This has been a subject that’s been buzzing around in my head for a while. Should we focus on advertising more games specifically to women, in which case, what would this look like and is it really necessary?
It seems to me that there’s still a template for advertising games that focuses on a predominately teenage male audience. Which makes me feel uncomfortable at times. I also often find myself wondering how I would learn about all the beautiful and amazing games that I play, if I didn’t work in the industry. I follow game developers, game media, game journalists, game academics, game musicians and game artists – so of course I get access to great new games, because this is my life. But if I were just a woman playing as a hobby, where would I go for my information, who’s opinion would I listen to?
We know that women play games. We play quite a lot actually according to the last ESA report:
Adult women represent a greater portion of the video game-playing population (31 percent) than boys age 18 or younger (18 percent).
So I guess we’re doing rather well without having female targeted marketing? And that’s awesome! This makes me so happy! But I wonder if we’ve only scratched the surface?
Let’s not paint everything pink just yet!
I just watched this wonderful keynote by Leigh Alexander on the challenges of being a female journalist and being labelled a feminist journalist because she writes about things such as computer games. She really gives a lot of her own personal experiences and I’m very thankful for that. I recognise a lot of what she brings up. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and a bit daunting being asked to have an opinion or a voice for an entire gender, speaking on behalf of all woman everywhere. I don’t even feel comfortable talking on behalf of female gamers. But Alexander is great at pointing out that we already have some wonderful female role models in the game industry out there and that we shouldn’t let ourselves be silenced for our gender or that the pressure of talking on behalf of a gender is too awesome. Her conclusion was absolutely great: “I believe that games can speak to more people than they already do and in order for that to happen they need all of our voices – they need you!”. Thanks Mathias Poulsen for recommending it!
I’ve been hassling IT-journalists about getting involved with Ada Lovelace Day and now I’m sitting here on the day – completely rushed on my own contribution! Just goes to show – hassling people is a tricky thing to pull off respectfully
So, in the spirit of Ada Lovelace Day, I would like to focus on Tracy Harwood.
We were so lucky this fall to have her visit Landmark in our humble city of Bergen, Norway for a lecture on Machinima. It was a pleasure to have her here and she inspired me (and dare I say, my mom) to keep living my life as colourful as possible.
Tracy Harwood is today a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University. She’s a professional marketer and has a PhD in negotion of buyer-seller relationships.
It’s International Women’s Day again and time to do my annual thank you! Ada Lovelace Day is taking care of my greatfulness for women and technology – so this year I’m going to keep it on a very personal level.
In November 2006, Maren Agdestein organised a lunch where she gathered three women she had met that were writing or considering to write about computer games for their master’s thesis. Seen here on the right from the left: Marianne, Me, Maren and Hedvig. At that time we called ourselves The cHixOrs, not really thinking that we’d do anything more than just meet up every now and then for a chat about games and our academic interests. But I think all of us really enjoyed geekspeaking with other women. There was just something really uplifting, fun and liberating about it.
Since we’ve become such a connected society, I’ve noticed that my idols are more local. They’re reachable, and I may even have talked to them. Maybe its my age, but my idols aren’t billionaires (well – at least I don’t think they are) or global popstars – instead my idols are nearby, within my reach and guess what? They’re all women! I thought about this a few months ago and thought I’d save writing about it until this womens day. As my little tribute.
First off – by idol I mean a person that truly inspires me. It’s a person I draw strength from. I don’t want to be this person, I’m quite happy with who I am. But these people help me to strive for things I really want to do. I feel inspired when I’m around them or reading/hearing their work.
Keep a look out for Jill Walker Rettberg and Hilde Corneliussen‘s Digital Culture, Play and Identity. A World of Warcraft Reader which is now available for pre-order at amazon. The table of contents looks snazy, tasty and delicious. It’s a book I’ll definitely be reading no matter what I’m doing in my life at point of release. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to have two women like Hilde and Jill at the university. I keep kicking myself, though, for staying the media studies path instead of joining the Humanities. Oh well – such is life. Either way, they’ve been such an inspirational source for me the last couple of years – and I’ve never even had them as a lecturer for any class! Jill’s publications can be found here and Hilde’s here. Seriously, though, whenever I was going mad with the complications of thinking about virtuality, their writings always made me see a light at the end of the tunnel. This promises to be an excellent book. Contributers include: Scott Rettberg, Lisbeth Klastrup, T.L. Taylor, Ragnhild Tronstad, Tanya Krzywinska, Espen Aarseth – and more!
Excellent Metaverse Territories introduced me to a great blogpost about Second Life from Broken Toys called “Utopia Hidden Underground: Another Look at SL“.
All in all it sums up nicely with:
“That core of the singularity is what is actually Second Life’s core
strength, and what keeps its users struggling through the level grind and the
broken client and the lack of governmental, er, Linden oversight. Because as a
social MMO, once you get past all the clutter and dross, SL actually works. I
can honestly say that nowhere else online have I argued about Islamic
fundamentalism at one in the morning while lounging in a pool with a half-naked
demon-thing. Much like how people played Ultima Online despite its rampant
peekay and endless bugs simply because it was the promise of something new,
people find the core of SL is actually the other players. That’s something
that’s difficult to break.”
Every now and then a ‘battle of the sexes’ discussion comes up in the gaming blogosphere which always stirs up a loud debate. Personally I think these debates can be healthy because I’m always introduced to new voices, which I enjoy. I may be getting old because I really don’t get provoked by the sexist comments – instead they just make me chuckle.
Recently Crecente from Kotaku wondered why there aren’t more female gaming bloggers. Apparently Kotaku’s looking to expand their repertoire and want to include a female voice in their writing staff – well good for them.
The shocker, however was:
‘But despite my digging around and my somewhat overt nosing around at GDC, I was hard-pressed to find the same sort of, for lack of a better term, job pool that I usually find with male writers.’
My experience coincides with ‘Always Makes Me LOL’ Amber Night:
‘This seems a little strange to me, since my own experience has been that there is fairly large pool of female bloggers in the gaming space’
I find it incredibly odd. And I have to admit that a thought passed through my mind wondering if Crecente posted this piece just so we could point him in the right direction so he didn’t have to bother looking.
So yet again ‘the battle of the sexes’ discussion has produced something wonderful. One Hundred Little Dolls has written a list of female gaming bloggers and I’m sure we’ll see it growing too! A joy to see some locals on the list: Jill Walker, Hilde Corneliussen and Torill Mortensen – I’m so proud! I can’t wait to go on a little link adventure and explore these blogs! Wouldn’t it be precious if T.L. Taylor started blogging?!
When I should have been studying for my INFO 100 exam (I have no idea how I’m going to pass that thing) I had lunch with these beautiful ladies on wonderfully productive Maren’s initiative. It was a great lunch although somewhat sad for me, because these three brilliant ladies are all at the beginning of their Master’s and are about to venture out on writing about gaming. There certainly is a great deal of sorrow in my heart for seeing the back-end of my venture – I was so extremely jealous of their vigor and excitement! Urgh – how emo of me!!!
The hours passed quickly and I’m sure we only covered half of what we wanted to talk about. Topics:
- games designed for girls – what’s bad and what’s good about them
- Wii, DS, Consoles
- Boyfriends helping out with games – good or bad thing (I was silent – but very interested)
- Hedvig (on the far right) is getting married next summer so we went into a frantic and excited creative spurr of having a Nintendo themed wedding!
- The price of stuff – pinkishness – and loads of hardware chit chat
- I learned a lot about the role-playing community here in Bergen – which was REALLY interesting!
Oh – there was just too much to blog about here – excellent and intelligent women who are interested in gaming – it was just such pure joy!!! Just talking about different gameplay strategies for the new games coming out was music to my ears!
Anyways – we’re gonna try and meet up once in a while – and I’m sure others are welcome as well! So if you’re studying an aspect of gaming – let us know! Discussions are passionate, lively and enlightening! I learned so incredibly much and also felt that I could contribute as well! I think we left it that we should meet up before Christmas! Unless I get to work more the weeks before Christmas (which I’m hoping for) – I’m free whenever after December 1st and before December 20th (YAY – SINGAPORE!!!!). In my humble opinion, I think we should keep teaching staff and men out of the equation – but that’s just my opinion, don’t know what the rest of the gals think.
Cool!!! Barcelona and London organise Girl Geek Dinners! What an excellent concept! Definitely comes on top of my list of “things I want to do when I’m unemployed in a month”. It would really be cool to see all the girl geeks of Bergen gathered for a dinner – I’m just looking forward to finding them! But I’m sure most of them will be just like me asking the existential question, “Am I geek enough to attend a geek dinner?”.
The wiki says: “Someone who is female and has an interest in technology, particularly computing and new media. Not necessarily technically minded.”
Hmm…I feel comfortable with that! But who should be invited to speak and who can we ask to sponsor such an event? Ooooh! My mind’s already excited! And how to advertise to girl geeks! Wow! That’s definitely an interesting dilemma! What media channel to use to reach girl geeks and be taken seriously? What an interesting challenge! Woo hoo!! I’m really psyched!
Finally looking forward to unemployment! ;) Hehe!