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View Full Version : Women in Games Editorial: How About Women Power?


RobertoOrtiz
12-03-2005, 04:56 AM
Quote:
"With the game environment hot on the trail of any new market, it is understandable that game developers spend much of the day racking their brains to discover the next big game that will appeal to the largest market available. But what game will appeal to the millions of possible women gamers? The problem with identifying winning game elements lies not in the efforts of the game makers themselves; they can only work with what they have. It lies in the fact that most game developers lack one thing – the elusive extra X chromosome. As a result, we have men trying to decide what women most want to play. This is almost like the comical film starring Mel Gibson, “What Women Want”; only this time, the guys don’t know."

>>LINK<< (http://www.gamergod.com/article.php?article_id=2974&category_id=35)

-R

Bruna
12-03-2005, 03:19 PM
I guess women like the same games guys like, racing for example. What you guys could do is add feminine cars and women players. Women like to feel that they fit in that "men´s world" and still keep her feminine side.

Wizdoc
12-03-2005, 05:09 PM
One of the problems is, that the developers can't seem to be able to find a realistic middle-ground in the depiction of women. Either you get a retarded glitter-induced crap with names like Barbie Sugar-High Make-up Extravaganza or you get tough-as-nails cigar-chomping, testicle-stomping, leather-clad dominatrices with guns which size would make Freud's head explode.

Of course, in all fairness, similar pitfalls preys on the male characters as well. I mean, how many grizzled, baritone-voiced ex-commandos with five o' clock shadows we've seen already?

In addition to all the other merits, I liked Half-Life 2 because it at least made an attempt to draw its characters in at least a semi-realistic fashion. Men and women alike.

Elsie
12-03-2005, 05:14 PM
Bah, the first time I walked into the university, all they could do was shove leaflets in my face titled "Women in the Gaming/Computing industry" and invite me to conferences...I'm going to one on the 13th, could prove to be interesting.

In a way I should hope being a woman in the industry would make me stand out. Somebody told me the other day "Well, you're kinda likely to get a job whether you suck or not, because companies have equal employment quotas. No offense." Hah, I'm not sure how to take that, even though it sounds like BS to me.

To be honest, being the only girl on my course doesn't bother me, I love it. I love games, I love art, I love programming (sometimes >_<)...shooting aliens is fun. Wizdoc, I totally agree with what you wrote there about a middle ground. I just wish they would make more female characters - even if women didn't happen to catch onto the game, I didn't hear to many guys complain about playing with Lara Croft.

heavyness
12-03-2005, 05:33 PM
this is where i see the game industry needs to mature a bit. with graphics becoming more photorealistic, they need to portray the female [and male] bodies and characteristic more accurate.

like someone said above, Half Life 2 has some realistic character development. it seems most game devs watch a porno right before they develop a women's role/design in a video game.

Sonk
12-03-2005, 05:48 PM
Bah, the first time I walked into the university, all they could do was shove leaflets in my face titled "Women in the Gaming/Computing industry" and invite me to conferences...I'm going to one on the 13th, could prove to be interesting.

In a way I should hope being a woman in the industry would make me stand out. Somebody told me the other day "Well, you're kinda likely to get a job whether you suck or not, because companies have equal employment quotas. No offense." Hah, I'm not sure how to take that, even though it sounds like BS to me.

To be honest, being the only girl on my course doesn't bother me, I love it. I love games, I love art, I love programming (sometimes >_<)...shooting aliens is fun. Wizdoc, I totally agree with what you wrote there about a middle ground. I just wish they would make more female characters - even if women didn't happen to catch onto the game, I didn't hear to many guys complain about playing with Lara Croft.

I wont mind seeing more ladies be coming game designers. Dont know you your interested in it yourself..but i've been reading Hideo BLOG for awhile, and its been very educational in terms of game design, and other things related to the game industry.

japanese version: http://www.blog.konami.jp/gs/hideoblog/

english version: http://www.blog.konami.jp/gs/hideoblog_e/

the english version, its about a months late.. -__-

and yes, Hideo Kojima is my hero :D(shameless plug for his blog!)

L.King65
12-03-2005, 07:12 PM
I really like the fact that this issue is coming to light. As a woman in the industry, I have also heard that I would only be employed based on gender numbers. Or that if employed, I would be surrounded by close minded men who only view women as objects. Many guys told me that I may not feel comfortable in an environment surrounded by men. I have found everything to be the opposite, I am the only female at my company and am treated equally. The guys I work see me as an artist, not a woman. I think the only issues with women in the industry, are those who have yet to work with a woman. The same deals with games. Women love playing games just as much as guys, (I know I do), like someone previously said, it is not just women in games that are stereotyped but also men. I know we want to have a badass character when playing games, but there is no reason to lose realism. I think that if everyone in the gaming industry men and women alike really start expanding their ideas, that it's not really a gender issue but instead not getting stuck with ideas that work for the game companies, and really start putting out new stuff.

Elsie
12-03-2005, 09:06 PM
The guys I work see me as an artist, not a woman. I think the only issues with women in the industry, are those who have yet to work with a woman

Yes, I think that the issue of women in the industry is only really an issue because it is made one by people remarking on it. I know a few women in the games industry, none of who seem to feel objectified or segregated by this...but then I supppose it boils down to the original question, what do women want to play - and like you, I'll play any game a guy plays hah. Maybe that's something to do with why there are so few casual gamers that are female.

percydaman
12-03-2005, 09:30 PM
I really like the fact that this issue is coming to light. As a woman in the industry, I have also heard that I would only be employed based on gender numbers. Or that if employed, I would be surrounded by close minded men who only view women as objects. Many guys told me that I may not feel comfortable in an environment surrounded by men. I have found everything to be the opposite, I am the only female at my company and am treated equally. The guys I work see me as an artist, not a woman. I think the only issues with women in the industry, are those who have yet to work with a woman. The same deals with games. Women love playing games just as much as guys, (I know I do), like someone previously said, it is not just women in games that are stereotyped but also men. I know we want to have a badass character when playing games, but there is no reason to lose realism. I think that if everyone in the gaming industry men and women alike really start expanding their ideas, that it's not really a gender issue but instead not getting stuck with ideas that work for the game companies, and really start putting out new stuff.

really, this ISN'T just coming to light. every handful of months, an article comes out that basically rehashes the same points as the previous articles. yawn....

I for one welcome the day, when these stupid articles aren't necessary and we can all just do our thing without pointing out peoples: sex, race, religion and so on... Maybe it'll never happen, who knows. Ill tell you what though, having hiring quotas, is just another form of prejudice.

Per-Anders
12-03-2005, 10:27 PM
well, i hate to point out the obvious, but the more articles you have on the subject, the more highlighting of difference you have, the further off that day will be.

and maybe that's fine. at the end of the day women and men are different. broadly speaking they even have different interests. now i know plenty of girl gamers, in fact right now for some reason it seems like there are more girl gamers than boy gamers out there, at least among my neices age bracket, so maybe the target audience actually ok.

if we're talking about getting women into game development jobs then that's just down to who wants to do those jobs. no games company is adverse to having female artists/developers/managers/producers/etc... in fact they're mostly very open unbiased places to start off with that don't need equal opportunities innitiatives (though they do have them) they just need enough people to actually apply. the real question is why is it not attracting more women to apply for these jobs? perhaps the working conditions (especially those highlighted recently with the EA business) are the biggest detractor. or maybe the prejudice is not in the games world so much as in the minds of those who do not wish to work there (yet).

now having said that there is some modocum of truth about the preconceptions to do with gamers and even game makers, there's no way of getting around the fact that.. well there's a certain geekyness going on. the question is, do you want to erradicate that and put in place a more corporate (non niche specific) atmosphere? and what impact would that have on the product?

maybe we just need to breed more geeky girls... hmm...

JMcWilliams
12-03-2005, 10:35 PM
If we recieved lots of women applicants to games design jobs then i'm sure we we would hire the good ones. :shrug:

We have a few women artists, some programmers, a video editor and plenty in other departments, like HR and marketing. There is no male consipiracy to blame for lack of female game designers.

Grim Beefer
12-03-2005, 10:40 PM
Personally, I think that the solution to the female gaming issue lies not in characterization, but instead in the function of the game. Whether or not you have a female in a first person shooter, it really doesn't matter. The goal of feminine equality in all respects is not to "adapt" to a male created universe, but instead to have a say in the foundations of our culture. I don't think Lara Croft is good example, I mean how many women can truly identify with such a grotesquely distorted depiction of the female form? And I don't just mean her physical body, but the entire motivations for her character, and indeed the player themselves, is that from a male point of view. So the entire scale befoementioned (either a Barbie doll or a dominatrix) is corrupt because they both came from an idealized male perspective of the female role in culture.


I would like to get on my soapbox for a minute and have a word with all of you males. If you want an example of how bigoted our civilization is, look at the way this issue is being framed. Usually the issue of females in gaming is raised primarily because of...drum roll...LOST MARKET SHARE!. It's not because it's wrong, manipulative, banal, cruel, or degrading. This is the level to which bigotry has stooped in our culture; an issue is only an issue if people are losing money.

Elsie
12-03-2005, 10:50 PM
I don't think Lara Croft is good example, I mean how many women can truly identify with such a grotesquely distorted depiction of the female form? And I don't just mean her physical body, but the entire motivations for her character, and indeed the player themselves, is that from a male point of view.

Hehe well, of course Lara Croft is a distorted female, shes a badass with big boobs :shrug: I'd like to know how many of the guys playing videogames also happen to be the ripped, machine-gun toting unshaven mavericks that are the central focus of most games. I don't think it's be more fun if the male characters wore milk bottle glasses and pocket protectors...

Frank Lake
12-03-2005, 10:53 PM
JMcWilliams, you've pointed out something that is known. Pigeon-holeing. How many of them have creative control? Lead design teams? Head Studios?

It also doesn't help that games are years in development, story's and characters are shallow and 1 dimensional. Hell if 'IN-fashion' switchs every few days, how do you compete with that!

Culture itself needs to change just as much as game design does.

JMcWilliams
12-03-2005, 11:01 PM
JMcWilliams, you've pointed out something that is known. Pigeon-holeing. How many of them have creative control? Lead design teams? Head Studios?


My boss is a women. She was a lead artist... now she is art manager (that means she manages ALL art in the company). Is that good enough? :D

Lorecanth
12-03-2005, 11:17 PM
My god the grammar in that article was horrible. It felt like one run on sentence, with the inability to understand the difference between plural and singular.

Grim Beefer
12-04-2005, 03:46 AM
Hehe well, of course Lara Croft is a distorted female, shes a badass with big boobs :shrug: I'd like to know how many of the guys playing videogames also happen to be the ripped, machine-gun toting unshaven mavericks that are the central focus of most games. I don't think it's be more fun if the male characters wore milk bottle glasses and pocket protectors...

Well, your point about ripped guys is true, but it only bolsters my argument. Why don't the women depicted have big bulging veiny muscles, or unshaven bodies? It's because our misogynist social conventions dictate that these are undesiarable physical traits for females. So in other words, these typical body sterotypes represented in most video games are the ideal man and women as seen by a man. This ideal of ultra-muscles is not what most women find attractive, (as supported by this article (http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2005/02.10/11-bodyimage.html) in the Harvard Gazette), so it only makes sense that it is an ideal that "Western" men aspire to.

As for you second point, the issue of fun somehow being linked to character physique, well I think that Half-Life 2 debunks this claim quite well.

Hugh-Jass
12-04-2005, 04:32 AM
there were plenty of women in the dev teams at EA when I was there. Artists, animators producers, senior producers...

From a hiring perspective, at the studios I've worked at, gender wasn't an issue, the applicant's qualifications were. I would say that on the whole there were many more male applicants though.

In my own experience I've had situations where I personally conflicted with the way in which i was directed to depict female characters... One instance I managed to convince the project lead that frenchcut bikini briefs and a bare midriff on a swat outfit was kind of stupid.

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