Pop-Culture | Posted by Brittney E on 12/7/2012

Is Microsoft Paying More Attention To Female Gamers?

In an interview the week before the release of Halo 4, Bonnie Ross, from Microsoft’s 343 Industries, and Kiki Wolfkill, Halo 4’s executive producer, boldly announced that Xbox Live would be implementing a lifetime ban for “players who are found to be making sexist or discriminatory comments against others.” The blogosphere lit up with claims that Halo 4 on Xbox Live would be “banning sexism,” but what does this really mean?

According to ESA game player data, female gamers now make up 47% of all game players, and females over 18 are the industry’s fastest growing demographic.  Nonetheless, sexism in gaming is a prevalent issue. Websites like Fat, Ugly, or Slutty encourage gamers to submit screen shots of players making rude, sexist, or inappropriate comments. Sexist comments are an …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 04/23/2011

Saturday Vids: America 2049

For all the gamers out there who are looking to combine your human rights sensibility with their passions for online games, this one’s for you:

America 2049 is Breakthrough’s new groundbreaking alternate reality game on Facebook that presents a near-future America at a dangerous crossroads. Human rights are in peril; democracy is on the brink of destruction.

You, the player, are an agent of the Council on American Heritage. Tasked with the capture of a presumed terrorist, you are sent into high-risk situations that challenge you to ask: What if? How close have we already come to America 2049? How can we work together—in real life—to build a better future?

America 2049 is the first Facebook game to integrate the social networking platform with many other resources, online and off: multimedia and interactive features, historical artifacts, clues planted across the Internet and real-life events at leading cultural institutions nationwide.

America 2049 was conceived and produced by Breakthrough (breakthrough.tv), a global human rights organization that uses the power of pop culture to advance equality, dignity, and justice.

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Jenae S on 01/28/2011

Girls and Geekdom: The Team Unicorn Conundrum

The girls of Team Unicorn just can’t seem to win. They are hot girls and nerds, yet they find themselves rejected by both women and nerds. Team Unicorn’s video Geek and Gamer Girls made its way through the interwebs a few months back and their second video about Zombies was posted just before the holidays.

Despite showing nothing to doubt their nerd cred, the internet has done exactly that. Commenters have accused them of not being “real nerds” because they are attractive, and of using their looks to “trick nerds.” These girls challenge the stereotypical image of a “geek.” They are all conventionally attractive and not afraid to flaunt their sexuality, yet they show their knowledge of geek culture through their writing and videos. Many of them have been involved …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Danielle B on 12/13/2010

The (Big-Breasted) Curse of Women in Video Games

Video games. Sweet, succulent video games. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day . . .?

Um, sorry about that.

Though my gaming experience hardly compares to my brother’s (who I swear was playing Zelda: A Link to the Past in the womb), I still consider myself a full-fledged gamer, and a darn good one at that.

But what does it mean to be a gamer and a girl? “Teenage boy” and “video game fanatic” are often synonymous, but the same can’t be said for someone like myself. In fact, in her article What Women Want, Aleah Tierney suggests that to be a girl and a gamer is to be “a stranger in a strange land . . . a male-created virtual space.”

Unfortunately, I don’t think Tierney …

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Feminism | Posted by Ariel B on 11/11/2009

Bringing Feminism to Hyrule Since ’96

I am a geek and have been since I was young. Like many of us here on the internet, I say this with a hint of pride. That kid who stayed at home playing Super Mario Bros. and reading the encyclopedia? Yeah, that was me. Knows every anime to hit America since 1995? Also me. Can recite multiple episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series? You get the point. But geekdom is not always the shining Mushroom Kingdom we make it out to be. Like every group, we have our share of misogynist douchewads. for instance, let’s look at one of my earliest hobbies, video games.

Before the ragestorm hits let me say: I AM BY NO MEANS DISSING GAMING. I am a gamer. I specialize in a genre frequently …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 10/14/2009

Girlz Play Too

So, how many of you have seen this commercial for the “Hannah Montana PSP Entertainment Pack” (including a lilac PSP!):

So. They finally admit girls play video games. Girlz play too! And we replace “s” with “z” all the time. That’s the cool thing to do, yknow. I wonder what misguided focus group resulted in that conclusion.

I think that’s the only positive aspect of this new attempt at marketing video games to girls. Because honestly, I’m insulted.

1) The PSP is lilac. Because lilac is a girl color. Also, it is a soothing color, so that if we are PMSing (as we are 95% of the time– it’s just a proven fact) it will calm us so that the menfolk will be able to control us. Seriously? Why …

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Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 06/13/2009

Games for Girls

Why hasn’t anyone made any computer games for girls?

*the vid really picks up around the 7 minute mark- but up till then is still good exposition

I’ll be honest, I don’t actually know that much about video games (maybe because I never had a desire to kill virtual aliens…and isn’t that the central problem?) but as far as I’m concerned, the video games that at least have female protagonists aren’t really for females…watching Lara Croft shoot virtual enemies doesn’t really make me feel empowered, just like I’m watching another sexualized male fantasy.

Apparently, back in 1998, Brenda Laurel, a bad ass innovator who revolutionized technology, did think of this and created a video game for girls aged 8-14 – one of the first attempts to market video games to girls. As she stated, “It can’t just be a giant sexist conspiracy, these people aren’t that smart. There’s six billion dollars on the table they would go for it if they could figure out how.”

And she did figure out how through her game series following Rockett, an eighth grader at a new school. She really zeroed in on what girls would find interesting in a virtual reality: making decisions, creating a story line, escaping from the pressure of their own reality and entering a new persona. And as she stated, in its prime it ranked right along with Madden Football in sales.

Of course, she got a lot of criticism…

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