Yesterday I had the most incredible day.
Yesterday I visited the studio of Good Game: Spawn Point, at the ABC.
Good Game: Spawn Point is a TV show about video games, and its target audience is young gamers – under 10s — kids who spend their days playing Minecraft, Smash Bros., and Mario Kart.
The show’s creator is a woman, her name is Janet Carr. She is a real hero of mine, and I’ll never forget what she said.
“The kids are so innocent in the way they love games,” she explained, as she showed me around the set, “but the thing that really amazes me is just how many girls there are gaming.
“When I speak to developers I always say, ‘you better start thinking about the games you want to make in a couple of years for teenage girls — because soon there’s going to be a whole army of them, and they’re going to be angry when they see what’s out there.’”
And then I went home and I watched the new trailer for Hitman Absolution.
No doubt you’ve seen it already – sexuality by numbers – chaste nuns, casting aside robes to reveal themselves in the most tacky way possible. Dressed in leather and stilettos, having their faces smashed in and shot by Agent 47 — a strapping bald male — grimacing as he chokes, punches and blasts his way through this sexualised horde of females.
This, I think to myself, is what those girls, who love video games in the purest way possible, have to look forward to.
They get to watch the ‘sexy’ unboxing of video games. They get to wear underwear armour that isn’t armour at all. They get to lick lollipops suggestively. They get to play beach volleyball; they get to choose which bikini to wear while doing so.
I can’t abide it. If this is what works, if this is what genuinely sells video games, I just don’t want any part of it. Is this what we want as a culture? Is this what really works. I genuinely hope not.
Yesterday I had the most incredible day, and I left with a real hope for video games as a medium — because it has this beautiful, pure, diverse audience to look forward to, to cater to — an audience that doesn’t engage with video games in the same dull, gendered way.
They’re going to be so angry.
And I hope they get angry. All of them. There’s already an army of girls playing, engaging, writing and talking about video games – and they’re about to get some new recruits.
Janet told me that in a single week, Good Game: Spawn Point receives over 17,000 letters and emails from its viewers. At least 50% of them are from girls. I sincerely hope that, by the time they’ve grown up, we'll have something significantly more substantial for them than Nuns in stilettos and beach volleyball in bikinis.
Because if we don’t, there’ll be hell to pay. And you best believe they won’t be donning leather and bikini armour when they burn this silly little boys club to the ground.