Wed
Nov 28 2012 3:00pm

#1ReasonWhy Brings Game Design Discrimination To Light

A look at the #1ReasonWhy Twitter phenomenon and how it’s bringing game design discrimination to light

It started out with one question. Luke Crane, creator of such tabletop RPGs as Mouse Guard and The Burning Wheel, asked his Twitter audience: 

“Why are there so few lady game creators?”

What followed was an explosion of responses in the gamer community that sent Twitter buzzing and caught the eye of media outlets across the internet. Spurred by the seemingly straightforward question, women game designers began sharing stories about their personal struggles in the gaming industry. Under the hashtag #1reasonwhy, women from AAA video game companies to tabletop RPGs and LARPs came together to share the number one reasons they don’t want (or feel they aren’t able) to pursue game design as a career. The stories themselves are heartbreaking and speak for themselves.

As the discussion continued, women came together to speak up about their experiences, sharing tales of harassment, sexual misconduct and marginalization. Overnight, #1reasonwhy became a rallying cry on Twitter for game designers to speak their minds, racking up over 22,000 tweets. The comments didn’t just come from women, either. Male game designers came to speak out in support of their compatriots, in an effort to bring to light gender inequality in the gaming world.

But of course, along with those voices of support came the trolls.

Articles sprang up across the internet about the Twitter phenomenon, ranging from Time.com to Forbes.com and Gamespot, just to name a few. Yet it was two articles on Kotaku, highlighting the #1reasonwhy explosion and the later supportive threads of #1reasonmentor and #1reasonto, that became a forum for a tide of nasty backlash against the #1reasonwhy conversation. Here are some classic examples:

From “Mr.Truth333”:

Are women actually expecting respect in an industry where they are NOT THE MAJORITY CONSUMER/PRODUCER. My goodness this is hilarious. Most women back then never cared for this industry and dismissed it in every way possible. Now that they see it’s a money maker, they want their piece, but can’t handle the fact that it’s a male driven industry. So they complain about it because that’s the only thing they know how to do properly and the know it will get them what they want while devaluing the product.

I hope you like feminism and PC groups forcing their ideas on the gaming industry even more now guys, because this is where it’s headed.

From “slixor”:

You know, I always wonder why women can’t do anything but bitch and moan. I mean, if you want video games for women and are as talented as your male developer colleagues, then just make one. Develop your own game.

Also, what is it with this massive entitlement? Video games are a male dominated culture so naturally there will be mostly games targeted at males. Is that really so hard to understand? You don’t see me walking into the feminine products aisle and demand that someone make man-pads. Again, if you want to have your own niche in the industry then carve it out, don’t expect other people to present it to you on a silver platter just because you have a vagina.

It should be mentioned that a recent statistic noted that 47% of gamers in today’s market are female. You wouldn’t know it, of course, from reading these comments. Instead you’d think that women were a recent addition to gaming, and that the gamer community was under siege by some horrid plague out to corrupt everything good and worthwhile about the industry. The trolling hasn’t stopped at harsh comments on articles, however. Many women who have commented on the #1reasonwhy post have received harsh criticism and harrassment through various media. But then, that same reaction is one of the problems several game designers mentioned when discussing their treatment in the industry, and really only serves to reinforce the very arguments that the women involved have been making. If you speak up, you risk being stigmatized for being “loud” or “whiny” or, heaven forbid, a feminist.

In an era where Anita Sarkesian has received rape and death threats for simply starting a Kickstarter campaign for a feminist video game critique project, and salaries in the gaming industry are horribly skewed in favor of male contributors, trolls represent only the seedy underbelly of real, widespread, institutionalized misogyny. Yet the designers who took part in this Twitter conversation summoned an activist-like courage to speak out that is both admirable and encouraging. 

As I write this article, the #1reasonwhy conversation is still going on and has spawned debate all over the internet. Whether or not this newly heightened awareness of sexism in the gaming industry will eventually produce any noticeable long-term change would be difficult to predict, but for now at least, the message certainly seems to have been heard. 


Shoshana Kessock is a comics fan, photographer, game developer, LARPer and all around geek girl. She’s the creator of Phoenix Outlaw Productions and ReImaginedReality.com.

34 comments
Joseph Newton
1. crzydroid
The notion that gamers are a male-dominated audience as a justification for objectfying women seems to be the same idea that is used to defend the representation of women in comic books. It just serves to reinforce this notion that "this is just the way men are" and that it's some integral and necessary part of being male and it's not wrong to cater to that.

If your product does have a male-dominated base, then it's even worse to treat women this way in your product. It just keeps on teaching new generations of men that this is the way women are to be viewed, rather than introduce positive examples.
Thomas Jeffries
2. thomstel
Dude, that "slixor" quote, man...I can't even...

*deep breath*
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
Trolls turn to stone when exposed to daylight. The rocks of the internet need to keep getting turned over and getting a good dose of daylight on what lies beneath.
treebee72 _
4. treebee72
As a 40 year old woman who has been playing both board and video games my entire frelling life, I am constantly boggled by this notion that girls/women playing games is somehow new. (And I have 4 older sisters who have all played board and/or video games their entire lives as well).
Theresa DeLucci
5. theresa_delucci
It's Kotaku, what does one expect? It's got a terrible reputation for hardcore trolls.

Pritpaul and I frequently bring the misogyny issue up in our gaming posts, but there are weeks where I just can't bring myself to blog about every disgusting comment or article online. Because we could find fodder pretty much every week, if it came to it. It's good that more people are discussing it, but progress feels so depressingly slow it makes me question why I even like games anymore, when I feel so unwelcome in the community sometimes.
reallyshouldregister
6. reallyshouldregister
I'll be the first to say I know nothing about the life of a game designer, much less the life of a female game designer. That said, this article really missed the mark for me. If there are legitimate issues in the treatment of women in that industry (and there probably are), such as disrespecting the opinions of female employees because they are female, providing them with lower pay, or incidents of sexual harrasment then why not make the argument about those issues?

Many of the twitter posts quoted in the article above have poor arguments. For example, Brenda Romero complains about being introduced as the wife of John Romero. In most circumstances, yes that would be extremely sexist. However, when John Romero is a game designer behind hugely famous and successful game franchises such as Wolfenstein, Doom, and Quake it is a logical and smart business decision to emphasize her ties to him in order to draw in the fans of those franchises. Were John Romero's male relatives to start their own careers in game design, they would most likely use the same tactic. The reasoning behind introducing her as his wife is not to say that as a woman she can not be her own individual, it's to say that she needs to use her ties to famous developers to break onto the scene.

Another point about gaming demographics -- I do believe more and more women are getting into gaming, but I still question the statistics quoted in the article. I highly doubt that 47% of core gamers (i.e. those who play in genres such as FPS, RPG, or Strategy and are referred to as "gamers") are female. To me 30-40% female seems more realistic for the demographic that could be called "gamers." The survey included anyone who plays any type of electronic game, including things like Angry Birds, Madden, or Farmville which brings in a large number of people who play games but could not be considered "gamers."

TL;DR -- You need to make a stronger case if you want people to take up your cause. I personally do want women to become game designers, but articles like this annoy me. In the gaming industry if you make a good game, people will buy it. Look at the success of the Demons' Souls series or any number of indy game hits. People will buy a game if it is good and fun to play, they don't care who the developers are.
reallyshouldregister
7. Arcanis
While the idea that the gaming industry is dominated by male gamers is just stupid at this point, this debate does cause me to ask, why haven't these very talented women started their own game, designed and targeted for the girl gamer demo?

While that slixor quote was quote was dripping with horrible misguided thoughts and feelings, there is a sliver of truth in it. Women play video games, quite a bit actually, so therefore, the talented women developers should stand up, and create something. It seems to be a 'put up or shut up' moment. You can't have an outcry of mistreatment, stating that women need to be treated fairly because they have quality input into the industry; while at the same time, sitting down and waiting for these same men to give you the opportunity. They aren't going to. They aren't going away, and they aren't going to stop thinking the way they do. Not until someone shoves their misguided thoughts and feelings toward the industry, back down their throat through quality video games directed toward women buyers and players. Which willalso need to make a comparible profit to their male oriented counterparts.
reallyshouldregister
8. TBGH
Just had to say I agree with @6 and @7.

Sexual harassment is wrong. Underpaying someone for their skills based on their gender/race/age etc. is wrong.

As far as the video games themselves go, as long as the rating system warns parents about potentially inappropriate games they can put whatever they want in there and it won't ever be a blip on my moral radar. It's free speech people. If I find it objectionable, I won't buy it because I have a little girl in the house. As long as society at large and segments of the gaming community in particular want to look at scantily clad women however, I fully expect and have no problem with companies producing such games.
Mordicai Knode
9. mordicai
Those comments are a great example of how people in power can look at the people they are oppressing...& tell them it is their fault. Misogyny in gamer culture is not because of women.
if you want video games for women and are as talented as your male developer colleagues, then just make one.
Lazy dames, while you were complaining about institutionalized inequality, you could have just created your own gigantic game company! That is super easy, right?
Most women back then never cared for this industry and dismissed it in every way possible.
Yeah, ladies, let this guy tell you about how you've always hated video games & also you are gold diggers!

Thanks for this article, Shoshana.
reallyshouldregister
10. hapax
Wow, it took a whole six comments before we got to the "well, this case of sexism isn't REALLY sexist" apologists (with a side order of "girl games aren't REAL games") showed up?

Guess the internet isn't as sexist as I thought!

ETA: Captcha words are "Kent Wanling". I am *so* gonna steal that as my Manly Alter-Ego!
Matthew B
11. MatthewB
Whole lotta missing the point going on in some of these comments. Go read J.R. Blackwell's tweet again guys.
Luis Milan
12. LuisMilan
More than half of my hardcore gamer friends are girls, so the 47% sounds about right.
Walker White
13. Walker
@6

The survey included anyone who plays any type of electronic game, including things like Angry Birds, Madden, or Farmville which brings in a large number of people who play games but could not be considered "gamers."

And 15 years ago no one who played video games would be called a gamer. Because the core gamers were in the pen-and-paper and board space. Everyone knew that people who played video games were just posers.

The meaning of gamer is constantly changing. Attempting to be elitist about its meaning serves no productive purpose.

All of those games have had major influences on gaming in a way that benefit the core audience. Angry Birds has driven the mobile revolution, which in turn is seeing far more innovation than the AAA space or even the PC indie space. Madden is the reason why many inner-city African Americans have an X-Box as their sole connection to the Internet, which in turn has greatly strengthened the X-Box live experience. And Zynga's appeal to middle aged women has opened up an entire new market that makes the industry as a whole healthier.
reallyshouldregister
14. ScottP
It's easy to tell that a lot of comments on this issue are made with absolutely no knowledge of the gaming industry.

"Core gamers, people who play FPS" People who play FPS games do not make up the majority of people who play games. It is a single genre. Even in that genre, there are more females than many will be prepared to admit. I would say 47% is a fairly accurate estimate of how many women play MMOs. (Based purely on personal experience)

But beyond that, it always makes me laugh when people say "If women want a game targeted at women, why don't they just make one instead of complaining?"
This is the perfect example of having absolutely no knowledge of the gaming industry. I have a female friend who works in the gaming industry. She was called a feminazi for suggesting that the female character in a game she was working on didn't need to wear pink. If she wanted to create a game with a female protagonist who didn't look like a stripper, she would have to break into the close knit circle of men who run the company. She would then have to convince them that her ideas were profitable. She would then have to convince the male producer, male art director, and all the male designers that the character shouldn't look like a stripper.

This isn't an industry where you can just up and make the game you want. It's an industry that is run by men. Men who have a very set idea of what a game needs to be. And while there are more and more women coming into the industry, it's still the Men who decide what gets made, and what things look like.
Bethany Pratt
15. LiC
Star Trek Online just had a big release for "season 7" - basically a bunch new missions, a new world to explore with daily missions, and in particular a big reputation system. Character bodies are extremely customizable (from dress size 0-14, bra size AA-FF, besides species), which is pretty common - but the freaking game is using a gratuitous* boob shot of a Vulcan/Romulan Starfleet officer as the "load" screen. This is too much. They created a lush new world, and I get stuck staring at boobs while I wait for it to load. W.T.F.

It is NOT hard to avoid this kind of blatant sexism. WHY is this the most important thing in an update? New Romulas is GORGEOUS, the entire game design is beautiful, and I get fake boobs?

*The character is in a tight uniform (ok) with the zipper pulled down in front - waaay down.
reallyshouldregister
16. Thax
@reallyshouldregister.

Brenda Brathwaite (Brenda Romero's birth and professional name) has been a renown figure in the gaming industry since the early 80's. She worked on classics like Wizardry and Jagged Alliance. She (co-) owns her own development company. She wrote about game development, she taught game development. She has more achievements to her name than many game developers, male or female, will ever manage.

She doesn't need her (recent) husband's name to "break onto the scene." She helped create the scene.

A gaming publication worth anything should know this. Reducing her to "wife of" is just insulting.
reallyshouldregister
17. Megpie71
I can give you another #1reasonwhy women aren't treated seriously as game designers: because we aren't treated seriously as game players either. "reallyshouldregister" above does almost a textbook bingo card job of marginalising female game players - we're not hardcore enough, we don't play the right games, we don't play the right genres, we don't play for long enough, we don't participate in the raids, et cetera and so on, all of which basically translates to "women don't play games exactly the same way I do". Now, I've been playing computer games on and off since I was about fifteen (I'm now in my forties), and most of the time I've been playing RPGs by preference. I play on a PC, or on the Xbox or the PS2, or occasionally on the PSP. I've been doing this for years, and until fairly recently, I didn't have problems finding new games to play, or new material to enjoy.

In the last few years, though, and particularly since the whole "women don't play games" thing has surfaced as a thing in the industry in general, I've been getting more and more disgusted with the whole boiling. What I want out of a game is plot and interest. I don't want to be constantly watching tits, arse and upskirt shots of various female characters in a game (I've recently been re-playing Star Ocean IV, and that's a really bad offender in this category). I don't want first person anything - I get motion sick, and it doesn't matter how damn good the graphics are, I always wind up nauseous as a result of playing first person perspective (I have to put Morrowind and Oblivion to one side if I want to keep my stomach in one piece; anything from the Orange Box is the same, so I don't play much Portal either). When I go into the store, I really don't want a choice between three different types of First Person Shooter where the default characters are all male, and the female characters are all caricatures. But that's what's on the shelves, and there's an absolute dearth of alternatives.

Plus, I'm broke. I've been broke for most of the past four years. My last three game purchases (Plants vs Zombies; Final Fantasy VII re-release for PC; Minecraft) were made purely on budgetary considerations - they were all $20 or less. The last game I bought for full price at the stores was Final Fantasy XIII (and that was because firstly, I knew Square Enix had put a lot of work into the game; secondly, I was reading good reviews of it from people I knew shared similar gaming tastes to myself; and thirdly, it was my birthday, so I had my birthday money). The rest of the time, I tend to stick with freeware, or I'll pick up something which is second-hand and/or heavily discounted.
reallyshouldregister
18. GuruJ
@reallyshouldregister and others

I am oddly pleased that I never linked Rhianna Pratchett to her arguably far-more famous dad until a month or so ago. I don't know if it was specifically requested that this not be reported in articles about her. But I am very pleased that publications like Ars Technica (and no doubt others) emphasised her skills and capabilities instead of spuriously talking about her relationship to someone else as if that made her more worthy of being listened to.
Cain Latrani
19. CainS.Latrani
Off and on for the last eighteen years, I have played D&D with my girlfriend. At first, she was very reluctant to join my gaming group, on the grounds she did not want to intrude. After some persuaion from me, she did, and thanks to some good friends, had a blast.

I was more than a little startled to learn that the genre of gaming I had enjoyed for years at that point was considered a 'guys thing'. I'm even more disturbed now to learn that it still is.

I will never cease to be amazed at the manner in which an industry I love, can make me loathe it with its narrow view of what is acceptable.

47% of your potential audiance is not being addressed properly, guys. How did you get where you are without being able to do such basic math as that?

There are many issues where women not just playing games, but how they are presented in games, that is deserving of a lot of discussion. Maybe, finally, that can happen. It's way past freaking time.
Gerd K
20. Kah-thurak
I am not really sure what to make of this post. Is this a case study that idiots exist in internet forums? I thought that was prooven years ago.

On a more serious note I think that many issues this topics has is with definitions and the resulting discrepancy between statistics and personal experiance. What is a "gamer"? If you cannot answer that question clearly you cant have a statistic saying how many percent of them are male or female. I guess there realy are branches of the computer gaming sector where women are relativly rare and branches where this is not remotely the case. Furthermore it seems, that the more established "old school" branches are more populated by male players - thus it may take some time for the mindsets of the companys to change.
Iain Cupples
21. NumberNone
reallyshouldregister 6: oh boy. If you're demanding a stronger case from your opponents, you should think about how strong your own is first.

Textbook example of a 'poor argument' is this waffle about 'core gamers'. It's shifting the goalposts, pure and simple. The figures don't suit, so let's find a way to fiddle them by excluding people who don't fit the preconception of what a 'gamer' should be.

This leads inexorably to the notion that only people who play games targeted at male gamers (ie, male gamers) really matter. You might just as well be saying 'get back to your knitting, girls'.

Women are simultaneously being told to go and design better games if they don't like the ones on offer - and also that if they do design and play those games, they'll still be ignored, because those games aren't 'core' games (i.e. they're not important).

Sadly, this dog won't hunt. 'Core gamers' are no longer just those who spend all day honing their reactions on Call of Duty, and that's been the case for a long, long time.
Mordicai Knode
22. mordicai
21. NumberNone

& as a casual gamer myself, it seems weird to even try to shift those goal posts to suit a gendered argument, you know? Like, how hard is it to get a room of gamer males wistful for the Gameboy or some tiny, elegant little app or flash game? Why, not hard at all! I think, in fact, that the casual gaming field might be more subversive & more diverse precisely because they are smaller, & the institutional discrimination of the industry at large isn't at play.

Which is to say, aw snap, your comment! Preach.
Gerd K
23. Kah-thurak
@mordicai
Why assume malice about it? The term "gamer" is not formally defined. People understand it differently. Confusion about what is actually beeing talked about and the assumption that "the others" must somehow have malevolent intentions make these discussion as unfriendly as they are.
reallyshouldregister
24. musicalgal123
@Kah-thurak.
I think you are looking for a definition that will never be found. Some people assume gamers are only a population that plays FPS or RTS games. Others say it is only video game players. Others include any gaming. The definition is so varied depending on who you talk to. That is its own problem that Shoshana has discussed in other articles because that gets into how Gaming is an unwelcoming culture where people are forced to show their "cred" as a gamer and if they can't measure up to the one judging, they're asked to leave the culture. I think Shoshana is using the broadest term for gamer possible, especially as she is an avid tabletop and LARP player as well as a game designer and by including all aspects of Gaming, she can then include most of the people who take that label. Plus this issue of female game designers not being allowed entry into the game designing circuit is far more than just in video games. It is also just as existant in table top, board gaming, card gaming, and LARP.
Mordicai Knode
25. mordicai
23. Kah-thurak

Here is the thing: I don't assume malice! Frankly, I am entirely disinterested in motives. I'm interested in results & practical consequences. Whatever the intent is, the reality is this: there are a number of women who are actual gaming professionals who feel that there is discrimination...& then there are a bunch of people mansplaining to them why they are wrong. That is the hierarchy of oppression at work; whatever motivations there are behind it.
Gerd K
26. Kah-thurak
@musicalgal123
I am not exactly looking for a definition. I am pointing out that there is none and that therfore the discussion is flawed.

Tabletop Gaming is actually a pretty good example for me, because I know that pretty well. I am a serious Warhammer Fantasy Battles tournament player and in that enviroment, female players are (sadly!) next to nonexistent (though my personal statistic against women in that game will probaby for ever stay worse than that against men :P). So if I were to compare my personal experiance to the statistic I would have to think: "47%? Yeah. Sure." And that is where much of the heat in these discussions comes from.

@mordicai
The problem is, that you are taking this too far to convince anyone who does not share your opinion from the start. Technically, if you used your own standards against yourself the word "mansplaining" itself would be unusable becausse it is a) sexist and b) insulting.

So yes, obviously women sometimes have a difficult time trying to get into fields that are dominated by men. But in how far this is "oppression" and in how far a process of transition, that just takes its time is open to debate.
Emily Cartier
27. Torrilin
@Walker's: And 15 years ago no one who played video games would be called a gamer.

15 years ago it was 1997. Riven was released. Quake II was released. Final Fantasy VII was released. Age of Empires was released. Ultima Online was released. And from identifying as a gamer at that point, I can assure you that no, pen and paper was not the dominant format. You could easily find multiple magazine titles devoted to various sorts of video games in your local grocery store. Finding a copy of Dragon was something of an adventure and took going to a specialty store quite often. Not as much of an adventure as finding a handspinning magazine, but definitely a niche item. When some friends tried to convince me to try pen and paper, I couldn't understand why you'd want to do something so weird and niche and that was so much easier to manage on a computer.

Even now, most of my d20 system experience is in Neverwinter Nights, because I loathe rolling dice. I can cope with having to roll a d20 on occasion, but I find dice rolls really interrupt the experience for me. We shall not speak of dice pool systems, reading a d20 is easier than that!

30 years ago, that I'd buy. But 30 years ago, I was 5 years old and a gamer and kind of dicey on this whole reading thing so my viewpoint might be a touch narrow ;).
Mordicai Knode
28. mordicai
26. Kah-thurak

Except, as a straight white cis male, I feel pretty confident in the assertion that there isn't a broad, institutionalized gender based discrimination against me...so I'm not going to fall for the "reverse discrimination" card. That said, I don't mean to sound vitriolic; you're right that using inflamatory rhetoric isn't the best way to communicate ideas.

Also, as a table top (role)player, if we're doing anecdotal statistics, I'd say the majority of gamers are female...but then, that just goes to show why anecodes don't make good data points. More to the point; maybe the reason for a lack of diversity might have to do...with the very same discrimination we're talking about?
Kevin Maroney
29. womzilla
Walker@13:

I was a full-time professional computer game producer/developer/designer from 1992 to 2001, and part-time for another few years after that. I know from industry studies *back then* that the majority of computer game players were "casual" gamers, almost all of them outside the "core" demographic of youngish males. In other words, for at least a decade, it has been true that young males haven't been the sole audience for computer games, or even necessarily the most profitable. (Casual gamers spent a *lot* of time seeing advertisements, which is supposedly the be-all and end-all of online monetization.)

But there is a long-standing bias of perception that the real money, and thus the "true" audience, for computer games is the blockbuster titles, the small handful of titles every year that sell hundreds of thousands or millions of copies annually. And there's a long-standing bias of perception that the only audience for these blockbuster games is young and male, despite the fact that whenever game designers & publishers take even the smallest steps to NOT ACTIVELY ALIENATE female players*, they also flock to those games.

So, yeah, computer games are a "male dominated industry", but that's only true because "dominated" involves several layers of active blindness, ignorance, and exclusion.

*From the beginning, TOMB RAIDER's Lara Croft appealed to females players, and the first one had reviewers like Sara "House of Fun" Dyer saying, "This is a great game for women of all ages." So, of course, when TOMB RAIDER II came out, there were bus-side ads in New York showing just a giant pair of boobs covered in an aqua tunic. Way to capitalize on the inroads you made with an untapped crossover audience, Eidos!
reallyshouldregister
30. reallyshouldregister
@10 And only 10 comments for someone to overreact and put words into the mouths of skeptics. If you think I've said something wrong, why not tell me what it is. I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong.

@13 Where did I waffle? My point isn't that people who play casual games or play "core games" casually are inferior to the core gamers or that the core games are what make up the bulk of the market. I do understand that most game sales are for casual games, I think the success of the Wii proved that point pretty solidly. I'm just saying that male or female when you think of a "gamer" you don't think of someone who plays Angry Birds or a little bit of Mario Kart every now and then. The statistic quoted in the article was misleading in my opinion because it represented "people who play video games" but was used to describe "gamers."

@16 Thank you for pointing that out, I was definitely in the wrong there. I had never heard of her before, but clearly she is an established and skilled developer and her comment was 100% valid. Personally, I had never heard of her (she is a bit before my time) but I should have looked her up before writing what I did.
reallyshouldregister
31. stormcrow27
Those Kotaku posters are sickening. I've seen better behavior come from rabid squirrels. At least the squirrels can't help it. Games are starved for new ideas as is, and then we decide to squash 1/2 (or more) of the potential designers because they have different plumbing? Moronic.
Iain Cupples
32. NumberNone
shouldreallyregister 30: yeah, that's essentially just repeating your initial claim.

Look, maybe when you hear the word 'gamer', you mentally exclude 'casual gamers' and introduce a division between them and 'core gamers' who play FPS etc. If so, that's a bias. OK, we all have them. The problem arises when we treat our biases as if everyone shared them.

We don't. Your reaction to the word 'gamers' is not that of everyone, not even people in the industry. If the statistics don't fit your bias about the meaning of the word 'gamers', you should surely be questioning your bias rather than the validity of the statistics.

The danger of the latter is that it's introducing this notion of 'core' gamers and 'core' games, with the associated implication that they're the ones that really matter, and they just happen to be the ones that are most popular with the younger straight male demographic and the ones that are most commonly problematic. Which leads to the mentality we're talking about, that gaming is a young straight male preserve.
reallyshouldregister
33. reallyshouldregister
32- I'm not going to back down from my original point. I believe that people who play Madden, Call Of Duty, Angry Birds, Farmville, etc on occassion and the group of people who play pen and paper RPGs are different demographics. The second group is what I believe this issue is about, because it was started by a creator of pen and paper RPGs who was curious and/or disappointed that there aren't many women in his field. That is why I say that the first group should not be a part of the discussion even though they may be the largest group of video game players. That isn't a sexism issue, it's a "nerd cred" issue. There are plenty of female geeks out there who would share my opinions on what is and is not a "gamer."

Look, I agree that among the group I call "gamers" women need to be treated well and that in a lot of cases they are not being treated as well as they should be. There are plenty of stupid prejudiced people out there at sites like Kotaku who need a good dose of reality. I'm definitely not perfect either as I discovered from my discussions in this thread. All I'm saying is that whatever you call them, there are "gamers" and there are "game players" and you should not use statistics about one to describe the other.
Roland of Gilead
34. pKp
@33 : please define "gamer".

Because in a lot of circles, 14-years-old bros who play the last Call of Duty aren't considered "gamers", either. "Gamers" are the old guard, the people who play Demon's Souls to relax between Dwarf Fortress marathons and comment on Jonathan Blow's latest brain-fart.


There's a lot of communities in gaming, and a lot of willy-wagging over who's a "real gamer" with "nerd cred" and who's a "casual". Of course there's a difference between your mom playing Angry Birds and BoxeR making a living crushing Zerglings, but it's a difference of degree, not nature. People draw different kind of lines around the workd "gamer", and that's OK, but I prefer to err on the side of being inclusive.

Back on topic : I think it's great that the women of the industry are raising their voice and saying "enough with this bullshit already". I really think we'll see some great games once we get rid of (or at least tone down) this stupid, stupid idea that games are for guys.

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