The Game Developer’s Conference was held last week, in which pretty much all types from the gaming industry get together and talk shop. Much of the lectures are technical in nature, but the best tend to be the ones that talk about gaming as an art form. One of the most fascinating was a talk by Heather Chaplin, in which she railed against a “male-dominated gaming industry.” This was far from a feminist-motivated explosion. Ms. Chaplin has some really valid points. Pixel Vixen describes the lecture:
Chaplin used her slot to tell the industry, as reasonably as she could, to grow up. See, she covers the business for the mainstream outlets – she co-write Smartbomb, the single best book to buy anyone who doesn’t understand your “hobby,” and she reports at NPR among other venues. She says this puts her in the role of a “translator,” trying to tell the mainstream why gaming even matters. This also means explaining a lot of big-name games that feature zombies, and aliens, and girls in metal bikinis wielding axes. And while she’s heard the excuses – it’s “a very new medium” – she’s way past accepting them.
Like Wendy slapping around the lost boys, Chaplin patiently but firmly laid down the line. “It is you guys as game designers who are mired deeply in ‘guy culture,’” Chaplin said. The problem isn’t the medium: “You are a bunch of stunted adolescents.” Games avoid any of the things that separate men from boys: responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery. And “when you’re talking about culture-makers, this is a problem.”
I agonized over which part of the post to copy and paste here, so go read the whole thing. It’s fascinating.