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Games Entertainment

Women in Gaming White Papers 84

Many thanks to GameJournalism.com for the heads up on two white papers put out last month by the Women in Gaming Special Interest Group. The two papers (both excellent reads) are Chicks with Joysticks: An exploration of women in Gaming, and Why are there so few Women in Games? In a related topic, TerraNova has a piece on the Women 's Game Conference and MMOGs.
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Women in Gaming White Papers

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Like, "White Chicks, Black Joysticks"

  • by nekoniku ( 183821 ) <justicek@NOSPaM.infosource.info> on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @03:08PM (#10578505) Homepage
    "Why should I bother with made-up games when there are so many real ones going on?" (Cat's Cradle)
  • by evilmousse ( 798341 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @03:13PM (#10578552) Journal

    In related news, my 12-year-old offer to marry
    the first woman to regularly defeat me at
    StreetFighter regardless of age, race, or looks,
    goes entirely unanswered.

    I think I was born 5 years or so too late;
    I've seen a few teenage girls who contend
    in Soul Calibur...

    I gotta move to California where they have more asians...

    • Wish I was young enough to marry one of the Swedish Girls of Gaming: http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/fun.games/10/18/games .swedishgirls.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

    • Let me apologize to any woman reading for all
      the comments in this thread that indicate women
      gamers are unwelcome if less than attractive. ..As if every single social interation between
      the sexes need be sexual. We need you as gamers
      if only to dilute this kind of idiocy among us.

    • "the first woman to regularly defeat me at
      StreetFighter regardless of age, race, or looks,
      goes entirely unanswered.

      I think I was born 5 years or so too late;"

      Well, considering that you didn't put a "II" after "Street Fighter," I think 5 years is a little optimistic...
    • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @08:34PM (#10581642)
      Meh. I posted this anonymously on accident, the first time. That'll teach me to post from someone else's computer. :(


      I can't speak for StreetFighter, but I know a girl in Lake Oswego that could probably hand you your ass in a few rounds of Counter Strike. Some guys at the UofO and I used to run a popular CS server (before I stopped playing most video games) and this girl named 'Val' was always on. She was probably around 18 at the time and she learned quickly. Oh, I actually knew another girl too on the same server from the same area, now that I think about it. She was pretty good, too.

      Other than those two, the only females I've known who did much gaming played things like Sims, EverQuest and Ultima Online. There's clearly a distinction between the interests of both sexes, for the most part. Generally, it seems that females tend to avoid hard-core puzzle, strategy and action games. Even in MMORPGs, the 'action' and the 'fighting' tends to be a secondary or tertiary requisit for them. That's a broad description based on the women I've been around and people I've talked to, but it probably isn't too far off the mark, in general.

      I'm ashamed to admit it, but I played The Sims Online for about a week. It wasn't for me. Boring and pointless. I gave it a chance, but it fell short (just like a lot of more male-oriented games did, like Anarchy Online, Shadowbane, ATITD, Rubies of Eventide...) The one thing that did stand out about The Sims Online, however, was the social interaction among players. Especially females. Within a few minutes of entering the game, I was invited to join a group of women who showed me the ropes, helped me out, gave me tips and eventually invited me to join their "house" (or whatever you call it in the game). The game play was painfully dull to me, but the community was unique. In most games, you won't see that kind of treatment. With most MMORPGs or FPS games, you join a server, create a character, figure out what the hell you are doing and start hacking stuff to bits all the while dodging the offcolor racist, homophobic and sexist remarks of pre-pubescent boys.

      I wouldn't try to read some social theory or explanation into why there aren't many female gamers and why they're attracted to certain areas. Men and women are very different creatures and some things come more natural and are more appealing to one sex over the other (with interesting exceptions). The important thing is to welcome those people who do cross the boundaries and find enjoyment in it.

      What bothers me more is the reaction of males any time someone with a female voice is playing (using the mic) or even just a female name logs into a server. You have three typical responses, such as those below:

      The person who doubts that it's a female and makes a point of doubting it.

      The person who goes out of their way to be a jerk to the female just to be a jerk.

      The person who can't stop talking about the girl and sucks up to her and flirts with her and can't shut up about how hot he thinks it is that a person with breasts is playing his favorite game.

      It would be nice if a female could join a server and we could all continue to play as normal without regressing into a pack of slobbering penises.

      I also have a sister who has always played videogames. Not addictively like myself, my brother or any other male I know, but quite a bit nevertheless. She doesn't play online games, but has played almost everythign else on PS2/X-Box that she's come across. The frustrating thing is that it comes so natural to her. She's almost 20 now and as long as I can remember, she could walk into a room while my younger brother and I are playing and pick up a controller... and breeze right through things that we'd spent hours trying to beat. We'd take days or weeks to beat a game and she could do it in a couple sittings. ARGH! She's a bit of a tom-boy, but not much. She's just very *very* adept at the videogame thing, I guess.

      • I wouldn't try to read some social theory or explanation into why there aren't many female gamers and why they're attracted to certain areas.

        I would, and it's a simple one. Women who are about 21 and over now (maybe 25) have always attached a social stigma to those that play with video games/use computers. They lived in a time where there wasn't a computer/video game console in almost every home, and a computer on every workdesk in addition to the internet everywhere. The geek stigma to games and com
  • Women gamers (Score:3, Informative)

    by Deorus ( 811828 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @03:15PM (#10578579)
    They may be less than men, but they exist [womengamers.com] and form communities.
  • When I look at a stack of games that I have right next to me I see this:
    • Resident Evil Code Veronica X: has a female protaganist for the first half of the game.
    • Resident Evil Zero: Once again, one of the main characters is female.
    • Resident Evil: Again, a female protagonsit.
    • Super Mario Sunshine: ok, mario save the princess, no female protagonist
    • Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snakes: No Female Protagonist.
    • Skies of Arcadia Legends. Two of the main characters are female.
    • Paper Mario 2. Once again, two of the c
    • Re:Is it just me? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xenocide2 ( 231786 )
      Maybe the male centric problem runs deeper than what gender the characters around you, or even the character you control, is. Saving the world, destroying every last zombie, etc seems like a macho thing to do. In today's world of Equal Opportunity, it can be lost on us that women want to be women as much as men want to be men.

      Resident Evil uses female characters to emphasize how weak you are, to highten the fright. Imagine our protagonist from Metal Gear in this zombie game. All of a sudden it goes from sc
      • I never really looked at the Resident Evil games that way. I think you might have been right for the first and second RE games, but in the later games, the female characters are very strong. Also, in the original game, it was just as scary playing as Chris Redfield as it was to play as Jill Valentine.
        I think it depends a lot on how you view women. If you tend to view women as weak, the game game is scary because you see your character as weak. If, on the other hand, you see women as strong and equally
    • A lot of First/Third person games have a good number of female characters.
      • Unreal Tournament has always had a good number of women. (DIE BITCH!)
      • No One Lives Forever - Female (HOT!) protagonist
      • Psi-Ops, you spend most of the game following a woman.
      • Deus Ex: Invisible War - choice of male or female

      There are a lot more- don't just assume that all FPSs have male characters exclusively. Because that would be wrong.

      Next Muthafuckers gonna get my metal.

      • hmm, ok. I don't really play First/Third person shooters very much, not my type of game. I was just thinking of Half Life, Doom, Max Payne, and the GTA series, as those are the "big" games of the genres that I've seen.
        The point I was trying to make though (as one of the other people who responded to my post pointed out) is that putting females in a game that will appear to a primarily male audence doesn't really solve any problems, and in a a few of the cases that I've seen, the women are often very exag
    • The existence of female characters does not really disprove a male bias. For example how are females presented, realistically or anatomically exaggerated to get a male's attention? FWIW, I'm not overly concerned, the market will eventually get things right, if it has not done so already. The simple truth is that corporation would like to take money from females.
    • You forgot Final Fantasy X-2 where every playable character is a female.
    • Resident Evil Zero: Once again, one of the main characters is female.

      Notice that the female character is more powerful (bigger inventory) and luckier (fewer random disasters block her path), meaning she's EASIER to play... which is a sexist way of saying that boys are tougher than girls.

      This was prevalent in Japanese games... I remember seeing a lot of cartridges for the original Nintendo where you choose "Otoko/Onna" (male/female) at startup, even though it didn't have alternate player graphics for the
  • by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @03:55PM (#10578978) Journal
    Why are there fewer women in sports of all kinds? Why are there fewer women in the hard sciences? Why are there fewer women in prisions?

    Maybe we're kind of different.
    • Which is why it's a good thing to research. Perhaps games in general just don't appeal to most women, or perhaps we need to explore different types of games that cater more specifically to women.
    • Yesterday I was "teaching" Discrete Mathematics and one of the students in that class has an older brother who also took the class with me a few years ago. She's doing much better in the class than he did. She mentioned in passing that her brother was better at math than she was, because you know, he's a guy. This is so far from the truth that I had to wonder where she could have gotten the idea. Maybe girls get these ideas from someplace. I admit that schools have something to do with it too.

      • Some of the best mathematics students I know are women. Asian women mostly, but that's not really the point.

        For sheer ability, it's mainly the guys who win out. For preparedness and dedication, it's the women by a long shot -- and that makes quite a difference. They seem to have better memories as well, though they are more lecture learners than book learners. Still, it's the guys who seem to be better at thinking on their feet and actually applying what they know in new situations.

        For all that, I t
  • Great articles! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kria ( 126207 ) <roleplayer.carri ... m minus math_god> on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @04:25PM (#10579312) Journal
    While I've never been a computer game programmer, I'm a programmer and a table-top and MMORPG player, and I have to say that this is a very insightful article.

    I'm very happy that the place I work seems to have no problems hiring female programmers... but I'm still one of two female programmers on my approx 20 person team. Because there aren't that many women out there, because so many women were discouraged from technical fields for so long.

    I have felt the atmosphere that discourages women frequently in gamer circles, when I'm around gamers I don't know - guys who tend to be crude, rude, and are there just to hack n'slash. My gaming circle is playing a campaign that features a lot more political intrigue, as well as has major male and female npcs who are more than window dressing. My group is nearly half and half on gender. It's wonderful.

    Anyway, the more we make the reasons known, the less we'll have people claiming it's all just "well, women don't want to do that" or "men and women are wired differently, that's all".
  • by Morrisguy ( 731956 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @04:32PM (#10579395)
    ...where the author credits Roberta Williams as creating the first female protagonist in a video game in 1987.

    Wasn't the first lead lady in a video game Ms. Pacman? [klov.com] in 1981?
  • by valkenar ( 307241 ) <valkenar@yahoo.com> on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @04:39PM (#10579488) Journal
    Look at the comments to this article. Half are openly misogynistic (although I'm sure someone will try to argue that attempts at humor excuses all) others focus on whethere females gamers are hawt enough.

    Maybe this kind of thing wouldn't bother you, but it's the kind of thing you hear complaints about from women in the geek scene. If you care to listen.
    • It's really no worse than belonging to a minority part of any group, in my experience - especially with a group as historically homgenous as gaming. It's always tough to break new ground into such territory. With that said, I do think the sexism and machoism in gaming is sad and embarassing, but the only way of changing that is to keep diversifying gaming society until your minority of choice is seen as normal.

      I don't know if the recently famous female Swedish CS team [cnn.com] do us all a disservice by being geeky

  • In my opinion women are more social then guys are. That and video games are mostly about action, look at the list of games and you see that at least 80-90% of them are action oriented games. I hate to be stereotypical but I think women crave socializing more then they do staring for hours in front of a TV or a computer. I'd think most women gamers know when to give games a rest where guys take their gaming more seriously and spend more time doing it.

    I'll use my sister as an example, it takes her *foreve
    • I'd agree with this, but what do I know, I'm a bloke.

      The papers pick up on how women are more drawn to games requiring more social aspects, eg. MMOGs or The Sims, or pick-up-and-play games like Bejewelled that don't require investing hours and hours of your time.

      The second paper refers to the IGDA Quality of Life white paper, which addresses the subject of excessive working hours, which has historically plagued the industry. This is an important point. These long hours do nothing for your social life, so
  • by EngineeringMarvel ( 783720 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @04:47PM (#10579579)
    I'm the main Battlefield editor over at AmpedNews [ampednews.com] so I keep up with gaming trends and personal since I cover the main online gaming leagues. One thing I have noticed about the female gamers is the attention they get from others playing in the online leagues. One in particular, who is on my Amped staff, is constantly getting attention from the male gamers.

    It takes a certain type of girl to deal with the type of stuff that she handles all the time. She cannot get onto IRC without some male gamer wanting to bother her. I'm sure there are other gamers that I have played with regularly that are female, but choose not to say it. Mainly to avoid all the harrassement from the other online gamers. My point is, not only are girls different, but they have to be ready to put up with a community that is mostly made up of horny male teenagers.
    • I don't agree with "girls are different". Males aren't all about violence and sex, and girls aren't all about pink, fluffly emotional stuff. These differences are partly forced on us by society at large, but also a gaming industry that is only beginning to realize that the differences, to the extent that there really are any, are much more subtle than that. From what I've seen, not even the old truth that males are into goal-oriented gaming and females are into social gaming are more than tendencies.

      BTW, a

  • Over in Korea (Score:2, Informative)

    Just wanted to say that any person that tries to link computer game affinity to some sort of inherently male or female quality should come over to Korea. Tons of girls playing games here.

    Good, good Starcraft players.
    • come over to Korea. Tons of girls playing games here

      I've never been there, but newspapers tell me that when couples go to the PC bangs in the evening, the boys will play SC/CS/MMO, and the girls will sit nearby and just IM.
      • Well, okay, tons is a relative term. But many of the girls I've met or taught over here have played the game a few times. The ones who are good are really quite good.
  • http://www.nvidia.co.uk/page/eswc_13.html
  • Vildkatten: u just got fragged
    BigGunz: omg ur the gamer gilr lol
    Vildkatten:yes. do u want a rematch?
    BigGunz: lol ur hot lol do u wnat ot cyber lol

    *** Vildkatten has left the game

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake