When the word gamer or video gamer is used, typically a stereotype image of a teenager or young adult male is brought to mind. Popular culture would have us believe that males dominate in the video gaming industry. Games are available very easily on desktops, consoles and hand held devices. With the increase of access to games through apps on smartphones and other devices the audience for games has increased. The video gamer stereotype of males is in the past and cannot apply moving forward.
A comedy web series show called The Guild ran from 2007 to 2013. The show was created by a female gamer named Felicia Day, Day created the show as an authentic look into the lives of gamers on and offline. She portrays herself as the lead character who is fully immersed in the world of online gaming. Based on herself, while playing World of Warcraft, another game I have and continue to play off and on. I found it very interesting that there were 6 people in the show playing games and that half were women, a very real representation of the world of gaming today according to other information that I have found while researching for this paper.
Women are increasingly becoming involved in gaming and males are reacting to this increased female presence, some with disdain and some have embraced the change. In June 2012, Ryan Perez used a media outlet called Twitter to attack the creator of The Guild, Felicia Day. Since this attack, gender awareness in the gaming community and culture has increased. The clash has brought communities together to defend women players, but some gamers are still against it (Tomkinson, Harper 2015).
The gaming industry is geared towards attracting and retaining males towards video games and promote the male roles in games. For example, games like the Call of Duty series, the Assassin’s Creed series and the Battlefield series (just to name a few) have male based characters and story lines that appeal to males. When I Googled Top Video games of 2015 the list was interesting, Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield were the first two games on the list. I don’t mean that females do not find these games entertaining, but that these top games are not based on a female character which might draw more of a female audience or consumer. Some people would claim that males like the violent games, but according to WhatCulture.com this is just another stereotype that ranks up there with comic books being the violent teacher in the 1950s (WhatCulture.com). There are a few games out there that have female lead characters such as Lara Croft (Tomb Raider) as posted on the Top 10 Badass Women Of Video Games posted by Cheat Code Central. Then again my husband says he used to play Tomb Raider, so I really don’t know that gender based games make too much of a difference.
I keep finding more and more that gamers are not just male, there is a growing audience of female consumers in the video gaming industry. This does not mean solely consoles, there is a growing market for apps for smart phones and online games as well. There are players over the age of 50 playing, I am not quite there yet, but I find it interesting that I am not the only one around or over my age that enjoys playing video games. I didn’t really think there would be many over my age, even over 50 interested in video games. In a questionnaire presented to Wizard 101 subscribers, 32,261 subscribers responded to questions such as age and gender. The questionnaire was created “to learn more about demographic characteristics, play behaviors, and motivations of massively multiplayer gamers over the age of 50” (Delwiche, Henderson 2013). (On a side note, I have actually played Wizard 101, only for a couple of weeks, I got bored too quickly with it.) Finding out about other female gamers older than I am was a shock to me. I didn’t think there would be many.
I myself have played so many video games over the years that it’s hard to remember them all. I went to OMSI not too long ago, while they had the Game Masters Exhibition. I was surprised at all the games that were displayed, many I had played, but a lot of
games I never knew about. The game that took me way way back was Sim City, the original. Real cutting edge stuff, when you look at the pixels now it’s almost laughable.
But I think this game might have been the one the computer game that got me hooked (besides the Atari games like Pong and what not).
The process of getting together all this information and retaining bits, discarding others has been interesting. I found out how to use the PSU Library much more efficiently (in my Junior year, guess that’s why this is a sophomore year class) that would have been great to have known in my Freshman year also. The University classes at PSU have taught me a lot of things and ways to pull together papers, essays and how to connect in a group setting. But, without this class I wouldn’t have found the PSU Library Guide, a very valuable tool I will be able to use from this term and moving forward.
Delwiche A, Henderson J. The Players They are A-Changin’: The Rise of Older MMO Gamers. Journal Of Broadcasting & Electronic Media [serial online]. April 2013;57(2):205-223. Available from: Communication & Mass Media Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 9, 2016.
Tomkinson S, Harper T. The position of women in video game culture: Perez and Day’s Twitter Incident. Continuum: Journal Of Media & Cultural Studies [serial online]. August 2015;29(4):617-634. Available from: Communication & Mass Media Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 6, 2016.