Why Do Games Matter?

I will confess that when I found out the topic for this class was going to be a study of video games, I was not thrilled with the idea. How would studying gaming culture be relevant at all to what I want to do in the future? How can I even talk about games for an entire semester?  While I have played my fair share of video games in the past (Skyrim, Fallout, the Sims, Dreamfall, the list goes on) I just could not fathom how I would last an entire semester discussing games.

After the first class I went home and pondered  — if you think about it, video games are pretty similar to movies in the sense that they both tell stories (most of the time). The cool part is that you get to actually be in the story, play in the story, etc. Plus, there are hundreds of thousands of games out there and I’m sure a few of them are bound to be more than a little interesting.

So the gears of my brain began to turn, and I started thinking about what sort of uhm…controversies, exist in the gaming world.

For the sake of this post, I’ll just talk about the rampant sexism flowing through gaming culture.

Can somebody please explain why the majority of female characters in video games are clad in very revealing “armor”?

Image result for women in video games
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider

Image result for female characters video games
Quiet, Medal Gear Solid 5

Image result for female characters video games
Sonya Blade, Mortal Kombat X

There are a number of things wrong with these images:

  1. The “armor” serves absolutely no protection against weapons and would-be killers.
  2. What is with the halter tops?
  3. They are all designed with large bosoms for no reason. At all. It’s preposterous.
  4. There is no way to store or carry any of their guns or knives or whatever it is that badass women carry to deliver justice.
  5. All of them are white, perfectly sculpted, with no bruises, scars, or injuries that tell people not to f**k! with these women cause they will end you and your family.

Funnily enough, this hypersexualization of women in gaming parallels the same hypersexualization of women in the movie industry!

My question is — why?

You could argue that the gaming industry wants to tailor to a specific demographic. Or that males dominate the gaming world. But that can’t be true, considering that females make up almost HALF of gamers.

I think that it’s important to study games so that we can tackle issues like sexism in gaming, and get to the root of the problem. And also to get rid of the halter tops.

This article on CRACKED.com highlights more on the representation of women  (or lack thereof) in the gaming industry. There is a link below, and here is an excerpt on a section that talks about the Assassin’s Creed games:

“Creative and technical directors Alex Amancio and James Therien claimed that the lack of women was because of the “reality of game development,” as animating women would have “doubled the work.” Apparently unaware that doing work to make a game is their job. Did they think “director” meant they just got to sit in a wooden chair shouting at people through a megaphone all day? Did they think vagina bones were an unsolved problem in computer simulation? And apparently it wasn’t too much work to hire a Sorbonne professor to advise on 18th-century peasant life.” — (Luke McKinney, Cracked).





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