Women In Gaming
There has been a significant shift in recent years in the position and power women now hold in the gaming world. The gaming industry previously was seen as male dominated hobby. Now the paradigm has changed and women are emerging and helping change the face of modern gaming.
In the advent of casual gaming; apps, Facebook games gaming is widely more accessible to both genders of all ages. Games are much more readily available and there are games that cater to all tastes. Choices aren’t solely racing games or first person shooter as it was 15 years ago. Content is readily available for every genre. The gaming industry has evolved over the years and gaming has become a more common and acceptable pastime. No longer is online gaming communities viewed as niche domains for misfits or outcast—everyone is welcome.
Gaming is becoming its own medium and art form. Female characters are becoming far more commonplace and more readily presented as fully fleshed characters rather than previously simply flesh on show. Female characters are no longer entirely scantily clad in heels in all games, all the time. One of the most iconic female characters, Lara Croft has significantly shifted in image to a vision of a more modest and realistic woman.
The days of female characters being limited to Princesses’ and damsels in distress are gone. Women are equally represented in roles as villains, heroes and helpless targets. Female characters are now more accessible as choice/playable characters. Female characters are increasingly present as main characters in storylines instead of small side roles as seen in the past. These characters are strong and independent; they are hero characters instead of eye candy for gamer’s entertainment. It is fantastic to see all brands of games stepping up and extending the roster of females into hero’s and villains. A massive gain from the days of Princess Peach in her castle waiting to be saved by two male characters and a mushroom man.
Puzzle games are incredibly popular with women, and also severely derided as being unworthy of being considered equal to sell on the same platform as ‘real games.’ It is interesting to note that Tetris is close to the highest selling game of all time and most of the best speed Tetris players are women. Some feel firmly RPG games are the only ones that can categorize someone as a ‘gamer’. From puzzles, simulation to RPG all games are truly equal and one does not define a player as more of a ‘gamer’ than another. Whichever end of the spectrum one finds themselves on—extreme gaming to casual gaming, there is entirely a place for equality of both sexes to engage.
One of the biggest changes we have seen is the opening of conversation about the barriers in existence in the gaming world for women. Conversation sparks change, with the conversation now in full-force the gaming world is shifting to openly invite women to play a key role both behind the scenes, and in front of the screens. The more we talk, the more presence of women will be felt in the gaming world.
Published originally in Innovation and Technology Magazine