It's a funny term that. "Girl gamers." What images come to mind when you hear it?
Do you think of teen girls playing pet simulations on their DSes? Or do you think of "soccer moms" working out to Wii Fit?
Do you think of "frag dolls" who'd kick your arse at Counter-Strike? Or goth chicks addicted to World of Warcraft?
Chances are, especially if you're a male reading this, you've considered all these stereotypes and more. The fact that a term such as "girl gamer" seems so familiar only confirms that girls are marginalised in the gaming community. When was the last time you heard anyone talk about "guy gamers"?
Why are girls marginalised? Games commentator and humourist, Daniel Floyd explores this topic in his latest animated lecture, co-written by Gamasutra editor, Kotaku columnist and games blogger, Leigh Alexander.
They look at the sexualisation of female game characters. They look at the boy's own adventure fantasies of many gaming settings. They look at the under-representation of females in game development. They look at cynical marketing practices.
Among many valid points, I'd take issue with Leigh and Daniel's concept of casual games as some sort of gateway drug. The idea that girls can be introduced to gaming via simple puzzle games and Imagine Fashion Model before graduating to online deathmatches and the MMO grind strikes me as kinda bizarre.
Implicit is the notion that these "hardcore" games are superior and that gamers who play them are not only operating at a higher level but that it is worth aspiring to such a level. Hey girls, enjoy your make-up and cooking games, but really you've only made it as a gamer when you've learned to headshot and become one of the boys.
Why does it need to be this way? How is your mum's Peggle addiction any less legitimate a gaming experience as your Call of Duty 4 addiction? Aren't we just talking about different gaming experiences?
Check out the clip below. Curious to hear your thoughts.
Women Audiences, Women Characters [Sexy Videogame Land]