Like that isn't a topic that's been approached from a million angles a billion times over, on my way home from school today, while listening to "All Things Considered" on NPR like I always do, I heard an interesting piece. It comes from WNYC's Radio Rookies program that allows teens to record their own short radio segments and air them for the world via public radio stations nationwide.
The story comes from a 17 year old gamer named Jessica. She, like many of us, plays games, but is frustrated by the way girls are represented (and underrepresented) in the medium. There are very few games with female protagonists (this doesn't include games with customizable PCs), and those games that do have them so idealized or objectified with little clothing and perfect bodies. How are girls supposed to look up to that? I mean, if the game has a strong female lead who can kick butt, such as Bayonetta, or Tomb Raider, they're practically naked. If the main female characters are there at all, they're probably whiny sidekicks (See FFX) or the damsel in distress who needs rescuing (Princesses Peach and Zelda). I'm not much of a console gamer, so I'm really not "up" on whether or not strong "normal" girl main characters exist, but from what I've ever seen, no.
Video game bondage anyone?
Also, the games marketed towards girls and women are pretty much terrible. Ok, I'll admit, I like Cooking Mama. It's a quirky Japanese game that appeals to my love of cooking. It's ADHD like me, and you don't think about the protagonist at all, since there's really no "story". But all of the Imagine line from Ubisoft makes me gag! Make some real games for girls. We like more than ponies and styling hair. I enjoy seeing people's reactions to the fact that these games even exist, like Marian Call's response on Twitter last week. Do you have a favorite "girl" game?
The point this story eventually made was the incredible catch-22 about girls and games. In order to have more games that are really, truly for girl gamers of any age, we need more women working in the video game development and design industry. And to entice more women who want to make positive female games into the video game industry, more girls have to be truly passionate about the games that exist (and more than just a few just don't exist yet).Plus I'm gonna guess it's pretty intimidating for women to even try breaking into such a male-dominated industry. So, I beg you to encourage any girls you know who might have an inkling of interest to go for their dreams. I think we could use many more women working on creating strong, positive women in video games. I'm looking at you, Vanessa (@gAMgRL)!!
Wake up gaming industry. There are women out there who like to game. Who don't want to look at T&A all the time.
*Like I said, I'm not a huge console gamer, so if there are games out there that fit what I'm talking about, feel free to share!*