This Article About Women In Video Games Was Written Over 30 Years Ago, And It's Brilliant

And by 'brilliant', I don't mean that it's inspiring or necessarily positive — just that reading it now, in the context of issues we're currently facing in gaming and the wider games industry, it's utterly fascinating.

It's fascinating both in terms of the things that have changed since its publication in 1980 and the things that have remained the same.

Take this quote, for example...

Women are better at creating the patterns, imagery, and atmosphere for games," explains the industry veteran. "They have more of a sense of feeling and colour than men do.

If Dave Nutting, the man who hired Janice Kendricks (one of the first female game designers) had said this today, on Twitter, the fallout would (rightly) be instantaneous and intense. And I find it incredible that a female writer put that quote in an article without addressing it! It shows how far we've come I suppose.

But it's also a weird reminder of how little has changed. The five 'myths', written as a large boxout on the third page of the feature, despite being 'busted' all the way back in 1983, over 30 years ago, are still myths being spread and reinforced today. That makes me feel a little sad. Many of the problems and issues discussed in this feature, written by female journalist Anne Krueger, still haunt the games industry. I think that's a timely reminder that things still need to change.

It was posted on the Old Game Mags Tumblr, which is actually run by Ryan Langley, a level designer over at Halfbrick studios. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Old Game Magazines [Tumblr]

And thanks to James O'Connor for highlighting this post!


Comments

    Did anyone read the comic strip at the end of the article? Video Kid. Is it commentary on the article? Coincidence?

    Pretty cool article. A bit hard to relate to since the only game I recognise there is Pac-man, so I'm not sure what they mean when they're talking about "spatial games" like Defender (I know of Asteroids but I think I've never actually played it).

    It's a little sad that so many of this stuff is still relevant today though. I think the quote about women being their own worst enemies is reflected in some of my female friends. They don't like playing games (which is fair enough) but then they expect other females to not want to play games either. And sometimes I'd ask a girl why she doesn't play any games and they feel being a girl is good enough reason to not bother trying to play any games at all.

      I need to find your friends and slap them. =(

        Haha well it's only a few who do this. And I noticed if you shove a fun-looking game in front of them they'll play it. They just normally skirt around the topic because I guess they're not actively interested in it. At my last birthday party a couple of my female friends were taking turns having a go at Super Street Fighter IV.

        Wait that sounds a bit silly. I'm trying to remember what drove me to turn on SSFIV at my birthday party in the first place...

          Fair enough. Not everyone wants to talk about games.
          Maybe say that being female is no longer a valid excuse anymore. After all 40% of gamers are women.

          @matildamuffinator
          This is one comment. It's not really going to cause the problem to get worse. The stuff that is generally is on 9gag and reddit about how funny it is women don't like games. While we make fun of the sterotypes, we're going to enforce them. =/

      Ugh, there's nothing that annoys me more than people reinforcing stereotypes like that. JUST SHUTUP YOU'RE NOT HELPING! Luckily this isn't something I have experienced personally. Me and my sisters game, most of my female friends have at least tried a few games and my mum even plays a little bit. I just don't see what having a vagina has to do with enjoying video games :S

    How many kickstarter campaigns since its creation? Nearly one million projects.
    How many successful kickstarter campaigns since its creation? Nearly half a million projects.
    How much kickstarter funds raised since its creation? Over 500 million dollars.
    How many of those purely female driven game projects? Zero.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats?ref=footer

    There is nothing limiting women to make games with her friends. Everyone can get access to all the computer software, education, and funding. All these articles enforce is the opposite of freedom, which is telling woman what to do by using ancient representatives to enforce a belief system (women can make better immersing environments, GIRL why aren't you making games?).

    If she wants to make a game, let her make the game! But don't go writing articles like this instigating what she should do with her time. Making games is stressful, tiresome, and many times it can be anti-social. By luring innocent girls down this path is a much more sinister than a 50 foot tentacle monster.

    The industry is the way it is because it is very very hard, in a world population of 8 billion + we have only 3 flexible game engines Unreal, Crysis, id Tech, to name a few... It is purely a numbers game. Many many men try, and many men fail. Just because all you see is results doesn't mean everyone man or woman gamer wants to do it, and even if they wanted to it doesn't mean they can.

    I found the advertising and comic at the end of the article equally as interesting. I can't remember the last time I saw an advert for a 'gross' of anything! The comic raises a very good point, especially when we are examining 'violent games'. I think violence comes from within, and isn't generated by an outside activity. Some people could get violent over a game of tiddlywinks!

    In the late '80s and early '90s, female journalists were often the imaginary avatars of bearded staff writers (publishers thought it would get more women reading, or male readers would fancy them, or something).

    Perhaps Anne Krueger didn't address the highly sexist quote because she didn't actually exist.

      No, she seems like a real person:
      http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1964&dat=19810608&id=hf8sAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Vs0FAAAAIBAJ&pg=5893,4736422

    Women are better at creating the patterns, imagery, and atmosphere for games,” explains the industry veteran. “They have more of a sense of feeling and colour than men do.
    If Dave Nutting, the man who hired Janice Kendricks (one of the first female game designers) had said this today, on Twitter, the fallout would (rightly) be instantaneous and intense.

    I have to admit, I see this as more practical advice than being sexist (Dave Nuttal was an engineer after all)
    It has actually been established as fact time and time again over the last few decades that women happen to have more receptors in their eyes allowing them to see a greater range of colours.
    As for creating patterns and imagery, that simply comes down to broader life experience, because let's be honest here, men tend to focus on the core objective, whereas women have a lot more experience with presentation and effect.

    At the time Dave Nutting said this, he already had 12 years industry experience in video games, so if anything, he is praising his female employees.

    There are plenty of seemingly sexist remarks in that article - on both sides. You see what you want to see, I guess

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