Monday, June 29, 2009

Neither X nor I play many video games. He used to play Quake in graduate school until it started to give him a headache, and then he stopped, pretty much for good. I've played a couple that tend to involve having complete control over a world of tiny, terrorized pixellated people (i.e., Black and White, or Ghost Master, which involves scaring sorority girls screaming into the night), but I think the violence and the scantily-clad women put me off. I'm a bit more conflicted about the violent games. While I'm not too sensitive to handle a violent game, it seems almost like disrespect to be sitting safely in air conditioned comfort pretending to do things that are getting American soldiers killed in dusty, 120-degree conditions where IEDs, snipers, and suicide bombers abound.

But I tend to agree with the women described in this video who glance at the box illustration of an impossibly tall, voluptuous, mostly naked green-skinned alien woman with reptilian come-hither eyes and say, "I don't think this game is for me." Why can't they outfit Lara Croft in camouflage? For the same reason, I suppose, that the regulation uniform for all the women in the first Star Trek series was a minidress that hardly covered their posteriors: it sends the message that this is for the guys, and if you're not willing to be eye candy, you have no place in it.

One thing the folks who made this video seem to understand is that just because there are lots of women playing games doesn't mean that they are "gamers," just like throwing up a bunch of pink websites about losing weight, parenting, and pleasing your man in the bedroom doesn't make the Internet female friendly. Women don't want separate but equal. They want respect. They want not to be patronized or ignored, and they don't want to be seen as some sort of threat (although, well, they may very well be.)

Don't know if I'll ever seriously get into games. It seems like time and money that could be better spent elsewhere, doing more interesting things in the real world or working on more interesting, practical, tangible projects. But maybe I'm just getting old.

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