Recently, I read this article on “Games for Women” and it makes me want to rage quit. Not only does it paint female gamers as bored housewives that just need something to occupy their time while the laundry finishes but it also advises on which ‘app’ game to download based on the interests of most women. These interests include, “historical romance”, “family drama”, “male-male bromances”, and of course, “erotica”. It also reassures the female reader that these games are “emotion-based” and not too action-y. Let me quote part of the article for you:
“But if you’re burnt out playing word games or farming on Facebook, if you’re worn out your eyeballs hunting for forks and false teeth in incredibly busy scenes, what else is there? Where are the games that deal with yourfavorite interests and topics—and evoke real emotion, games like your favorite books or TV shows? Where’s the romance? The modern female protagonist? Damn it, where are the hot, sexy men?”
So, what it is saying is that I need a soap opera that I can control? The worst part about the article isn’t that it implies that women need smut to enjoy video games; it’s that it is written by a female game designer. She is part of what is wrong with how female gamers are viewed. We’re not all these girls that play “bejeweled” and farm on Facebook. I’d say a far larger number of us actually enjoy playing action-based games and we don’t need games that are based around erotica and “hot, sexy men”.
The only part of that quote that sticks out to me is, “the modern female protagonist”. It limits such a vast group of women to such a small niche of gaming. Obviously, according to this article, female gamers are just playing pay-to-win games, Hidden Objects, and of course, Farmville and other mindless Facebook games. I almost know more women that play FPS and MMOs that I do men that play them. That’s saying something, isn’t it?
Personally, I grew up gaming. I remember playing through Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario Bros multiple times as a kid. I am offended by what this post implies. I don’t need dumbed down game play. Nor do I need emotion-based storylines and hot men with risqué scenes. Do I want to see sexy male characters? Not really. I’m not playing to be turned on. Do I want to see romance? Nope. Sure don’t. Do I want to play a drama? No, absolutely not. Are there female gamers out there that do want these things? Most likely; but group every female into that category is offensive. The only thing I want to see in video games is more options for female characters and strong female protagonists would be nice.
The problem with articles like this is that it serves to the divide that is in the gaming industry. It doesn’t empower female gamers at all. It serves no purpose other than creating a larger gap between male gamers and female gamers. It supports the harassment and abusive comments from male gamers. All I want is to play a game and not be the odd man out because of my gender. I would love to see more people, men and women, address the issues within the gaming community.