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Jun 30, 2009

My Rant for the Year: The Female Gaming Issue (Yes, This Again)

My comment posted at 2:19am on this Destructoid Blog.

Do you know why game companies market badly to female gamers now? Because female gamers started complaining that game companies didn't market to them or create games specifically for them. See what you did! Now we get dumb games like Imagine Babyz and Hell's Kitchen: the Game.

I remember when girls played videogames because they were fun, not because they empowered our feminist movement or some bull. Gaming shouldn't have to include messages about women's lib for a woman to be happy to play it. I grew up playing Mario and I think I turned out pretty good, so why does this generation need a series of games that empowers them as females?

There is no such thing as a female specific videogames anyway because I know men that loved Cooking Mama. Why demand a genre of games now, if we didn't need them to get us into games in the first place?

Also I agree that there are idiots online that treat women gamers like crap, but there are idiots online that treat everyone like crap. My bf is a 30-year-old straight white male and he gets douchebags calling him names online.
You ignore them and get on with your game.

That is all I have to say on that.

Nothing against the blog author but I've been reading a lot of blog posts and articles lately complaining about the plight of female gamers and I am personally sick of the bitching and complaining.

Just stop it! We are not a repressed bunch of people, ladies. Stop thinking the gaming industry doesn't market or develop for you and stop thinking that every idiot online is out to put you back into the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Okay. I support my fellow female gamers as much as the next gal, but if I have to read or listen to one more person go on about how unfair people are to us, female gamers, I will start matching those posts with my own posts about all the real injustices in this world.

Like the other day, I heard a horrible story about how executed Chinese prisoners were being harvested for organs and sold in order to raise funds for hospitals How is that justified? Treating human beings like open organ markets just because they committed a crime. Suddenly female game marketing doesn't seem so important, now does it?


JenniferRuth said...

Ummmm - I don't think it is about having games "for women" or being marketed towards women. I think it is about having your existence ignored.

The thing is, as you say, female gamers have always been there (I mean, I've been playing since 1988 or something). I think I read somewhere that 40% of gamers are women. So it isn't a case of trying to attract a new market - it's a case of asking developers not to pretend that we aren't there. Or to treat us as a niche group. I don't think it is much to ask.

As for empowerment - well, I'm not sure about that word, but I think it is about having less female characters developed "for the boys" so to speak. For every Chell there are hundreds of Ivy's and Lara's and Bayonetta's. It doesn't stop me playing the games but it is quite an obvious message to women - this game isn't made with you in mind. It was nice in Soul Calibur II when Ivy had the commodore outfit (which was badass) or in Mass Effect when you could personalise Shepard.

And yes, terrible things happen all over the world - but what does organ harvesting have to do with the representation of women in video games?
I could say to you - why do you even write about video games at all? They are hardly important. Why don't you drop this blog and spend your entire time raising awareness and funds for Chinese victims of organ harvesting?
Then someone else might come along and say that organ harvesting isn't as important as the sex slavery of girls in Mexico...

I find it possible to care about many things and I think there is enough room in this world for us to talk about sexism and racism in video game without losing our shit.

So yeah, I do agree with you that these conversations can get frustrating and fraught but it seems silly not to have them. More to the point, if you don't care then you are not obliged to read them.

Faith said...

My question is what exactly are woman asking for out of this specific gender marketing cause I know it isn't games like Imagine Babyz? Is it Wii Fit? Or Nintendogs?

As for marketing campaigns, these companies are all the same. They will spend money on the demographic they think will buy the most copies of the games and somehow despite what we write, I don't ever see a female directed campaign for Gears of War. They will spend money on us to promote The Sims 3, Diner Dash and Wii Fit. That will always been how these companies work. Gender stereotypes and that is why I don't bitch, cause they just market the "girly games" to us.

As for my comment about the organ harvesting, I meant it to mean that there are some people out there who are never talked about anything other than the plight of female gamers and honestly there are other things they could talk about. More important female libs issues even, that they could talk about. I'm sorry that I didn't make that point better but it was 2am when I wrote this post.

As for the half-naked videogame characters ... honestly I like playing Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, just as much as the other bimbo characters they put in games. Sure I may not be invested in their personality throughout the game, but I like to play as the half-naked chick every once and a while. It's fun.

Faith said...

Actually the half-naked chick character enjoyment could be partly looking at and partly playing as. It's nice to play as the pretty girl but I personally like some of the outfits on these chicks too. I could fill my closet with the videogame universe's choice of female clothing.

Sylvia said...

Yeah, I have to agree with you there are far greater injustices in the world. Honestly, I've never really felt "left out" of gaming because of my gender. I think the big thing is that gaming is starting to branch out and appeal to a whole different demographic. More and more people are becoming "social gamers". So, if anything, that leaves hardcore gamers (male and female alike) kind of alienated.
That being said, I do kind of get annoyed that every time I go to GameStop, they always want to try to sell me some cutesy DS game and every time I buy a game like Bioshock they ask if it's for my boyfriend. But, as you said, that's just certain people, and you'll never change their mind.

Faith said...

Luckily I have some women working at my local gaming stores, so I never get that rabid dog look from the employees but I do get it at the comic book store I go to.

I think that just generally comes from that fact that men just love to see women interested in anything they like. I'm sure women in auto parts stores just the same drool factor when they start talking shop.

JenniferRuth said...

Oh dude, trust me, I totally understand the need to rant every once in a while! And I do agree with you that the conversation can get frustrating - but I suppose that is why (a lot of the time) there are specific blogs for dealing with stuff like sexism in video games. I think it is okay for them to talk about it all the time if they have a specific place dedicated to it.

As for marketing - I think what women want isn't specific gender marketing but marketing that doesn't automatically exclude them. Why does it have to be either for men or for women? We can all play Gears or Street Fighter IV, yeah? Well, according to the developers, no we can't. Men play such and such a game, women play other games. Thus, we are automatically divided. I think the main complaint stems from this.

Full disclosure: I work for a design agency. Our clients are nearly all video game developers - and some big names at that. And I can tell you, that the clients have some very sexist ideas of how they want to sell their games. I, literally just the other week, had a major developer talking about how well rape could be used to market their games (I mean the representation of or allusiuon to rape in poster campaigns). Seriously. (I do try my very best to present better and more creative ideas)

Y'know, this isn't even limited to video games - it happens in marketing for every fucking product in the world. It drives me mental.

As for half-naked chicks - hey, I don't mind Lara's outfit or a bit of flesh here or there but Ivy's costumes in SCIV were just ridiculous. I mean, WTF? This annoys me, because she is my favourite SC character. I wouldn't give a damn so much if it was Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball, because T&A are what you buy the game for - but it would be nice if things like Soul Calibur didn't constantly (tit)slap you in the face.

If I had to wear a video game characters outfit I think I would have to go with Chun Li's or Gordon Freeman's!

Faith said...

See these are the points I agree with. Don't market to us directly - market to us all. No genre specific ad campaigns.

That rape thing is down right scary. If you didn't have to worry about job loss, I would have slapped the guy that suggested that campaign idea.

And the string outfits - yeah, who the hell fights in thoses? I still can't get over the pantless wonder in X-Blades? I would have been pulling those undies out of my ass the entire game.

I want a ghostbusters outfit, Ada Wong's dress from RE 4 and Jill's outfit from RE 1 (gamecube version)

Mike said...

This again, Really?