I've mentioned several times that three of us submitted a panel application to PAX East 2011. They didn't take the panel, and I don't know that I was expecting them to. But I liked what we came up with, and so it's going to be a year-long series.
When we sat down to think about what mattered, and where we felt the issues regarding gender in gaming were, we came up with an outline and a focus. Distilled down to its absolute shortest one-liner format, our three-page outline looks like this:
Focus: The role of women and girls as players, characters, and participants in games and gamer culture
Areas of Discussion:
- Characters (male and female, and how they relate) in games
- Writing (gender roles, why they persist, language used) in games
- Marketing (writing about, images used, language chosen) of games
- Gamer culture (web presence, online multiplayer, stereotypes)
- And of course, knowing all this -- where do we go from here?
But for us, we can agree: there are significant problems with the way female video game characters are written. There are huge problems with the graphical way in which female video game characters are portrayed. Writing of games has issues with women, and writing about games is, arguably, even worse. Games are marketed to a mythical monolithic 15-24 year old white male who may not even exist, and gamer culture has rallied around what that stereotypical marketing figure is supposed to prefer.
The "girl gamer" isn't often a girl (in the case of Your Critic, she's 30 and a married, employed adult), but she is a gamer. And we're going to start, next in the series, by examining available female characters, past and present.