in a single level of hitman are there for the player’s perverse pleasure, to torture, assault, or flat out kill. “The game not only facilitates, but encourages this behavior”. Except the game actually penalizes you for knocking them out or killing them. Is that how you encourage players? By deducting points? Nope. But that’s not the tone she wants to set. And for such a… Read more »

Jo

Chill 😀

Lil

“In my opinion, FF’s videos are making interesting and useful points.” Her recent two-parter was about how fictional female prostitutes are exploited in a way that fictional male prostitutes—even male prostitutes right next to them—aren’t, by making an inferred distinction between “prostituted women” and “sex workers”/”male gigolos”. The second part went on to attribute any violence towards a female character as “sexual”, even when acknowledging there is absolutely no sexual element to the violence (i.e. the entire definition of sexual violence). She even pretends that game mechanics that apply to every NPC in the game exist solely to depict women… Read more »

Jonsa

Good article, appreciate you sharing your story. Good that you don’t sweep the problems under the carpet, but at the same time show the positive changes in the industry. As you say, there’s still a long way to go, but so many are pushing in the right direction too. Glad to see some recognition going to the people working for greater diversity in games. We need to celebrate the good also.

Florence Glau

Such a well written article. Its great to see this topic proposed as a discussion that voices more than one side. This piece resonates with me, personally, on a lot of levels. I’m so pleased that someone of a similar mindset has published something that I can get behind. I believe the only way to incite more inclusiveness is continuing forward with positivity! I don’t think the author missed the point at all, but rather took the point and simply discussed it: openly and calmly. I appreciate the recognition of other’s struggles, but also the encouragement that instils to enact… Read more »

Jonsa

Forgot to add game suggestions!

Badland by Frogmind

The Room by Fireproof Games

Year Walk by Simogo

Also the ones mentioned above: The Long Dark, Broken Age, The Silent Age, Alto, Device 6, Monument Valley …

And Minecraft 🙂

Jonsa

And, of course:

Bertram Fiddle by Rumpus!

Jo

Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. It doesn’t match my experience bit-for-bit 🙂 but it is way closer to it, and I am pleased to know I am not some kind of bizarre anomaly. I’m also glad to see that this piece does not go out of its way to tell me what kinds of games “grown-up women” should like. I find the very idea that there is such a thing as “game for females” to be insidiously sexist ( as I mentioned in my own humble forum response to this article http://bbs.boingboing.net/t/no-girl-wins-three-ways-women-unlearn-their-love-of-video-games/63333/217 ) Nobody has the… Read more »

Angela Night

Having read both the Offworld piece and this piece I just have to say thank you so much for writing this response. I get so fed up of seeing gaming constantly portrayed as as an exclusionary ‘boys club’ and of seeing woman that have not had this experience ignored or gas-lit for speaking about it. Women discussing the positive experiences they have enjoyed in gaming does not negate the negative experiences of other women who have had it different. I’m not sure why other commentators are choosing to lambaste you for writing your own experiences which are, after all, as… Read more »

Jo

Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. It doesn’t match my experience bit-for-bit 🙂 but it is way closer to it, and I am pleased to know I am not some kind of bizarre anomaly. I’m also glad to see that this piece does not go out of its way to tell me what kinds of games “grown-up women” should like. I find the very idea that there is such a thing as “game for females” to be insidiously sexist ( as I mentioned in my own humble forum response to this article http://bbs.boingboing.net/t/no-girl-wins-three-ways-women-unlearn-their-love-of-video-games/63333/217 ) Nobody has the… Read more »

Arjen

This was a great read, thank you. I think the degree to which games are supposedly geared towards men is exaggerated. Gaming isn’t and has never been a “boys’ club.” A lot of subject matter is stereotypically “masculine,” but that doesn’t exclude women from playing and enjoying them. I think the ‘not a game’ discussion is a beast of a different kind, though. It has nothing to do with feminity or masculinity, but rather, the degree of interactivity. Very few people dispute the “game” status of most puzzle games regularly enjoyed by women, for instance. I don’t think it’s entirely… Read more »

Craig Grannell

“I think the degree to which games are supposedly geared towards men is exaggerated.” I wonder how much of that is down to the types of games that get the multi-million dollar marketing budgets, in the same way that we tend to see the same kinds of movies in front of our faces all of the time. Still, in terms of games with distinct gender in the characters, it would be good to see a trend towards inclusivity increase. (No reason why a space marine has to be a bloke, say, or, for that matter, a character in even the… Read more »

Forte

I couldn’t agree more on the importance on seeking out games. I’ve made it part of my daily routine to see what is new on the Steam store after I chose to use the discovery queue system to look at the entire store. This is what it looks like when you’ve taken the time to find out what is on Steam instead of hoping others tell you.

http://i.imgur.com/91OqQUD.png

The same applies to other stores like the Nintendo eShop or Playstation Store. Look around and if you are unsure of a game, look up footage on youtube or something.

Sakai

Great article. 🙂 To add to it, people complaining about the lack of games for women seem to think that this is some kind of sexist conspiracy when it really just a case of supply and demand. For example, Bioware tried really hard to make ME series more appealing for women. ME3 box even had FemShep on it, if i remember correctly. Yet women were still only ~15% of its audiene. Not to say that this is a definitive proof of anything, but this and other examples seem like evidence enough to say that maybe there are some difference between… Read more »

Greg

I think her problem isn’t that the games she wants don’t exist, it’s that they aren’t popular. She apparently seeks to fix this by writing articles about how gaming isn’t for people that share her interests. Seems counterproductive, but whatever, not my fight. As someone who applies the “not a game” notion to ‘Gone Home,’ I do want to ask why that’s considered a negative label. It distinguishes the sort of things I like, which involve overcoming some set of challenges using the mechanics of the game. Gone Home simply isn’t a game the way that Chess, Portal, Basketball, or… Read more »

DC

A well written counterpoint to that Offworld blog post. That piece rubbed me the wrong way as a father to a little girl that loves her video games. Also I recommend Disney Infinity to your list of games. My daughter and her mother play it together and really enjoy it. A fun family experience. It can get expensive for the figures sometimes, but those are optional. It is on all platforms including PC, tablets and mobile. Again well done and I hope the haters that come through realise that one person’s personal experience does not make a compelling argument without… Read more »

Gary

Excellent article. This is one of the more analytic and thoughtful pieces I’ve seen on this subject. Your approach of breaking it down into the separate factors is a useful one. At least if there’s disagreement, it can help to narrow down the specifics.
I’ve been so jaded by the ultra progressive types who make everything into an example of a great systematic oppression, it starts to feel like they don’t care about solving problems but just want something to fight against.

RwFoster

Nice post. I enjoyed reading it. You mentioned that it was sometimes hard to find some of the music you like. I’d like to recommend Spotify. I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, so I’ll continue on the premise you have not. If you have, naturally ignore this. Spotify is a great streaming music service with different price points (free, and premium). The features of it that I think are great are the playlist builder and the radio feature. The playlist builder is pretty self-explanatory. The radio feature is great because you select a song and right click on… Read more »

unsafeideas

Thank you for writing this. The only thing I disagree with is that I think gaming could do with better discovery – I found it hard and time consuming to find games that are for me. However, it is issue that affects everybody, there is nothing gender specific in my personal wants – they just seem to be different then mainstream. If nothing else, the “gender neutral or girly” games you cited are well covered in press – they are far from being hidden treasures. They are not my niche, but they are definitely well covered. It is even easier… Read more »

Close Menu