Calling out to mothers and fathers: play the games (video games, cell phone games, Playstation, anything!) that your daughters and sons usually play. Write a short review, looking at the game from the point of view of its female characters, the vocabulary used, the violence directed at women, and anything else you feel is important. Tell us what's good, tell us what really needs to change. Send it to us, post it on your blog or facebook, tweet it, email it to your friends, and share it with your children.

Don't take anyone's word for it. Play the games yourself! After all, games both mirror and inspire reality!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gaming and girls

A post from twelve-year-old Apoorva and her friend Venika, followed by one from Apoorva's mother, Uma.

There are some games that boys play. There are some that girls play. And then there are the ones that both play.

Let’s start with the ones the boys play. For e.g. they play ‘CounterStrike’, where one has the choice of being a terrorist or antiterrorist. Each group attempts to kill the other with a variety of weapons such as sniper rifles, machine guns etc. ‘Grand Theft Auto’ (commonly known as GTA) is to test of your abilities in pursuit and streetsmarts.

Need For Speed’(NFS) games is the racing buff’s addiction for speed that is fuelled. For instance in most wanted the player has to beat the top 10 list of people to get to the top of the list etc.

The girls usually play dress-up games, make-up games and simulation games such as hidden objects, fashion solitaire, make your own persona etc But we don’t stick to the stereotype that girls only have to play so-called ‘girls’ games. They are more than willing to play the boys’ games too (mentioned above). Only the boys don’t seem to be able to accept the fact that girls can play their games too or are even capable of it. However, the boys are not able to bring themselves to play the girls’ games.

Today’s games do have quite a bit of violence in them, as this generation seems to like these kinds of games more than others. However, there is no real violence against women in most games. They are given equal rights/importance. There is an equal amount of violence for both. It is just violence in general. But we believe that the violence is not addictive and it does not necessarily have to be brought into your own life

In fact some people believe that the violent games actually helps some of us channel our anger or disappointment and helps us get rid of some of our anger. .

Uma's observations

When I see the games my son plays and attempted to play some of them, I found the gore and violence unbearable. One is constantly killing or shooting or maiming in CS (CounterStrike) and DotA (defense of the ancients). But it requires extreme skills and high observation powers and an alertness to avoid being killed yourself. I failed miserably at these games for lack of speed and an inability to master the keys and control of the game. While I am quite impressed with such skills I am also quite disturbed at the violence not especially against any gender but certainly a callous attitude towards violence.

Some of the games played by daughter and her friends actually seem to enhance their aptitude for keen observation and help them with quick reflexes and hand eye co-ordination and speed of thought and action.

Action, adventure driving, role playing etc seem to be the lure of most of the GAT games. The aim is to find oneself in all kinds of locales and missions and meetings one takes on. I find the game GTA Vice City repulsive since it has women walking around in skimpy bikinis (you see, this one is in Miami)

On the whole, to me the stereotyping of the genders is in the visual appearance of women in sexy clothes and impossibly thin body types while them look macho, tough fit and ready to take on the world. I do seem to remember a few women toughies in Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider too. Though even those had them look pouty and sculpted in looks and figure and wearing revealing outfits. But again there are dialogues spoken by the character that reiterate her right to wear and do what she pleases. Can one see that as women empowerment at a subliminal level for the players.

The fact is the violence exists and is directed at everyone!

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